Starting a zine review was the worst idea ever. Millions of mags are arriving in the mail and I’m falling behind on reviewing them. If you’ve sent me something and you haven’t seen it here, it’s not because you suck–it’s coz I suck; it’s not you, it’s me. I’ll get around to you eventually, or you can send me an email and make me feel bad.
Today’s zine (that I received in 1987) is a collection of photos by Zach Lewis. It contains pictures of girls, graffiti by Jim Joe, and some other stuff. I like this zine because one day it’ll be an interesting document of a time and place, namely now and New York. It is a good zine and I like it. My only criticism would be Zach including pictures of himself. There are only two, but that’s enough for me to be annoyed–I see Zach’s fucking head floating along the street every other day; I don’t need it leering at me from my coffee table. I tore those pages out and burned them in the sink, chanting, ‘fuck you, Zach. Fuck you, Zach.’
Speaking of ebola, I have a lengthy, self-indulgent, and completely unrelated story to tell you about a little bastard named Wayne.
When I was a boy, I would sometimes stay at my grandparent’s farm. It wasn’t a big farm, just a few cows, chickens, and a vegetable garden. On these little holidays, my days were spent fetching eggs, helping in the kitchen, and ranging the wet fields with my grandfather, mending fences and feeding the cows. One morning my grandfather and I were in the fields and we saw the neighboring farmer, who waved to us through the dawn mist and started over. As he approached I saw that he was with his son, Wayne. The best way to describe Wayne would be to say he looked like a seven-year-old Billy Idol covered in cow shit. My grandmother was always at me to play with Wayne, but I was ten, and the intellectual disparity between a ten-year-old and seven-year-old was enormous; plus I just didn’t like Wayne. He was an idiot.
Whenever Wayne caught wind that I was visiting, he’d scamper up the road and bash on the door like a policeman. My Grandmother would invite him in and begin calling for me. I’d hide. Sometimes I’d hide for over an hour because Wayne would suggest he have a cup of hot chocolate and wait for me. ‘Do you have any biscuits, Mrs. Crombie?’ I heard him say on more than one occasion. The little bastard would sit there, covered from head-to-toe in shit, eating my biscuits and drinking my hot chocolate, while I lay face down in the dust bunnies under the bed in the spare room.
‘How are ya, Bill?’ said Wayne’s dad when we finally convened in the field.
‘G’day,’ said my grandpa, and then nodding to me, ‘this is Ian’s boy.’
‘Oh, we’ve met Jason. How are ya, mate?’
‘Good,’ I squeaked, because I was ten and my balls hadn’t dropped.
‘We had a calf climb through the fence yesterday,’ said Wayne’s dad. ‘Went running up the road. Took us an hour to get the bugger back in the paddock.’
My grandfather laughed. ‘Yeah,’ he said, ‘I saw you rounding him up from the kitchen window. Quite a show.’
Wayne’s dad shook his head. ‘You wouldn’t believe it, Bill. I thought we’d be chasing him till the sun went down.’
I smiled and dug my hands into my pockets. It was a funny image, two people chasing an escaped calf, and I wanted to ask questions, but I knew not to speak until spoken to.
Then Wayne–who’d been silent till now–coughed and spat and we all looked down at him. ‘I’ll tell you what,’ he said, ‘that fuckin’ bastard cow can fuckin’ run. I don’t know how he got through that fuckin’ fence, but he fuckin’ did, and the cunt fair fuckin’ went for it; bolted down the fuckin’ road like a fuckin’ racehorse. But we caught the cunt, and got him back in the fuckin’ paddock. Jesus fuckin’ Christ, though, that fuckin’ cunt can fair fuckin’ run, Bill. Isn’t that right, dad?’
To this day, I have never heard a more bountiful cascade of oaths tumble from anyone’s mouth–let alone a small child’s. I looked up and saw my grandfather’s face turn purple and a huge vein bulge in his neck.
‘Easy, mate,’ said Wayne’s dad, placing a hand on his shoulder.
Wayne spat again. ‘Hell of a fuckin’ day, Bill. Hell of a fuckin’ day.’
Over lunch I casually asked my grandmother if Wayne might come to church with us on Sunday. My grandfather stopped chewing and shot me a look that told me I’d never see Wayne again, and I never did.
You can find a copy of Girls, Jim Joe, and Other Things by Zach Lewis at Dashwood Books or at zachlewisphoto.com.