Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Two stories by Kevin Bennett

Two stories
by Kevin Bennett

The Year Disco Came Back

I was once told that someday, Disco would come back. I didn't believe it, until I observed the divine intervention first hand.

There I was, on a beautiful Sunday in the park with George. And we were minding our own business, sitting on a park bench, when suddenly I was whisked away in a greenish cloud of purple flame. Whisked away to the year 2135. The Year Disco Came Back. (George, back in boring old 2006, didn't know what to do with himself so he did nothing and promptly vanished.)

In 2135 it was a dark and stormy night.

And with a mighty crack the sky opened up! (Though, being nighttime, no one was any the wiser.) There, sitting on a throne of ivory and omnipotence, was the Lord in all his terrible glory. And God said: "Let there be Funk!"

And there was Funk.

Like a shifting wind the attitudinal mental society of the 20th century's seventies and eighties made itself manifest. This new Disco they called "Neo-Disco".
Intellectuals and the 2135 equivalent of white trash both enjoyed the music, one for its inherent aesthetic quality, and the other for the scantily clad and strung-out females who frequented the dance-floor with a drink in one hand and a cigarette in the other.

But there were Disco clubs once more! And it was decided that, to be retroactively respectful, the clubs had no choice but to occupy the seediest districts of the largest towns, and they had to use the shittiest Disco balls and lights, and their dance-floors had no choice but to be pockmarked and beer-stained. And the occupants were required to wear bell-bottoms, sideburns, afros and tight button down shirts; or they were required to wear a crude white suit in which bell-bottomed pants still made an appearance, along with thrift-store wing-tips, greased hair, and those endearing sideburns.

And all the men were required to have no dancing ability whatsoever, again in solemn reverence to the original genre, and so would gyrate spasmodically with the astute grace of a conglomeration of penguins on methamphetamine. And the women were required to sniff cocaine and wear striped things, and smoke mentholated cigarettes, and laugh loudly and obnoxiously, and dance as offensively as their male counterparts.

And the disco singers were not allowed to create music in accord with the standard of the day (that is, music with conventional rhyme reason and/or fortitude), rather, the beats were generated through a machine with a funk backdrop and sometimes a sparse melody that was sung nonsensically with either a nasal twang or a ubiquity of grunting.(One would think this difference was dependent upon the gender of the
performer, but this was not the case.)

Ethnicities were a requirement in these Neo-Disco clubs, however only under the strict stipulation that they start riots and deal drugs, making sure to close said clubs down on a bi-monthly basis.

And cops were required, for this new fad, to sting various Disco haunts for the single purpose of arresting the dancers on merit of their negligent dancing abilities.

And it was required, to keep the clubs alive, that other genres of music from the same time period be awakened--if only to compete with the Neo-Disco goers and cause preference riots that bolstered the economic system.

And so, from my estranged viewpoint, I saw the Lord again, and again he prepared to issue a decree. And God said: "Let there be Punk."

And there was Punk!

And that is how things went terribly awry for Neo-Disco.

For in the year 2135, common decency had been absconded and replaced with a distinct inclination toward absolute violence in the Average Joe. Instead of being an evolved and peaceable conglomeration of humans, in the year 2135 we gave vent to any carnal desire, be it admirable or not. For this reason every societal member of 2135was a warrior whose abilities would rival the superhuman powers of the most livid drunken Irishman.

And so, in their bell-bottoms and platform shoes, the masses would tramp around with an assortment of retroactively viable weapons, always just a breath away from tumbling into berserker mode and facilitating nefarious carnage. When my temporally transmuted body was finally able to walk down the street in the year 2135, I saw these teaming masses separated by a hundred yards, awaiting battle; carnal and violent battle. The kind of battle that would have left widows, if the women hadn't been on the battlefield themselves.

On the one side were the Neo-Disco fanatics in their various costumes, adorned with every kind of artistic ornament and wielding crow-bars, golf-clubs, tire irons, tires, bananas, dead cats, keytars, disco-ball flails, sharpened combs, brash makeup, rotten breath, dancing that was downright nauseating both to the mind and soul, alarmingly innocuous small-talk, and thousands of other nonsensical items.

And on the other side of the divide were thousands of the Neo-Disco fanatics' rivals. Emergent Neo-Punks, with spiked and colored greasy hair, nose-rings, earrings, eyebrow rings, belly-button rings and ringworm. These were the ones who wore leather and band-shirts, eye-makeup and rouge applied in an isometric fashion, ties adorned higgledy-piggledy, combat boots and fatigues.

These were the people who, instead of relying on the "convention" of the old day which defined their aesthetic styles and tastes, instead looked to the future in their retroactive dress; waving pistols, lasers, condoms, iPods, pocket-computers, conflicting philosophies, uneducated opinions, needless parental resentment, and a measurable disapproval with society and the middle class from which many of them
came. For with nothing to be angry about, sometimes one must be angry about nothing. (In reflection, I am amazed to discover that this futuristic interpretation was a remarkable recreation of contemporary philosophies.)

And as I watched, for a moment the entire world was still, and the combatants didn't move.

Nary a sound was heard across that battle-plain or the entire world.

Then a man of obese constitution screamed a blood-curdling funky scream, and jiggling like an Aunt Jemima Titty he ran headlong at the enemies of Neo-Disco swinging an iron mallet over his head, eyes wild.

Though thousands of projectiles lasers and rubbers pierced and stuck his doughy, writhing, running flesh, the inertia of his swiftly moving form carried him into the other crowd; and though he was already dead, this Disco Fat-Albert plunged into the seething Punk masses, landing on a miniscule female rocker with red-hair and an
omnipresent constipated expression on her upper-class pseudo-intellectual face.

Like the breaking of a dam, the angry Neo-Disco fanatics followed their jiggling messiah into the Punk horde, screaming and dancing as they ran.

But the other side had inciters too; and quite suddenly an angry man with a six-foot purple mohawk of phlegm and steel hefted a featherweight minigun and began to mow down the funkers, screaming incessant and riotous punk-speak across the masses.

Finally, the two hordes of combatants met, and a stench of alcohol and cocaine such as I have never experienced before or since filled the air as saturated veins of Funk and Punk were sliced and diced. I saw mohawked noggins fly, platformed legs and combat boots kicking and bleeding and destroying.

For hours this violence reigned reeled and raged, underscored by a rich tone of Funk and Punk that flowed from historically accurate boom-boxes, carried on both sides by combat-impotent inciters acting as drummer boys.

And when it was all over, when the dust cleared, and when there were thousands dead, one man remained.

He was a skinny and long-haired beast of a man: hair grew in great clumps about his pale shoulders, he was adorned with many piercings and wore platform shoes. From one hand there stretched a keytar with sharpened keys, and strung tightly across his back was an electric guitar; one of those ubiquitously angled types with a triangular shape and authentic—albeit fresh—blood staining its zebra-striped exterior.

And on his wrists were wrapped various spiked arm-bands, and on his naked chest was a writhing holographic tattoo depicting Ozzy Osbourne, Gene Simmons, Alice Cooper, Axl Rose, Syd Barrett, Robert Plant and David Bowie in a scene of gory violence, the four of them simultaneously pummeling the crimson bejesus out of James Taylor, Freddie Mercury, Dennis DeYoung, that sniveling sodomite Lars Ulrich and The Bee-jees. His pants were cured Neo-Discoist leather, made recently from the endless dead surrounding him by some of the boom-box drummer boys, who still provided a mesh of offensively un-aesthetic music to underscore the scene.

As he stood, the negligible smoke and dust that still remained seemed to whisk entirely away, and as he turned towards me a wind like no other swept up and tousled his livid locks, staggering myself in the process.

And the man spun in a circle, slowly raising his arms to the sky, striking a discordant note on the keytar as he did so and preparing to bellow like a yeti. But at his feet, one last Neo-Discoist remained, and this man—a heavily side-burned Italian ghost of a man—raised a hand to the standing one's pants and tugged at them. The powerful rock 'n roll champion looked down in surprise, his keytar going

The onlookers held their breath, as did I, every thought hanging on the words of this man, this god of music.

The bleeding Neo-Discoist lying amidst the corpses opened his mouth, but no sound came out, so the rock-god bent down to hear. Yet it was so silent, so deathly silent across that urban plane, that even I could hear his last raspy whispered words: "Disco will return, someday! Uh-uhh…" He struggled to speak, but forced resolve into his body: "I, I, I, I, stayin' alive, stayin' alive—" And he promptly

The rock-god growled loudly, lifting his keytar high into the air and smashing it down with astonishing force on the corpse of the Neo-Discoist. The keytar shattered into a million pieces, falling apart like porcelain on a tile floor or a woman without a checkbook.

And with another turn he lifted his arms over his head and grabbed the triangular guitar this time, striking an angry metal chord. He then slung it about the front of him, lifted his hands to the sky, and screamed a roar that echoed across the planet in parallel to the rage-filled chord. And a new form of neo-rock'n'roll was birthed in the year 2135: Neo-Metal.

But I felt myself waning, and suddenly God was in the sky once more.

I asked: "What does all this mean?"

But he only laughed and said, "Wait until I introduce 'Neo-Indie-Rock!"


"Go! Write what you have seen and heard!"

It wasn't as though I had much choice; suddenly I was in the present, feeling drunk and in front of this computer. But then on the radio, the song "Get Up and Boogie" started playing, and I knew I had not been dreaming of the year 2135: The Year Disco Came Back.



The Wall was alive, its texture mottled and warm; and as she felt the soft firmness of muscle stretching infinitely in either direction, her desire was eclipsed by the terror that made her body tremble. A battle raged between these emotions as her hand slowly sank into The Wall's fleshy indefiniteness.

Involuntarily, her eyes searched up and down the eternal partition. Bodies, male and female, stuck from The Wall. Some had merely forelimbs entrenched in the living mire, as she did; others were barely recognizable silhouettes stretched taut against the barrier's ghastly crimson skin; vague outlines of people once independent. Some had tried to escape, after they'd been drawn bodily into The Wall's flesh. Now their faces stretched horrifically frozen from The Wall's insides as their minds were slowly taken from them into the collective barricade. Some had tried to leap The Wall, whose height from a distance seemed surmountable, but in reality was thrice that of a man.

They too were captured, many of them writhing in agony as The Wall drew them in.

"Stop!" Cried a voice from behind her. Eyes drunk with terror, she stared back, found her voice quavering: "I can't, mother…"

"But you have to!"

"I don't want to."

"Then what are you doing?"

"You don't understand."

Her mother began to sob, "but I do, child. I was there. I've felt it. It pulled me, too; but I ran! I ran. I escaped and matured—"

"Then why won't you save me?"

"I—I can't be taken again, Child."

The girl whimpered. "M-mommy…"

Her father appeared from over a hillside, stood breathlessly next to her mother. He yelled: "Is—no…it is." A hand went to his forehead, he looked imploringly to his wife, then his daughter, then: "I'm coming for you sweetheart, keep fighting," and he was sprinting for The Wall.

Her mother screamed: "Walter, don't!"

But he wouldn't be stopped.

The girl was already in up to her elbow, eyes swiftly losing their humanity, the look of a bovine dullard creeping behind the pupils.

Walter struggled with her for hours, sweating and bellowing; but the harder he pulled, the faster her arm sank into The Wall. Her eyes soon lost their light completely as a leg and then part of her torso was sucked into the flesh. Her free arm began to beat at her father, trying to force him away from her. Then Walter's wife was with them, and both parents pulled and strained, trying to save her from the hypnotic Wall. In the process, Walter touched the glowing flesh, and as his stricken eyes looked on his wife, he gave up the fight. His wife shrieked, fell to her knees, sobbed, pulled at her husband, but was too weak and was soon gripped by The Wall herself.

Years later the family emerged on the other side. They were mindless, soulless, careless…essentially dead, like everyone else whom The Wall had immersed into itself.

And still the glowing partition beckoned across the universe.

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