Cover Photo: Road Rash by Chris Okum

Road Rash

Barb killed the roach, got up from the couch, lifted the needle from the record, walked back to the couch, extended her hand, lead Ted outside until they were standing in the middle of San Fernando Valley Road, unbuttoned her shirt, dropped her skirt, laid down in the middle of the street, and watched as Ted unzipped his pants and quickly placed himself between her legs. It was half past midnight and there wasn’t a car in sight. Ted finished faster than usual, kissed Barb on the forehead, and stood up. Barb was lying on her elbows, looking up at the sky, and Ted was tucking in his shirt when a red two-door sedan stopped approximately thirty feet down the road. A young man wearing black horn-rimmed glasses, a neatly pressed short-sleeved button down shirt with pocket protector and high-water chinos stepped out of the car, put his hands on his hips and asked the couple just just what in the hell they thought they were doing. Barb said, We just got done listening to the White Album. The young man said, Oh, okay, well, yeah, you know, I don’t think they literally meant that you should go and do it in the road. Barb said, Well then what do you think they mean by ‘Why don’t we do it in the road, then?’ The young man said, Well, I think what they mean is that playing live has become impossible, because of the distance – both literally and figuratively -  between them and the audience, and so their only refuge is the studio, of which the road is a metaphor, the studio being the only peaceful place for the four of them to inhabit, the only place they can do what they do, which is dream the dreams and make the music. The song, the young man said, is a call for solidarity between John, Paul, George and Ringo, and what they are trying to say is that in order for them to continue on as a band what they need to do is squirrel themselves away, away from people such as yourself, who can’t really hear what they are trying to say anyway. The young man crossed his arms, looked at Ted and raised his eyebrows. Ted shrugged his shoulders and said, Don’t look at me, pal, I’m a Perry Como fan. Barb got up from the ground. She was naked from the waist down. She walked over to the young man, took his hand and led him over to the spot where her and Ted had just performed coitus. She laid down and gave the young man the come hither sign with her index finger. The young man looked at Ted, who said, Be my guest.  The young man nestled himself between Barb’s legs and proceeded to make the beast with two backs with this strange young woman he had known all of a minute, maybe two. The young man finished sooner than Ted had, got up, zipped his pants, and cleaned his glasses, which were totally fogged up. Barb said, So what do you think the song is about now, huh? The young man said, I think the song is about how vaguely abstract readings of deceptively straightforward lyrics are the key to getting laid, that’s what I think. The young man got in his car and drove away. Ted looked at Barb, who was still lying on the ground. He shrugged his shoulders. Barb said, I think that was the end of the Sixties. Ted said, Or it was the beginning. Both stared at each other and then looked up. The moon did not look like the moon. It looked like a hole in the sky.