During a trip to Denver six months ago, Kathy and I bought the last new vehicle I will drive on a regular basis. I measure time in terms of operas enjoyed, and cars owned; this is my final gauge.
We went to the city to attend a concert by the reunited Dixie Chicks. It’s not that we’re avid fans, (though there are musical and political reasons to warrant appreciation), but two members — Emily and Marti — are the daughters of close friends. We wanted another chance to watch Emily and Marti perform, and to get together with them and their parents. So, we bought an SUV.
We occupied prime seats in the tenth row at the outdoor amphitheater, and the show was excellent; Kathy claims her ears bled for a week after. There were remnants of a pre-show feed on a table when we visited backstage after the performance: bits of high-dollar charcuterie, and some heat-mellowed cheeses. A three-finger pour of Pappy Van Winkle in a plastic cup didn’t hurt matters, though when I returned for another hit, the bottle was gone, no doubt secured by a fretting tour troll.
In the interest of truth: Kathy bought the new SUV, since I remain economically disadvantaged. When I labored in the newspaper biz, I was able to pump funds into family and fun. Now that I depend on my writing and painting to produce cash, I am a burden. Where once I ordered cases of wine and swam in a sea of Sang des Cailloux, I now whimper and make puppy eyes at Kathy when I need to buy a bottle of California swill. On the rare occasion I manage the purchase of a treat from the Brunier family, Vieux Télégraphe is replaced by Le Pigeoulet en Provence — a step or ten down the ladder, but still a thousand rungs above the West Coast juice. Most often, I scan the Kermit Lynch online newsletters, and I weep.
My contribution to the purchase of a 2017 Kia Sorrento took the form of encouraging comments, and advice such as, “make sure we get the package that includes a free six month subscription to Sirius.”
Last week, fed up with snow and cold in Siberia With a View, we decide to take a three-day break in Santa Fe. The Stucco Shrine is but a couple hours downhill from us, the highways are clear, and we have a nearly new vehicle in which to make the trip.
For the first half hour or so, Kathy and I chat amiably, then run out of things to say. We’ve been together since 1972; after an hour all she has left in the tank, that I haven’t heard a hundred times, is gossip gleaned at her book club meeting. I don’t belong to a book club, so I am completely dry. On goes the radio, connecting us via satellite to the full spectrum of musical genres— from hip hop to World War II USO favorites — at 65 miles per hour.
A Mozart piano concerto fills the bill nicely, and following that a lengthy playlist on a jazz channel keeps us buzzing with early Monk pieces, and some outstanding selections spanning the career of Dizzy Gillespie. This gets us as far as Ghost Ranch. I always think of Stieglitz’s nudes of the young O’Keeffe as I make my way from Ghost Ranch to Abiquiu — of her ripe body and heavy-lidded visage, the luxurious, dark hair beneath her arms, her long, expressive fingers.
Anxious to keep pace with hipsters (I haven’t shaved in a week), I tune Sirius to an “Alt” channel. The term “Alt” is a touchstone for me, the word denoting much of what I find objectionable about today’s so-called “creatives,” and their digital-driven existences. The term indicates a democratic trend in the arts that results in derivative drivel, dilute crap that requires preening and strutting worthy of cultural peacocks the size of dinosaurs to give it but an atom of credibility. The junk causes me pain. Think of having to listen to a half hour’s worth of simple-minded, melodramatic crap produced by, say, Mumford and Sons, or attending an art opening that features a steep slope of several thousand popsicle sticks descending in a corner of a gallery, a torn pair of children’s underwear draped at its peak, and a two-page artist’s statement that “justifies” the work with nonsensical terms and phrases lifted from Derrida and his noxious offspring — an art “event” attended by cutting edge artistes and miserable academics who nod knowingly, sip sour box wines, stroke chins, smirk, and toss around terms like “semiotics,” and “heuristics.”
The Alt Brigade, bisque fired in the MFA kiln, packs its inane clutter in the visual arts and literature closets, and works its flat magic particularly well on music. The Brigade doesn’t do a half bad job with “progressive” politics either, having recently coughed up a ball of self-righteous excuses for not voting, thus helping even greater idiots than usual ascend to the highest offices in government, paving the way for more war, and accelerating destruction of both social fabric and environment. How many times in human history has an “enlightened” bourgeoisie been a prerequisite for disaster?
When applied to music, “Alt” best gives way to “alt-college-indie-hipster,” but this more accurate title is too long for the Sirius channel listings. I tune to “Alt Music.”
If you research the Alt swamp on the Internet, you find that, over the years, some fine specimens crawled from the muck, to evolve into accomplished tune beings. The types of bands and individuals deemed “Alt” have differed over time, as tastes fluctuated. If I go back several decades in the Alt archives, I find a few bands and individuals that I like labeled as “Alt.”: Ween, Talking Heads, Tom Waits (how the hell did he get on the list?), PJ Harvey. But these, and a number of others, are now ancient, not fitting today’s hipper-than-thou mould. The rules for admission to the pantheon have changed; these doddering relics were, and are, nowhere near sufficiently unimaginative, sentimental, and pretentious to qualify them for current Alt billing. “I know Justin Vernon, and you, Mr. Waits, are no Justin Vernon.”
The bands featured on the satellite radio playlist are current — all of them unimaginative, sentimental, and pretentious. The music is insipid (volume cannot erase insipid, and a banjo has never done the trick), and the lyrics are worthy of a second-place prizewinner in a poetry contest at an adolescent treatment facility. The closest thing to a poem most of the Alt “singer/songwriters” have read is a song lyric by Patti Smith. I am convinced most of these scribes pronounce the word “poem” as “pohm.”
What I notice other than the fact that the music and lyrics are execrable, are the names of the bands. I pay close attention to the names of bands, and have done so since the early 60s, when a band name was as important, or more important, than the music a group created. I trace the shift from names like “The Count Basie Orchestra,” to tags reflecting prole romanticism, to groups of the Doo Wop era: witness the Drifters, The Edsels, The Cadillacs, The Five Satins, The Del Satins, The Dels, The Miracles, The Four Seasons, et al.
With the gates kicked open by Doo Wop, and the introduction of updated pharmaceuticals, the landscape becomes littered with Rolling Stones, Zombies, Led Zeppelins, Jefferson Airplanes, Sopwith Camels, and Moby Grapes. The tendency then gathers momentum. Need I mention Wham, Bananarama, or Oingo Boingo?
Now, it’s a fucking naming frenzy, since there is no want of shiftless liberal arts majors forming bands. Once infected, fevered young bandidos and bandettes ache to find their identities in a word or two, in a name that will look great on the marquee, that can be delivered with panache at an art opening: “Me? Yeah, I’m into Tracey Emin; I’m the bass player in TurdFog.”
I know of this need: I participated in the name game as a young drummer, eventually traveling our great land in a narcotized haze, teaming with band mates to churn out extremely loud, inept goop, providing crowds of dancing, sweating, hormone-saturated devotees with fuel for the pursuit of genital-focused experiences.
I am most proud of the name of the first band I joined, at age 17 — The Nightwalker. The band stayed together for three months, evaporating after its initial, disastrous gig, during which the drunken lead singer collapsed to her knees, and projectile vomited Chef Boyardee ravioli on spectators standing at the edge of the stage.
The Nightwalker was the perfect name for a pod of teens who, with perhaps one exception, were afraid of the dark, several of them additionally burdened with curfews on weeknights.
The name vault has been largely empty of interesting options since the 80s, but Alts continue to work overtime to create band names that reflect a deep, sublime cool. Try these on for size: Cloud Nothings, The xx, Clubfeet, The God Themselves, CrashDive, The Falling Birds, Japandroids, The Proper Ornaments.
I discover these band names on Sirius, just west of Espanola, New Mexico, as we speed past Romero’s, my favorite roadside food market. I contend the best ground chiles in the region, red and green, are to be found at Romero’s, each available in three grades of heat. I buy the powders by the pound, when Kathy provides the funds. I once accidentally snorted a bit of ground green (extra hot). Shortly after, I saw bright, white light at the end of a crystalline tube, beams emanating from behind a figure that looked like Lucian Freud, draped in a soiled terrycloth bathrobe.
The music and lyrics expelled by sublime, cool bands, with sublime cool names, are mostly rudimentary rubbish, given slight momentum by pretense; the band names, however, are gold. We listen to the Alt station for about half an hour as we drive on, until Kathy moans, and begins to hit her head on the dashboard.
The Alt band name phenomenon hints at deeper ills: the triumph of the ordinary; the relentless, corrosive pressure of things mundane; the trek by ill-educated, middle class geeks to the top of a decaying cultural pyramid. I hold to my theory that this trend began with Marcel Duchamp — the ultimate middle class artiste, hero to marginally literate aesthetes, simpleton university employees, and their privileged suburban students. Duchamp made way for Warhol, and from there we’ve paddled upstream in a swelling river of trivial shit.
Enroute from the Colorado border to Espanola, we pass from Mozart and Diz, to The God Themselves. Mozart called out to God with music, the Alts call themselves God. So, on we go.
I decide the best place to stay on this trip south is not at one of our favorite hotels in the city, or at a yoga-blessed oasis we’ve frequented on occasion, southwest of Santa Fe, past the racetrack and Las Golondrinas. I opt, instead, for the Buffalo Thunder hotel and casino, located between Espanola and Santa Fe. I know the place can’t compare to the other lodging options, but I yearn to inhale the recirculated dead air in a gaming establishment, to immerse myself in the din created by banks of bonging slots and the clatter of compression molded chips (it’s far more meaningful than Alt music). Kathy is focused on finding a car wash where she can clean our near new vehicle of the mud it acquired in Siberia With a View; she hates to be embarrassed in the company of Lexus owners. Due to her fixation, my choice of lodging does not register with Kathy, until it is too late for her to object.
As expected, the hotel is overnight home to two prominent groups of customers: families with kids who frolic and pee in the over-chlorinated indoor pool from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., and old feebs with walkers and portable oxygen concentrators. My kind of place.
Kathy fully realizes what is in store for us only after we’ve checked in. She hurls herself on the bed in our room, and screams into a pillow. Once she catches her breath, she asks me to go to the first floor of the massive structure, to purchase a bottle of water. She won’t drink tap water — here or anywhere — and now that the Trump administration is set to dismantle the EPA, she will not tolerate the company of anyone who sings the praises of public H2O. She is dying of thirst, she says, and now has a clear vision of the horror that awaits her at Buffalo Thunder. The least I can do in order to slake her thirst, and temper her fury and despair, is fetch her pure water.
“Oh, and don’t you dare go to the casino,” she adds.
“Not to worry,” I say as I exit the room. “But, I’m probably going to have to walk around a bit before I find the water; this is a very big place, and they design casino hotels to confuse patrons. I’ll be back as soon as possible. Try to take a nap, or see if Dr. Oz is on the tube. I read that, sometime this week, he is going to recommend a mantra that will cure a pituitary adenoma. One day, a sufferer sees grids of black dots superimposed on whatever misty images she acquires through her tumor-distressed optic channel, and after an hour of chanting, she’s back to 20/20, the world crisper than ever. It’s said to be better than cocaine.”
As I walk to the elevator, I check my wallet to make sure I’m carrying the cash I set aside for blackjack; it took me seven months to assemble the sad wad of bills.
So, here’s the plan, one that runs counter to my time-tested gaming strategy: I have only fifty dollars, and little time in which to put it to use. I can’t sit down at a table with this small a bankroll and expect to surf safely, until the odds and my enormous skill turn the wave in my favor. Fifty bucks won’t do it — not even at a five-buck minimum table. Math reigns supreme in the Devil’s playpen.
Since I’m at a New Mexico casino frequented by old fools, the den crammed with penny slots, I know there will be but one twenty-five buck minimum table, and none of the seats will be occupied. A bored, late middle-aged dealer will sit at the ready, thinking about her peekapoo, Pepe, and whether her shiftless nephew DeLandro remembered to take the three-legged mutt for a walk. I will appear before her, snapping her to the chore for which she is paid her minimum wage.
There’ll be no messing around. I’ll do what my friend Danny did for laughs, in Vegas: walk up and put everything on one hand — no chance to split, or to double. If I win, keep everything on the table, play another hand. Do this until I either bust and lose everything, or I win five hands in a row. If I win the five hands, pick up the cash, and leave. The difference between Danny and me? Danny did it with $500.
I amble to the table, shake Shirley from her troubled reverie, flop my fifty on the felt, Shirley deals.
I find water in a small shop on the first floor of the hotel, and I’m back to the room within fifteen minutes of the time I leave Kathy quivering on the bed.
From this point on, the most critical decisions I’ll make concern restaurant choices, and what to eat and drink.
To balm the bruise that Shirley leaves, I suggest we dine at a restaurant we haven’t yet patronized. We tend to run in ruts, and Kathy agrees to the change. I once read about Bouche Bistro, a small place run by chef/owner Charles Dale, born in France to American parents — a man who worked with famed chefs at some of the finest establishments in the U.S., who won numerous awards for them, was named Food and Wine’s Best New Chef in America, got a nomination for a James Beard Award, secured a Zagat 28, and a Mobil four-star designation. One day, Charles decides he’ll open a bistro in Santa Fe, and serve a limited number of high quality items.
From the outside, Bouche Bistro looks like a dump; inside, it is a paradise. We pop in early, without a reservation, and are the first patrons seated. The menu flutters to the table: a limited number of choices, for sure. But, what options they are.
Ease in with a chilled seafood platter, oysters, or Plateau de Fromages. Glide to steeper terrain with the obligatory onion soup grantinée or, in the case of what catches my eye, Escargots a la Bourguignonne (a momentary toss-up, when tested by the promise of sweetbreads with caramelized Brussels sprouts, and Sherry gastrique).
Yow! Salade Frisée aux Lardons, with a 63-degree egg, and Humboldt Fog!
Be still my beating heart: two perfectly cooked fillets of Branzino, the oiled skin bubbled and browned by high heat, tender fish plated with Sauce Grebiche.
To fully tilt the table: bread baked in-house, crusty, the interior moist and dense. With butter, and not just any butter: French butter, maybe 85-86 percent butterfat, very little water content. In this case, beurre demi-sel — I’d say about 2 percent salt. I slather the bread with the butter, then smear on a layer of Fog. Dear god! My abdomen swells, pushing the waistband clasp of my worn khakis to near the breaking point. (One time, in Avignon, I overheard two Englishmen talking about an all female cult whose black-clad members pound fleur de sel into mounds of butter with mallets fashioned in medieval times, but I’ll get to that at a later date.)
Wines? Well, yes. Several, as a matter of fact.
Kathy dives into a three-beet salad with Roquefort and toasted hazelnuts, and braised short rib, “pot-au-feu style,” with horseradish cream. After her fifth slice of buttered bread, and a couple pours of pinot noir, my bride’s eyes roll as she begins to lapse into a coma. So much for her low-carb diet, the one guaranteed to put her back in the shorts she purchased in 2015.
As I finish the meal, I consider selections for my next visit — perhaps this summer, when we return for a dose of opera. Definitely the sweetbreads. Grilled calamari and marinated octopus, with chickpeas and arugula. From there, something muscular: Cassoulet de Carcassonne, the beans cuddled up with enough protein to jam my gout into overdrive — lamb shank, duck confit, garlic sausages. Quite a bit of the bread, of course; a pound or so of the butter. Wines? Well, yes. Several, as a matter of fact.
I begin to lose touch with my surroundings as we motor back to our thunderous digs, Kathy snoring, my visual field narrowing, flashes of light sparkling at the periphery. I am the python that eats the distracted Golden Retriever puppy; I must sleep while the load is digested.
The next day, I pay the price for booking a stay at the hotel. I expect it.
After I wolf down a 300 mg. Allopurinol, Kathy demands we drive to the city, and proceed directly to Target, where she can examine and purchase brightly colored Chinese geegaws to dispense as prizes to her hyperactive piano students. She does this knowing that a speck of what little soul I have evaporates each time we turn into a big box parking lot. She takes her time in the store. I have a hunch she sneaks away to a nearby Starbucks to enjoy coffee and a pastry now that she is off her low carb diet, and to chat with an ardent 20-year-old Alt who’s working on his memoir on a second-hand laptop.
I wait in the car, and listen to Alt music: The Sheepdogs, Dear Rouge, July Talk, and the like. I lose the ability to do simple math, but I’m suddenly able to remember the name of every kid in my kindergarten class at McKinley Elementary School, Denver, 1951.
A second course of punishment waits after we leave Target: a stroll up Canyon Road. Kathy needs to walk, and she knows one thing irritates me even more than a walk: a visit to an art gallery. Kathy knows exactly which galleries on this contemptible avenue will gnaw at my core, and she makes a beeline for them. I find myself awash in vapid abstractions, gasping for clean aesthetic air as I am assaulted with hotel lobby decorations. My dire condition excites my wife.
Kathy pulls me into one mausoleum after another, taunting me with comments like: “Oh, my, aren’t those colors lovely? Who would have thought there could be so many browns? The shapes look like a tree line in northwest France, or maybe the hairs on a coyote’s back. I love these paintings covered with resin, don’t you? You can spill your drink on them, and they’ll clean right up. You should give some thought to resin. What do you think? Oooh, and look over there: are those popsicle sticks in the corner?”
When Kathy tries to force me into a gallery that shows works made by a friend, I resist: I don’t need a nap. The guy’s been churning out the same stuff for years, tantalizing buyers in Los Angeles and Dallas with finely wrought surfaces and a comforting lack of intelligible import. Kathy insists I enter the gallery, so I spend my time checking absurdly high prices, spotting way too many red dots indicating sales, and swallowing enormous loads of jealousy and pride.
Finally, we stop at a gallery we visited a year or two before — the last time Kathy decided a Canyon Road ordeal was in order. At the time, there was an earnest, young Alt art slave hanging a show of trivial crap in a back building, and I assaulted the lad. The kid was irate that a fat, old man would laugh at work by a noted Japanese artist now living in Berlin, and condemn the flimsy conceit used to prop up the shit hanging on the wall. That a gap-toothed churl would belittle a Japanese artist now living in Germany, and a woman to boot, who claimed her junior high art class abstractions were inspired by the geometry of Tintoretto — the outrage! I thought Alt boy was going to hit me with the tiny hammer he held in his trembling hand.
Flash to present, and we enter the building. There sits the kid, two years older, promoted to a role as an “assistant curator,” his once shaggy hair trimmed and transformed by a stylist, Birkenstocks replaced by a pair of Ferragamos. An Alt had graduated from crayon to fountain pen.
Kathy immediately cranks up a conversation with the gallery owner, hoping she can convince the guy to sell my paintings and provide her the money necessary for a trip to a piano improv workshop in San Miguel de Allende.
The kid stares at me; he is an assistant curator, with an advanced degree, so he remembers; memory is all that is necessary for a master’s degree, and pinched bitterness is standard for “curators.” But, Alt boy remains an underling, and he cannot shout out whatever he pleases, whenever he wants. He remembers, he emits fumes; he wants to scream, and put his Taekwondo lessons to good use on an elderly Philistine. The kid follows us to the door as we leave, his fists and teeth clenched, and watches us lumber down the street to our nearly new car. I’m pretty sure he writes down our license number.
We escape the canyon and its road to hell in time for another early dinner. Where one of our favorite restaurants normally shines, this time it disappoints, with average offerings. Disappointed, but not defeated, we leave the restaurant, and walk down the block to indulge the Friday night jazz experience at El Meson, much as an injured defenseman for the Chicago Blackhawks limps to the training room for a post-game dip in the whirlpool.
The room is jammed; the best we can manage are two stools at the end of a counter that runs along a wall of the club. It’ll do, as will slices of manchego, with quince preserves and olives, and several glasses of Valdepeñas Tempranillo.
The music, as always, is pleasant — riffs on standards from the American jazz songbook, delivered by skilled musicians — piano, upright bass, drums, horns. This night, the average age of the quartet soars as a remarkable, 85-year-old player from Albuquerque joins the group. The man is a master of baritone, alto, and soprano, knows the tunes like an attentive lover knows a partner’s body, and the man still has the lungs to pull things off at 7,000 feet above sea level.
It’s a shame we have trouble hearing the music.
Seated at a large table directly in front of us are two couples, with their litter of young Alts.
One of the couples: a slack pinhead sporting a snazzy green mountain fedora and a down-filled vest throughout his stay, and his companion — a mean-looking woman with thinning Liza-in-Cabaret hair, wearing two pound earrings, and an object on her middle finger the size and shape of a bakongo nail fetish statue. The woman eats constantly, and blabbers as she chews, debris dropping from her maw to the tabletop and her lap.
The other couple includes a sad sack in his late 60s or early 70s, a dim facsimile of an 8th Century Anglo Saxon nobleman in Northumbria, a mane of gray hair hanging well below his shoulders, a thin braid fixed to the top of his head with a turquoise studded barrette. The Baron wields a camera with which he snaps shots of his companions every twenty seconds or so — Wavy Gravy meets Warhol. The goof grins like a post-feast Jeffery Dahmer as he takes yet another pic of his mate and the wrinkled tits she displays as she purposefully bends over to flash Mr. Fedora, and any waiter who passes by. The woman talks the entire time she is at the table; she jabbers as she leaves the table to find a restroom, and she begins jawing ten feet from the table when she returns. Not once do she or Liza of the Fetish turn to look at the musicians, nor do they show any sign they know music is being played by masters of the genre.
To top this, the young Alts: four self-absorbed fledglings in their late teens or early 20s, two couples. I assume the young men are sons of the adults at the table, since no father of worth would tolerate the public nuzzling and pawing of a daughter, bundled tableside with her paramour. The young males are like mother cats cleaning newborn kittens, working any available patch of tight late adolescent skin. The girls close their eyes, sigh loudly, and giggle as they are laved, then feed their pursuers tidbits of tapas, proffering sauces and meaty flecks on the tips of extended index fingers. When the lads sup, they suck an entire finger into the mouth, allowing it out slowly, with as much tongue activity as possible during its exit.
The Baron works hard to impress the kids with his seasoned hipness — a Ph.D. in Cool snapping photos, smiling crazily, gesturing like a game show host. I want to strike the dumb fuck repeatedly with a tire iron, and leave him unconscious and bleeding in the alley behind the club.
Like the grande dames at the table, the kids are unaware there are musicians working not thirty feet away. The only things that divert them from their intense foreplay are their iPhones. The little Alt morons hold the phones with brightly lit screens at eye level, for all nearby to see. I sit directly above one of the Lotharios and watch as he flashes from one site to another, holding the camera in my line of sight to the bandstand. The asshole is showing his fleshmate his favorite Alt band videos, as she provides him samples of chorizo grease.
The tots finish their digit-delivered tapas, and leave the table and the room, headed out of the building into the darkness where, I assume, they’ll unzip and fondle with moist abandon. With a soundtrack.
Unfortunately, the elders hold the fort; the women continue to gab, in their minds becoming more interesting by the drink. Wolfman Jack looks as if he’s coming down off a four-day meth high now the kids have departed, the idiotic smile frozen on his face signaling nerve-jangling confusion, and impending terror. The cat in the hat pulls out his iPhone, holds it high for everyone to see, and clicks from one Google page to another, searching offerings at local movie theaters, oblivious to the fact an ancient sax phenom unveils one masterpiece after another at the front of the room.
I want to hurl my glass at these idiots, but I’m not finished with the wine. They say Unamuno preferred Valdepeñas.
The set ends, and Kathy scoots to the stage to talk with her pal Rick, the pianist, requiring the balm of keyboard camaraderie to counteract her exposure to morons.
Me: I again think murderous thoughts as the flash on the Baron’s camera fires. I realize the pinhead has not blinked for thirty minutes, his glassy eyes windows on a perfectly empty space beyond.
Before I can act, I get a severe cramp in my left hamstring; convinced that I am suffering from deep vein thrombosis, I hobble to the sidewalk at the front of the building to die.
The drummer stands near the entrance, smoking a cigarette. We chat as I shake my leg, wince, and attempt to massage the knotted muscle back to working order. I mention I once played on the same bill in New York City as the great Bob Moses, then a member of the Free Spirits, with Larry Coryell, and Jim Pepper.
Dewayne brightens considerably, and tells me about a gig in Chicago after which the great Elvin Jones complimented him. I brighten considerably. We have exchanged bona fides, and we pass the test.
The drummer asks me if I noticed the “fuck faces” with the camera and cell phones — the “dipshits” who talked throughout the set.
Indeed I did, I say. I suggest the members of the crew should be chained to a wall in a dank crawlspace in the midst of a business of starving ferrets, naked and broken bodies smeared with pork fat. Dewayne likes the idea. He adds shock collars to the mix.
I opine that we drummers tend to think alike, and he agrees.
I further opine that Dewayne and I are likely the only people within a mile who have ever used the word, “Flamacue.” Dewayne concurs.
Just then, there is a commotion across the street: adolescent giggling and grunting, the sounds of male elk in the rut, accompanied by awkwardly manipulated electric instruments and kindergarten song lyrics, the racket polluting an otherwise quiet Santa Fe night. Dewayne and I look at the figures huddled in a steaming sex cluster on a bench, their vacant faces illuminated by the light from iPhone screens.
“Alt shits,” says Dewayne.
“Ah,” I reply, “you must have a subscription to Sirius. Any chance you recently purchased a new car?”