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The Empty Page: Fiction inspired by Sonic Youth
By Peter Wild
It takes five seconds, brothers and sisters.
Alfie Vedder became untethered shortly after stepping out of the Highland-green Ford Mustang parked askance, motor running, on
Warren and Forest.
He looked up once at the nearest street light, which wasn’t a street light any more given that it’d been smashed out in the riots,
and he shook his head, even as he fumbled in his pocket for the Zippo.
He retrieved the bottle from the interior of the car, his partner Tuck saying Getonwithit from the shadows on the driver’s side,
sparked up the lighter and lit the rag shoved like a gag in the bottle’s neck.
Rag lit, he stepped and he jogged and he stepped and he jogged and he grunted and he hurled the flaming bottle across the street,
a glorious clumsy parabola that he didn’t stay to watch, too busy was he climbing back into the Mustang, sense drowned out in the
The bottle struck the window of the Detroit office of the Committee to End the War in Vietnam, bottle and window shattering as one, the petrol igniting with the whoomph of a shaggy, jowly dog, the office lit, momentarily, as if it was daytime, only for the sudden lick and tickle of flame to dispel any such misconception.
He steps and he jogs, his head and his shoulders moving backwards even as he jerks forwards, building momentum, ready
to throw but not yet, one more step and one more jog and still one more step and still one more jog – but then, there he was,
left behind like a shoe sucked up in the mud, his socked foot still moving forward even as he remained behind.
And there he stood, if he could be said to stand, rooted in the middle of Warren and Forest, untethered in the heart of Detroit,
sometime approximately tennish, on this, the 31st of December in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and sixty-eight.
You can read the rest of this story in The Empty Page: Fiction inspired by Sonic Youth, published by Serpent's Tail in the UK 29 May.
Website by Jani Komulainen and Neven Mrgan.
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