Toxic Bandwidth: First Verse



Suggested Audio Candy


LL Cool J “I Can’t Live Without My Radio”



There’s music to suit all occasions in life; music for when you’re feeling melancholic (Radiohead), music for when you’re getting ready to go out on the town (James Brown), music for the eventuality that you strike it lucky whilst lining up in the Technicolor identity parade or “luuurve” music as it is more commonly known (Barry White), even music to masturbate to (Theme From Black Beauty). But what music would you use to accompany the vile act of ending another’s existence? Slayer perhaps?


Lesley Jobe Henkleman was sixteen, gangly framed, littered with acne scars, had eyes like bleak button holes and thin lips which hung round his oral cavity like elastic bands. No girl in their right mind was interested in getting close with this hapless dude and even if they attempted to, they’d face the potential risk of any one of his primed pimples exploding in their direction at any given time. It wasn’t all downbeat, he was hung like a Shetland pony; not that it mattered as his thoroughbred remained in the paddock at all times.


He was tormented daily, taunted constantly for his unsightly appearance, and had developed a speech impediment through the sheer social awkwardness he faced on an hourly basis. His parents spent too much time bickering over who drank the last of the malt whiskey to even acknowledge his existence for the most part and never offered him any words of even the vaguest encouragement. Life as Lesley sucked hard.


One day, whilst rummaging around in the attic, he came across an old carton of audio tapes labelled ‘Uncle Clive’. Clive had died in mysterious circumstances several years back and nobody had spoken of him since. He had been the only person to really give a flying fuck about Lesley and, when he passed, Lesley had felt lonelier than ever and retracted even further into his shell.


He locked himself in his poky chamber which was adorned with posters of Pantera, Sepultura and the like. Calling it poky is not fully doing it justice, it was small enough to give a guinea-pig muscle spasms and was constantly filled with the aroma of his own persistent gingivitis which hung in the air. Oh I’m sorry; had I negated to mention he had the breath of an over-worked camel? When it rains it pours it would appear.


He also suffered from club foot but, thanks to the gnarly goth metal boots he mail ordered last year, he managed to keep this affliction concealed for the most part. You can imagine the scenario; Lesley finally finds a young lady just about courageous enough to overlook his vast array of primed pelt pimples and consent to coitus with him. Last thing off are the socks, and as he slides it off his misshapen left hoof, well, that ladies and gentleman is what we call the clincher!


Les would sit in his vault listening to Uncle Clive’s box of cassettes every day after school. Normally by that point he’d endured at least two knuckle-sandwiches, a dozen or so cases of underwear hoisting (one for each lap of the hallways) and enough verbal abuse to make a fully botoxed Joan Rivers appear alarmed. This ranged from “spotty little plum” to “vagina-basket” and each callous word cut frittered away a little more of his self-confidence. Until he was back in the safe confines of his tiny little room where he was the kingpin.


Here, they couldn’t touch him and Clive’s stashed audio inheritance gave him the wafer-thin wisp of contentment which otherwise eluded him habitually. It took him nigh on a fortnight to wade through the tightly packed roster of ax-grinding metal left by his uncle. When he reached the very bottom of the booty, only a singular object remained. It was wrapped in notebook paper which appeared scribbled-upon so he unraveled it excitedly and put on his thick-rimmed prescription glasses (10-10 vision; had I forgot to mention that Les was short-sighted in one eye and long in the other?) His beady peepers instantly widened the moment he started reading. It was a scrawled note from Uncle Clive which read:

Ma Boy Les,



I’m sorry pardner, doesn’t look like I’m gonna get to see ya graduate. Sorry son, your Uncle got involved with some bad sorts and very soon they gone come looking for me. You’re a good kid, remember what I always taught ya boy. Don’t take nobody’s bullshit, stand up for yourself, get noticed, be somebody. I’m leavin’ ya some of my most prized possessions. Among them wares you’ll find some rare fucking music man, some of which never made it out of the studio. I love that shit more than anything else in the world, but I want ya to have it. Ain’t like I’m gone need it where I’m headin’.


In your hand right now you hold an old radio. Looks like nothing right? Well, it ain’t. If you get into any trouble at all in school, and that place will fuckin’ break ya if you let it, then that radio will, shall we say, get ya outta a fix. Don’t be lettin’ anyone else see that shit, keep it for when you need it most. I mean when ya really need it! There’s a frequency, don’t go to it now, which when tuned in ta, will deal with any punk giving ya a hard time. I’ma leave this little consignment with ya pops and I’ve instructed his lame drunken ass to give it ya the moment I’m outta the picture. Don’t overuse it whatever you do, that thing will mess with your head if ya let it.


Rock on little dude




Oh shit, almost forgot, frequency is 66.6. I know, I know, not the most original.



Lesley wiped away the tears with the cuff of his Deftones hoodie, rupturing at least half a dozen pustules along the way, and looked at the old radio. To anyone else this was just a piece of junk crap but not Les. To him it was the greatest gift ever bestowed. It offered hope when times were testing and a promise of protection should things turn awry as they invariably did.


He pondered long and hard about tuning it to 66.6, just out of morbid curiosity, but each time he could hear his disapproving Uncle Clive in his mind protesting “don’t ya fuckin do it!” So he left it for months aware that one day, one fateful day, he may just be needing it. To be fair, everyday was akin to wading through pig feces in espadrilles, but Lesley had learned to take a lot over his scholarship years. Then one day, young Lesley suffered a day befitting of its assistance.


Click here to read Second Verse


Truly, Clearly, Really, Sincerely,


Keeper of the Crimson Quill

Copyright: Crimson Quill: Savage Vault Enterprises 2013




  1. Hmm. The sound of madness? And I do not mean the song by Shinedown named the same. Don’t know if I could actually end someone else’s life unless it is accidentally caused by self defense.

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