Through the lanes came those virgins in their inappropriately vulcanized skate shoes. Their long strands of hair shimmered in slow motion from the left over wind of the giant fans of the indoor windsurfing show case, like streams of metallic tape from all those rejected sponsor-me video cartridges.
Jay stood next to and slightly behind Bastien, couldn’t find anything to do with his hands and just kept them in his pockets the whole time saying nothing. Maybe if he had a rolled up magazine he could mime the casual breeziness that comes in conveying a sense of optimism in the commerce of the bleating expo, but now the way he could expose himself apprehensively rubbing his thumbs against his fingers and now how he was consciously unsure of how to shift his weight while standing like the hanger on he was, only made him perceive himself as more a dolt. Jay eventually grew tired of standing in the back ground of an adaptation of a television-street wear movie of Bastien's life and broke away.
But even if he had found a magazine or expo program or some kind of trade pamphlet or even a flyer to roll up, there would still be a lot that Jay still needed and that wasn’t good. Jay remembered the exact moment his anticline abruptly hit. It was while he and Bastien were walking through the parking garage when he felt the vacuum inside him become more pronounced and grow into a conspicuous and nagging hollowness. He didn’t necessarily crave more coke, but he wanted to feel better immediately and by inhaling more chemical specs, he knew it was the most probable, although also most fleeting way to do so. That was probably not happening any time soon though, because Bastien was the one holding the baggie.
A passive cigarette smoker, was Jay- but now he needed one of those too. Jay wasn’t sure how much was imagined, but he swore he could still taste and smell the ghost of the mold like wet rag flavor from the rotten bristles of his ancient tooth brush and he could feel his gear crisis rest languidly against his frame.
He didn’t even know what to fantasize about when he thought to himself: “If I could have on any outfit to feel better, what would it be?” Jay thought harder as a way of proving to himself that he still had some sense to which he still could approximate his desires, even though such desires would be left unsatisfied: blue, blue jeans relaxed fit, safety orange Alien Workshop socks, black soft leather Kenneth Cole slip on penny loafers with the updated rubber cup soles, yellow threadbare Camel cigarette t-shirt from the eighties that floated with him in the air, no hat, some sort of jewelry from Heather.
Some sort of Jewelry from Heather, some sort of Jewelry from Heather. What was that? What would it be? A necklace? If it was a necklace he figured it would be of non alloy- perhaps some long commemorative day of the dead string that had a tiny worry doll attached to the end- a souvenir that Heather may have bought for him the times when she went on vacation without him. That was no good. A watch? Jay hated watches and besides the way Heather was, how she was, he knew that it would not have carried the weight of subtext he wanted to imagine (although years ago he did trade six decks, four sets of wheels, two pairs of trucks, five Stereo logo shirts, a pair of Airwalk Jim’s, a pair of Airwalk bowling shoes and three packs of Norwegian bearings made of pewter to get Heather that small stainless steel Quicksilver woman’s diver’s watch- the watch that which he regarded as a previously unreleased prototype for an up and coming soon to be released nuptial promise. And in his head every time he saw her wearing it he confirmed to himself in incorrect prophecy that it was just a matter of time before they would shed their am status.)
Jay really knew what he wanted, it was what he was now noticing all of the time- one of the first things when looking at guys around his age. But the logistics of such a hypothetical, hit the same wall of reality which now crossed over into his fantasies.
Jay reveling in frustration, though of all the pros who where married. Daniel Castillo. Justin Reagan. Fucking Templeton. Santarossa-niggah. Bitter Ricky O. Koston. Guy. Even Dustin Dollin got married before him. That fact that little Dollin could bastardize being on Stereo and could be younger and married before Jay, was indicative of the harsh hard reality; a/the cruelty of the universe.
Jay then automatically thinks about that line from Point Break. The line he always thinks about, where Patrick Swaze’s character, Bodie says something to the extent of : “The World sure does have a sick sense of humor.”
As much as he tried at life, he still felt like an integer free wheelie-ing on a manual pad of chaos. All the times in his life put together combined, doing his best to rep all the tech gear, all those times he did cart wheels and somersaults and ollie flips trying his best to impress upon the opposite sex, all the effort from all those useless ollies he popped over those park pyramids all added up to only yield realities like Koston with a wedding ring, or that footage of Koston being interviewed in Cribs being able to get away with saying “This is where we get freaky” when doing a walk- through with the TV crew in his bedroom. The sum of all those futile actions also all added up and yielded Heather in Cincinnati.
Jay missed the Hot Red Chili Peppers being relevant skaterock, missed the Chili Peppers on heroin. Jay missed the impossibly small wheels, the Everslick, the Counterfit decks, the purple pants. Jay missed his green embroidered Stussy beanie from ’92 that made him look like a raver elf who shopped from a store that was decorated like a trading post that resided in the Dominican Republic; Jay missed the nineties.
Why couldn’t it be the nineties anymore?!
Right when Jay though of the disappointment of the decade's promise, he found himself in front of the Girl booth, trying not to look too much at this years set up, while also trying to remain unnoticed- as if he was trying to be the invisible ghost of his former pro self.
Jay randomly thought about Sigourney. While scanning the history line of the decks mounted on the tops of the booth’s walls, he thought about the unchecked balances her looks afforded. Sigourney’s face reflected a Waspy innocence- that combined with her still girlish voice could project unjustified promise that men were more than willing to accommodate and this unearned favorable treatment by her environment would perpetuate a cycle of added insanity for both parties. Jay concluded that Sigourney would have made an excellent pro skater.
Jay noticed Carroll and it was easier to act like he didn’t notice him rather than force an awkward acknowledgment of his existence, as he figured Carroll would do the same. Carroll busy and hurried, stressed as per usual. Jay always hated being around him as he was all too familiar with the high maintenance required for Carroll, the constant attention Carroll’s presence demanded.
Jay could tell Carroll was micromanaging the Girl booth, organizing the ams where to stand in their yearly tongue in cheek Surf Expo booth group photo to be published in the directory of the summer issue of the Transworld business journal, a team roster photo which after the second or third year failed to be ironic and was now an unintentionally honest reflection of Girl’s fraternal comfort as expo staple.
You could tell a lot about ones character by how they dealt with, carried themselves in the worst of situations, but it really made Jay wonder how Mike could be so sour when in fact he was the highest on the action sports totem hierarchy. Skaters, wake boarders, BMXers, wiggle waggle boarders were all scrambling to send their pro mo demo “will you sponsor me?” video cartridges to get free prod from Carroll. Carroll even solicited and encouraged kids to send in those demo reels, but those truly in the know knew there was no way in San Demas, someone could just come out of no where and waltz onto his team (not even J.P. Radd could do this). Carroll just liked to tease the public and he was shrewd enough to know it built up new hype for his yet to be named shoe company. It was now no longer a secret that Carroll had just left Bizzo, while also high jacking a couple of promising ams, ams who’s names he could exploit without having to actually pay them. Rumor has it they only got two pairs of shoes a month (styles and colour-ways Carroll picked out himself) and they were only allowed to skate in one of the pairs (that pair also picked by Carroll) and the other pair they were only allowed to simply “rep”. At the end of the month they would have send back the un-skated pair (to prove they followed Carroll’s explicit instructions) in order to get their next endorser package.
Jay eyed the model working the booth and instinctively tried to look through the fortress of her black lycra pants while simultaneously making the realization that desperation was rarely rewarded and how if there was a law off attraction, it in fact seemed repelled by extreme desire. Jay figured the best way to get something was to not really want it and being cool seemed the only way to get by in this land.
Though when it came to Heather, Jay was never able to master the power of not caring. Jay figured he wanted Heather too much and such desire skewed his actions, turned his whole attitude over thought and under thought in all the wrong and right places. A woman like Heather needed to be treated a certain way and that could have been part of or most of the problem. Jay speculated the one who would usurp a lifetime with Heather’s soul in the current incarnation of Heather, the one who would most likely have some generic Christian name from the Bible, the one who would get to live next to the smell of Heather’s pillow- Jay speculated in self pity: the likely lucky undeserving bloke probably would not even want her as much as or at least the way Jay did.
Carroll turned around, not even bothering to conceal himself sizing the area around the Girl booth. Carroll practically grew up in the public eye and most of his life was employed to be observed and he developed an acute vocational sensory skill of feeling himself being looked at. Carroll’s poisoned eye darts pointed at Jay and then he went straight back into what he was doing with not so much a nod or hint of recognition, as if Jay was a tiny blip on the Carroll radar.
The more Jay lost, the better he got to know himself. Or was it the better he lost, the more he knew himself? Nonetheless, such an understanding of the way he carried himself with in the context of the outer workings of Los Angeles added to his already nervous switch mongo push; like how it was hard to skate well in front of team managers who actively -passively projected their indifference, as with the same indifference that went with being in the presence of girls Jay was naturally enthralled with.
Jay never bothered to read all of Catch 22, but he wondered if there was any part of the book that covered the phenomenon of acting wrong in front of the right women, despite doing one’s best to do the opposite. Or if Heller even covered the territory of how the protagonist could effortlessly attract those he did not desire by accidentally being his true self.
Carroll got down on one knee in front of Joey in the first row, with more of a demeanor of den mother or shoe store clerk than captain of the industry and untied Joey’s laces- as Carroll was infamously known for being obsessed with the “straight out of the box” look.
Joey Pepper was standing next to Modest Mouse Welsh, playing a juvenile game they played in the tour van, where the simple premise was to dodge the slapping of each other’s hand where being slow and getting slapped was penalized by suffering a stiff punch in the arm.
“Joey! Could you please stand still for one second. And quit playing with Rob!” nagged Carroll.
Joey and Rob still laughing, exhibiting a type of defiance most commonly found in groups of students being supervised by a substitute teacher who they could never respect.
Joey smiling says “Ok. I’ll stop , If Rob does” and then pushes Rob into Oscar Jordan.
Carroll gets off his knee, lips pressed hard together pausing with eyes closed tight in barely self contained fury.
Carroll looks down, chin against chest counting to himself silently as if practicing a type of excersize suggested by a life coach or therapist.
Rick as the good guy TM comes from behind, puts his hands on Carroll’s shoulders and says eighty percent comfortingly and twenty percent condescendingly “Ease up Mikey. You look set to detonate, Coach.”
Carroll wrangles himself away from Rick’s grip and in a loud whisper and through clenched teeth says: “Shut up, Rick!”
With unsaid permission from Rick, Joey and Modest Mouse Welsh resumed playing their game which wasn't making either of the two any smarter, a game that somehow reinforced a certain insensitivity to expecting impending physical abuse which actually could also help someone get good at skate stunting.