Scott MacLeod
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     Tuesday, April 04, 2006

 
We wrote this for a Valentine's Day show at Artists Television Access, I think it was curated by Steve Perkins. It was well into the AIDS crisis, it was late 1988, and we were both bored bored bored with the de-sexification that had happened all over town. Parties were no fun, it was harder to get laid, no one was allowing themselves any pleasure anymore. So we wanted to write something that (in its own odd way) celebrated fearless love. There are several slightly different versions of this piece, but I think this is the very first version, that we did at ATA on February 10, 1989. The picture above is a still from a videotape of that first performance.

Two days later we did it at The Lab, then in Kevin Radley's class at the Academy of Art College on April 27th. A girl got totally freaked out, a Chinese student nearly flew back to Beijing & Kevin caught a raft of shit. On May 19th we did it at Southern Exposure & during the part where I grope the audience, I chewed on Bob Gluck's neck. That got us an invite to read at a Poetry Center reading, at the old Grove Street Arts Commission space, on September 26. Many years later, 1997, I performed it with Margaret's sister, Nancy Crane, an actress living in London. We did it on January 14th at Production, a space Ingrid Swenson ran in Finsbury Park. This was published in "Blind Date #6" in 1989 in San Francisco.

ROAD KILL
by Margaret Crane and Scott MacLeod


SUSAN

Somebody's highbeams are shining in your rearview mirror. And I think that they just might be ours.

It's hard to take those turns when you can't see the road ahead and a big LTD is riding your tail and your neck jerks back hard and sparks fly into the night when the bumpers smash together.

This is when you must remember that you don't have to be afraid anymore. Your number has finally come up. We are right behind you in that big shiny car doing what we do best. This is the time I like the most. Just before something happens. Before it all turns red. This is when Dave get all tense and pissed off and he's just dying for action, but even he knows how to make a good thing last for a long time.

DAVE

The thing about driving a car is that you can decide where to put it and how fast. There's a road right here stretching out towards the next place, but that's just for speed and for convenience. I could just as easily put the wheels onto the gravel shoulder or out past the guard rail. If I close my eyes tight I can imagine each car as it shoves past in the opposite direction, in the next lane.

SUSAN

Dave makes us wait for miles until we can hardly stand it. And I keep saying please baby do it now, until, coming out of a turn, he slams his foot on the accelator and the impact causes you to let go of the wheel as you skid across the gravel and over the dirt, and even though I can't hear you I know that you are screaming as your car flips over and over and rolls across the desert.

DAVE

This is one of the good things, pushing highway 80 past Green River, past the borax mine near Little America. The way it's off in the distance so you can't really see it, just the white puffs from its smokestacks. Like it's something I can want but I don't have to have.

SUSAN

We gotta stop. I want a Slurpee. It's hot in this car. We should've gotten an air-conditioned one. I'm starting to get in one of my moods. I want a big tall Slurpee so I can stand in the sun, right in the parking lot, with my clothes sticking to my skin and suck the icy green Slurpee through the straw as fast as I can. I won't stop until I hear the sound at the bottom of the cup. Then I'm going to get a wicked headache. That's one of the little things I like to do.
Get a carton while you're in there, okay? It's damned hot in this car. Better get another six-pack too. I'm starting to get in one of my moods and we've got a lot to do.

SUSAN

He bought a six-pack and I bought a six-pack and we went driving. I mean, it used to be okay to do that. Everybody did that.

DAVE

He was working late inside a shitty little real estate office in a strip mall just outside Vernal. I tapped on the glass and held up jumper cables.

What a fucking idiot.

We pulled the curtains shut and shoved all the brown desks down to one end, piled all the chairs and wastebaskets on top. I slid my cock in and out Susan's ass. We were both spread-eagled on the grey shag carpet in the middle of that emptied room. He was tied up with jumper cables and phone cords, over by the furniture pile, his polyester tie stuffed in his mouth. His fat cigar-like cock got hard watching us.

We fucked for awhile then I dragged him over. Susan sucked on that fat cock while I straddled his chest. I slit his throat all the way and told him if his car didn't have air-conditioning I'd come back and kill him. He was so confused he got scared thinking about that $600 he'd been too cheap to spend for air, and how it could've saved his life. What a fucking idiot. I bounced up and down on his chest to make the blood flow quicker.

SUSAN

After the fourth beer I put my arm around her. Drive us to your house. That's all I had to say. She had speakers with red, yellow and blue lights inside that flickered in time with the music. She had vericose veins on her ankles and stretch marks from having children. She was starting to like us. That's the way we are. We're likeable people. I worked her good. Dave was going through the refrigerator, rubbing his cock and kind of watching over his shoulder once in a while. She was still moving a little when I let Dave have her.

DAVE

Susan's ass was moving around on the woman's face. It was going to be a long night. I went out into the back yard but there were three or four dogs out there and the air was turning cold. The fridge was pretty full but mostly just pickles and cheese and whatever. When I finally went back in the living room, her eyes were rolled back all white in her head and she was bleeding from all of her holes. I came on her floppy tits so Susan could see how grateful I was.

We sat around the next day watching television. In the afternoon somehow the dogs got in and went crazy. I had to beat them off her with a hammer.

SUSAN

Dave is the only one who can do all the things that I think of. He has a kind of magnetism or something that attracts anyone we could ever want to meet. And I know that you feel it too.

DAVE

There's the slow fire of Las Vegas up ahead, burning up the sky. It's easy to be good to yourself.

SUSAN

I'm the kind of girl who likes the best and I don't like sharing. One thing you can say about me is that I'm good to my friends, and you're my only friend, so I have to be good to you, even if it means sharing.
Pull off the road. There's something I want to do and I want to do it now.

(Dave holds up a cardboard sign:)

DEAR FRIENDS - WE ARE TRYING TO MAKE BAKERFIELD AN OUR CAR HAS BROKEN DOWN! BUT WE HAVE NO MONY TO REPAIR IT OR BUY FOOD FOR OURSELVES AN OUR SMALL CHILD. WE ARE NOT BUMS! WE ARE "HONEST PEOPLE" WHO HAD A "BAD BRAKE." IN ORDER TO NOT DISTURB YOU WE HAVE PLACE THIS NOTE HERE. PLEASE HELP US IF YOU CAN!" WE ARE IN THE BLUE IMPALA IN THE PARKING LOT. WE ARE WAITING FOR YOU TO HELP US.

SUSAN

When you're not moving all you're doing is getting old, and getting old is what all these people who are just a bunch of ants do. They are always afraid and getting smaller all the time until they are the size of ants. When I get afraid I don't get afraid I get mad, and when I get mad I get even bigger than I am, until I start leaking out of the car like the tule fog here in the Valley. I just want to go fast.

DAVE

I don't want to disturb you nice people, but . . . we need a jump. Usually when our car runs out of gas, we just get us a new car. Car's about the easiest thing in the world to get. I mean, if things are going bad, well, you just change what you are doing, you do something different. Then things are good again. Things are always good if you can change fast enough when you need to, if you can make decisions quick enough. I'm not a vindictive person, if you see what I mean.

Having a decision to make means having choices. That's a good thing. I'm pro-choice. On the one hand you could give me a jump. On the other hand, a new car's about the easiest thing in the world to get.

SUSAN

I keep thinking about the way you are different from us. You have to keep a secret hidden and are always scared it will slip out. You are all deformed or something from pretending. You are scared because we are inside you and we just might rise to the surface. You believe there is such a thing as safety and this is what makes you afraid.

We are what you've been expecting for a long time. You don't have to wait any more, because we've finally found you. You let us enter into you like your next breath. It's just a matter of positive thinking. It is the power of two people in love.

You are so lucky that you've met us.

SUSAN

Sometimes I go crazy thinking of all the things that haven't happened yet. Or all the things that happened that I wish were still happening but won't ever happen again, not even once.

DAVE

I dried my hands on the filthy towel roll and walked back out into the neon. I gave the cashier in the dark booth ten dollars for gas. He kept looking over at the Impala with all its doors open. Susan was sitting there with one hand up her skirt, feeding herself Cheetos with the other and smiling at him the whole time. She seemed like she was getting just generally over-excited again, like she did day before yesterday.

Sometimes I think we should just get a nice house somewhere quiet. But I guess that's not too realistic.

Anyway, we better not go anywhere near Rock Springs again for awhile.

SUSAN

Don't stop talking I can't see you when you stop talking. Especially when these seats are torn up from all the screwing we've been doing lately and you know how I hate it when the springs start sticking up into my back and then I start to notice I'm getting very angry and I'm so hot I can't stand it and there's nothing I can do about it except bite you real hard and then you think it's just because I'm having a good time and I start humping on you to get away from those springs and instead of springs they are tongues of flame and I start thinking of all the things we do together and I wish they were still screaming because I can never cool off.

DAVE

We're standing at the edge of the Grand Canyon. An oily black puddle is forming under the Ventura. North of us a huge wall of thunderclouds rises up from the opposite rim of the canyon. I stop pacing and stare down over the edge.

SUSAN

A real nice Cadillac convertible pulls up smooth as ice. This old guy in sunglasses and white white hair gets outs and walks over to me, running his hands through his white white hair and smiling his smile. Where does a thirsty man find a cool drink around here, he asks as he looks me up and down. I smile my smile while I reach into my handbag for the .38.

DAVE

One night in South Shore it was raining and starting to snow with dirty ice. At the light this old woman was leading a tall stooped-over blind boy across the street. His cane was scratching across the wet asphalt. I think it was glowing and they were all stooped over and walking so slow I just couldn't stand it. I told Sue we must never go into the cities again or I might really just lose my mind.

SUSAN

Dave puts the Ventura into neutral and pushes it off the edge and down into the canyon, like in slow motion and it's really quiet.

He's ready to go now but I just want to stand there while the storm pushes itself over me. I want to take off all my clothes and let those fat raindrops batter me. If I could take my skin off, then all things would come to me.

DAVE

The pictures in books always had them kneeling in a circle around Custer who was standing in the middle. Kneeling in a circle around Custer and an American flag, shooting their rifles at the Indians riding in circles around them. But we're right here and the white stones where the bodies fell are scattered all over the hillside, so that's not the way it happened. There was no circle. They died crawling or lying down alone behind their dead horses, hundreds of feet apart, or sitting back-to-back full of bullet and arrows and firing their pistols into a forest of moving hooves. I'm walking around in the tall grass where it happened and I can't get the two pictures to match. It's real quiet here and it seems like a lonely way to die.

SUSAN

They suddenly appeared on the road in front of us when the whole sky flashed with lightning over the salt flats, like in a movie or something. She was sitting in the car all soft and pale, like she was part of the seat, like she was always tired and always resting, big and pillowy with dry blonde hair all over the place and black lines around her eyes. I've always been high-strung myself. Her big hand with those long pink nails made her face look so small, and she was rubbing the side of her face like something hurt. I've never touched anyone who didn't want to be touched.

DAVE

When you don't want the song to end but someone changes the station.

SUSAN

He was this skinny jumpy guy, always jerking his head towards her, pounding his hands on the wheel in time to the music. They were in the slow lane in a brand-new Lincoln. It didn't even have plates on it. Dave was staring at them, not giving me his full attention. He pulled slowly in behind them, the turn signal flashing onto his face. I know Dave likes the feel of a car fresh off the lot. For a moment he was ignoring me. But I was starting my period and you know what that means. Dave was all inside himself and there is nothing, nothing I hate more than that.

DAVE

I think we must have passed all the green-and-white road signs in the world by now.

SUSAN

I thought that they were just like us even though she was always tired and I require hardly any sleep. I saw the four of us as joined by a single thought, by one big brain, like everything that came before them was thin and watery and anything that happened from now on was part of one long fuck that blots out the future. I thought that they were just like us even though she doesn't talk much and I have a lot of important things to say. For awhile I thought we were going to let them go. But they had joined us now in speeding towards the vanishing point. Dave killed the headlights as we raced forward and I said, hon, nail them good, okay? Take them where they've never been before.

DAVE

Susan wakes up when I shake her. We just leave the GTO there on the shoulder with everything in it, the cooler full of beer and salami, some clothes, whatever. Somebody once told me it gets cold in the desert at night but it doesn't seem so bad. The stars look like a couple of hundred flashlights. I want to remember but I can't. Just stars overhead and crickets and the way we stumble along.

We need a new car and pretty soon it comes along, some fat man driving it, pulls over for us. I sight along my arm, lining up my thumb with the back of his head.

SUSAN

Sometimes I wish I could remember all the things we do together, because we never waste a moment and everything we do is of the utmost importance. Some things I recall as clear as day even in the dark; then other times I'll wake up with the rusty taste of blood in my mouth and those big warm stains drying on my clothes - and you know that I only wear the best, so I'll be looking like the stone fox that I am - but there are these dark stains everywhere. And I'm all wet and sticky and I feel real good, so I know we've been fucking, and you're driving some new car I've never seen before. And I'm sitting next to you and it's pitch black outside except for the headlights.

It is then that I know that we have been shot through the forehead with diamond bullets and must always remain in disguise. Or we will blind all others with our radiance.

It is then that I know that our fever has burned clear through to the other side.

DAVE

I set it on fire and walk away. That convertible top flares up thirty or forty feet. Sue has broke a heel and twisted her ankle and can't walk very fast, but at least we are out of Scottsdale. She stumbles along, holding her arms out for balance. The sun catches on her big diamond ring I gave her. I watch her staggering towards me and it hits me we are geniuses, because we do not wait for anything.

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