About two weeks ago, the house up the street had a moving van in front of it. At first, I didn’t think much of it. After all, I live in Atlanta and people are always moving around in order to avoid the rampaging hordes of flesh-eating reptiles that roam the streets at night. Had I not built a Y2K shelter some years back, I would have probably been devoured myself. My family and I hide there during the evenings, watching old VHS copies of The Young and The Restless until the wee hours of the morning with shotguns in our hands. My 4-year-old is particularly skilled at shooting the beasts when they try to overpower the deadbolt. She’s a great shot for 4. I’m hoping that one day she can lead the humans as we rise up and try to take back control of our cities from the robot overlords. Maybe she won’t. We all grow up thinking we are going to be something special. Sometimes, we just end up working in retail.
The fellow coming in and out of the moving van seemed nice enough. He had longish hair and a mustache that made him look something like either Ron Kovic or a relief pitcher for the Brewers in the mid-70s. I greeted him with my usual Sufi chant and politely asked if he minded if I took a lock of his hair in order to fuse his DNA with a water buffalo. He looked a bit shocked, so I put my shirt back on. That way he would not have to stare at the eyes that had begun to grow out of my stomach.
Suddenly, a feeling of recognition overwhelmed me. I knew this fellow. He was in the band Mastodon. I don’t know how I knew, I just knew. I immediately asked him to autograph my copy of .38 Special’s “Wild-Eyed Boys of The South”. I had been carrying this copy of the album with me for months asking celebrities to sign it. So far, I had gotten Rick Wakeman, the former Yes keyboard player who currently works at the Publix deli counter in Decatur, and Jerry Mumphrey, the former Yankees outfielder who lives inside of my right kidney, to put their names on it. Had this Mastodon guy signed it, it would have completed my collection and allowed me to pass into the cosmic netherworld of alien dwarves. But he refused.
He broke my heart. As a fan, all I ask is for a little acknowledgement. After all, I’ve spent hours of my life listening to that album with the whale on the cover of it. Is a signature too much to ask for?
It’s like the time I broke into Cal Ripken’s home and demanded that he sing all of the lyrics to “Covered With Sores” by Cannibal Corpse at gunpoint. I wasn’t asking a lot. My request certainly didn’t warrant the two and a half years I served in the Allenwood Federal Correctional Facility. Or the removal of all of my teeth at the hands of some hired goon named Vito. But the Ripkens can be brutal when you cross them. I learned that the hard way.
So here I am. It’s 2:30 in the afternoon. I am covered in honey and ox blood from head to toe. Waiting. Hoping. I’ve been in the guy from Mastodon’s living room for 3 hours now playing Black Ops 2 on his Xbox. I wonder if he’s at the supermarket. Or collecting and trading pig exoskeletons with his church group. Or meditating at an ashram in Utah. Or at the park reading his dog-eared copy of V.C .Andrews’ masterpiece “Flowers in the Attic”. He has to come home at some point. Doesn’t he?