On the 14th day, we’re reading “Rave” by Len Kuntz.
[cryout-pullquote align=”left|center|right” textalign=”left|center|right” width=”33%”]The Tepper twist: “Oh, Daddy.”[/cryout-pullquote]
In Austin, I find myself at a party where everything glows – walls, ceilings, clothes, flesh, tongues, eye balls. I’m not sure if what I’m seeing is real or if the Roofies I took are kicking in. The floors rattle and bounce and keep jumping up, as if they’re trying to sit in my lap, even though I’m upright, dancing in the middle of a crowded kitchen, with Rylie, a girl young enough to be the daughter I never had, who’s wearing Daisy Dukes and a plaid shirt knotted high above her belly button.
This has been one odd, exciting journey. Houses burning, white trash sex, guns, and now this? It’s like a midlife crisis on steroids. Last month our protagonist picked up a handgun. This month he’s picking up a college-aged girl.
I met Rylie at Starbucks where she was working, where she remade my double-mocha-ginger-spice-no-foam-chia-tea-latte three times without ever getting it right. Rylie was worried I’d complain to her boss, and as a favor, she invited me to this country-themed “Rave.”
There’s hip-hop country, nubile young ladies, and plenty of room for illicit rendezvous.
Rylie explains it’s the Sigma Chi fraternity , that their charter was revoked after a hazing incident involving a pledge and a goat in heat, and that the house has remained vacant since, except when people want to rent it for engagements such as this. All night long Rylie hovers around me, clinging when she can, fawning and groping. Towards midnight, we end up in a room where someone’s pinned a gigantic Confederate flag across one wall , with a twelve foot-long aquarium stationed on the other wall opposite it.
With lines like, “When not dancing, they huddle together, bobbing like skiffs…” how can we not read on? Once again, patterns are established, and patterns are smashed. Expectation falls by the wayside, and we are left both satisfied and amused by the way the story line has managed to twist out from under us again. You owe it to yourself to read this ending.
Yes, it’s episodic, but the scenes and characters are so vividly observed that we don’t much care. Plus, we sense the character moving gradually toward something real, and look forward to seeing where he ends up. For now, though, the journey’s the thing, and I am happy to take it one fluorescent step at a time.