Silhouettes 3: Iron Maiden
I pulled out strands out of my long mane of hair for an hour before calling the barber. He shaved my head and cleaned the patchwork on my face where there once was a beard. I wore jeans and a black T-shirt—maybe Metallica’s ‘Master of Puppets,’ or some other raucous artist I could sink my teeth into. I sought for an avenue to jumpstart my corpse-like body, deprived of adrenaline and hormonal activity since treatment had begun.
The subway walls were plagued with dark shirts, leather jackets, long hair, and shaved heads—the metal militia in full stride, ready to take over Madison Square Garden. The underground humidity of summer was palpable, but so was the gnarly euphoria that emanated from the headbangers’ cross-armed smirks, ages 10 to 75.
The pavement halls of the legendary coliseum vibrated with the crunchy base of double-kicks, snare lines, and aquatic bass licks. As we moved past the walls and towards the seats, an arabesque sitar gyrated beneath the glistening aura of polished synthesizers. My rusty bones spun and my eyes widened in the melodic downpour, calming my nerves, bracing my skeleton for the headliners. The transition seemed quick enough within the electric confines. As Maiden set up their gear, my bald held tingled as the crowd’s shackled buzz created a magnetism that strengthened the room’s gravitational field.
And then it happened—the trio of guitar maestros strummed their instrument to ignite the panorama, churning and twisting their necks into roaring thunder riffs and flame-dashing solos that sliced and diced through the repressed collective, skulking about. The flubbed exterior off the top of my head hardened. The music slit through the grooves of my brain, energizing my toiled mind to a sweat-drenched, head-banging frenzy that increased in speed and ferocity. The air inside the arena thinned, becoming crisp.
Silhouettes 4: Record Store
The humidity of summer sliced my pores open along the subway walls, musty and heavy. The buildings of dreams that never sleep seemed blinding with afternoon sunlight, blowing hot breeze along the New York streets that form checkered tunnels. Narrow apartments stacked upon each other in vertical formation; restaurants and businesses horizontal.
One door stood apart from the residential cement with patches of grass for Manhattan dogs to relieve themselves. Inconspicuous and dim, the door was invisible to all who didn’t know or didn’t care.
The blinds were shut tight, masking what lay behind the door. I opened it, encountering a crimson locale shaped like a rectangle, long and tapering. Blood-stained walls shot echoes of guttural rock music, encompassing a blast-beat pinball action underneath the unfettered amplification of guitars.
Black stacks of music records along the walls held the sounds of howling wolves, wailing demons, slain Vikings, zombie trees, and will-o’-the-wisp. Above them, images of mist appeared adjacent to fog and moonlight. A single bulb hung in the middle of the ceiling, flickering and swinging from its socket.
Two customers browsed through the black metal and noise collections. One was draped in skin-tight black apparel with hair down to his ribs, smelling of a fine berry shampoo. The other wore a blue shirt and gold tie, shiny Italian shoes, and slicked-back hair; his stock portfolio hung from his waist.
The owner returned from the back of the shop to bring out a rare German bootleg, changing the sonic atmosphere from burning Norwegian churches to synthesized nausea; the owner’s expression was pallid.