April the Sadist rains/reigns down upon me. With any luck in a few days I’ll be kicking back shots of vodka to the respective grind and squeal of Rammstein and Iron Maiden, sucking the sweet juice of a strawberry, and getting my Xbox dance on, while the government auspiciously watches my every move…taking notes…learning me…collecting data to my future detriment through the unassuming eye of Kinect. My big sister’s birthday never disappoints. And yes, the world’s best kept secret is that I DO have moves. CORRECTION: did.
The playlist will be ironic. My sister and I have matching Master of Puppets tees, both worn down to the very cusp of illegibility. Mine from eighteen years of constant abuse and hero worship, hers from pre-fabrication and clever marketing. It’s not a knock. She does own Megadeth’s Warchest. So the charmingly ridiculous soundtrack of my youth will play odd couple to her own personal reenactment of the Poteet Strawberry Festival she attended days prior with my brother.
April is magical until it’s not.
We celebrate on the twentieth, and then on the twenty first perhaps in dramatic fashion at the very strike of midnight I will raise my bottle and wish a very special one year anniversary to my unrelenting debilitating pain.
It was opportunity that took me to Austin, but art that brought me back to North Texas this time last year. I notified my new employers at the time of hire that I had an obligation to hock my metal wares at the Fort Worth Main Street Art Festival alongside my ‘then and soon to be not’ business partner and Co founder of the now defunct Bits to Swallow. Our product was an instant success earning us our first sale six minutes into the four day fest.
April is magical until it’s not.
Two days later I lost partial use of my leg and all feeling in my right foot. We made a pretty penny and I spent my share on steroid injections into the site of my two ruptured discs and ‘touched’ nerve…but look how sparkly!!
I’ve never before feared an arbitrary human concocted division of time, but April makes me nervous. I did my undergraduate work in Lubbock, Texas. It was there I met an artist named Johnny Nuñez. I own a painting by him and although personal narrative seldom seeps into the work I do I’ve made a painting ‘for’ him. He used to get drunk at my apartment and eat up all my food. He’d constantly blurt out the phrase, “¿Porque quieres la pinche tumba?” It translates roughly as, “Why do you want the f***ing grave?” To this day I’ve no clue as to what he meant when he said it, but he laughed and laughed every time he did. Johnny was an immensely talented painter and draftsman and as young men we made big plans to head on East to Dallas where we would then bring the art scene to its knees. Years later having lost touch I made an attempt at reuniting with Johnny as I was having no luck in taking Dallas by storm alone. It was August of 2006 when I learned of his death four months prior…in April.
This is called La Pinche Tumba. It’s a small painting, ripped from a giant canvas I was working on and restretched in its reduced and darkened form while I wept for my friend Johnny in my graduate studio at TCU.
April kills my friends.
Adjunct art professors are overworked, disrespected, and underpaid. The life of an adjunct is degrading to the extent that I cannot for the life of me get my cutting edge smart phone to recognize “adjunct” as a real word as I swype out this very blog post. So I took action and answered a Craigslist job listing for a CNC machinist with the title “No Experience Necessary”. This of course rendered me over qualified as I had the viewing of several episodes of American Chopper under my belt. Night shift in the middle of nowhere, also known as Euless, Texas. Bryan was an ex-con and the nephew of my new boss. He led the night shift crew not in title or rank, but because he was enormous and scary. He had a degree in the history of thought and was better read than any person I had ever met before or have since. He was also an outlaw biker who was offered his own chapter of his motorcycle gang during his tenure at the machine shop. He took time off one week to travel out of state because it was the sort of thing you had to turn down in person.
Machinists tend to deliver all information in the form of colorful metaphor involving animals, although it is usually sexual references to fowl. As one coworker put it, “Bryan had rode the horse hard his whole life.” He died in April of 2009. This is the very first portrait I ever drew. We never saw each other outside of work, but we spent thirteen hours each night together making flight simulator components for military training programs both foreign and domestic. We weren’t machinists. We were war profiteers punching a clock. I spent more time alongside him than I did with my own family. His death hit me hard. The drawing was therapeutic but had served its purpose. I gave it to my boss who then gave it his brother, Bryan’s dad.
Caesar: “The Ides of March are come.”
Soothsayer: “Ay, Caesar; but not gone.”
On Wednesday my brother will come and help me to clean out my studio, so I can finally get back to painting after months of bed ridden misery. I saved up for another Cortisone injection and following eight agonizing days I felt its premiere effects. For the first time in a year I am feeling a measure of relief though it is only slated to last a month, the month of April. I just might bust a move at my sister’s party after all. On a side note I also karaoke a mean “Rebel Yell”. I’m not superstitious. In fact there is very little I believe in. I’m writing this mere hours after some horrific events in Boston, and I am lucky to be alive and once more mobile. However, last night while I was able to drive my kids over to see my sister and her family for the first time in a long time, someone out there was putting the finishing touches on some explosives. April is only half way over. I wonder what finishing touches are being made tonight across this world…
I apologize for the length and gravity of this post. It will not always be like this. If you wish to show support for what I say and what I do, please share this blog. Subscribe. Take a minute to view and comment on the website. ‘Like’ the Alvaro Perez Art, Music, and Furniture Repossession page on facebook. And hit me up via email: firstname.lastname@example.org