NOTE to the Reader: You might listen to Barbra Streisand while you read Part One of The Griminals.
People, people who [eat] people are the luckiest people in the world.
–Barbra Streisand & Adam Bainbridge (Edited by Thomas)
People screaming out there all day. It’s another example of bad timing turned good.
Like the night I missed a Barbra Streisand concert because the cheap 3/32nds bicycle chain I’d bought failed on the first hill climb. A visceral retrogression overcame me as I rolled unhindered back down the slope. On a fixed-gear, no chain means no go. Or in this case, no stop. I let the freewheeling speed build and thought, I know where I’ve been so I don’t need to see it coming.
As the street behind me flattened out (a future known), I applied the soul of my right shoe to the tire of my bike’s rear wheel and swung the front around. Freestyle. One cog. No chain. That’s life.
At the intersection near my small rental a limousine rounded the corner. I jammed both feet down on the rear wheel, forcing a skid, and collided with the limo’s front end. Now this is the part where bad timing turns good because as I pulled myself off the hood and righted my bike, the lady herself, Barbra Streisand, stepped out of the limo. First person, front row!
Today, it’s people screaming outside, and I’m stuck inside, in this book. Can’t pull myself away from its storytelling prowess. So, bad timing for those people who left their houses and are now screaming. Good timing for me, as it turns out, because I didn’t.
By sunset—one that nobody notices—all the screamers are eaters turning on new screamers who left work late or stumbled from the bar early, or who left something important on the backseat of their car. They are screaming in the street, feeling terror-pain streak long nerves, as subhuman teeth tear their human flesh. Befuddled, they cling to supple seat fabric with nails that are too weak, so as their skin and everything is coming apart—human string cheese with blood, memory, and paralyzing disbelief. These are the screamers.
The lucky ones, however, like me, we just happen to spend all our time under a rock, or in a garage banging a drum, or in front of a screen under the flickering bulb of a basement office. That’s our bad lifestyles turned good. Or maybe it’s a right place thing? Or maybe it’s just our good uncommon sense protecting us? Anyway, that’s the moral of this storytelling last-stand: Life’s terms-and-conditions can change without notice.
•Read Part Two on Monday, March 28, 2016•