Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Death Tree

Remember all those Napolean Dynamite kids in highschool?

Yah, they came in all flavors, big humpty-dumpty ones with K-mart slacks that were too tight in the crotch and plastic pocket protectors and taped-up horned-rim glasses, little guys with flat frankenstein heads and hobbit feet who couldn't talk louder than a whisper, even if you threatened to kill them.

Remember that seven-foot tall one, the hairy metallica caveman-guy who never took a shower?

Yah, he was actually a soft-spoken and sensitive overly-intellectual nerd-type guy, exactly the opposite of how he looked, like some kinda alien brain-transplant joke.

Well, I don't remember his name, but he was the only guy in highschool with a full beard, so it should be easy to remember him, c'mon.

Yah, so, I hung out with him, once.

Yah, my band needed a drummer and a place to play, and he started bugging me one day, and he was a drummer, heck, he played something in the school band, and probably knew how to read music, so I decided to see if he was any good.

Yah, no, he wasn't any good, he was just another one of those guys that can play every song by Metallica, and I remember him saying "I think Death Treaty has an interesting ring to it, as a name for a band," which I mis-heard as "Death Tree," which turned around and became one of the more popular death-metal-nerd musical inside-jokes of my little gang of Jane's Addiction-loving butthead musicians, but that's besides the point of my story heh.

"Death Tree! Death Tree! Won't you come and bleed to feed my Death Tree! Death Tree! AHHHHH!!! DIIIIEE!!!!"

Anyways, he picked me up in this lime-green boat-car from the 70s, I don't remember what it was, could've been a station wagon for all the residual cool-factor I'm feeling.

I think he'd just gotten his driver's license, or it was a big deal that his parent's had let him borrow the car, 'cause he was really proud and excited to be driving around, but he was driving so slow that all the other cars were getting pissed off and honking and swearing and passing us by everywhere we went.

I tried to politely get him to speed up a few times, but he was too excited and happy to listen, I couldn't get through to him, I think he was sorta borderline autistic, and I didn't really wanna bum him out, so I just gave up and considered the whole thing a lesson in humility.

Anyways we got to his house, and he showed me around, and he played the drums long enough for me to know he wasn't any good, and then he asked me if I wanted to play dungeons and dragons with him and his buddies, 'cause it was dungeons and dragons night.

I hadn't played dungeons and dragons since I was thirteen, and I'd always played it with the same gang of class-clown monty-python laugh-yerself-into-an-ambulance buddies when I played it, so I was thinking that it'd be interesting to see how other people played dungeons and dragons, especially weird guys like captain caveman, plus, I was curious to see if I still remembered how to play, y'know, like if I was still hilarious and stuff, like I used to be, so I said "sure, man."

So all these other Napolean Dynamite guys show up, ones I'd never even seen before, which was kinda weird since I was pretty popular at school and I thought I knew everybody, but they were all friendly and funny and stuff, don't get me wrong, and so we got all the dice and paper and pencils and shit spread out on this big table in the living room, and got ready to play some dungeons and dragons.

While I was making up my stupid grubby little one-eyed elven thief, this beautiful girl showed up to play.

And I don't mean she was just smoking hot, she was beautiful, platinum blonde, sparkling blue eyes, better looking than anything I ever seen on tv or the movies, and she had that weird white aura of innocence on her, y'know, like where somebody is so sweet that they sorta glow, she looked like an angel, one of those girls that looks like she's wearing make-up, even when she isn't.

I know I'd never seen her before.

The weirdest thing was, apparently I was the only one at the table who was totally shocked and stunned that this supernaturally beautiful girl had showed up, all the other freaks and mutants didn't even miss a step as she sat down with us and started making up her own character, half of them didn't even pay any attention to her at all, they were more interested in joking with me, 'cause I was the New Guy, and a Cool Kid, y'know, and the rest of 'em treated her like she was just "one of the guys."

When I'd played dungeons and dragons in the old days, sometimes the girls would come around and flirt with us and try to ruin the game so we'd pay attention to 'em, but none of 'em ever wanted to play.

Anyways, it went on like that the whole time we played, I was so weirded out by this beautiful girl and the way everyone interacted with her that I can't even remember what the game was about, I remember that the way they played dungeons and dragons was mostly dice rolling and math and pretty much zero story-telling and jokes, smash monster, collect prizes, sorta like the way camping in Everquest worked, and I thought that sucked, and I remember thinking "what the fuck is this beautiful girl doing here? And why isn't anybody hitting on her or making asshole comments about unicorns or anything?" every ten seconds, and that's about it.

But since everybody else at the table didn't seem to even notice that she was a beautiful woman, and since they were all totally innocent Napolean Dynamite guys, it seemed like anything I could say would let the cat out of the bag and make me look like the most totally evil asshole that ever lived, so I just swallowed my confusion and played along as best I could.

I don't like to brag, even though I'm like, totally awesome, y'know, 'cause it sorta ruins stories if you get jealous of the story-teller, but I was a somewhat popular kid, nominated for prom king, dating aerobics instructors and exotic dancers and basically anything that could keep me stocked in booze and parties and sex in highschool, and I especially don't remember a blonde girl that I couldn't wrap around my little finger in five seconds, but this girl never even looked at me, not one time.

When I left that place, I know I went directly to partying all night long with the most evil kids I could think of, 'cause I was getting scared shitless that I was losing my cool or something.

And I never hung out with those Napolean Dynamite kids again.

And I've haven't played dungeons and dragons or any other roleplaying games since that day either.

But the Death Tree song will live on forever, as an anthem to the cyclopean horror we feel during all the most bizarre trips we take through the weirdest parts of the world where the angles are all wrong.

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