H E A D S P A C E
i put the i in impulse
No other band member noticed as Cutter sprinkled a little bit of fingernails, his own haphazard blend of sketchily acquired minor hallucinogens, into their pre-gig Mate.
Gabby, Julian and Mira took long gulps of the thick seed tea, noted the soothing, syrupy liquid slide over their tongues, down their throats and curl up in their chests.
It took about nine and a half seconds for their irises to expand and eighty nine percent of the nerves in their bodies to reawaken in a hyper state of tingling acuteness.
Cutter unfolded his septum piecing from the nostrils of his thin nose. His sparkling green eyes glinted from underneath his greasy black bangs, and the edges of his eyes slowly crinkled as a guilty grin climbed up his face.
'Cutter. What the fuck did you put in me.' Julian said, legs beginning to shake in his brown corduroys.
'Commune with the dragon. I've handed you the means.' Cutter answered.
'Pharmaceutical magic?' asked Mira.
'Along with a good helping of God's green stimuloids.'
'I should have seen this coming, my horoscope read for a slight.' Mira said, half to herself, half to the unicorn tattoo on her forearm that she watched turn its head and smile at her.
'It is paramount...scratch that, it's Everest-Ian, double scratch that, it is goddamn Olympus Mons-ian -" Cutter began.
"Wait, wait, wait, did you-"
"Yes, Gabby, I did. I drugged us. I drugged the fuck out of us. Open thine ears and partake of my explanation."
"This show, right now, is the biggest monolithic event in our solar social system. Ladies and germs, we are in the middle of a technological revolution. We have the talent, the chutzpah, the debt, and the poor foresight to truly make a go at this. At being an esteemed band. At actualization. It is 2001. Y2K plus one. And them folks out there? Them sappy fleshboxes with a jazz show in mind, in about an hour and a half, they're gonna be calling their family to let them know they just saw the best show of their lives."
Gabby, Julian and Mira watched Cutter ride his high onto a standing position on the table. The wimpy metal joints cried at the weight.
Cutter dug into his pocket and whipped out an invisible phone, extended the antenna:
"Honey, I've heard the voice of God and it sounds like four kids with a keytar. It's this band. Zoo for the motherfucking goddamn Broken. Pet, it made me want to be something. I don't want to be a supplier for Snapple anymore. I want to paint some shit. I'm getting some acrylics on the way home. Love you. Get wet for me."
He slammed the invisible phone onto the ground. Julian, Gabby and Mira recoiled as the invisible pieces scattered.
"They're gonna ask for our CDs. Our mini discs. Our gear. Julian's virginity. And you know what? They're also gonna recount that a supremely interesting thing that happened while we performed. The world started to make sense..."
They watched Cutter twist and manipulate the air in front of him - into a twirling vortex of possibility spouting from his mouth and hands. (This was the mushrooms.)
They forgot their anger. (This was the oxycontin.)
They forgot their fear. (This was the cocaine.)
They were ready to put on the show of their lives. (This was the adrenaline.)
Cutter, damn good front man that he is, continued his call to arms as his band mates felt (and watched, with a little bit of horror) hope pound through each of their chests like the fists of baby gorillas.
"These drifting souls in the audience of OUR SHOW...these everyday zombies, Janet and Carl Daily - their kids Normal and Meh? - they were able to put together the pieces of their life that, for whatever reason, had just been laying on the ground in the middle of the living room next to kernels of popcorn and dead remote batteries. They saw Zoo for the Broken and they felt alive. Our musical mucus connected them to the fleshy membrane of person hood, of civilization..."
He inhaled, intoxicated and fantasizing brain mistaking the permanent and disgusting amount of Axe body spray in the shitty backstage band room for the fragrant petals of unfolding possibilities.
He stared into the souls of his band mates.
In unison, the three of them stared right back, smiling. Ready.
Then they licked their suddenly dehydrated lips.
Looked for drinks.
Reached for the same coke on the table.
Gave each other the go ahead.
Then laughed at how high they were.
"Our next e.p. is called Snot of Frantic Purpose” said Julian. “This is non negotiable.”
Cutter launched off the table, tackled Julian into the couch and dragged him into a bear hug.
Julian's bowl cut swung around his head as Cutter shook him.
“Another e.p.! This is what I wanted for us. This is what we needed. This is what we're made to do.”
Gabby felt the couch push her to her feet. She teased her hair and engaged Mira into a swing dance.
Mira tossed her glasses onto the couch, stimulants convincing her that she didn't need to see to live.
The room was alive, a spinning zoetrope of brightly colored blurs and laughing friends. She was happy and she didn't mind the unicorn tattoo blinking, prancing up her forearm, and neighing as it clopped inside her tank top and over her the plains of her belly.
BUZZ. BUZZ. BUZZ. BUZZ. BUZZ.
A red light bulb above the door, encased in thick metal bars with tell tale signs of beginning rust, hummed to life.
The four of them turned their heads.
Mira's unicorn sprinted from the light into her low slung jean shorts.
They watched the wire fork inside the glass stretch yellow as the current whipped its way around the bulb's brain.
It started to strobe, increasing in pace, painting the room red.
It called them to arms.
Each pulse of the red bulb, combined with the opiates, brought a targeted revelation to the high-ass musicians:
Cutter just wanted everyone to be looking at him. Always. His band too. But not as much.
Mira would succeed in instilling thoughts of feminine equality, racial tolerance and the burden of meta cognition into the lower functioning heads of the laymen and women through her percussion. Eventually someone would become cognitive of the fact her percussion solo in Frankenstein's Fishnets mirrored the heartbeat of a fetus at eight
months...it wasn't in vain.
Julian realized his avenue was righteous. He was to showcase the gift God gave him. He felt his fingers react to every half thought of each song on the set list, summoning his triggered responses from the deeply ingrained rolodex he'd catalogued somewhere in the back of his mind. He played a chorus on the air keys...ad-libbed it like a champion.
Gabby wanted Julian to notice that not only could she give him the time of day, but she could keep time with him. She felt her hands rise to guitar position, finally realize that it was an F Sharp she always missed in her self taught One Armed Scissor Solo. Somewhere else, out of the corner of her ears, she heard her parents voices.
Far away, she could hear her parents approve of her following her dreams, speaking confidently about her over glasses of wine and the Survivor finale.
Her eyes fluttered closed of their own accord. Felt the band break apart as she calmed down and just opened up to life.
Gabby had herself a moment of prescience and explored the future. (This was the Frank Herbert she was reading.)
She shared a moment with her band members, companions in this moment in space and time. Friends. Family. She saw reflections in her mind's eye, splattered across their faces like those projectors in middle school.
Visions of avenues of venues and gigs and shows and meetings and headlinings and chance encounters and fortuitous reachings for the same fry outside dive bar restaurants.
Her future was Zoo for the Broken. That was it. It was all so simple.
Back on Earth, Cutter kicked the door off it's hinges and Julian patted her on the back, yanked her into the present. She felt the pleasure center light up at the back of her head.
Cutter and Mira stared at her.
Their eyes moved down. Gabby noticed her hand had moved to Julian's thigh.
"You two are too cute when you lose all control of your bodies." Cutter said, blinking rapidly.
Julian stared at her eyes and smiled.
A warm wave of dopamine splashed down her spine before they got up, stomped over the red door out into the hall.
They stopped for a second behind the stage. Took a deep breath that lasted longer than they realized.
Then Zoo for the Broken dusted it itself off, took the stage like titans, and put on the best show it would never, ever, ever remember.