We recently published Tom Weller’s shattering “Bottles.”
Here, we ask him two questions about his story:
1) I think all of us, if we haven’t done it ourselves, know some boys who have gone out breaking bottles for kicks. I remember my brother and his friends used to love throwing them out their car windows as they drove along the highway; they thought it was such great fun. What I love about this story, and about the Scrap Boys series in general, is what this represents — it’s more than just mindless destruction. There is purpose, for them, reason. So my question (after this long winded opening!) is: Do you think the Scrap Boys understand fully what this moment means for them now? Or is this an awareness they will come to later?
I think at this point, the Scrap Boys are largely id driven. There is some joy in the quest to gather the bottles, but that joy is mostly derived from anticipating the forthcoming destruction. There is probably some sense of loss as the pile of bottles diminishes, but that mostly comes from recognizing the impending end of the destruction and is quickly tamped down in favor of living in the moment of the destruction. I think, for now, this moment for the Scrap Boys is about the thrill of feeling transgressive, the visceral rush of destruction, and also about control, though they wouldn’t be able recognize or articulate the control element. They are alone in their environment and building and destroying as they please, almost godlike, and I don’t think the Scrap Boys have to many other outlets where they get a chance to feel godlike.
2) I love this description of the Scrap Boys: ” Scrap Boy 1, Scrap Boy 2, Scrap Boy 3, three backyard haircuts, three necks slick with grime and sweat….” My dad still gives himself his own backyard haircuts! How do you picture this kind of haircut on the Scrap Boys?
The Scrap Boys haircuts are ¼ inch buzz cuts, clippers bought at Walmart and a heavy-duty orange extension cord running out the backdoor into the backyard. I imagine at first a parent did the barbering, and the Scrap Boys felt some embarrassment about their hair, so over the years they have overcompensated for that embarrassment and now wear those haircuts like some kind of hypermasculine crown. They are also old enough now that parents our out of the picture. They buzz each other’s hair now, something to do on lazy weekend afternoons. I anticipate a mohawk phase coming up pretty soon.