Collaborative fission of coordinated individualism

chronicles of weirdness

See new episode 4, below (8/06)

True stories (or at least you think they really happened…or not) from the past, present, or future.


Episode 1 - April 2002

The old Chuckwagon in the University of Texas Student Union was a great gathering place that attracted the crème de la weird. About 1970, into this crowded lunchtime café walked a notably peculiar figure of the time, Charles Gandy, totally nude, holding a Bible. To the enthusiastic approval of the diners, Charles launched into a semi-religious rant. After a few minutes someone near the door told him that the campus police were coming down the hall. Charles opened the Bible pulled out a pair of leotards, put them on, and sat a table nonchalantly. The police came and went.


Episode 2 - September 2002

Working Downtown, Late Night

A "Chronicles of Weirdness" Story by Melissa Boyd

"Are you an assasin?" Jimmie asked quietly. His voice was low, nasal. We were the only ones left in the office. I didn't turn around.

"Are you an assasin?" he repeated patiently.

I smiled. His "Apocolypse Now" Marlon Brando had come a long way. It must have been midnight, 1 AM, I had no idea, but we were tired. I sighed with the kind of despair people feel when working unvolunteered overtime. It was late; I could feel it in my eye sockets. I leaned back from the computer for the first time in hours. Jimmie was the only reason I hadn't quit this godforsaken job yet. I turned to look at him.

He was leaning back in our boss's leather diamond-tuck Boss Chair, stone-still, balancing a roll of shipping tape on his forehead. Another talent.

The tape wobbled, fell off his forehead and rolled across the wide Boss Desk. He slowly rose and stretched, "Come on, let's take a break."

We stepped outside our building and faced Twelfth Street, now deserted on this Wednesday night. The Capitol hovered in our view, chalky-white with floodlights, motionless as if it too were about to fall asleep.

The air was cool with the residue of winter, but just warm enough to promise spring. We started to talk about beer, our favorite labels and microbrews, but then re-lapsed into our fatigued, late-night silence.

"Kinda chilly," one of us said.

"Yeah," said the other.

Jimmie leaned against the building in spite of his tailored suit, and his gold watch sparkled beneath the crisp cuff. Mid-yawn he managed to ask, "Wanna call it a night?"

I debated. All around us, empty buildings stared down with blank, black windows. The traffic lights had longsince ceased their green-yellow-red cycles and were now simply flashing red. What the hell were we doing at work at this hour anyway?

I almost answered him when a sound caught my ear. I tilted my head and paused.

A distant, muted ruckus, for lack of a better word.

A strange white noise. Whatever it was, it was getting closer. Slowly.

We waited. Nothing moved, not us, the parking meters, the sky, or the tall empty buildings. It was as if all of us were perched, cocked, collectively listening. Silence. And then:

A bicycle bell cha-chinged.

And a mob of people exploded around the corner of Guadalupe. Screaming, running, jumping in the air.

My body jolted awake. Riot? Is this a riot?

Then I saw the bicyles. And the huge, furry gorilla. And a man in a pair of Speedos. And a clown blew a large, plastic trumpet and a lady on a unicycle twirled this way and that. Tambourines banged and jingled. And half a dozen whistles blew simultaneously. They were laughing and yelling, and many were singing what seemed to be a song of some kind. Part of the group began breaking away into a conga line. A tall, gangly man yelled to us and did a somersault. He was wearing a blue bikini. Something in leopard-skin and pasties streaked by, leaving a wake of bubbles. They shrieked. They cackled. They sang and hollered. A woman wearing a neon-green afro wig jumped along, releasing a hyena call into the air. A trumpet player appeared from the bunch, squawking in time to 'the song'. They bounded and danced and threw glitter and confetti in the air. And their balloons bobbled this way and that, yanked about by their leaping, joyful owners.

And then they were gone.

A thick, wooly silence returned to Twelfth Street. 

As if for explanation of the oddity I'd just witnessed, I looked to Jimmie. Through a yawn, he said simply, "that was weird" and held the door open for me.

Surveying the empty street where this mobile party had taken place, I could find nothing to say. Jimmie caught my dumbfounded expression and chuckled, "Welcome to Austin."

And somewhere down Lavaca, a bicycle bell cha-chinged.

Episode 3 - September 2004

Hi my name is Joey, and through my experiences in Austin (I live in deep South Texas, but love going to Austin whenever possible) I realized that Ausin is the most unusual city in the world. 

I was at this punk show a few years ago, and this fight broke out.  Some drunk punk deadbeat guy jumped on stage and almost attacked the lead singer of a band and that caused this huge riot.  Somebody called the police, because five minutes later, the cops were all over the place.  They were randomly arresting people, and I was afraid my friend I were gonna be next.  As the cops were walking towards us with his baton in hand, my friend ran up to him and tripped him to the floor.  I ran up to the officer immediately and ripped the badge off his shirt and ran as fast as I could out of that place.

I was never caught and I do apologize to that officer for any disturbance, but that moment of my life (being a 12 year old punker still in elementary school) that Austin was chaos city.  Anything can happen. 
I really like the website a lot, and before knowing about the site decided to travel up to Austin and make a documentary about the Austin underground scene.  Music, movies, and whatever else I can find will be totally awesome, and I hope the my documentary (simply titled "Chaos City") is seen outside of South Texas.  Thank you, Austin, for you truly changed my life.

I think the cop let me steal his badge cause I saw him laughing after I took it off his shirt.  Whoever R. Gutierrez is, I wear your badge every day

Episode 4 - August 2006

Back in the mid-nineties, me and my other half, god rest her soul, found ourselves the proud renters of an apartment on top of the hill overlooking I35, downtown, and the UT tower. 40 units in the complex, and over the next six years or so, the place was 90% gay male. And we lived right over the swimming pool and deck. You want weirdness? Damn! I do miss it in the heyday!

The community was a mix of fellas sharing an apartment as partners, the ocassional couple of lesbian partners as well, and then the single folk. When the bars closed on Friday and Saturday nights downtown, it was always interesting in the summer what party would show up at the pool.

Not to mention I always had an attitude of "why go to the bar" when we lived at a place where unless you were hunting a date -- it was just as congenial as any bar, and one didn't have to drive home! During summer months, we always held our own BYOB Happy Hour...surprising how many guys were just as happy to drink at the pool instead of downtown (five minutes away, if it wasn't rush hour). Some would leave to hit the bars for late night, the downtown happy hour would arrive; I sure do miss those summer nights.

And there were the memorable nights, late, afterhours, when we'd go unscrew the lightbulbs and proceeded to have the Nekkid Disco Pool Party 'til dawn. On one memorable evening - er - morning, the police showed up; flashing lights and being a general buzzkill. Me, being the one with the jambox, they chose to especially berate. "Your neighbors don't want to see this!!!" To which I couldn't help but reply, "But Officer, the neighbors are all HERE." His reply was lost in the round of laughter, as we wrapped ourselves in towels and headed up to my own apartment (or some of the folks to their own). If you're wondering if we were causing a nuisance for the neighborhood, get this. The cops were only there because of a domestic disturbance over on an apartment on Sunnyvale. But since they were in the neighborhood, they tended to check out the pool. I guess it must have been boring being an Austin Cop. Or maybe frustrating!

I hear the old apartments have sadly gone downhill since 2000; which is a shame. If you're bored, google 1505 Sunnyvale 78741, and you can see that pool from SPACE! Do it quickly, before the 60 year old buildings are bulldozed under...I spent some of the happiest years of my life next to that cool pool, under that centuries old oak tree.

Meldonna sends her best from Seattle...

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updated August 8, 2006