It’s late on a Saturday night and Metalhead is at some kid’s basement party. The kid got the new Slayer album that afternoon and has it blaring because his parents are not home. Rockgod holds both hands up in the air like he is prey for bandits, but the rest of his body convulses, his head shaking back and forth, up and down and windmilling along with the drum beat. Metalhead laughs and then there is a body careening into him, pushing him into another kid who is jumping and shimmying against the wall because heavy metal is the stuff that binds kids together, the fray that keeps their blood inside them. When Metalhead’s sister has her friends over, they dance in the living room to Madonna or Culture Club while his father complains that the music is too loud. Metalhead can feel the guitar in his teeth, can feel the speakers’ rumble deep in his chest.
The morning of Claire's funeral, I lie naked on the table and wait for her mourners to arrive. Thomas scrapes a knife against whetstone in the kitchen. When he appears above me, the blade glints harsh in his hand. It's all I can see. To minimize the pain, he explains with a paternal smile. I smile too.