My Last Night in Texas
By Todd McInerney

I'm feeling good. I've connected with an old friend in Austin, Texas. He's the kind of friend who gets me super stoked every time we hang out. We enjoy an unbridaled kind of honesty, and can say just about anything to each other. This strong connection, coupled with about 9 beers in my body and a desire to laugh at the world, enjoy life, and swap inspiration has us both in an altered state of consiousness.

We're marching down the street, laughing at how normal we are in comparison to the skinny, vintage wearing, tattooed up hipsters crowding the streets. Everyone appears to be an artist, a musician, someone important, competing for your attention but trying not to show they care.

We're in the heart of the bar district. Loud music is glaring out of every window. Every door has a line-up up of hipsters, eager to get trashed and be noticed. Heavy death metal grabs our attention, and our spot has been chosen. We walk into a very small bar. The music is painfully loud as the band plays inches from our face. I recognize the lead singer.

He is my old roomate and long-time friend, Manson. I haven't seen him for years, since I decided his presence was toxic in my life, and cut him out of it. His curly black hair is spraying sweat in every direction as he bangs his head between lyrics. Red makeup is dripping from his eyes, he looks like a young Alice Cooper. He's wearing tight black jeans with a studded belt and no shirt, classic Manson, but he's way more muscular than I remember him ever being. It's impossible to understand the muddled words he's screaming, but the passion and confidence is undeniable, felt deep inside me. My body has become a slave to the energy he's spitting at me. I'm head banging and convulsing like a raging maniac. I feel a super-human strength and energy.

I'm intensely happy to see my old friend, screaming his heart out, expressing himself so freely. He looks so healthy and has realized the potential I always knew he had. He has undergone a dramatic metamorphosis. Tears start to stream down my face. The overwelming joy I feel, coupled with the euphoria only death metal can deliver, is a feeling I've never felt before. It's something I didn't think was possible. I'm taken over by the power of this moment.

I'm watching Manson scream. He goes to the window and shouts at people on the street to "fucking get in here!". His presence is as terrifying, powerful, and mesmorizing as Jim Morrison in his prime. The stare of his eyes is intensely saying "fuck it, let's enjoy ourselves, let's slit our wrists and drink our blood...there is nothing to fear, let's believe in ourselves and fight to the death for what we know we are capable of, let's murder our egos violently and free ourselves, let's go!"

I never lose eye contact. I fear him noticing me but also crave to be recognized. He marches through the crowd, screaming into peoples faces. After making his way through the crowd, he stops and sees me. He begins to scream with a new found energy as he recognizes me and smiles, joy emanating from him as he sees my tears. He grabs me by the collar violently and drags me onto the stage. He puts the mic to my face. As if possessed I begin to scream glossolalia. As I take over the show he turns away from me and walks to the back of the stage. After fishing through some equipment, he turns around smiling, holding his samurai sword.

He slowly walks towards me and gently takes the mic out of my hand. He starts screaming again, his voice more violent and powerful than before, the volume of the music also raises suddenly to an unimaginable level and my ears feel like they're bleeding. He puts down the mic and raises the sword. In an instant the room is completely and startlingly silent. The earth is shaking and spinning. My head is lying on the stage. I'm looking up at Manson. From my ground level view he's a giant. He's breathing heavily and projecting intense joy. I feel no anger, no love, no pain. He raises his knee and I see mud on the bottom of his boot as it comes towards me.

Black. Silence. Nothing.

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