Thursday, November 13, 2008

Soundtracks of Our Lives

Couple of things, first off. Yea, the last post was boring, but I think I'm back in the groove. Capcom and Lana, maybe Steve in NZ, may not know of the Four Sticks Curse. Its a minor curse, more like a stubbed toe than a gaping head wound. For example, today I was reading a Green Lantern comic totally at random and it was set in Sector 1111. Hemlockman discovered an 11 earlier this year at his job. My buddy ex-roommate from Rogers Park 1985, Gary Krejca, stuck me with the curse and you really just pass it on to others. You look at a clock in the morning, and increasingly, you will see it at 11:11. Icalled Gary on Tuesday, got what I thought was his answering machine, said "Four Sticks" in my best Rod Serling voice (the toxic ink from the printing plant has helped this particular impersonation quite good, and I'm working on David Janssen now). Well, I dialed area code 603 not 602 and today a guy from New Hampshire called me to ask what the hell I meant. I first tried to pretend he had called an asylum, then just told him the truth. And now Four Sticks is in New Hampshire. And the center does not hold.

OK. Yea, there's those videos attached. Here's the scoop. There are two instances in my novel where I see it so visually I can taste the air, one is at the beginning, when Mike Surfer is wheeling back to the Marclinn House, almost the first scene in the book, Mike Surles known as Mike Surfer because of how he rolls down the streets. I can see him even now, with the full three minutes of Three Dog Night's "Family of Man" playing, the instrumentals hitting as Mike went from sidewalk to street several times over.

The second instance involves the Painkiller walking into the Red Line subway to find Lex Bastoni, another killer who is in a wheelchair. Because everybody else Frances Madsen Haid killed were good people and he was taking them to a better place (in about the only truly supernatural scenes I have ever written, and ever will), since this guy, as Haid would find out, would do nothing but explode and go to Hell, I always hear Norman Greenbaum's "Spirit In The Sky," another one of my Wayne's Ultimate Funeral Mix, because it would echo so damn well in the subway. The scene is within a block of where Mike Surfer was weeks earlier, the book covers maybe a half-square mile of a downtown now gone. The subway is still there, and the song still fits. For those of you who have the book handy, the Painkiller enters the subway on page 146, but reads towards the bottom to get the feel for the desolateness of that long echoing tunnel.

Other songs that I've connected with THE HOLY TERROR, well, I can think of one. One summer I descended the stairs and in the next platform, a block south, unseen, I could hear a guy strumming a guitar and singing Johnny Nash's "I Can See Clearly Now." I recall that so clearly, again, like visualizing Mike Surfer, only this was 100% real instead of my usual dilution of real life events to 94%. To stand there and smell piss and sweat and chocolate, hearing a ghost sing. I could have walked to the next station underground, but it was more memorable standing there, holding my book, and just taking it in. Its winter now (pretty much). So instead of guitars, you'll hear saxophones. That's the way it is underneath the streets.

In the soundtracks of our lives.