“Thurston Moore?” Cubby drops a pencil’s nub onto the stack of white paper in his lap.
“Yeah. And you’re…?”
“Uh, my name’s Cubby Branch.” He starts doodling a skull. “Can I…interview you? Just for, like, a minute?” Doodle, doodle.
Thurston breathes out, an irritated sounding rattle made kind of supernatural by the cheapo speaker in Cubby’s greasy receiver. “It’ll have to be quick.”
“God, thanks.” Cubby clears his throat. He focuses on the almost imperceptible, eye deadening grain in the top sheet of paper, so as not to let any rapport, good or bad, start with one of his four total idols, because… well, just because. “So I want to know why Sonic Youth does what it…does.”
Cubby looks around his room until his eyes hit a mirror, him in it. His eyes are so burnt out and bloodshot they seem one dimensional, like peephole views of an American flag. Otherwise he’s just him, i.e. stoned, too thin, fucked up hair, needy looking…Shit. He refocuses on the blurry pattern of ground up, processed, bleached wood in his lap, which neutralizes his thoughts a little. Cool…
“Meaning…” he says. “Uh. I don’t know. To understand how you think, I guess.”
Deep in the cave of the earpiece, Thurston…snickers?
“Like.. what was the difference between doing the, uh, Dirty album and doing the earlier stuff from, you know, way back in the, uh…eighties?”
“The eighties, huh?” Thurston sounds kind of…pissed, which would sound really great on a record, but like, one on one, is a little nerve wracking obviously. “Well,” he adds, “we’re better at what we do now.”
“Right. Of course. Duh.” Cubby’s transcribing wildly, not that he’s acutally going to print this in a magazine or anything. “And what do you think of…fans like me? How differently do you feel now from…the way you used to think of us? You know, before you got famous and everything?”
“You’re the reason we happened, dude.”
“Then you’re glad we worship you? ‘Cos we do. I’m in this phase of playing Sister all the time. Check this out.” Cubby reaches over and cranks up his stereo. The song “Cotton Crown” happens to be playing. He holds the receiver into that spacey onslaught. “I’m wasted in time and you’re never ready…” After a minute, he turns down the volume and slams the earpiece into his ear again. “See?”
“Yeah…thanks.” Thurston emits this noise that’s the auditory equivalent of a shrug.
“But uh…back to the worshipping question?” Cubby waits, listens, filling in blanks, etc. but it’s taking Thurston for fucking ever to answer. “So,” he continues tentatively, “you’re saying, uh…ultimately…that you’re not…sure? Wait, wait. Give me a sec. I’m…writing this down…uh…okay, ready.”
“Ultimately?” Thurston’s back to sort of snickering again. “Sure. Worship away.”
“Thanks, ha ha.” Cubby’s scribbling. “Does us being, uh…male or female make any difference to you?”
There’s this weird lull.
“Uh…you still there, Thurston?”
“Yeah. Is that a trick question?”
Cubby casts a little glance at his bedroom door. It’s reassuringly shut. In the way, way distance, he can hear his girlfriend tidying herself in the bathroom. “Sort of.”
Cubby quits writing and shakes his cramped hand a bit, worrying about that “hm.”
“So, you’re a male, I’m guessing.” says Thurston.
“Yeah.” Cubby snorts up some wobbly nose goo and swallows it.
“And you’re how old?”
“And…why do you want to know?” Thurston’s mouth has started making this, like, impatient clicking sound.
“‘Cos…Shit. Don’t, like, hate me but…your music gives me a boner. ha ha ha. Always. It’s weird. Especially the, uh, Sister album and especially when you’re singing. And especially, especially on… You know in ‘Schizophrenia’ when you sing that line about, uh, ‘Her brother says she’s just a bitch with a golden chain’? Well, when you sing that, I’m thinking, ‘Yeah, I am a bitch, Thurston.’ you know? And I guess I’m worried whether you think I’m weird for interpreting that that way. Does it freak you out to know there’s a kid in the world who gets a boner from your music…but especially from you? You know what I mean?”
“Gee,” Thurston chuckles. In the earpiece there’s this very faint ding dong. “Can you hold on, Cubby?” There’s a clunk as Thurston’s receiver’s laid down on a table or something. While his idol’s away, Cubby fills in blanks, crosses t’s, etc. Out of decency, he tries not to take in what Thurston’s and some other voice are discussing, but it’s a chore to tune out since every other word’s something interesting like “Geffen Records” or “tour” or “video shoot”.
“I have to cut this short,” Thurston says suddenly. His voice is so loud and distorted that Cubby wrenches the receiver away from his ear for a second.
“Who’s…there?” Cubby asks, wincing.
“Is he or she someone I might’ve heard of, ha ha ha?”
“Could be.” Thurston’s breaths have speeded up for some reason. Probably from, like, moving around or whatever. Duh. “You ever heard of Kim Gordon?” Thurston chuckles. “But seriously…” He has such a beautiful fucking surferish way of talking. Wow! There is a God. “I’m kind of busy at the moment.”
“Kim Gordon!” Cubby punches himself in the head, albeit gently. “Tell her hi for me.”
“Okay.” Thurston clears his throat. “Hi from Cubby.” Now, from deep in the phone, a very faint voice, obviously Kim’s, says, “Hi, Cubby,” in a .uh. sullen type way that could either sound totally sincere or bored to death depending on the level of a listener’s paranoia, intelligence, etc. Such is her genius, thinks Cubby daydreamily. Then his ears catch the way spooky creaking floor sounds that undoubtedly signal his girlfriend’s return. Shiiiit.
“Shit, uh…I’m gonna go now, Thurston, and uh, hopefully get another boner thanks to you, ha ha ha, and you can, uh, go fuck Kim or whatever you guys want to do.” Cubby stares, horrified, at his bedroom door.
Creak, creak, creak…
“Yeah, uh.. Thanks a billion, Thurston.”