#TBT/FBF to one of my favorite things I've written. I miss you, True Detective Season One.
When Brandi McManus asked me to come up with a color scheme for this year’s senior prom, my first response was: I don’t give a fuck. However harshly worded, the statement was true. You don’t join Art Club to fuck around with dance committees. But Brandi was a nice girl who had tits like the tops of two fresh-bought Slurpees in the Louisiana sun. Tasty. Tipped in cherry red. Not long for this world.
Back before the brutal murder of Bayou High’s Most Likely to Succeed, Brandi McManus was just a Twinkie shell of humanity force-filled with an aerated blend of sugar, spice, and everything nice. But that fluffy core, so light and sweet on the tongue, was really a toxic concoction of desires based on biological imperatives and ideological conflagrations set on a collision course since conception. Brandi had a preacher for a daddy and a hard-on for God. She wanted the arms of a savior to wrap her up in salvation promised to her every Sunday for a thousand years. But she also wanted earthly pleasures. Natural desire as filtered through sins of the flesh. Rough trade.
As an example of the male brain at its finest-or at very least most Advanced Placement, among Bayou High’s student body- I can attest to the power of self-discovery through sexual exploration. Sure, we dress up the quest for carnal knowledge of our own and others’ bodies in the moth-eaten sport coat of “dating,” but there is nothing “going steady” will teach us about our own basic instinct to enter the flesh of another and restructure it as our own that can’t just as easily be learned in dark parking lots and back rooms at parties. When it comes to fucking, love and redemption aren’t part of the deal. The chimera of intimacy is just the contact high given off by banging. You can pin a girl but not pin a girl. You know?
Who’s to say if Brandi did or didn’t. But like most girls at Bayou High, she went searching for a savior and found a pimp. What she didn’t find was his money in time for whatever endeavor he intended to use it for. That, or words of warning to her so-called “loved ones” before her tete-a-tete with certain death.
I must disclose that I have shared many a chili cheese fry with the deceased.
As far as human beings can misinterpret their dependence on over-processed food products as love, Brandi loved chili cheese fries. “This is real soul food,” she would say, every time we went and got them on the pre-sexual rituals most of you in the room refer to as “dates.”
That shit she called soul food, hell, that shit we call souls, is solely full of shit. Both are jacked full of synthetics to make them seem authentic. And who can tell the difference anymore? The rotten from the whole? Who cares? The truth and the lie taste the same. As long as it goes down easy, bon appetit.
Now, I guess since I was the last person to have sexual intercourse with Brandi in the flimsy context of romantic love before she was beaten to death in the backwoods by a pimp I had honestly only begun to suspect was an integral element of her secret sexual life or at least financial lifeline since her daddy cut her off for associating with, and I quote, my “fucked-up verbose ass,” it falls to me to eulogize her at the fucking prom she fucking planned so fucking perfectly.
We all claim to have words in the event of some dark tragedy. A magic fucking spell to undo the inevitable track of time, cutting through the bullshit of our lives sure and steady as a scalpel on the skin. But man ain’t magic. The only spell we can cast against time is our own denial. And Denial is more than a river in Egypt, but it’s less than what’s needed to turn back time. Still. If words were time and time were magic, I’d say to Brandi and all the crazy pussy like her: If you’re looking to get saved, you’ll only be stolen. There are thieves in the woods, little red. Not to mention wolves.
Enjoy this final color scheme from beyond the pale, my dear. Blood red for your memory. Shit brown for reality. Like pizza. What is prom but a poisoned pizza party, before the candy binge of college, then a long slow shuffle into mediocrity, marked finally and unremarkably by a quiet, fat man’s death? It’s “your” night, friends. Have the time of your lives while those of us who understand it’s unrelenting destructive power opt to indulge in psychadelics to manipulate it in hopes of buying more, doubling back, getting to those woods in “TIME.”
It has occurred to me, and several less dynamic members of the dance planning committee, that this material may weigh a little heavy on the crowd tonight. This is “your night,” after all. A grotesque pageant where colt-legged youth play at being grownups, wasting their lifeblood on a doomed dance floor of-
I’ve prepared some jokes. What do you call cheese that’s not yours?
What do you call cheese that is a primarily synthetic byproduct of something initially intended in its organic state as nourishment for same-species young, stolen from inoculated mothers and mutated into a neon-orange condiment Americans use to drown arterial function and over-salted tortilla chips?
I’m going to detective school. Have a great goddamn prom.