Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Shawn Biggs at Studio Paradiso, San Francisco, California
Tonight, I walked through my mostly dark neighborhood. Elin Lindfors of The Deer Tracks was singing in my ears, "Look at that house/Wonder who lives there now/How about the broken tree/Struck by lightning it seems/I'm glad you're here," with someone playing a saw in the background, with a building tension of spinning plates and an invisible magician moonlighting on the side, sliding dishwashing detergent-ed fingers over rims, as he played a chorus of glasses. She was there, making everything appear to be a little bit darker and me feeling almost voyeuristic, though I'd just set out for a bag of chips and a the newspaper that I forgot to purchase earlier.
Walking by these houses, many of which were still lit hot television sets, every inkling was to look at them, to peek into whatever lit spaces there were to see. It wasn't eavesdropping, but opportunity. Some front doors were mostly glass and you could see all the way down the first level hallway. There were some houses that seemed to have a light on in every room there was - still at 11 pm, as if the hour was of little consequence. The soothing sauce smell of the BBQ joint that operates out of a broken down little residence in the neighborhood still hung in the air, the gas tank cookers likely still warm to the touch, the potato salad and beans likely covered with Saran wrap and chilling in the refrigerator. There were a few people getting gas and others buying packs of cigarettes. There were those just leaving the bars and others just showing up. The food truck was parked between buildings, getting no love and less business.
Everything was mostly quiet. Most everything seemed halfway there - just outlines. There had been a skunk out tonight, either obliterated on the road somewhere, enacting its final, putrid revenge, or prowling around through the hedges and getting spooked by dogs that still see them from the other side of house windows. It all felt barely there, just hanging on, but the stink of the missing skunk pulled everything into the frame. I was in it and my shadow was one-stepping me, slanting like a jagged abomination toward the gutter. The Swedes Lindfors and David Lehnberg were incredible companions through an evening adrift, of looking and cutting through silence with the rhythmic scrapes of shoe sole against concrete. It was almost as if they planned of it.