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December 6, 2022

frontman

Kimmy Joy

The front bar of the Blitz was at about half-cap as Sara swayed toward the venue door, ticket claimed, hand stamped. She clutched her double whiskey as her eyes adjusted to the darkness, rolling foam earplugs between her fingers and slipping through the loose crowd of skinny-jeaned hipsters slugging craft beer and comparing band merch. Onstage, a lone, slight blonde picked at a red Fender with her thumb, murmuring unintelligible poetry into the microphone. Sara glanced over the crowd and found Dan near the front of the stage, his small brown eyes shining up at the fey girl stomping her distortion pedal. She slid up next to him, tapped him on the shoulder, and they hugged each other, screamed earplugged greetings at each other, and settled comfortably side-by-side.

“YOU’RE GONNA LOVE THE NEXT BAND,” Dan howled at her. “THEY’RE LIKE, THE CURE MEETS CAR SEAT HEADREST.”

“THAT SOUNDS GREAT,” Sara yelled back.

“BUT THEY’VE GOT THIS IRONIC KINDA PUDDLE OF MUDD STREAK,” he continued. “IT’S INSANE, IT SHOULDN’T WORK, BUT JUST WAIT.”

“I CAN’T,” she screamed, taking an inadvisably large slug of whiskey. “I LITERALLY CANNOT WAIT.”

After two more moaning blonde noise ballads, Sara feared that she literally could not wait. The unbroken boots hurt her feet, and the leggings were making her sweat. She debated bailing on Dan, had a cigarette, attempted to come up with a reasonable excuse for leaving during the opening act, and rallied with a game of pinball, another cigarette, and a second double whiskey, hoping to delay until the second band got onstage. She flashed her stamped hand and pushed through the venue door into a haze of pot smoke and a full house of frenzied dancers.

Asymmetrically-timed bass whumped into her body, sizzling through the hairs on her neck, floor toms practically sending her stomach into the stratosphere on a ⅞ rocket, electric guitar growling between her legs. God, she’d missed live music. Her eyes focused on the stage just in time to see the frontman grab the mic, all graceful sinew and mad messy black hair, screaming “ONE TWO THREE FOUR,” and Sara, breathless, felt herself pulled to the front, an irresistible magnet hidden somewhere deep in her ribs.

Return to your home, reduced to dust and stone

Trapped on the ground, they will eat you alive

Nestling in the dark as distant dogs bark

I’d endanger myself if it meant you’d survive

Drunk and blurry, Sara was surprised when the frontman locked eyes with her, winked, and knelt in front of her during his guitar solo. She was surprised when, after his set, he found her outside, introduced himself as Wasso Geneva, and bummed a smoke. She was surprised by how many strong white teeth showed when he laughed at her jokes. She was surprised when he pushed her up against the brick wall behind the Blitz and kissed her until she had to break away, panting and shaking her head to clear her vision.

Kimmy Joy is the founder of The Brutal Sea, an experimental theater collective based in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Her work has also appeared in Reflex Fiction and Moon Cola Zine. You can buy her poetry books "mattress dungeon" and MESSY (coming 12/22) online.