by Connie Helena

He had that skinhead look about him, which a lot of the punks had in the eighties. Ewan MacGregor's addict in Trainspotting and Ryan Gosling's neonazi in The Believer remind her of Sealboy back then: angular face, narrowed eyes, sinewy body. The scent of them would be leather and cigarettes.

Sometimes, especially after he had served time, he had the hint of an accent. Sealboy got way too fucked up on a way too regular basis. He worked here and there and sold drugs. One year a huge amount of blotter acid had shown up; he and his friends were making a killing dealing it. Each time they sold it, they'd tear it off the sheet with their bare fingers--after a while they had absorbed enough to be tripping almost all the time.

He was living in the apartment that later burned. It was on the top floor and had a perfect view of Grey Street, the area of town which has now become "revitalized" but back then it was low rent and dirty. She was walking on the sidewalk alone one afternoon, having had ditched school, and she heard his voice calling to her. She looked up and he was beckoning from a window.

She went up and sat with him, watched the business people and the derelicts go about their lives in the sunny world below. They did bong hits. He talked a lot, what a big mouth he had, but he opened up her mind with his words and wicked laughter. That day he played her an amazing song, "Sacred Love" by Bad Brains on the iconic album, I Against I, and explained the unique origin of the song: the lead singer had written the lyrics while in jail and sang them over the phone so they could be recorded. It added a strange and haunting effect to the vocal track.

Occasionally someone would knock on the door and he would sell acid to them. It was a beautiful day. They were friends and not lovers. The attraction that had peaked their interest in each other was there, dancing to the words of one of the most romantic songs she would ever hear. It was comfortable and sweet and she disregarded but never forgot the spent hypodermic needle on the floor.


Photo credit: Malco23. Connie Helena is the editor of Stereogenic. The name of this piece, "Time's Dead Flowers", is in homage to the lyrics of one of her favorite bands, Bauhaus.