Excerpt from Friday Night Light
By Alex Ward - Nov 1, 2018
Editors note: Perverts Again is a punk band from Cleveland, Ohio. They’re one of the funniest and strangest bands I’ve heard, and their projects surrounding the band are of the most consistently interesting I know of. The singer, Alex Ward, wrote a hilarious, surreal, plot-driven novelization of their most recent album, Friday Night Light. The description of the novel from the website is as follows:
When our teen narrator’s bad little brother is wrongfully detained and prematurely sent off to college, the teen must use religion, violence, and football to deal with the loss, until he finally realizes what he must do: get him out of college. Irreverent and unsettling, this official Perverts Again novelization, written by the band’s vocalist, is exactly what you’d expect if you have heard Perverts Again.
Here are the first few pages of the book, which you should buy here. Enjoy!
Chapter One: Blockbusted
Do you see the big blue sign? It’s shaped like a block, but it’s the type of block with a piece missing because it had been busted. Well, that sign means Blockbuster, which I consider to be so incredible. One of the reasons I like it so much is because I can walk to it from my house, and I can get there quite quickly (I walk faster than most, because I swing my arms to and fro as I go). Some folks enjoy video on-demand services, or simply selecting a motion picture from Cable, but not me. I like to go for walks, even though my wide strides speed up the precious process, and walking to Blockbuster to rent a video suits me perfectly.
I also like it because it has plenty of movies for me to view!
At the time of this soon-to-be described visit to Blockbuster, my two parents, including my mom and dad, were on their afternoon date. They were still together, after many years. They weren’t divorced, like a lot of other parents. But the bad thing about their good love is that they spend a lot of time together, and not much time with me. I am in deep need of love and affection, and I receive little to none. I am not very lovable, but I think if you got to know me you would enjoy me enough to at least say you loved me because I’m smart and “benign,” and even though I wanted my parents’ love, my mommy is mean, and my daddy has high expectations!
Anyway, what if you loved me? Yes, you!
I think, if loved romantically, things would not last between my partner (who could be you) and I. Things would be cut quite short, for I have a little brother who wreaks mayhem upon my life, and he makes things bad in every way! If we kissed, he would squeeze his head betwixt our lips so that we each accidentally kiss each of his cheeks! He would even possibly try the same thing… only with his ass. Which is foul and unfortunate, but that’s just siblings.
He is really mischievous, and I have a feeling he will continue to cause damage to every aspect of my life until I die, or until he dies first. I wonder if my parents love him very much, because I know they don’t really love me. They’re always on dates together, leaving me to watch Little Brother all by my lonesome!
Watching Little Brother is very easy if I just follow the well-written instructions my parents so often provide, and it is usually just a photocopy of the previous instructions, which are a photocopy of the instructions before that, and so on; they are photocopied into oblivion, until the text is diluted into a splattering of dark ink blotches.
But, as stated earlier, my parents do not love me very much, so there are occasionally times when I’m left with Little Brother without a note to guide me, so the house breaks down into chaos, a side effect of Little Brother’s temporarily low-quality care.
Today is one of the days where I have no guidelines. (Perhaps, since I am now well into my teenage years, my parents expect me to have memorized the note they leave me, which is always the same except each time it is presented in increasingly poor quality. But, unfortunately, I do not memorize anything unless I am specifically instructed to do so, in which case I retain every possible tidbit of information regarding said thing until it fades from my small memory bank.) I had just cleaned up Little Brother’s wreckage throughout the house—broken lamps, shattered pottery, assorted bathroom disasters, shredded Legos, and more—and had accepted my dark fate, which would come to fruition upon my parents return from their sexy date and blame me for the destruction. To soothe his senseless craving for anarchy, I decided to take him for a zen-like evening walk through the neighborhood toward the local Blockbuster, the incredible location I mentioned firstly.
“I’m taking you to one of my favorite places, LB,” I said, my fingers coiled around his bloated wrist. “And one day, it’ll be your favorite place, too.”
“I hate movies,” he protested. “And the places who sell them…”
“Rent them,” I said, cutting him off by correcting him.
Little Brother almost continued his hateful diatribe, but he was so shocked by my interruption that he squirmed out of my tight grip, then reached up to pinch my cheek so hard that I doubled over.
“Rent!” he yelled, correcting himself in a shrill voice that was the perfect soundtrack to my pain. “I hate who sell them, I hate who rent them, and I hate you for loving those who sell them, and I hate you for loving those who rent them! I hate you!”
I nursed my cheek. I didn’t hate him back. His words always hurt, but I didn’t hate him. I loved him deeply, in fact, because I couldn’t forget how kind he was as an infant. He did not cry, and he appreciated all the things I did for him. Giggled, spit up. Nice kid. Now, he was insolent and cruel, but it was likely just a phase of adolescence. (Though I am certain that I am a teenager, LB’s exact age is a mystery to me.)
“I don’t love the places who sell them, little one,” I explained. “You see, I can’t watch a film more than once, so renting them suits me just fine. Hencethereforth, I simply love those who rent them out to little busters like me.”
Little Brother ignored the expanded commentary, either out of guilt over his excessive violence, or because he had used up all of his energy on the pinch, and he needed some time to recharge before giving me another proper—by his standards—punishment.
“Are we almost there?” he asked through pursed, chapped lips, his voice just a squeak through a rat hole.
“Yes, do you see?”
I pointed at the famous deep-blue rectangle that symbolized the place where movies retired from the theaters: Blockbuster. I considered whether the symbol was as inspirational to someone as spiteful as my little brother, but I, for one, was excited.
My excitement was as uncontrollable as Little Brother’s fury. I yearned to enter those glorious aisles of tapes, those tapes of action, of westerns, of romance, and of science. To have the man at the front of the store, the movie man, look me up and down as I made my way up and down. I could practically see, in my mind’s eye, the anticipation in the movie man’s face as he waited for me to make my selection. What will it be today? he’d think to himself, or maybe say aloud, when I’d walk to his desk to check out my choice.
Then, we made it. I released a puff of air before entering those glass doors. Little Brother, determined to destroy, could very easily ruin one of my favorite places to its very core. I closed my eyes, ever so briefly, to imagine the walls, stripped recklessly of their posters and wallpaper, and the video cases emptied, the hideous entanglements of black video tape strewn across the floors. Aisles toppled, the movie man quickly transitioning into the rigor mortis stage of death beneath the heavy fallen shelves.
I looked at Little Brother, then to the opaque entrance door, then to… a man who pushed me out of his way to get into Blockbuster to fulfill his movie-renting needs! My face turned blue with shame; I would have to think fast. And I would have to channel my little brother’s violence.
Before the man’s brisk entrance could trigger the chime above the door, I yanked him by one of his rear belt loops. Ideally, the force of my yank would be enough to send him toppling backward onto the concrete, but while it barely budged his body, it greatly agitated his mind.
He turned around abruptly and looked far into me. He had light blue eyes, wispy blond[e] hair, and looked to be an indeterminate age, though his severely leathered skin hinted towards late adulthood. He was possibly even a senior citizen.
“Did you just commit felonious assault?” he asked me.
I gulped. Maybe I did, and prison would become my future. Free meals, recess, and books; it might not be too bad. This revelation influenced my reply to the blue-eyed man.
“I think so,” I said.
“You’re a minor, so I won’t kick your butt. But I will call the police. And believe me, this is not how I wanted to spend my day. No. How I wanted to spend my day was as follows: going to Blockbuster, renting a new-ish film, and watching it thrice over the course of both an entire late afternoon and early evening. And now, son, you have attempted damage on my body, and caused great agitation to my fragile mind. So I am going to enter this Blockbuster, and instead of renting a movie from the movie man, I will ask to use his phone. Oh, yes. I will ask to use his phone to dial the police station’s non-emergency number, so they can come to this location and collect you two delinquents and take you to jail, or home, or both. And then… then I will rent my new-ish movie.”
While the blue-eyed man made his speech, Little Brother was raring to go. I could hear and smell his saliva thicken, feel his thoughts darken, and hear the crystal clanging of his thin sense of morality shattering into pieces. Little Brother was probably fine with the way this man was speaking to me (cruelly), but the fact that he referred to “two delinquents” strongly inferred that LB would suffer the same fate as me, despite the fact that he was, in this rare instance, innocent.
Before Little Brother attacked, I made a brief plea:
“Mister, I’m sorry for feloniously assaulting you, but I am inclined to punish you in a similar fashion! So much joy filled my soul as I awaited entry into one of my favorite places, Blockbuster, but it was conquered by your own eagerness, which, alas, was far more aggressive than anything I have ever witnessed in a Blockbuster customer. I responded to your aggression with a belt loop grab; it was quick thinking, and therefore poor judgment, but why don’t we let bygones be bygones and enjoy ourselves while we select films freely and in peace?”
The blue-eyed man narrowed his blue eyes. He was not convinced by my proposal, so, of course, he was promptly attacked by Little Brother! Instead of describing the beating, I’ll describe the result of the beating, which was the blue-eyed man’s beaten body:
Blue-eyes strained with red. Fading blond[e] hair interspersed with clumps of rock and dirt and gum (there was a well-used gumball machine outside of Blockbuster, frequently used). Beige bones cracked through leathered skin. Belt yanked so hard from his waist the belt loops snapped off.
I nodded, knowing that this would happen and feeling both ashamed and proud that it did. Little Brother was dry-heaving (he’d been punched in the stomach by the man pretty hard) and dusting off his skinned knees. He’d won the fight, and we’d enter the Blockbuster in utter tranquility. But concept of “we” held me back. Tranquility? With Little Brother around? No way. I would not last a single aisle’s worth of browsing with that brute as my companion. He’d have to be subdued, but perhaps not as forcefully as the blue-eyed man was.
I reached for the belt, for it would be my tool. Luckily, the belt was as long as could be; as it turned out, the blue-eyed man appeared to have punched his own notches in the belt, wearing it wrapped twice around his thin body! I used the long belt to make a loop and lasso’d Little Brother. I would simply tether him to a post out front, and he would be there when I would return with our movies.
He allowed me to bind him without protest, for much the same reason that he did not attack a second time when I defended my comment about Blockbuster’s sales. He stood, tied to a pole, and licked his mild wounds. He seemed happy enough, so into Blockbuster I went!