DEADBEAT “Big Forever”
C36 (Already Dead Tapes)

“Don’t you hate pants?” I shout into a microphone from atop a stone lion outside the New York Public Library on 5th and 42nd, fully aware that my life has become a complete and utter Simpsons reference in, like, not a good way at all. Here I stand, in front of a thousand New Yorkers, each one as depantsed as I am. My boxers are all that stand between the outside world and my inner secrets. I hold my jeans aloft with one hand, a lit Zippo beneath them with the other, just waiting for the right moment. It takes me a second, but as I focus on the crowd, I begin to realize they remind me exactly of that underground lo-fi experimental electronic rave I went to six and a half years ago in a church basement. As the beats and way-out grooves violently shook the floor and static coursed through the PA, electrifying the out-of-control partygoers, a miraculous thing happened, like St. Elmo’s Fire overtaking the entire room: everybody, as if prodded by extrasensory perception, simultaneously removed their pants and continued dancing, as if nothing had happened. Back in the present, crowd buzzing with anticipation, a thousand lighters held under a thousand pairs of pants, I realize the true origin of my inspiration, and I press play on my old-school yellow Sony sport Walkman. Deadbeat’s brand of noise-inflected technological beatscapes course through my headphones (along with the Panda Bear–esuqe “Unstable Influences” and the alt rock of “Won’t You Meet Us in Vegas?”), and when the tape ends, I realize I’ve been standing there for eighteen minutes already, and everybody’s starting to get nervous. Well, I think to myself, there’s no way this day’s going off without my Big Forever, no matter how hot my fingers are getting. I look each and every person there on the street right in the eye. Slowly, I raise my lighter to my outstretched denim and set it ablaze. A thousand lighters follow suit, and the sidewalk in front of the library becomes infinitely brighter as khakis, sweats, suit pants, cargo pants, and bellbottoms, among others, go up like torches. Everyone begins to cheer, and I deign to share my Walkman with them, plugging it into the PA system so they can hear side B repeat the program along with me. Before pressing play, and gesturing to the smoldering remains of my 501s on the ground, I say to the massed audience, because I can’t leave without finishing my life-as-Simpsons-reference train of thought, “Those things were driving me nuts!” Applause. Big Forever side B. Tape flip. Big Forever side A again. Cops arrive.

--Ryan Masteller