DEFEAT. 006 – Skull Beneath the Skin

[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]

At the same time that Vanessa was giving a phone number to the most genuine and charming boy she had ever met (and 8-Bit was trying to figure whether it was the pizza or the waitress that induced his boner), Riff was beginning to tear his way through Skull Beneath the Skin. While the rhythm parts were now swiftly under his command, the ferocious leads were still putting his fingers to the test. But it was a test that was worth taking, an exam that once passed not only provided incredible bragging rights but a sense of self-worth.

And if you have self-worth it doesn’t matter what the hell the world says about you.

Unfortunately, Riff had yet to pass the test.

About one minute into the track, Riff was sliding out of a frenetic solo and into a fairly straight forward section. The black strands of mullet bounced on the young headbanger’s shoulders, moving rhythmically as he rocked his neck along with the music. It was a great feeling, shredding along in perfect unison with his heroes, nearly letting a smile of satisfaction slip its way out of his thin lips.

But any hope that the smile had of being birthed into existence was shattered. Along with the window. The rock tumbled through with all of the exploding glass, slid across the hardwood floor and stopped about a foot in front of the amplifier upon which Riff sat. The aspiring guitarist became not worried but annoyed. He took off his headphones, slung his axe over his shoulder, and moved towards the gaping hole that once protected his bedroom from the elements.

“Hey there, you greasy ball of heavy metal faggotry,” boomed through a pair of hands cupping around a mouth, “how’d you like that classic rock that just broke your fucking window?!”

It was Brady Moore, the varsity quarterback whose level of on-field talent was surpassed only by his off-the-field douchbaggery. Brady was the rare breed of bully, a true Macchiavelli. Not only would he dunk a nerd’s head into the toilet during lunch, but during the next class period he could convince the teacher to lambast the victim for being such a soggy slob. Yeah, he was good at whatever he did and it seemed that he never wanted to do anything good. Funny how that works, those with the most natural potential always seem to have the least altruistic drive.

“Hey there Brady, thanks for helping me ventilate my room,” offered Riff with a friendly middle-finger.

Brady looked to the three cronies, also wearing letterman jackets (which helped ensure that every Friday night would be spent at least knuckle-deep in a cheerleader), and was absolutely fuming at the hint of insubordination funneling out of the second-story window. “Listen here, you fucking freakshow! I don’t like you. You think you’re something special, that because listen to that shitty noise you call music that you’re somehow better than me. Bet let me tell you — it doesn’t matter how much Metadeth-”

“It’s Megadeth, you testosterone-junkie.”


“You called the band Metadeth, probably because you’re a moron. Their name is Megadeth.”

Unable to craft even the most remotely witty of responses, Brady Moore smacked his forehead into the palms of his hands, screamed GOD DAMN IT and pulled out a few tufts of hair. His wide receiver tried to deescalate the situation. “Bro, chill out! This kid isn’t worth our time, c’mon, let’s go.” Of course, this was met with frustration and a hard shove.

Riff could care less about his window, and didn’t take any of Brady’s threats as especially serious. “Hey, you guys want to circle-jerk, that’s fine. But can you at least take it somewhere other than the sidewalk outside of my house? Thanks.” Another middle-finger was administered and the young man of metal turned his back on his three adversaries. The guitar was once again wielded, the headphones were put back on, and Skull Beneath the Skin started from the beginning.

Outside, two high school football stars pulled their captain away as he screamed, “I’m coming for you, Buckley! You, that four-eyed retard, and even Daryl if I have to. You’re all dead!”