A Catholic high school near Boston in 1985. A time of suicides, gymnasium humiliations, smoking for beginners, asthma attacks, and incendiary teenage infatuations. Infatuations with a girl (Allison), with a band (The Smiths) and with an album, Meat is Murder, that was so raw, so vivid and so melodic that you could cling to it like a lifeboat in a storm.
In this brilliant novella Joe Pernice tells the story of an asthmatic kid's discovery of Meat is Murder.
Here is a short exceropt:
One morning as I was jogging my way past the bronze plaque commemorating the deaths of one student and one motorcyclist, my necktie flapping like a windsock, Ray floored the brake pedal of his Dodge as he closed in on me. Fifty mile an hour traffic came to a screeching, nearly murderous halt behind him. He leaned over and rolled down the passenger side window in one fluid motion. He dispensed with formalities while I marveled at the audacity of his driving and, tossing something at me, winked and said, "Here. I'm going to kill myself." He pegged the gas, leaving a surprisingly good patch of rubber for such a shitty car. In the gutter, sugared with sand put down during the winter's last snow, I saw written in red felt ink on masking tape stuck to a smoky-clear cassette: "Smiths: Meat."
Joe Pernice is the singer-songwriter behind The Pernice Brothers. His previous band was The Scud Mountain Boys, and he has also recorded under the name Chappaquiddick Skyline. He runs his own record label and has also published a book of poetry.