Hydrocephalia / 17 August 2001

I’m printing up five-dollar bills in the basement and the newer of the upstairs neighbors stomps down, his head disproportional and I mean on the big end of the scale, hydroceph—you know, I think the one time anyone ever asked me to play a guitar solo on an album (read: cassette) was when Bob needed something raucous (rawkus, more like; rock-us) and unschooled, unhinged, right, just a demon wail coming from the barely operational amp of some young tyke like yrs truly, a breach birth brought forth by the short, chubby fingers of Your Delightful Author, and it was for this epic song offa … which album? Bandage Movies From Mexico, maybe? No, I think it was the one I drew the cover for and I can’t remember the name at all*, but the song was epic and had several parts, and the chorus rhymed hydrocephalia with something-something regalia, and then toward the end he started to spell it out, H-Y-D-R-O-C-E-P-H-A-L-I-A, real fastlike, along the lines of F-I-R-E-I-N-C-A-I-R-O. I also remember there was some splashing water in it, and then of course my blistering solo, and he’d already recorded the vocal track of him going “yeah!” and “uh huh!” in response to my as-yet-unplayed solo.

Anyway big-head neighbor who is actually more frequently known as Stomper since he’s typically more of an aural experience than an in-person big-headed one, so Stomper stomps downstairs and before I ever met him I assumed he was this humongous guy, maybe an alcoholic, heavy and graceless, unable to interact with objects and spaces without accidental violence, but he’s not, he’s tall and skinny, but then there’s the head, and I realized that his head causes him to always be off-balance, readjusting, overcompensating, like what if you were forced to always be balancing three of four encyclopedias on your head, and if you let even one fall to the ground, you’d die? OK, that’s an unlikely scenario but let’s say you were kidnapped by some creative sadists who arranged the whole encyclopedia thing and had you at shiv-point. Imagine the stomping around you’d do, not even caring how much noise you were making or how irritating you seemed to the people living below you (again, assuming these sadists were on the second floor, or really any X+1 floor)?

So I see big-head stick his big head into the basement and I feel bad since I’ve got the encyclopedia scenario going through my head and I’ve developed some degree of sympathy, and then he says, “Hey man,” or bro or whatever he said instead of my forgotten name, he says, “Bro, I’m about to hit the town with some stone-cold foxes. You think you could print up a little batch for me?” And I say something like, “These fine ladies like the lean green?” And big-head says, “You know it” or “Word” and I cry out: “No! No big-head stomper! Get out and go away!” and we’re both in tears as he stomps back up the stairs. I hate when I get like that, but sometimes I need a project that’s just for me, you know, and the way I see it, basement time is me-time.

*I finally remembered: Horrorboat.

Joshua Green Allen

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