I listened to the smooth jazz lilting from the restaurant’s speakers. Not so much a swanky place as it was an old pub, someplace that pulled up every damp feeling you’ve ever felt drip over you while watching a crime drama. Just a hole in the wall.
The burger squished against my teeth as I tore into my corpulent carnivorous indulgence.
Crispy frites crushed against my teeth and crumbled their toasted salty goodness into my taste buds. They broke apart in a way that left a voicemail on my tongue.
Two familiar faces walk in.
I have no idea where the universe placed them on the evolutionary plane.
Their two cherubic faces doing nothing for their massive, imposing figures.
Both large, happy giants of men.
The one not as tall, but both of them held fists like blocks of cement and wrought iron.
But cement can crumble.
Hammers. Mallets. Cannonball shot for fists.
And they always drove that goofy, communist-grey, busted-ass Estate Wagon.
I finish my meal, they break from their coffee and we leave separately. No reason to give the impression that these are people to whom I intentionally speak.
Mikael Emeline and Wiktor Sergeyevich.
Two old friends I’m not allowed to have anymore, but that’s not stopped us yet.
They are gentlemen that appreciate a good smoke, but also keeping cool and moving quietly.
The Estate Wagon was their trademark. A relic of the cold war, this small Soviet-built station wagon had all the amenities of the modern thief. Armored doors. Bulletproof translucent windscreens all around. Radio, radar and laser equipment replaced with more modern, compact versions.
Also due to our mutual taste in music, the sound system was the subtle pinnacle of modern availability. Never too loud, but always perfect.
Lighters flick, foreign phrases that express local sentiment bounce around the inside of the small station wagon. 80’s breakdown music echoes through the cabin as the stoned pair wax philosophical and cough their way through containers full of some Kush of some type or another, brought back fresh from the Valleys. As the music rises, it is making its way through a smoking hook. It’s a modern take on their old favorites.
The titles of the song elicit laughter.
Mikael looks back at me; “There’s people that are so butt-chinny that their chins are testicles, you know?” His broken English hasn’t changed much but it’s made him happier knowing that it makes me laugh, since now he understands why. “There is not much we can do for them but they act out and the smallest flick to their delicate chins and we have a new arraignment that makes everybody happy!” The two erupt in laughter. I try a puff. Just to get a taste. Pine trees, Skunk and herbs.
My back relaxes, my shoulders soften, my mind warms. My ears hum with auditory goodness.
For electrical music it’s stereotypical but the figures of the melodies tend to meld into smooth transitions to familiar tones.
Its funk and 80’s rundown sound banks quiver at the breadth of this album. Yet it is so deliciously diverse that the average Musicologist quivers at its undertaking. It far exceeds my expectations, as electronically diverse albums make me want to get invested in a story; one that doesn’t guarantee me the hero’s or villain’s outcome. Sure, robots are fighting, but while the cyborgs in the audience cheer, an older iteration of a mechanized evil doctor shows up and busts a move next to a giant, plated warrior and another that doubles as a ship from the future.
The music volume increases so that I can feel it move through my body. Parked in a parking lot of a pub that faces a grove of trees, Mikael looks and quips “Hey guys am I driving okay?” Wiktor and I chuckle at the guffaw. I shout and startle them both with , “HEY MAN YOU SHOULD STOP MAN THERE’S TREES COMIN MAN” The chuckling evolves to chortles and laughter. Mikael plays along “WHOA MAN” he begins to pantomime panicked wheel spinning with his hands and expressions
Laughter fades. Silence.“Man if you drive into that bush man, I am going to get out of this car, man.”
I don’t know if I want to.
Wiktor proceeds to sneeze profusely.
He then proceeds to start talking about a story about a racist white rapper and a legendary west-coast figurehead having a peaceful discussion about race relations and their own experiences in the rap game. The brazen nature of both men causing raised eyebrows all around.
Everybody is educated to this interview existing.
Wiktor’s turn on the stereo.
Music plays in the background, building and wyrming through the zeitgeist with the trappings of electronica. Mikael starts to pack a smoking pipe, an act which puzzles Wiktor.
“Are you loading another bowl”
“What’s wrong with you”
“That doesn’t answer my question”
“You know what’s wrong with me”
“What the fuck do I get for that? I don’t know. Must be some kind of bonus.”
“Nothing, here, hit this”
They discuss trade equipment after fiddling with the audio, with blasts of saxophone, trumpets and orchestras sounding in the distance.
Electronic warping sounds take over. Distance cathedral reverb floats in the distance/
“Pass me that lighter”
Dubstep blasts over the speakers that have since been turned down, moderately governing the power of the music.
“Kids that brings me to my first point; don’t do Mally”
“Don’t do Molly?”
“Molly doesn’t do shit to me”
Wiktor chimes in “I’m doing it for my first time this weekend.”
“Save yourself, it’s too good,”
I pipe up, “Is this it? Is this all we got?”
They fall silent.
Mikael clears his throat.
Wiktor nods and straightens up, blinking and composing himself before beginning to speak.
“There are some rumblings about changes. We are being considered for advancement. This will create a problem for our relationship. A roadblock. Temporary.”
“Good.” I replied. “I need to go finish some work, let me know if you hear about an outfit with a LOT of assets going missing” I began to get out of the car.
“We will do our best. Stick to short messages and take this-“
He handed me a small, older cell phone.
“Hard to track, spooky GPS signal.”
I smiled. “Always looking out for each other”
I made my way out into the damp night.
I got in my car, and went home.
I sat down at my desk.
I lit my cigarette.
And pressed play.