road trip: Children of the s(hotg)un

In the ladies' guide to the apocalypse by summerburkes3 Comments

April 5, 2007 – New Orleans

At this place we’re staying, a dude lives there whom we’ll just call “Tiffany” — not only because he in fact embodies the diametric opposite of a “Tiffany”, but also because if he ever reads this it’ll piss him off, which is really fun and not hard to do.

Tiffany’s life gets ruined every day all over again when another dude in the house throws on Children of the Sun, an obscure, freaky musical-theatre soundtrack from the ‘70s some acidhead produced at a small theater somewhere (the housemate assumes) and then quickly fell off the map, or the deep end, or both.

Children of the Sun, therefore, has been enjoying almost as much air-time on the communal sound system as The Sword’s Age of Winters. Too bad for Tiffany, who told us about this stereo-war soon after our arrival in town — about how much he loathed this corny space-rock-odyssey soundtrack of his housemate’s, and how much he would fight that CD if it were a street gang.

Apparently, a week or two ago, a paramour of the housemate’s became upset when Tiffany strode to the kitchen with his shotgun in his hand, removed the CD from playing in its cradle, and took it out in the back yard and shot it. Twice.

As usual, nobody could tell if Tiffany’s rage was sincere, or played up for the entertainment of others.

Paramour was driven to tears. Housemate quietly returned to his cave and burned another CD of the soundtrack from his hard drive. Tiffany smiled a rare smile to himself, and re-loaded and re-stashed his shotgun.

Today, something else happened.

After breakfast, the housemate produced a newly-burned Children of the Sun CD and placed it in the kitchen’s player for show-and-tell. After half a song, it dawned on us just what this music was, and what might next be done.

Where was Tiffany? Either elsewhere in the house or at the bar next door. We became nervous. Yet, with “Children of the Sun” blasting in the kitchen, we found ourselves hypnotized to the point of immobility — musically transported on the wings of a flying-V guitar to some sort of hair-metal K-hole filled with a spandex-coated orchestra and terribly contrived “modern” dancers. Overwhelmed by glam-cheese, we retreated to Tiffany’s room to compute.

We don’t know how we missed Tiffany leaping over us to grab his shotgun from its hiding place — musta been computing pretty hard — but we should’ve paid more attention to the flurry of boots stomping and keys jingling through the single-house toward the back.

BLAM! BLAM! — stomp stomp jingle jingle. A victorious Tiffany, gun still smoking, marched with square shoulders back into the room, grinning evilly as he reloaded.

We missed it. (sad face)

"shotgun" in New Orleans means more than 2 things

“shotgun” in New Orleans means more than 2 things

In the back yard, another just-arrived visitor explained to the neighbor lady what that noise was — what in the world?… — apparently sometimes, when the sun gets really hot, the tubes inside your bike tires will spontaneously explode. Really? Yes, really. Just from the sun? Yep. Weird huh. Oh well, we’re used to it. Time to go get the patch kit…

It should be noted that New Orleans had experienced sporadic rain all morning, and the temperature hovered around 60 degrees. It was not hot. Tubes do not explode from bikes hanging on the fence when everyone’s wearing jackets and hats.

Later that day, Tiffany received a phone call asking why a bunch of cops and National Guardsmen were currently swarming the street in front of his house. Something about gunshots — that’s all the caller knew.

Yikes. Tiffany, sketched about tenuous landlord relations and mightily averse to prison, called the house immediately — and learned that a neighbor down the street had just gone off his meds and started running around the neighborhood waving a shotgun. Not shooting anybody — just freaking out, kind of.




(Q: When’s the last time a story’s happy ending included a crazy person brandishing firearms?)

(Also, what if a THIRD burned copy of the Children of the Sun soundtrack, booming from the system once again after Tiffany left the house that day, ended up triggering the neighbor’s psychotic break? … that’s so totally going to happen in the script later)


Follow Summer Burkes on Twitter.