Thursday, June 30, 2011


* 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 *


HOOVER, a 15 y.o. boy, walks down a seemingly deserted suburban street. His manner of dress is bizarre – Virgin Mary icon t-shirt, pajama bottoms, Doc Marten boots – but, as the Strokes’ song goes, he is tense for sure but he is confident. He has a slouchy, self-conscious stride.

HOOVER (Voice Over)

Fall, 1985 – we were standing on the verge of getting

it on. But I wasn’t thinking about that. I was thinking

about Rand Myers.



RAND, a depressed-looking 14 year old boy, carefully and deftly turns a shotgun to point towards his face. He sniffs back tears. He places both barrels in his mouth and reaches down for the trigger.



A car is racing up behind Hoover.



Rand closes his eyes and pulls the trigger.



A hand lobs a can of beer out of the car window toward Hoover.



Rand’s head explodes off-screen.



The can misses Hoover’s head by inches and smacks down onto the road several feet away. Hoover turns toward the passing car. From inside the car, someone shouts at him.


Punk rock faggot!

Hoover gives him the finger with both hands. The car screeches to a halt, then sits idling. Hoover grimaces.


What, seriously?

The car continues to sit and idle portentously. Hoover folds his arms.


You guys already wasted a beer on me.

(nods to beer on pavement) Do you think

it’s really gonna get better from here?


Fuck You!

The car peels out. Hoover smiles, walks over to the beer and picks it up. It is dented but intact. Hoover carefully pulls the tab, stands back while it foams over and starts to drink it. He drains it after a little bit, smiles, belches and tosses it by the roadside. Hoover continues to walk.


I don’t know why I was thinking about Rand.

It’s not like we were close or anything, but

the weirdest things go through your head

sometimes. I guess it seemed like maybe a

harbinger of things to come. Little did I know.


Thursday, June 23, 2011

RETURN TO SNAKELAND - Forty-Third 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 *

-Jason. Wake up.-

I sit up, still dreaming, my wife asleep at my side. They are arrayed at the foot of our bed, the women sitting, the men standing behind them. They are five in number, a little family – although I remember later that only three of them are actually related. The teenage Girl sits to the left of me, a strawberry blonde in a black t-shirt under a denim vest. She is scrawny and kind of trashy but she has a very pretty, vulnerable smile. She also has a deep gouge in her forehead and a thin red line dug into her throat where she was strangled. The older woman, the Mother, sits to my right, covered in blood from what appear to be innumerable stab wounds. Underneath the blood her dress is plain, her face even plainer. The older man, the Father, and a young teenage boy stand together behind her, the older man’s hand placed awkwardly on his Son’s shoulder. The boy, kind of punk-rock, kind of skater-ish, is also bleeding but less so than his Mother. Fewer stab wounds are visible. The Father appears nearly untouched but for the blood seeping forward into the front of his work shirt – all of his stab wounds were in his back. The last – that other teenage boy, the Suicide – is a little older than the Son but, admittedly, it is hard to determine his age because half of his face is gone and his jaw hangs awkwardly from the right side, the intact side. The shotgun took care of the rest. It appears that there may be another two or three figures standing behind him but the outlines are vague, ghostly.

-Jason. Wake up.-

-What. What is it now.-

Rand Myers speaks. –None of us is very happy about the way this has turned out so far.-

I laugh. –Oh. Oh really. Well, too fuckin’ bad. Get somebody else to write it up for you.- I shake my head, laugh again. –Assholes.-

Katie Hoehner touches my arm. –No, no, don’t get mad. It’s just there’s so many holes where there’s no information.-

-I know, believe me, I know. Tons of the stuff in this is total speculation. But what do you want me to do. How could I make it better, more what you want.-

John Janks says, -Well, what I’d like, I’d like it to be more consistent, more like a story from chapter to chapter. Not so much jumping around from idea to idea.-


Katie Hoehner says, -There’s too many characters, and some of them just appear and then just disappear again, like Donna and Our Lady. It seems like they were just introduced to tell about the dream I was in.-

I smile. –They were.-

Katie shrugs. –But still.-


Rand Myers says, -I wanna know what Snakeland really is, what it was. If it had all this impact on all of us, and everything, I wanna know exactly what was in there and how it did all this to us.-


Mark Janks says, -I want some straight up good guys and bad guys. I’d like it to be clear if Mike Guerrasio was, like, an actual killer or just a dick. And if he was just a dick, I’d like to see him change, kind of come around and become cooler by the end of the story. Not all the Heads were dicks.-

-Most of them were.- I sigh. -Okay.-

Marge Janks clears her throat. –I want a happy ending. I know that maybe that’s not “cool”, the “cool” thing to do, but it’s what I want.-

Then I realize: -You guys are describing the, like, blockbuster Hollywood movie version of what happened.- And then I think about that for a second.

Suddenly, that doesn’t sound so bad.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

RETURN TO SNAKELAND - Forty-Second 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 *

And what about the parents in this scenario? I don’t mean the Janks, or poor Mrs. Hoehner, or even the parents of Rand and Carolyn, or Tim and Chris. I mean everyone else, safe in their homes, kids asleep upstairs or pretending to be, watching the news, hearing the gossip, seeing that encroaching shadow from Snakeland reach down Mansfield Avenue toward all the others, towards them. Did they wonder, were they afraid, did they just ignore it and hope it went away? All gone now, all those memories – all the adults from that time period that I have spoken to claim to remember nothing of the suicides, and perhaps only a vague recollection of that poor Katie Hoehner or that awful Jeremy Janks. And Snakeland? Nothing. “Oh, the grain elevators? I was so happy when they tore that down. I’m surprised no one died in there.”

Someone did. Katie Hoehner was killed in Snakeland. Her body was moved to the railroad tracks.

“Oh. Well then, I’m surprised it was only one person.”

Another question wafts in on the autumn wind: why did it all stop? By the time Chris Coloiacovo killed himself, early in 1986, a little more than halfway through our sophomore year, it was all over. There were no more deaths at Kenton North, and certainly none related to Snakeland. What changed? By the beginning of junior year, September 1986, I don’t have any further memories of Mike Guerrasio either. Did he graduate? Drop out? I don’t know. I don’t even remember the Heads as a real presence after that either – maybe their musical allegiances were already beginning to fragment, in the same manner as ours. Mostly what I remember is that something in the air had changed, that electric friction had diminished somehow, had started in on the normalization process that would eventually lead us all into adulthood and the requisite disappointments, small triumphs and more subtle and consistent pleasures that came with it.

One thought though: if somebody actually did something, if someone killed the Snake in Snakeland, or dug some displaced soul a grave, or one of those other things that people do in horror movies to send the Bad Spirits away, let me know, okay? Credit should go where credit is due. Thanks must be given for ending the murders and suicides, with just a little held back for dispersing that extraordinary friction, so brief, so rare.