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July 1st, 2005

Following the Moon (1974) [Jul. 1st, 2005|11:43 pm]
Billy Corgan
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On a particular cool night, I am making my usual trek to the liquor store to buy my step-mother cigarettes…she has given me a $20 bill, which to my 7 year old mind is a tremendous amount of money…the moon is full, and as always when it is, I feel the call of the wild in my bones…the clean air fills my head, and for the first time in my life I consider running away…of course, there is nowhere to go, no one to see…I imagine I can live for a little while on the 20 bucks, but of course will have no way to get any more money once it runs out…I figure the best place to live would be under an overpass bridge, but I will have to figure out where to get some blankets…I walk particularly slow, weighing each aspect of my decision with each step I take…the situation at home is so utterly toxic to my nerves that I cannot possibly stand another night…it is a rare moment where I only think of myself, leaving my younger brother and anyone else I love completely out of the question…there is no one to be seen on my walk thru the back alley behind the stores, it's just me and the possibility of leaving for good…I come to figure that I will probably be caught, and will only get beat worse when I do…I have come to be used to the beatings, they are fairly regular now, it is just the waiting for the beatings that drives me insane…the pregnant pause between the release of the impacted energy thru violence and the long sweep of the tide out, till all is still…then, a faint rumble as it heads back into my direction, and the numb roar that comes up thru the floor, until fists meets temple, and the cycle is complete…

I have learned the fine art now of judging what is expected of me when I am being beat…it takes a keen ear to detect if the desired result is one of the following: submission, capitulation, confession, or negation…sometimes when I am being beaten down, the desired result appears to be tears, a bleating “no more, no more”, until the monster is satisfied…in stark opposition, sometimes the desired result appears to be to stop me crying, until a numb pall falls over the scene…as she beats me, she repeats over and over again “stop crying, stop crying you piece of shit”, and the formula reads that once you do the beating will stop…I learn the fine art of giving her whatever she desires, if only to feel that I am the one ultimately in control…

On a visit to my maternal grandmothers, I am up in my aunt's apartment, sitting on my haunches in the corner, staring at a curio case full of porcelain figures…I think calmly through the things that plague me, which at this age are that I hate cigarette smoke, and I don't like anyone to see me cry…I make two decisions in that moment I remain faithful to till this day…one, I will never smoke cigarettes, such is my hatred of the smell (I have still never smoked a cigarette in my life)…and two, that I will never cry for any reason (I would estimate that I have cried just 6 or 7 times in my entire life since that moment, the circumstances usually so overwhelming that I cannot override the feeling---my mother's funeral, absolute betrayal, the Pumpkins last show)…

So when I am beat now, if the desire seems to be to make me cry, I learn a sort of fake sob, dramatized to heighten the necessary effect…she doesn't seem to notice the difference between the fake version and the real deal, so this passes muster and therefore I never need to cry at all…

My father spends most evenings getting stoned and watching t.v…this becomes our time together, the most effective way to be in his presence is to learn to enjoy what he enjoys…for my father has little interest in what I am interested in…any attempt to get him to watch a baseball game perhaps results in a waving of the hand and a dismissal of the game as “boring”…fortunately for me, my dad likes to watch things like “Monty Python's Flying Circus” and “The Midnight Special”, which was a program that featured live music from new bands…this was in many ways my first exposure to international rock music not covered by our local radio…

Since we live so close to a world class bowling facility, my brother and I often go over to hang out and watch people bowl…the bowling alley is always well air-conditioned in summer, and a toasty warm in the winter (our home is generally kept on the cold side during winter to save money)…after a time, our curiosity gets the best of us, and we decide that we want to try bowling for ourselves…I have about $3 dollars saved, and since the board says it costs $1 dollar to play, I figure it's enough for the both of us, with some left over to get some soda pop…we rent our shoes, and proceed to have a blast, bowling for about 4 hours…when we go up to pay, the man behind the counter informs us that we have played 16 games, and with the shoes, etc, we owe him around $18 dollars…I unfortunately didn't realize that the $1 dollar fee was PER GAME….as luck would have it, my brother had recently found a $20 dollar bill on the ground, but it is presently hidden under the couch…I convince the man to let me leave my brother as collateral, promising I will return with the money…I run quickly home, steal my brothers $20 dollars, and come back to pay the fee, purposely not telling my brother where I got the money…because if he knew the money was his, he will refuse on principle, blaming me for the oversight since the whole thing was my idea…

The pond that sits just across from our apartment becomes a place where I just go to sit and stare, a small piece of tranquility from the urban sprawl that we live amongst…I watch the men fish, pulling their dirty catfish from the water and plopping them in their white plastic buckets…I always feel sorry for the fish, with their uncertain fates, swimming around in a bucket…one afternoon, I spot a teenager I know a little bit who lives in one of the townhouses next to the pond…he is bleeding from his head, a severe gash cut right across the top of his brow…I ask him what happened, and he tells me that someone from across the way hit him with a rock…he doesn't know who didn't it, but vows revenge…the pond suddenly loses it's luster as a peaceful place to sit, so I stop going…
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