Huehueteotl Part IV
Wearing sunglasses indoors as is his wont, Axl Rose reclines in a hammock suspended from the ceiling and muses over his favorite question: If you were stranded on a desert island and could only have ten albums with you, what ten albums would they be? In his loneliness, in his isolation, in the near-total silence which has become his mien, this question gives him comfort. There is something so simple, so elegant about it. It appeals to him as a fine oaken table might, or a Tiffany lamp. What ten albums. If he muses on just those three words long enough they begin to sound foreign to him, a phrase in a language he doesn't speak. What ten. What ten.
Through the glass wall that looks out onto the swimming pool, ten feet high and treated to minimize the effects of ultraviolet light, the sun comes hot and sultry. Aerosmith's Rocks, or Toys in the Attic? Elton John's Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy, or Goodbye Yellow Brick Road? Led Zeppelin's IV, or Physical Graffiti? Cream's Disraeli Gears, or Derek and the Dominos? Animal Tracks or Animalism? Ten different pressings of the Anti-Nowhere League's Live in Yugoslavia? Autobahn or The Man-Machine? Tangerine Dream or Vangelis or Kitaro or Klaus Schulze? Straight Outta Compton or 3 Feet High and Rising? He reasons that these choices are grave, insofar as, on the island, they will affect his mood for as long as he is able to wring any newness from them; and, after that, for as long as he is able take pleasure in their familiarity. But familiarity has always been at best a somewhat vexing pleasure for him. This thought arrests his meditation, to his dismay.
On a glass end-table to his right rests a stack of fan mail brought in by his housekeeper. The only people who now write him are the insane and those whom he still thinks of as "old people," even though, at this stage of the game, they are often chronologically younger than he is. But their feelings are all somehow his enemy. These people, as sweet as they often are and as much as their blind love sometimes means to him — they're sick in some way. They yearn for something that is not only dead, but rotting, and they talk about it as though it were better to eat something rotten than to allow one's tastes to accustom themselves to the local cuisine. They're like vampires who've lost their way, and want to drink embalming fluid instead of fresh blood.
Why do his thoughts run this way? Always, no matter how harmless the point of entry, his thoughts return to morbid and hideous vistas: adult-onset birth defects, voluntary mind-control experiments, people with big feet wearing small shoes. Sometimes the phrases have formed themselves in his mind and taken hold of his imagination before he's even grasped at their meaning. Then they expand like sponges in water, clouding his vision. It makes him angry. By the time he gets to this point the comfort he'd been seeking seems like the planet Pluto, though he read somewhere that there's argument among scientists as to whether or not Pluto's really a planet. He hopes that it is.
Down in the cellar, the phone rings. Chained to the stone wall like a prisoner in a cartoonist's rendering of some medieval prison, with exactly enough free play for him to reach the phone mounted just to his right, stands Eminem. He is tired of standing. There's nothing he can do about it. He picks up the phone; why not? It is, rather inevitably, Axl Rose. Eminem does not say "hello." Small shows of resistance are rather important to him now.
"Hey," says Axl Rose. "If you had to go to a desert island and you could only take ten albums, what ten would you take?"
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