The Figs of May - Carpe Testicularum

The Figs of May - Carpe Testicularum

Chapter 4

     The Story The Authors
The first to leave the original line-up was guitarist William Grant, who having grown increasingly frustrated with Hickey's primadonnaism, his passive-aggressive manner of narrowing down the subject matter of the band's songs and cover tunes (goodbye Neutral Milk Hotel's "Holland, 1945" hello AC/DC's "Big Balls") until it seemed that no song they played had anything to do with matters other than death and Matthew's testicles understandably the former elf could no longer stomach what had become of his group and stormed offstage one night in undisguised disgust, and it was said that for months afterwards he would stand directly in front of the stage during their shows (the band having meanwhile changed its name to Matty & the Jewels go figure...) and mouth, silently, like a curse, the phrase "That's my band," over and over, while looking directly at Hickey. Whether this hex ultimately had the desired effect will be left up to the reader to decide, but those in the know remain in unanimous agreement that without Grant, the band lost its 'sound,' its 'vision' Weaver had switched over to guitar (replaced on the bass by a juvenile 'Paunch' Ritter, later of the Gherkins) but his technique was noticeably cruder than Grant's, and his style lacked the wriggling angularities and the pentatonic epistomologies so key to the early eighties Massachusetts teen scene 'sound' which came to be called confabulario due to its srtong links with the work of Mexican experimentalist Juan Jose Arreola... Of course, others, in the mainstream, would see this as the ritual sacrifice of a talented guitar player so necessary for a band to make it out of the high school circuit and into the Big Time (see Moriarty and Gammons, "Effluvial Trialecticism and Pre-erotic Manifestations of Faustian Bargain-Complex in the Ur-Garage," Anal Retentive Post-Structuralist Dialecticist Journal of Structuralism Monthly, June, 2007) and certainly from that point on, as Hickey's gyrations and 'expositions" (as he came to call them) assumed the dominant role in the band's stage show, Matt's status among the high school 'In-Crowd' overtook Grant's by leaps and bounds, and Grant faded into temporary obscurity until the chance spontaneous combustion of the Fall's then-guitar-player Brix E. Smith during their September 1986 show at Boston's Paradise venue led to Grant's replacing her on the remainder of the band's American tour, whence he emigrated to England and assumed his rightful place in the pantheon of contemporary rock and roll lumberjacks and the rest, as they are constantly intimating, is History. But by that time, of course, back in old A-mer-i-cay, Matthew Hickey had gone entirely too far... Philip
It was around this time that the "still, small voice" (as he initially qualified it to an oblivious Newton South junior named Sondra Wentz who lay cradled in the crook of Hickey's bed after an sultry afternoon "stone and bone" session) began to talk to Matthew. Philip
It began as a faint but insistent chirping at the veryest edge of his conscious mind... So that when he finally caught the mellifluous tones of its voice and the crackle-sharp meaning of its words, it was like he had known it his whole life... An angel curled in the hammock of his ear... A Jiminy Cricket all his own, perched at the ready upon Hickey's shoulder... An animal familiar spirit all his own, hovering in the ether above him like a living halo... Those were the fantasies, and if the reality of the situation was that the voice came from neither his shoulder, nor his ear, nor the air above him, but from much lower, ranker and darker regions, the Hickeys had never been a clan to put much stock in subtleties they liked their meat and their potatoes, thank you... Philip
And so that first day, after rehearsal, the fifth or sixth flawless afternoon of April, as Matthew sauntered home, under the budding sycamores of Great Plain Avenue, thinking no thoughts in particular, when all of a sudden there was that voice clear as the day "Matthew" said the voice, and "Matthew" again, like an echo, while his body meanwhile experiencing the stimuli of a rhythmic loinal tightening "Matthew," a third time, said Matthew Hickey's testicles to him, and as the knowledge of this flooded over him like a great joy or a horrible shame (he could not qualify the feeling yet, so new was it, as either necessarily 'good' or 'bad') he stumbled on a loose slab of concrete on the sidewalk on front of the Dickersons' house and fell flat on his face on the edge of their front lawn, still sopping wet from an earlier encounter with a sprinkler. Philip


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