Thunder Child Spoke
I aided in the escape of the Thunder Child. His legend until now is unheard.
Together we flew below the radar of garbage that flowed through the streets.
The Infertile Gods filmed brightly lit bubbles of doom, addiction, and weakness.
Their broadcasts were shoved into the eyes, ears and mouths of all who had been heavily weighed down and worried thin.
Flimsy blood, fat, sugars, bad news, celebrity gossip, fashion, and cell phone dependency clogged all easy passages. These filthy winds quarreled with our every step, strengthening us with their opposition.
I escorted the child through the perilous back roads and guided us safely into a humble place that we could finally call home. After unpacking, we rode our mountain bikes to a nearby café to replenish our weary bodies with caffeine. There, we were approached by a bearded young man, foppishly adorned with a fedora and pointy little dress boots. The Original Hipster was holding his coffee with one hand and texting with his other as he audaciously remarked:
“I guess you two are new around here? Ya know this is a pretty hip and trendy neighborhood to be moving into right now?”
“Hip? What’s hip?” we asked him.
He laughed to himself and with sarcastic presumption he continued to pry.
“So, let me guess where you guys moved from? Idaho? South Dakota? Nebraska? No? Oh, I got it, I got it …Ohio right? ”
“How dare you infer?” we said, warning him.
The Thunder Child slowly turned his head, quickly set his coffee cup down and stood upon our table. His eyes grew with a fire possessing a ferocity that even stars could not endure. He swiftly slapped the cell phone from The Original Hipsters hand; it shattered in pieces as it hit the floor.
With volcanic certainty, The Thunder Child spoke of our long, hard, travels of ascension. The story of our thunder was heard once and for all, loud and clear!
The few who witnessed it have remained changed ever since.
The Thunder Child spoke thusly:
I Am The Thunder Child!
Kill your preconceived notions of my origins, my intentions and ultimately of my power.
For you were not there when I was conceived in a four foot above ground swimming pool in the late days of the month of May.
Tree frogs were thriving, green algae covered the water. Though many suspected that I was afflicted with a severe chromosomal disadvantage, my pedigree persevered through the nine months that it took to form me fully. My pedigree that is composed of the very same ingredients listed on a box of pop-tarts, simply in a different order and ratio. My sacred pedigree that is so thin it resembles a fruit roll up held up to the sun, revealing vague characters from some Saturday morning cartoon of yore.
You were not there when I rose from beneath the five pound bullfrog and shit.
Out past where they would build the new super wal-mart in a mere 9 years and shit.
You were not there when I stared into the eyes of the snapping turtle and I pressed my nose against his beak the second I was born and he did not bite me. For everyone knows that when the snapper bites he does not let go until the thunder strikes and so:
The Thunder Child was born!
You were not there as I leapt into Marion County, West Virginia.
In-between the future pizza hut and the taco bell I crept before the pollution flooded the mountains and valleys.
I set my eyes on the olive green painted front doors of country livin’…and shit. Radios whined classic rock all hours of the day, force feeding me the memorization of mediocrity. I was wrongfully accused and scolded beyond your comprehension, enrolled in poorly funded educational systems. I taught myself to read and write at the young age of three. I dug for worms in my spare time out in the sunshine. The internet was in its infancy; I could not see or hear that monster coming.
There was a space age coca-cola machine at the local market; it spoke when it dispensed a can of pop for one quarter. “Thank you for choosing coca-cola…and shit.” I was urged to quaff its carbonated, sugary contents—conditioned to be refreshed by water like products…and shit.
The Farmington, West Virginia population was at that time 963 plus me. I inhaled the essence of the mobile homes, dry blood, rust and dust that floated where the sun shone. Perverted toys in bulk stacked in the corner waiting to be sold at the next week’s flea-market. A plastic penis, windup toy with little feet that hopped around, up, down and made a high pitched clicking sound. Many children were never exposed to such things so early but I declare that The Thunder Child was….and shit.
My family and I occupied a little black and yellow trailer up on the hill where I learned to start my first lawn mower at the age of four. The chug and thug of the lawn mower string was a sweet symphony to me. The violent swirling howl of the starting engine thrust me into an ecstatic frenzy. The scent of gasoline always sagged in the air. Parental paperwork adorned the kitchen table. I was kept awake every night by the sound of my mother and father scratching losing lottery tickets…and shit.
My parents mumbled their employee I.D. numbers in their sleep. At 4 a.m. they woke up, worked double shifts and shoved money into envelopes destined for stale offices; devoid of humor and devoid of thunder.
My mother would chant below her breath as she hung the laundry to dry.
“Bills, bills, bills”
“A man is born, a man sweats, a man dies,” My father affirmed often.
Death was brand new and duly noted.
One day my father found our missing black cat dead under the trailer. He knew that it was best that The Thunder Child learn early what he must know for all time…and shit. “This is death, thunder son.” He said. “Everything dies. I die, and even you…Thunder Child will one day die.” “Hello, Death!” I said examining the corpse. It had a skinny cat face lying atop of its own fur that had fallen to the dirt floor. The eyes were shriveled like raisins into the ocular cavity. I was compelled to pet it and was startled that it was not soft and warm. It was stiff and cold and had a strange musty sweet smell.
“I will happily visit Death until my cat comes back home, Father,” I agreed.
“No Thunder Child,” My Father said pointing. “That is him. He’s not alive anymore. Do you understand?” Father flatly concluded leaving me alone with the body.
The next week there was a new kitten, the same color with a different name.
I continued to play with Death underneath the trailer until my father buried it so that I wouldn’t get sick from its decaying body.
By this and all experiences the Thunder Childs imagination was fortified like Wonder Bread, vitamins and minerals, and shit.
THE STEP DAD DEMON
The bulldozers rolled endlessly just behind me in the late 1980’s and early 90’s. Autopilots of destruction sent forth believing with all of their mechanistic heart that they could destroy the origin of thunder. The corporations were chopping down our mountainous paradise, paving over the Land of Thunder to erect the new Garden of Garbage. They flattened my fond memories of the Farms and the children spawned upon them; town and country marts, go karts and gun shot holes in tree bark. Eggs were cooked where books were never read. The kids were happily underfed; sugar buzz breakfast stretched the breadcrumbs for hours and miles. The worker ant adults were excited by the new high paying construction jobs that were listed in the local newspapers and shit. My Father was ambitiously employed as a laborer to build several futuristic fast food restaurants. Today, thousands of floppy souls routinely mumble “Yes, please,” when asked if they would like fries and a drink with their drive thru orders; their cars dripping oil upon the very spot where he gasped his final breaths after a bloody accident on the job.
I instinctively knew in my heart of Thunder that he had been assassinated by the Infertile Gods of Garbage. They meticulously planned to wipe out our entire heritage. Perhaps my Great-Great-Grandmother lost her virginity upon the same sacred spot of dirt where now the automotive department is located at the super wal-mart…and shit.
After my Father’s massacre, I fed my scientific imagination with a magnifying glass and a million ants. I took my toys apart and learned to reassemble them effortlessly. I caught and collected the many creatures of this earth, examining them in great detail. My reptilian and amphibian pets were my favorite company. I enjoyed digging up Death to study his various stages of decomposition and would respectfully rebury him. I took many walks deep into what remained of the wilderness. I would trot about the creeks and swamps get lost and not find my way back home until well after dark. Upon returning from one such walk, I was outraged to find a strange man aggressively kissing my mother…and shit. She introduced it by its “human” name which I will not repeat for it would give it power. The Gods of Garbage had sneakily implanted an agent to extinguish my thunder and shit.
The stench of hot budweiser bellowed from its sharp cigarette breath. It had black shark like eyes that ricocheted rapidly inside the sockets hunting for any sparks from my imagination. They preprogrammed it with an unyielding hatred for thunder. But mother was so happy to have a man around the house again. Blind to its appointed purpose; she got married to it …and shit.
At once, The Step Dad Demon forced me to get rid of my pet black cat, turtles, frogs, snakes, lizards and salamanders. It made me set fire to my toys declaring that it was time for me to grow up. It enrolled me in every possible sport in school. Any time that I voiced opposition to its orders I would be beaten mercilessly along with Mother. It assured my mother that all this discipline was for my best. I grew so disgusted by this creature and its vulgar habits. It was an assistant fast food manager and shit, came home drunk, providing nothing more than left over French fries for my mother and me. It forced me to watch sports games and pornographic films as it robotically consumed spicy chicken wings, cheeseburgers, and beer. I listened to it having sex with my mother an obscene amount of times every night, the stench of which wafted and settled in our trailer…and shit.
During this dark age our toilet was a white, five gallon bucket. It was my duty to dump the daily contents into the nearby creek. The deepest, darkest, yellow urine, with toilet paper, tampons and turds, moms turds, the demons turds and even the thunder child’s turds. The bucket was filled to the brim and spilling over onto my shoes. One winter morning I was slipping on icy patches all the way there…and shit. The children at school would ridicule me for smelling terrible. I would look down at the miscellaneous smudge of turd drying on my shoe and know that it was all part of the Demons wicked plan. One night, it smashed its nose against mine and said, “Your thunder never stood a fucking chance, you pathetic, weakling, shit child!” It violently grabbed me by the throat and started smacking me on top of the head repeatedly. Suddenly, I felt the strangest sensation. The demons shark eyes widened with surprise, just then my mother called for it, it sneered at me and with one final smack, and shoved me into my room.
As I lay sobbing and dreaming of ways to over power and kill the demon; I felt the weight in my head shift. I reached to touch my head and that was the first time that I felt it: My head top snake—the Water Moccasin of my Imagination.
“Oh, How splendid and shit,” I thought, playfully coaxing it out. I learned to hide it well through the day so that the demon wouldn’t strangle it if it poked out.
Once I was securely in my bed my head top snake—the water moccasin of my imagination would come out to thrive. Would you believe that the demon caught on? It began to sneak to my room shortly after I would retire on a school night. It violently ripped the snake from my head top, leaving the remaining stub bleeding with final nervous twitches that all animals display upon dying. The demon was certain it that it had finally killed the Water Moccasin of my Imagination — my head top snake. It was not aware of our secret: my snake slithered from its hole in my head top—backwards! Not once had the demon severed the head from the body, but ripped off a paltry piece of tail that would quickly regenerate…and shit! The Gods of Garbage underestimated that I was conceived amongst the tree frogs and rose from beneath the five pound bull frog. This power of regeneration I have inherited and will posses it for all my days. “Abort! Abort!” screamed the demon to the sky as it morphed into a thin, jagged sheet of broken, black LCD glass and shot straight through the floorboards of the trailer. That pathetic, mammalian, robotic, chicken wing eating, child beating, sloppy, shark eyed, demon creature realized that all of its power was an illusion.
No illusion can survive the storm of The Thunder Child!
For I have single handedly caught more snapping turtles than any who have come before the thunder! I snatch them up by their leathery tails, stare into their eyes, and with my nose pressed against their beaks I raise them to the sky and declare:
The Thunder has struck….and shit.
Like a wild animal at the zoo I am best observed at a great distance. Should you be so brave to jump the fence into my lair, I will be merciless with the imagery that has cultivated my fertile imagination, a mirror image of the swamps where I played as a child; a collection of diverse ecosystems lending relentless power to grotesque growth.
I have been bestowed with a voice from Hell. Be forewarned.
I only speak Thunder!
Justin Gordon is originally from West Virginia, and he has travelled all over the North American continent. He is currently operating out of Nashville, Tennessee.