Metalhead After the Party
by W. Todd Kaneko
Metalhead watches Rockgod throw the cleaver and as it sails through the air, he imagines it tumbling unevenly to the lurching rhythm of a Metallica song before it plunges into the pond. When it came out that the party kid’s parents were out of town for the weekend, Rockgod decided they should steal every knife in the house, not to use as weapons, but so that the kid would have to figure out how to replace the family cutlery before Monday. Metalhead imagines the kid not noticing all the knives are gone until his mother goes to cut an avocado or his father tries to butter his toast. Every blade has its purpose until it’s set free of the block—then it can be anything. Metalhead takes a swig of beer and swishes it in his mouth before he picks up a paring knife and wings it sidearm. For a moment, the spinning blade is a bat, hurtling on chrome wings in search of a chunk of flesh, and then its trajectory curves down and the knife plunges into the water. Around them, the frogs make a beautiful racket and Rockgod wheels the electric knife by its cord over his head, then launches it over the water. They laugh as it rockets out into the night, its cord trailing behind it like a monstrous tail. Maybe it skewers a bullfrog out there in the pond, maybe embeds intself in the neck of a skinny dipper or a thirsty fawn come to drink in the dark. One by one, the boys empty the bag into the pond—steak knife, putty knife, Bowie knife—they are all sharp things on their way to freedom or being lost forever.
W. Todd Kaneko is the author of the Dead Wrestler Elegies (Curbside Splendor, 2014). His poems, essays and stories have appeared in Bellingham Review, Los Angeles Review, Barrelhouse, the Normal School, NANO Fiction, the Collagist and many other places. A recipient of fellowships from Kundiman and the Kenyon Review Writers Workshop, he co-edits Waxwing magazine and lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan where he teaches at Grand Valley State University.
Image: from The History of Norway, by Hjalmar Hjorth Boyesen.