Saturday, September 25, 2010

Dust of the Earth, Chapter 11

Welcome to the continuing serialized version of Phantom Limbs' bassist Jim Parks' novel, Dust Of The Earth, a Tucson story about Tucson history, mystery, other worlds, desert mojo, forbidden love, and the fledgling Tucson music scene... (c) by Jim Parks, reprinted with permission

When we last left off, Ana Soccorro was reading one of her grandfathers favorite books to our narrator.  As we learn, having someone read to you can be very seductive...

Chapter 11
"I got to know most of the guys in the popular bands at the time."
    Summer was drawing to a close, and I needed to decide what to do with my life. I opted to take two classes at Pima Community College just to get my parents off my back and maintain my allowance. I was still living at my parents' house in the foothills near Campbell Avenue and Skyline Drive, commuting to the downtown area everyday in the VW Super Beetle I had received for my sixteenth birthday.

    One was a poetry writing course and the other was The History of the Southwest. I figured both of these would be a cakewalk - which they turned out to be. I continued to visit Don Pedro and A.C., while still going to see punk shows and hanging out downtown and on Fourth Avenue with Jorge and the sisters - whose names I now recall were Dana and Penelope. I got to know most of the guys in the popular bands at that time: the Pedestrians, the Suspects, and later the Serfers, the Giant Sandworms, and the Phantom Limbs. Jorge was my passport into the music scene and the after-parties, and Dana and Penny were our constant companions. I even began to develop a thing with Penny (the blond one). A.C. was my dream, but Penny was the irresistible reality.

    You knew that you had made it socially when you were invited into the ladies room at Tumbleweeds. Girls would pull band members in there with them, and all manner of scandalous behavior would ensue. You might hear coke snorting in the stalls or see a pair of fishnet-clad knees on the floor. My first visit was at Penny's behest, and I looked around wide-eyed at the chicks fixing their make-up in the mirror and gossiping with each other. As Penny took my ladies-room virginity that night, I noticed that she was dressed much as Ana Socorro dressed for school - the plaid skirt, the white blouse, and the knee socks - but for very different reasons. It was an object lesson in post-modernity, the sincere versus the ironic.

    It was like the second-hand work shirts or bowling shirts that guys would wear to shows, with name patches like Ernie or Gil. But there was this one guy who wore his real work shirt with his own name on it. He was a mechanic by day and handed out hundreds of stickers for B-12 fuel additive. The stickers wound up on guitars and amps and became a sort of cool code word. So many layers of irony - co-opting the ordinary and making it hip or risqué. But I must admit that when Penny knelt in front of me, I responded profoundly to the corruption of her innocent trappings - and she had perhaps the most lascivious smile I have ever seen.

To Be Continued...


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