Wherein Father Alexander wiggles his calcified sausage fingers and documents his
initial endeavor to subvert anxiety concerning his inevitable entrance into the
mysterious realm of Fancy Lad by ensnaring them for a spell in the far less
mysterious though profoundly weird socio-political landscape of Worcester
It began last October.
I lay on the bed of nails in the dungeon of the Ancestral Manor gazing into
the ceiling. The coarse granite dripping with condensation from an active
Soliton humming in the corner. Flies of mysterious origin trace strange
sigils above me. I watch intently.
The Ghost Box activates, a pulsing green light alerts me: “Father Alexander,
are you there?”
“Yes.” The device arrived by post from Fancy Lad headquarters the previous
“We will be in Worcester in an hour. Are you able to meet us at Worcide?”
[Short notice] I thought. “I have to report to the Slop Pit in a few hours,
but if today is the day then I will leave now.”
“Today is the day. See you soon. Big out.”
[Great.] I carefully rise from the bed of nails, turn off the Soliton, get my
tape recorder and depart. I feel energized. A squirrel stares at me on a log
outside and says, “You’re going to fuck this up. Just like they kicked you out
of the diocese, they’ll know a rat when they see one.”
“You have no idea what you are talking about.”
I pull off 290 and the green light pulses again. Maybe 20 minutes later. “Uh,
It’s a different voice. “Here.”
“This is Clancy. We just got into Worcester.”
I barely know Worcester at this point. “Where are you?” A rather hopeless
“The Old Man is taking a leak at Sunoco. We just passed the famous Ryan
Washington Square. There is a statue of General Devens on a green horse among
the abandoned buildings that greet you as you get off the highway. A pocket of
skate spots. I didn’t know what the hell he was talking about at the time.
“Okay… Are there any other landmarks?” [Worcester probably has a dozen Sunocos.]
A brief moment of panic. I see the squirrel on the log. Cackling with a hellish
smile. [I’m fucking up.]
“There’s Boomers and a Chinese restaurant… That’s about it.”
[Boomers. Boomers. Sounds familiar… Weird…] “Yeah, Lady K lives
about a block away. I know exactly where you are. Be there soon.”
I saw the image of the faithless squirrel melt in my mind. I silently chastise
it. The Soliton brought them to the only place I know in Worcester. I’m there
in a minute or two. I see the Van. I flag it down with my hand and we’re on our
way to the Bridge.
I take them on a guided tour of Worcester.
Past the famous Ryan Gallant spot.
Past the old courthouse, another less famous Ryan Gallant, bail, spot.
Past the gnarliest paved hill in Massachusetts.
Past the new court house, the present bane of my existence.
Past a drug deal erupting into a fight.
Past city hall.
Past the weird fountain that doubles as a bowl.
Past decaying abandoned buildings into what is affectionately called the “Canal
Past Coney Island Hotdogs (the only thing I actually pointed out).
Past the Table Pie company on Washington St. finally arriving at the flaming
emerald – now flaming emerald memory – of Worcester Town, Worcide Skate Park.
“Alexander…” Big steps out of the van to greet me with a power handshake,
“You’re younger than I thought you’d be.” He eyes me suspiciously.
“Oh.” I shrug. [Awkward.]
“Well, anyway. This is the famous Fancy Lad van.” He goes to the back to meet
Clancy and they take out their skateboards. “You can touch it if you want.”
“Nice to meet you, Clancy. I’m glad you were able to make it.”
Clancy looks into the park and in the distance there is movement in the shadows.
Behind the mini-ramp in the depths of Worcide an increasingly large contingent of
the homeless have made for themselves a temporary home. While generally harmless
and out of it they are terrifying once you realize they are lurking there.
“What is that?” Clancy looks at Big.
Big’s eyes don’t work too good. Squinting. “I dunno.” He looks to me. “Alexander?”
“Just a ghost.” I get my skateboard and walk in past the jersey barriers. “You
get that a lot here.”
“Oh. It’s just a ghost, Clancy. You get that a lot here.”
I point out the various obstacles and the potential death traps inherent in each:
“This is a great bank, but you have to be careful here because…” Worcide took
10 years to build and in that time, despite dozens of builds and renovations, it
was a weathered artifice. Exposed to the elements in winter, to degenerate buzz-
killers, the breaking of thousands of bottles and bricks over heads and a large
population of the homeless that see the space as theirs.
I remember once I came to skate only to find a mattress placed in the corner of
the bowl complete with two lovers lost in the arms of Orpheus. This is why the
place was eventually destroyed by the City. There were 30 people there that day –
I was the only skateboarder – and so I didn’t feel I was in a position to tell
them to move or play cop.
But, such a scene did not greet us this day. Instead, as I brought Clancy and Big
on a brief tour of the space the lone denizen of the shadows emerged and walked
toward us. His image crackled in dead space and silence. Without a word, but – I
guess you could call it – a grumble he passed by us and made his way yonder down
[This place is weird.] I heard Clancy think as he lit an analog jewel. We walk over
to the mini-ramp among the piles of tires, fill for future construction.
“This would be Matt Tomasello’s dream spot.”
“Yeah. It’s sick.” Clancy looks around. “I like all the trash.”
“It makes me feel like I’m in Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater. Underground.”
I smile. “It’s the secret spot.”
“Underground.” Big stands on the deck of the Piss Ramp. “So, what’s up Alex?
Dude, what’s your deal?” He drops in before I can answer and proceeds to hoot &
holler as he Rock ‘N’ Rolls. When he is finished, “What was that?”
[This young man is losing his mind from constant “On-ness”.] I smile, “I just
love to skate.”
I climb on to the deck and have a go at some Rock ‘N’ Roll of my own.
Big nods. “So do you want to do this interview right now?” He flashes suspicious
eyes again and in defiance, “Go ahead ask me anything in the world.”
I reply with possibly the only actual interview question I will ask in the next
year: “What is your strangest memory that may not be real?”
Big thinks for a few seconds “I just, ah…” He is cut off by Clancy.
“Are you recording?” Clancy looks at me.
“Oh, are you recording?” I am. He proceeds, “The other day, I couldn’t remember
if I dreamed or if this was real but they were increasing the value of every penny
to two pennies, to two cents, because the copper was worth more than the penny.”
“But I’m not sure if that’s real or not.” Big skates back to the Van for a minute,
undoubtedly to contact the others through the Ghost Box and inform them that he &
Clancy are trapped in a Hell Pit with a tape weilding Rat.
Clancy turns to me, “You know, I always thought this place was a lot bigger.”
“Oh, it’s very tight. Claustrophobic, even. And such a strange environment…”
“I was a little thrown off by the dude just hanging out there in the darkest corner.”
“You get that a lot.”
“I can imagine.”
We walk over to meet Big who has returned from the Van and is climbing up the
China Bank to look at the most recent structure, a miniature wave-like corner.
We talk for a few minutes and realize we all have experience in the “Food
Service Industry” when a woman appears, creepy, on the other side of the fence
and addresses Clancy.
“Hey… Have you seen a guy in a black leather jacket recently?” She has cold,
dead, eyes, green skin, and leaves in her hair. Her mouth continues to move long
after the words have left her lips.
Clancy is surprised and looks at us and we all reply, at once, silently by
shaking our heads, [No].
[Damn.] She psychically ejects and disappears back into the ether on the other
side of the fence.
“I guess that is all she needed to know.”
We go back to talking and skating. No one is really able to do anything of value.
It was an overcast day and they’ve spent the past hour and a half in the Van. I
was in a trance with the Soliton on the bed of nails for several hours plotting
how to navigate the Slop Pit when I replied to the Ghost Box summons so I was out
of it myself. Nevertheless, we do our best, which succeeds in producing smiles on
5 or 10 minutes of male bonding ensue. A man approaches from Washington Street.
He looks agitated. He is wearing a black beret and a black leather jacket. He
“Ey. Di’ you guy see a girl with hair here?”
“A girl with hair?” Big smiles. “Yeah, she went that way.” He points in the wrong
“Shit.” The man disappears repeating the word a number of times and we go back to
Time passes without incident until Big decides to die.
There is a large quarter pipe constructed in such a way that it tapers into a wall.
People regularly ride up the wall, vertically, 3 or 4 feet and come back down hauling
ass. Big decides he will ride up the quarter pipe backwards and shoot his board up
as high as he can, track it like a left fielder tracking a baseball, and – this is
the trick – land on it. It’s his signature trick, and it is why Big’s nom de plume
is “The King Of The Fling”. As far as I know, aside from 9 year olds that don’t know
how to skateboard and resort to this as a final act of desperation, Big is the only
pro skateboarder that does this maneuver. And does it well.
Except at Worcide which is riddled with debris. In this case, a large chunk of
concrete is at the base of the quarter pipe. He asks Clancy to film and all is going
well until his board is about 30 feet in the air, spinning madly, and Big is tracking
He takes a few steps backwards and catches his foot on the concrete. “Shit. Oh fuck.”
He falls straight back directly onto his ass and his board smacks the ground. “Ow.
I close my eyes in pain. Suddenly, the squirrel appears in my mind’s eye. Laughing
violently. I open my eyes and to my horror I see it on it’s hind legs scurrying around
the large man that writhes in pain on the trash littered concrete.
[I told you that you would fuck it up. Now look what you’ve done. You did this.] I
can’t argue and feel awful.
Clancy stops filming and walks over to his friend. “Are you alright?”
“No, I hit my ASS! Fuck no. Ah, my asshole…” He breathes for a moment. “I’m fine.
The pain is subsiding. Switch was a bad idea.”
I laugh. He’s back “on”. I walk down to them.
Big asks me to come to him.
I walk over and kneel beside him, resting my hand on his shoulder. The squirrel is
a foot away. [What are you doing?] It asks. I glare at it’s presence and close my
eyes. I intonate the B.B.R.B.Z. Formula shown to me by the good Dr Von Morgenvelt
and imagine Big is encased in an egg of pale blue light. I hum for several seconds.
“Big,” Clancy says, “People are coming.”
“Alright.” We help Big up. “You know, I haven’t done a Fling in a while. What happened
was I didn’t know that rock was going to be there.”
Two skateboarders come in. One of which is the famed graffiti artist 5oloe who – maybe
I am mistaken – looks and talks exactly like the main character in Kids.
We sit down on a ledge and he continues, “You know, it kind of feels good. I haven’t
slammed in a long time.”
“Some times I think this place feeds on blood and pain.” I say with complete sincerity
having seen the broken lives and minds that pass under the Bridge on a daily basis.
Big says in his best Thrasher voice, “That’s why they call it fucking Worcide,
The squirrel appears again at my feet. [Sooner or later… You’re going to fuck it up.]
I lift my foot and smash it’s skull with my heel.
Clancy and Big both notice my sudden, violent, movement. “What was that Alexander?”Clancy