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What Sung in Ron Bone’s Brain
The Alternating Anthems of a Torturously Complex Friend

Ron Bone is a dozen years dead and as I employ some home-spiced rum to put my hopefully sleeping mind beyond the screaming joints, I recall that he narrated his inner life and set the rhythm of his outer life—a dualistic agony of imploding alienation—with a specific soundtrack of favorite tunes, which he would play on a juke box in the bar we lived above or on his stereo, before going out looking for dubious deeds, with me as his designated sober passenger, the chronicler of his many misadventures…

His use of music bemused me at first and elicited a secret pity later on. Finally, I think I understand...

When he wanted to get drunk, smoke some hash and humiliate some slut with his equine apparatus, he would turn this on, pour half his beer out on the floor and stomp a sudsy puddle with his size 17 boot to this tune…

When he put this on [in the mid 1980s when I'd stop in for a visit after he got married and started inviting me over to watch the fights] I knew he was going to fire up the bong and ask me about another plan for bringing down society so we wouldn’t have to slave away another day…

When he was feeling romantic...

When he wanted to stay home and get drunk enough to be able to pop some acid and have a conversation with me about all of the “weird shit” I had read about, he would listen to this, his favorite song by his favorite band.

After pissing for 10 minutes straight—so much that the toilet would auto-flush—which was my morning alarm clock for the year we roomed together, Ron Bone would blast this tune while he rehydrated in front of the open refrigerator, as we prepared to head into work on his Yamaha XT-500 to earn our $5.50 an hour...

After doing this mental exercise, I feel a little guilty for cornering the giant in the men’s room and promising to kill him. When he wasn’t killing himself he was trying pathetically not to hurt anybody, as he drowned in the black hole that was his soul, so I was just piling on. The last time I saw him I was walking through the rain in East Baltimore, across Haven on Lombard, on a Sunday morning, having missed my bus connect in 1994, ten years after I promised to disembowel him if he ever spoke to me again. He pulled over in the Herr’s potato chip truck he was operating, with his big sad eyes under drooping black curls and said, “If I give you a lift, can I live?”

I looked up and we both grinned, glad to put our worst parts behind us for a moment.

Ironically I was packing the foot-long gravity blade that his wife made him get rid of when they got married and he had given to me as a peace offering. I defended myself with that knife numerous times and I suppose owed a debt.

Ten years later Duz told me that Ron Bone had parked his truck in a state park and routed the exhaust into the cab. Hearing this, I recalled him laughing when Will and Carl tried to do that in a garage and screwed it up and lived—confident that he wouldn’t get it wrong when it was his turn.

Finally, when he sat alone in his room after throwing his girlfriend out, working his way through a case of cheap wine, he would play this song, ever in need of an external narrative voice as he nuked his brain. I have often wondered if he was listening to this when he breathed his last.

You can read about Ron Bone, and particularly his heroic, racist, white, negro-abducting van, in Let the Weak Fall. He also inspired The Song of Broke-Ass Rasheed, which is the second act in A White Christmas.

Let the Weak Fall: A Guide to Urban Strife for the Misanthropic Man

A White Christmas

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MescalineFranklinNovember 18, 2017 9:02 PM UTC

Bringing back the 80s Lafond! Paleface Rock during the last decade of false hopes...

I am familiar with and enjoy Dio (RIP), George Thorogood (One Bourbon, One Scotch,One beer) and Yes (Starship Troopers) but never heard of Crack The Sky. They are great! Very proggy. I think Mastodon named their best album after this group.

I heard of Pat Travers but never heard a song from him till now.

I think with those lyrics I now know why. Clapton barely got away with it.

Very cool selection and a rather touching post to remember this troubled soul you were able to at least forgive for a moment.