August 28, 2007
Black Rock City, NV
Yes! NO! The Man burned last night. Early. Because someone set it on fire. We would always joke about that in the past, and last night, it actually happened.
Monday is the new Saturday, apparently. The population doubled overnight, and then doubled overnight again.
Clown car music in an official Gate vehicle. Unlicensed megaphones carried by unfunny people. Dickno ™ music enclosing. Crush on crush on crush on crush on. It was Makeout Monday but we decided to sit it out and eat our own mouths for Fakeout Monday with Crybaby and that was about it. No more action than that.
We rev the engine of Little Matt’s car as a musical instrument and/or a horn. Arwen and this writer get to be total Parker Poseys at the Gate all day in the hot sun while cranky people with overheating RVs and strange please-take-your-shoes-off compulsions give us cattitude because all they want to do is get inside.
At night rolling around on the car, we have to explain to people constantly how and why we’re mean sometimes, and how that part of a city exists and always needs to. Justice does not always come in the courtroom. Kinetic Steam Works will not let you on the back of their steam engine, hippie, because it’s so explosive and dangerous of a machine you actually have to have a special license to drive it. See how there’s nobody riding on it? There’s a reason for that.
Also, Matty’s car is pointy-metally and hazardous and is filled with kill switches and barbed wire, and we work here, and the tourists are here now so we’re freaked out and we only want to hang out with each other.
We know we wouldn’t exist without the tourists and there’s no other reason to be here but to build and run Black Rock City for them, but it’s carny law, and we know you consider this your “home” but we live here. Call us elitist if you like but it’s just more like we’re tired and over it already, even if we are having the swellest of times and never want it to end. Best not to try to talk to us; we know too much and we’ll only bring you down.
We grabbed our people to watch the lunar eclipse and hung out outside of Jub Jub and laid on the car and the moon turned to a clipped fingernail and then all the way red. Stickerguy Pete brought us our Black Rockalypse logo stickers — yellow on black; so badass — and we joyously passed them out to everyone we saw.
We rolled to Gate to watch the moon come out the other side of behind Planet Earth with all our new friends, and that’s when we heard the transmissions over C-Load’s radio: THE MAN IS BURNING. RIGHT NOW. NO JOKE.
With the Black Rockalypse stickers and all, which don’t mean a thing except we like to quip and do logos, we were afraid the Rangers thought we did it. Burned the Man, we mean. Again, wondering if the hot springs pond had acid in it, because otherwise why would we be so paranoid about that hokum? They’re only stickers. [UPDATE: It was mild heat stroke plus light chemical poisoning from car exhaust. Happens, at the Gate.]
So yes, the Man was burning. SHIT ARWEN’S MASKS ARE UNDER THE MAN AND THAT MEANS THEY’RE BURNING TOO. Holy shit holy shit holy shit. Get in the car, get in the F-ing car. We accidentally ditched some of our people at Gate — what the F are we supposed to do about it? but it’s like hearing one of your children is on fire so you just head in that direction no matter what.
We get there to the center of the City where our lofty wooden icon Dudeman is on fire and having a fireman’s shower, and Thirteen tells us we have to help be Gate and Perimeter, and help secure the perimeter outside the Man Base and keep people beyond the LED light barrier a few hundred feet around the Man.
That’s when we notice we’ve got the only car inside the lines — must be in the front row! — and we have to walk around in a big circle and keep everyone back while the firemen douse the Man and all of Arwen’s masks.
The ground was all wet afterward and nobody knew the extent of the structural damage — will he fall now? — so they cordoned off the area and it’s STILL cordoned off today and we can’t see if her masks are alright. They’re made of plaster and paint so it’s very iffy. She worked all summer on those. L. Ron Harvey himself commissioned them.
We went back to “home base” of the Black Hole after the Man burned, and we met a passerby around the fire barrel who got pictures of the whole arson thing — he talked to the guy who did it, watched him climb up to the Man’s right leg and light it with a flare, and snapped photos as he was pursued and arrested with a quickness.
All the arsonist would say, that our man by the fire barrel could overhear, was: “I know John Law. I know John Law. I know John Law.” Which freaks us out personally because while we’re sure John Law would secretly smile to himself about something like this, he would never sanction or approve of putting anyone in danger. And any prank he would pull on Black Rock City would be so much more complicated and hilarious.
Anyway this arsonist dude committed some serious crimes, and it’s on federal property, so he’s going to jail as hell. And the Man is still standing, and he’s the charred-up Black Man now instead of the Green Man, and of course they’re rebuilding him, and 47 hours from now it’s going to be like nothing ever happened.
Except there will be SO MUCH MORE law enforcement, so we have to clean out the PBR cans from Little Matty’s car because they’re busting people driving art cars for all manner of stupid shits they didn’t do.
We would try to figure out more photo stuff, but we worked Gate all day in the dusty hot sun again and couldn’t take pictures of the charred Man, and everyone else is rollerskating at the Black Rock Roller Disco right now, so we gotta go.
Wonder if we can see if Arwen’s art is destroyed tomorrow. Or if we will become a police state, and get pulled over for having a pointy car full of people who look like dirtbags.
Follow Summer Burkes on Twitter.