DEFEAT. 003 – Rattlehead

[DEFEAT. is Rendar Frankenstein’s truest attempt at fiction.   Presented in weekly episodes, the novella tells the tale of Daryl Millar – a hero who dies at the intersection of pop culture, science-fiction, war epic, and fantasy]

When he thought about it logically, in the practical terms that really make the Earth go `round, Riff knew that there’s no way she’d get with him. She was too smart for him. Too hot for him. Too popular for him. Too old for him. “But I’ll be damned,” he thought, “if Ms. Lang isn’t the finest piece of ass in town.”

And he wasn’t wrong. Ms. Lang, the newest addition to the Social Studies Department, was genuinely gorgeous. Genuine in the sense that she was not just kind of attractive but given points because she was a teacher. No – fresh out college, this blonde bombshell was a young lady of authentic beauty. The type of woman you wouldn’t even try to hit on in your most drunken of confidences.

A face that could grace magazine covers. An hourglass figure. A keen intellect. Well, keen enough to become a teacher, so not necessarily genius.

These were the very attributes that convinced Riff to break his sacred oath and actually choose a desk other than the left corner, furthest row back. Instead, he decided to experience the glory that was Modern American History from a front-row seat. For about an hour a day, this is where he could be found — gazing at the woman seven years his senior, light years beyond his reach.

Perhaps knowing the impossibility of this situation, it was with no hesitation that the headbanger shamelessly fawned. This gawking was accompanied by the incessant twiddling of the frayed ends of a greasy mullet. The hair dangled onto a sleeveless black tee. From the shirt emerged two naked arms, uncovered save for the black band wrapped around the left bicep — a symbol of solidarity for those mourning Cliff Burton’s death.

For fifty minutes every day, Riff played the role of a gape-mouthed caveman paralyzed by his own boner.

Forcing his friend to transform back into a Homo sapien, Daryl yanked on the mullet sitting directly in front of him. “Yo, Riff, what’re you doing today?”

“Fuck man, don’t yank my mane like that! Anyways, what’s it look like I’m doing? I’m staring at Evelyn’s rack, hoping she’ll forfeit her dignity in favor of playing with my dinky.”

“Now, of course I know that you’re going to spend this block fantasizing about Ms. Lang’s better assets. I mean this afternoon — you want to come to the arcade with me and 8-Bit? I’m buying a pizza, if that helps.”

“Shit man, that’s sounds good, but I need to practice. Especially if I’m going out with you two fools tomorrow night. Having a Flying V is pretty sweet, but it’ll be a lot sweeter once I can really shred.”

Riff had spent the previous winter shoveling the driveways and walkways of any old lady that was willing to pay his price. He’d be the first one to admit that he was charging much more than most. And he’d also freely admit that the quality of his work was undeniably subpar. But what Riff excelled at, and was most proud of, was his ability to use scare tactics in building a client list.

RIFF: Excuse me ma’am, can I have a moment of your time?

82-YEAR-OLD-WOMAN: Well, I’m not sure…Why are there holes in the knees   of your dungarees? Are you a vagrant?

RIFF: Oh my! Ma’am, I’m no vagrant! I’m just coming by to let you know that there’s going to be a terrible storm tonight and we’re expecting upwards of a foot of snow. For the low price of $20, I’ll shovel your entire walkway first thing in the morning!

82-YEAR-OLD-WOMAN: $20? That’s a little expensive…

RIFF: Oh, you may be right. I just thought that with the string of flash fires the city’s had recently, you’d want to be able to leave your house if it suddenly turned into a towering inferno. But I suppose burning to death in your house because you’re snowed in and didn’t want to pay a kind heart a measly $20 doesn’t sound so bad.

82-YEAR-OLD-WOMAN: Actually, I will take you up on your offer!

And that is how Riff was able to buy a guitar by the time spring sprung.

The instant that the Flying V was in his hands, he made a promise to himself to practice for at least eight hours every day until he could perfectly play every guitar note on Killing is My Business…And Business is Good! Having mastered all of Dave Mustaine’s parts, Riff had moved on to Chris Poland’s leads, which had been proving slightly more challenging. But, having no real worthwhile purpose in life other than attempting to master Megadeth’s debut, Riff was up to the challenge.

Knowing how important the guitar practice was, Daryl conceded. “All right man, that’s cool then. I’ll let you get back to your daydreaming. Just be careful — it’ll be really embarrassing if you have a nocturnal emission at eight in the morning.”

With a grin, “Whoops — looks like I’m going to be embarrassed.”