LP: Faust by Faust
2007 Lilith LR 138
Favorite Track: Meadow Meal
The x-ray revealed that Simon had seven metacarpal bones in his right hand. The doctor seemed nonplussed, whistling a dreary sort of sea chanty. Simon looked at the engorged knuckles of his middle, ring, and pinkie finger then back at the x-ray. At least it is not cancer, he thought to himself.
Dr. Wallace Watson, of Charleston and Southern politeness, smiled ruefully with permanent pink dimples. “I know a specialist. Dr. Terrance McMallard. He runs a practice at Tybee Island although he is a bit of an eccentric. Rambles about that Tybee Bomb and still calls the place Savannah Beach, which causes most of his clients to get lost.”
Dr. Watson clapped his hands together which was muffled by the charts and clipboard. “He knows a lot about extreme oddities of the human anatomy. And some other anatomies. Let me fetch you his card.”
Simon flexed his hand. He couldn’t feel any extra bones shifting or grinding against each other. Why only one hand? he thought morosely. Somehow he didn’t feel complete that he had half a set of extra bones. A thought that kept him up well past the dawn.
Simon felt a sense of uneasiness squirming through his arms and legs as he drove through Georgia. The thin, grey trees bothered him. The winding road forced a dizzying displacement of his normally natural sense of directions. A day owl dogged his vehicle for three miles, silent with white wings spread like outstretched fingers.
On the other hand, a college radio station out of Athens was rocking a Krautrock hour that had him mesmerized. In particular, a band named Faust (their song Jennifer was playing now) tickled his musical fancy. It had been years since Simon played the clarinet and bassoon, but as the German song droned on, he wished he could pull the car to the side and play a haunting solo to the knobby trees and falling foliage. The radio jockey had a bold, smoky kind of voice, like a fuzzy amp, and he made an apologist remark about the Krautrock genre name before playing a collaborative piece between Cluster and Brian Eno. Simon was part German and had once been called a Kraut (“as in sauerkraut!”) by a friend in the fourth grade, but he never really identified with that aspect of his heritage. As an American, he was privileged enough to forget he was white, he was male, he was part German, part Irish, that his grandparents had made the travel to the New World in search of a better opportunity; he never really stopped and thought about where and who he was at all. He just existed. But none of the labels–American, part German, white, male–ever seemed to definitively pin him down. They acted more like clothing he wore, descriptors that suggested who he was, but only up to a certain point.
Tybee Island was a sleepy coastal town with a wide stretch of goldenrod sand. Simon toured the famous lighthouse, ate a leafy lunch on a dock, then found his lodgings at a quaint bed and breakfast. When it started to grow dark, he sat in the rocking chair on the front porch and counted the bats he saw flitting between the distant trees. His mind never let off thinking about the x-ray.