♫♪  Frank Hurricane and Michael Potter - Cigarette Museum [split cassette]

The night was evil and fucked up. I sat alone in my study in front of a stack of papers piled atop my antique desk, tape recorder queued, ready to unravel the mystery of the Cigarette Museum.1 Lightning crashed outside of the window, and the wind howled at frequencies that traveled through my very bones, threatening to turn them to powder inside of my (admittedly beefy) arms. I needed relief, solace from the grim reality whipping around outside my house. I pressed play on the tape recorder.

I was greeted by gentle piano which became lo-fi folk. Frank Hurricane, I surmised.

I was right.

CRASH! Suddenly, one of the thirteen2 candlesticks adorning the table by the open study door crashed to the wooden floor, followed by a second candlestick. I whirled around from my desk brandishing a large letter opener, ready to face the would-be intruder, when something strange occurred. I’m not sure if what I saw was actually in the doorway or if my mind registered the image that is now indelibly inked upon my soul. Either way, a foreign entity flashed this image across my consciousness:

Stunned and confused, I dropped the letter opener and staggered backward into my chair, overcome with a sense of nausea I associated with my ill-fated attempts to travel in any sort of watercraft. Choking back a mouthful of vomit, I turned and stared at the tape recorder, as it somehow was now sputtering hip-hop, yet the music remained firmly in One Foot in the Grave territory. Who are you, Frank Hurricane?, I wondered. Then:

The unmistakable stench of nuclear spaghetti filled my nostrils, and thank Buddha there was an empty wastebasket beside the desk into which I expelled the remainder of my twelve-course dinner the staff had prepared for me that evening. Haunted as I was, I hadn’t been able to get through the sixth course before retiring to the study, where I was as alone as I had been at the head of the thirty-foot dining table in the ballroom.

Dear Christ, there it is again! Closer this time, ever nearer, infiltrating my mind in an unrelenting onslaught of psychic misery. I wondered if this mystery was connected to the sounds emanating from the recorder, the tape itself a strange artifact that began to lose meaning as any grasp I had of its physicality began to slip along with my sanity. I began to scribble on a notepad, sketching what I recalled of the unholy interloper, but the details were hazy; it was as if my mind was rejecting the intrusion, fighting off the wicked conjuring as if it were a posse of white blood cells heading off a stampede of influenza germs before they overtook my lungs. I dared to hope.

The tape reached the end of side A, and for a moment I allowed myself a deep breath, a repose. The tape reversed sides. Ah, Michael Potter, I thought, we meet again. And just in time, as Potter’s “Ode to Cigarette Museum,” a sidelong stretch of what I hoped was the antidote to my shaken state, began with overdriven guitar sonics that draped like a warm blanket over my body sagging in its chair. It wandered into psychedelic rock territory and back, applying itself like a moist balm to my cracked brain. This must have been what Beethoven felt like when he summoned his orchestra of lutists, I surmised.

I blacked out.

I awoke to find that morning had come, although the clouds and wind remained, like a fraternity pledge or a raccoon rummaging through a refrigerator after an all-night bender. My head throbbed. I felt an itch beneath my nose so I gingerly touched my nostril, and my fingers came away with the remnants of dried blood. The tape player had stopped playing. (Had it ever been playing in the first place?) The demons that had plagued me the night before were but fleeting memories, and I resolved myself to boldly face the day, because that’s what Father would have done. As I glanced around my study, my eyes returned to the desk, to the paper I had begun to write upon, and, to my horror and ultimate doom,3 the following greeted me:

1. Buy from \NULL|ZONE//!

2. It’s a gothic mansion thing.

3. The author jumped from the window after finishing this account. However, the study is located on the second floor, and a rosebush blooms beneath the window, into which the author landed. He suffered no more than a broken ankle and several nasty scratches — and possibly an eternally fractured mind…

Chocolate Grinder

CHOCOLATE GRINDER is our audio/visual section, with an emphasis on the lesser heard and lesser known. We aim to dig deep, but we’ll post any song or video we find interesting, big or small.

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