ASHER HORTON “Mystery Bones” C50 (OSR Tapes)

“OSR Tapes is the logical continuation of the Elephant 6 collective!” you scream at your mother as she hovers over the stove preparing your pancakes and bacon before you head out to catch the bus for school. (Why a high school junior who still takes the school bus rates pancakes and bacon for breakfast before school is beyond me.) She visibly stiffens, but doesn’t turn around; instead, she closes her eyes and licks a bit of bacon grease from her thumb while silently cursing Zeus (she worships the old gods) for allowing a son like hers to be born into this world. She slowly shakes her head and returns to her work as you lean back in your chair until it crashes to the ground. Unhurt, you again scream at the top of your lungs: “Asher Horton is better than Miles Kurosky!”

Dammit, your mother thinks. He’s in my Asher Horton tapes again. She takes a deep breath before turning around and glares at your prone form with a stern look of disapproval on her face. You’re no help as you flail dramatically on the ground, like a turtle with your feet and arms in the air – you just can’t manage to flip over in order to right yourself. It’s a loud, violent process. There’s no question anymore in anyone’s mind why you don’t have your driver’s license yet – you’re a dangerous klutz. “Mom, MOM!” you scream again, your personal volume cranked outrageously to twelve, because it’s one goddamn unit of measure higher than eleven, and Nigel Tufnel can suck an egg! Your mother, patient beyond patient, a saint, a goddess, but still radiating sternness that would require bio suits and a Geiger counter, reaches out her hand and helps you stand. There’s no amount of gentle, jangly guitar pop that could soothe her. Maybe…

Slamming your fists on the kitchen table in frustration and hunger, an unnecessary amount of times that results in orange juice splatters all over the place, you reach into your backpack and pull out an old tape recorder, the kind with the handle on the front, and proceed to play Asher Horton’s Mystery Bones in its entirety, making you late for school by like an hour. Your mom, though, becomes a different person: the cloud of frustration dissipates, and a sunshiney smile of contentment overcomes her face. She finishes making breakfast and slides your plate across the kitchen table, bacon broken into a smiley face over a single enormous pancake. She tips over the maple syrup and lets it ooze onto the plate, smooth and sweet as Asher Horton’s voice. The syrup becomes a lake, then a river that cascades off the table and onto the floor, first taking a detour to your lap. The orange juice drops cover your white Marcy Playground tour t-shirt. You’re going to be sticky for phys ed. You scream at the top of your lungs in utter fury. Your mother doesn’t respond.

This is why you have no discipline: you know your mother’s secret tranquilizer, and it is Asher Horton.

--Ryan Masteller