The stench of a filthy alley drowns my lungs, and I cringe. The look of smog thick as mud in our sky fills my sight, and I cringe. The shrill of a dead hiss echoes in my ears, and I cringe. The taste of barbeque sauce and turpentine touches my tongue, and I cringe. The feeling of nothing left to lose slithers through my imagination, and I smile.
It could have been any hot summer Saturday—it should be every hot summer Saturday. We met at the newly constructed testament of the human will: Brick and Mortar skate shop. I was greeted by a mass of smiling friends, my extended family—a sweaty, dirty, wounded, raised-by-the-streets pack of wolves—blood brothers. The UTA Trax approached, we boarded, and anarchy ensued. Howling in derelict fashion, our presence most definitely filled every sense of every rider on that fucking train. I’m sure first came the uneasy, overwhelming, about-to-be-molested feeling (which is nothing short of the truth). Next, I’m quite positive would be the odor. Have you ever heard about the milk chicken bomb? In brief: fill a mason jar with milk and chicken, seal the lid tightly and leave it in an enemy’s heating duct. Within the year, it will explode with such demonic foulness he will wish he were dead. That’s how we smell in an airtight concentrated space. The sight of us must have been the only thing pleasing about us: “such handsome young men,” I think they thought. And finally (the saltine taste goes without saying) the last lingering virgin to be defiled was the hiss of perversion, or more specifically the ears. We are the reincarnates of salty old sea dogs that only use four letter words. “I don’t know your name so I’ll just call you girl,” Sean Hadley said to a passing female commuter, and she cringed.
Our first stop was Gallivan Center, and we quickly exited train portals. The tiled Main Street footpaths sounded like a war drum as over 150 pairs of hard urethane careened over their surfaces. The first spot was these abstract bent metal sculptures right out in front of the Police station. To be honest, I never thought this place could be skated in so many ways. It was fun to watch boards banging the vibrating art. Like a magician, I won’t explain the tricks, they’d lose their magic. I will say this: it was a rabbit out of a hat, something from nothing. Everything was new experimentation, from thought to material expression on another man’s idea of art. It was short lived and we left sooner than I would have liked. Another trait of the true magician, leave them wanting more. Again, a thunderous symphony rang in my ears as the unruly mob rioted on. Stopping traffic, knocking down chairs, vandalizing planter boxes, tagging taggables, and in a whirlwind of senses we found ourselves skating a five-stair on State Street. Seabiscuit hippy-jumped the handrail, Holland Redd hard flipped, and Stuart Callis kicked it. “Clickity clackity” went the boards on the brick top, “smack!” went the hands high-fiving, “bling” went the chrome rails in my retinas. It was an all-out orgy of the senses. Again we moved on, and as we rolled I wondered: “How would it be if we ruled the world?” and I don’t mean we, the stinky skateboarders, I mean the “collective we.” Anarchy—everyone in control of their own life—instead of one big corrupt gang running the show, everyone a part of and doing what they love. Groups of small gangs in a sense meshing as a microcosm in the macrocosm creating perfect harmony on a planetary scale. Understandably this is an idealistic belief in humankind as a creature capable of transcending silly lusts like power, money and violence. But that was just me wondering while rolling with my gigantic familia. I guess I was just feeling the brotherly love, no homo.
Again we molested the senses of unsuspecting train commuters as we raged. Gangster rap blared on the megaphone as a chant of “I thought I told ya, I’m a rough neck soldia,” echoed through the guts of this synthetic snake slithering down the tracks. Jonny Roughneck led the chorus. Jonny and his Roughneck soldiers made the drive to Salt Lake City from San Francisco to be a part of SLUG’s first ever conglob of cohorts skate event. Roughneck Jimmy Nelson did a quick stint in SLC, getting married at our City County building to his wife Ashley. He also married the skate scene here and was the cornerstone of this spectacle. The roughnecks are a wild, rule-less posse. It was clear as their gang made themselves at home, filling the air with a west-coast vibe. It certainly was a pleasure to be rolling with a gang affiliate from the bay.
2100 South was our next stop and once more, an exodus erupted out all train exits. The spot was an industrial launch to flat. Blood spilled at this “natural” marvel of carcass huckery. Good perches and shade made for good onlookery, and the possibility of uproariously loud applause if landed was the trickery. The crowds energy was indeed needed because—let me tell you another thing—skateboarding is not goddamned easy. This is why we have names for our tricks like: impossible, air walk, hard flip, 360 big spin flip, etc. All the tricks just mentioned went down. Though I missed some of the action as I watched the sky in a punch-drunk daze, from my punch-drunk love for the pasttime I partake in. We left sooner than we arrived, and it’s a long skate back to Trax after a hard hour of cloud watching.
Next we found ourselves at Murray High. I saw and smelled, but did not taste the doobie being passed on the schoolground grass. I felt my fragile world might explode into some sort of penta-dimentional hippy bliss. Colt Bowden grinded a long pole, while Brodie Penrod flipped out of a blunt. This spot was semi-lackluster for me, possibly because it was at a gated school compound, or probably because I should have hit the doobie. Regardless the pigs showed up and a scattering of roaches was the consensus.
One more glorious train ride and one more glorious destination, the Red Bull whorehouse, I mean warehouse. Red Bull was more than ideal, accommodating us with obstacles, girls, pizza, giveaways, and booze. What more could a pack of scavenging dogs want? I mentioned the chicks, right? Thank you Red Bull and thank you my brothers from different mothers I love you guys something awful, no homo. The day was best summed up by winner Holland Redd when he said, “That’s how it should be.”