Thrash

Somewhere across the street an early summer barbecue was under way – shouting, laughter and a thrash metal soundtrack drifting across on the breeze.  Shuttlesmith leaned back against the wall and listened, and watched as the breeze worried at the edges of the rock star posters which adorned every surface of his bedroom walls.  “And this is where the garlic goes in,” Gustav was saying, lying flat on Shuttlesmith’s bed and sketching out plans in quick, sleek, straight pencil lines.  Shuttlesmith’s parents being away for the weekend, his friend had convinced him that this was a good time for them to design and build their often-discussed invention, their business idea, their first million – Garlic Bread In A Tin.  Shuttlesmith was unsure.  He didn’t properly understand Gustav’s plans, but having hitched his plight to his friend’s genius some years previous he was used to this feeling of incomprehension.  “Come on,” Gustav suddenly sat up, “lets make jam black coffees.”  In the kitchen, Gustav made them coffees with big spoonfuls of jam in lieu of sugar, stirring the lumps into the bitter brown liquid.  “How did you come up with this?” asked Shuttlesmith, baulking at the sweet strawberry taste of his coffee.  “It’s Russian, apparently,” said Gustav.  They examined the plans again – Gustav’s sketches were startlingly professional, his prodigous genius clear to see in the detail and extraordinary physics of his design.  “So now we just need to find out how to make garlic bread.”  “Research?”  “Research.”  The two boys collected their money together and headed out to the shop.  As they passed the house which was hosting the barbecue, a collection of half-dead bikes and cars in the front yard, Shuttlesmith cast envious glances in the direction of the carefree laughter and shouting spilling with smoke from the back garden.  That and god-knows-what-else was going on back there.  At the shop they bought as many different types of garlic bread as they could afford and then headed back.  Outside the barbecue house two kids not much older than Shuttlesmith and Gustav were necking against the garage door.  The music was loud and fast.  “Well,” said Gustav, glancing across.  Shuttlesmith did not say anything.  Back at the house they cooked some of the garlic bread.  “Which one do you want to watch first?”  “Start at the beginning I guess.”  Whilst they ate they watched Planet Of The Apes, and then Beneath The Planet Of The Apes, and after that Return To The Planet Of The Apes.  They ate a lot of garlic bread, Gustav making tiny notes in a tiny notebook.  Outside the sky grew dark slowly and beautifully forever.  Halfway through Conquest Of The Planet Of The Apes, Shuttlesmith dropped off to sleep and towards the end of the film he found himself waking again.  The film was still going.  Gustav was nowhere to be seen.  The smell of garlic filled the room.  He got up from the chair, fuzzy incomprehension filling his mind, and made his way out into the mild night.  The sprawling, wasted sounds of the ongoing party drifted across.  Shuttlesmith wondered what time it was – late, very late.  He headed back into the house and stumbled through the ill-lit hallway in search of his friend.  As he got further from the back door and all the sounds of the night that came through it, another noise came to his attention.  A clanking sound, a sawing sound, an out-of-tune whistling from the garage as if someone was building something in there.  Shuttlesmith stopped and leant against the wall in the hall, closed his eyes, felt himself between two worlds.  “You did it, you finally did it,” he said softly, to himself.

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