Wednesday, December 22, 2010

RETURN TO SNAKELAND - Seventeenth Fragment


* This is a fictionalized account of some shit that actually happened. All the names, locations, etc. have been changed to protect the innocent as well as the guilty. – JG *


As we go through all of these scenarios, the most important thing to remember about Katie and the night she died is that she was the only one of my dream visitors who had no reason to see this coming, and is, hence, the most sympathetic. Rand Myers and the other Suicides were always in complete control. It is an accepted theory about suicide now that it is exclusively a thinly-veiled act of aggression and hostility and hardly the last-ditch passive/depressive escape hatch it is often portrayed as being. Of course, if the rash of Kenton North suicides were Satanism-related as was popularly expounded (or Snakeland-related, as is Me-expounded) that would be altogether different; however, that can of worms is still to be shaken out onto the sidewalk.

The Janks family, although essentially innocent, probably should’ve seen it coming. Brilliant, socially awkward, disgruntled, probably virginal – Jeremy Janks had all the earmarks of the kid other kids would vote “Most Likely to Become A Terrorist”. For fuck’s sake, he cut his own hair in what I’m sure was a self-consciously “punk” manner (see Travis Bickle and the last half-hour of Taxi Driver for clarification) right before he went on his little killing spree. John and Marge Janks should’ve seen this coming but from the available literature it seems like they were too lost in their own blue-collar Hell to notice too much of what was really going on with Jeremy. Mark Janks I do genuinely feel for, though – like Will Haynes, he was collateral damage and he was way too young and reasonably self-absorbed to see any of this coming.

Anyway, enough – we were talking about Katie Hoehner. Again, just like you and just like me, she started off July 1, 1985 not expecting to be violently murdered that night. I know, I know – who expects to be murdered? But she wasn’t even expecting trouble or experiencing even a mild anxiety, just going somewhere to party where she’d gone a hundred times before, feeling safely ensconced in the bosom of Kenton, where nothing really bad ever happened. You’d stay out all night, run from the cops, smoke some dirt weed, gulp down white crosses and coffee at the Your Host all-night restaurant to stay awake, steal some beers if you could – but as long as you were in Kenton you were gonna be fine. You knew that even if shit got fucked up you were still gonna be okay. Until you weren’t okay, and then you were dead in Snakeland, sprawled across the railroad tracks, murdered.

The railroad tracks – it’s funny, in the “Battle of the Bands” edit I refer to Katie as a “Proj slut” which she really wasn’t but that type of attitude does shed some light on the Kenton cops’ view of her murder. In the local news story one of the cops supposedly commented that Katie was “hanging out with people she shouldn’t have”, the obvious implication being that if she was hanging out with the right people she would still be alive. It’s so cheesily symbolic that if it were a plot device in a movie you would laugh out loud – Girl from the Right Side of the Tracks hangs out with Boys from the Wrong Side of the Tracks, gets murdered for her ignorance and her body is found splayed across Both Sides of the Tracks, between the worlds.



5 comments:

tipota said...

beautiful, tho i couldnt imagine feeling beauty in a story about murder ever before, not that it is sanitized in any way, its just the voice or the writing itself is so real. i went to buy book fr my teenage nephew and found so much stuff targeted to that age group that was pretty darn gory it was eyeopening. now the way you present it is in language that covers all ages in some sort of refreshing way believe it or not, the part about suicide being "a thinly-veiled act of aggression and hostility and hardly the last-ditch passive/depressive escape hatch it is often portrayed as being" is pretty profound and i bet it would speak to that age group as well as it does to me because somehow of the way you say it. brilliant jason, and so much more

Tracey said...

Incredible Jason ... there is so much honesty and truth in your writing, it lures me in ...

That last sentence is powerful.

PS. Before I forget, I hope you and your family have a very merry Christmas! I look forward to reading more of your stories in the new year.

:)

COCOYEA said...

Jason, your writing is amazing. Merry Christmas.

theperceptionpoint said...

Ditto what everyone else said. Your getting better by the minute, captain G. Hope you had a very merry xmas.

Jason Gusmann said...

thanks so much to all of you, and a very happy holiday to you tipota, tracey, cocoyea and percy p.!