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Shrekt: Not half bad for a band doing metal Smash Mouth covers

The guy is short but wide, wiry long hair with goatee, half in a cheap Shrek suit and fiddling with his amp, sweating under the stage lights. A glorified Smash Mouth metal cover band but with stupid costumes, the height of originality. Better get out of here before they set up, or go to the back and binge on some Puzzle Fighter. But you lean in and get to the meat of the conversation, before it’s too late.

“She has the same obnoxious laugh as the stalker chick, the one who tried to fashjacket me. I can’t stand to watch her stream for more than a few minutes. It’s kid’s stuff. But I like her.”

There’s a squeal of feedback from Shrek’s half stack and curses from the drummer. Jimmy grimaces. “You’ve been talking about her all night.”

“Well, fine, I’m obsessed with her. Thinking about her takes me somewhere else. It’s like being in love, but only one way.”

“There’s no such thing. It has to be mutual. That’s just a crush.”

“No, I’ve had crushes. This is something different.”

“Right. You’re on a rebound. Still not over that Q chick.” Jimmy taps his fingers and looks at the ceiling.

“I was in voice with her the other day, the streamer chick and some neanderthal freaks spitting propaganda. They’re everywhere these days.”

“Don’t you know it.”

“QAnon took my baby away. Poor, poor pitiful me.”

“Amen.” Jimmy is nodding. “Amen.”

“Said she’d be on the podcast, talk to me about anything. Sounded like she was daydreaming out loud. ‘Anything…'”

“You’re fantasizing. Wishful thinking. She’s chasing after the next gig, a little publicity, typical streamer.”

“Maybe. She’s so… She seems so vulnerable. Always putting herself down. It’s unattractive. That’s what is so different, why it’s not a crush. So much about her is unattractive to me.”

“She’s gorgeous.” The drummer is adjusting his toms, testing some fills. Shrek is hunching over an array of pedals, letting loose static and the distant sound of angry AM talk radio. “I’ve seen her instagram. You’re just shallow, that’s all.”

“As far as looks go? I admit it. She’s perfect. Out of my league entirely. But so is every other streamer chick. And I’m not obsessed with any of them.”

“Well just pay the money already. Subscribe. She’ll send you the big titty goth girl photos you want and maybe even play some video games with you. Win-win.”

“No. I’m not a simp, not a fan. I told you I don’t even like her stream. Why would I subscribe? I wouldn’t. That’s parasocial.”

“What about her art? Her social media presence. Commission her to paint your portrait.”

“I thought of that. I could do that. No, I remember now. I can’t. To have someone paint my portrait? I’d hate that. I don’t even like having my photo taken. And anyway that’s no way to get to know somebody. Same with her idea about the podcast. I couldn’t interview her. I’d turn her down anyway because hell, I can’t bring someone on the show to flirt. It’s disrespectful to the whole process, to her.”

“You just need to get laid, man.”

“No. That was Petrarch. This is real… It’s 2021. The generation of swine. Shit-ass Gen Z, the end. The slick prosper and the true perish. We are seduced where we should be disgusted and disgusted where we should be seduced. It’s the condition of our time. Of our world.”

“Sure… Sure… I dig it.”

The grizzled, aging bassist hobbles onto stage and picks up his instrument. The mask is on Shrek and beyond the blastbeat and shrieking guitar a scream of agony can be heard: “Somebody once told me / the world is going to roll me.”

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