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Toadliquor: The Horatator's Lament

I was going to stay up for a few hours, do some work, write a few reviews, transcribe an interview, look over a few matters that needed my attention, consider what I could do to better serve my community, how I could finally make things right between myself and that old college flame, not so that we'd get back together but because now that we're both married, I realize we *can* be friends even if we're not in love any more and that love is not obsession and so on. All that, plus starting that book about how my travels abroad changed my ideas about what it means to be an American, that article I wanted to write about going to a mall for the first time after 9/11, that stunning, beautiful short story that would make Joyce Carol Oates, James Joyce, John Oates and Henry James and possibly James Hetfield and Harry Dean Stanton all weep. I downed a Red Bull, two giant cups of coffee, a non-drowsy cold tablet and sat down at my writing desk.

The lights burning much brighter than I'd ever noticed before and the sound of mice dancing their way into the bar six blocks over running through my at-its-absolute-peak mind, I scanned a handful of CDs to my left, looking for the right thing to fit my mood. Damned if the at the top of the pile wasn't Toadliquor's The Horatator's Lament, a 72-minute compilations of T's long-out-of-print 1994 LP and somerarities. Sounded like exactly the kind of thing I needed for a night of altruistic navel gazing.


About, oh, thirty seconds into "(Opening Sections of) Interstellar Space," I felt a weight crush down on my shoulders, light as a macho drunk's hands on bar fight night at the aforementioned drinking establishment just around the corner from my place. Did it smart. Next thing I knew, I was being walloped to and fro by "Gnaw," "Charred," and "Fratricide: A Requiem." I dozed under the damage of these tracks, awakened briefly by the opening moments of "Survival is the Fittest" before falling under again like an alcohol-poisoned teen. (I caught these titles through my heavy-lidded eyes and pieced together other ones from what my neighbors, who found my curled up on the lawn the next morning, pieced together for me, indicating that I'd been outside screaming, "Tatterdemalion: The Gladiators' Debasement Before Cain" around 3 a.m. Somehow, I doubt that.)

Not believing that, I dragged myself into the shower, washed 1,488 of my two-thousand body parts, dressed and strolled into the office just to see what the hell had happened to ol' Toadliquor. Sure as it's winter in Australia when it's summer in Prague, it was there. Only it had grown larger, thicker somehow, moved from the stereo into my chair. It could speak and seemed slightly immovable. I tugged and pulled and pulled and tugged until I fell backward. The rest was silence. When I woke a little over an hour later the CD was gone. I haven't seen it since and I've spoken to no one of the strange events that took place within the walls of my office that night. Until now.

Epilogue: Sometimes, in the dead of night, when I'm working on some half-cocked plan, trying to find a way to drink coffee and drive, I think of The Hortator's Lament and I swear that on the wind I hear, "Tenderloin! Tenderloin!"

Added: April 23rd 2003
Reviewer: Jedd Beaudoin
Related Link: Southern Lord
Hits: 3701
Language: english

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