gene simmons pauses to consider his legacy
by Ryan Boudinot

GENE SIMMONS WHEELS his chair into the elevator and presses the button for the sub-basement. The vessel creaks, descending, and he makes a mental note to call for an inspector, but woefully he knows he will forget. Besides, death in a plunging elevator would be almost welcome in these receding days of his life. Go out with a bang. He always envisioned he’d find some way to orchestrate a heart attack amidst the perfumed limbs of four twenty-year-olds, but his cardiologist refuses to entertain such notions and instead instructs him on how to calibrate his pace maker. It’s the nuttiest thing—the pacemaker actually has a modem in it, and every week he places a call to some place in Texas, holding the receiver up to his sagging chest. For a minute or two the phone squawks its commands at the implant and then a voice tells him it is safe to hang up.

The doors of the elevator open and Gene wheels himself down the hall lit with faux flaming candles in gargoyle-motif sconces and comes to the heavy iron door upon which images of his leering, made-up face are engraved. He taps out the code on the key pad and the door opens and he enters the archives, the shelves and racks and boxes of memorabilia. Prototypes of Japanese Kiss-themed bento boxes. Unused blood capsules. Condoms imprinted with his flexible visage. There are bootlegs and unauthorized merchandise, master recordings and sketches of rejected cover art ideas. The Smithsonian has been calling and he laughs at the figures they try to float by him. He considers spitefully burning it all.

Gene comes to the safe the size of a phone booth, and grunts, stretching toward the lock. It takes him three tries to get the combination right, and then the door swings open revealing the most precious items in this vast repository of consumer goods. The spine of each photo album is dated, and he reaches for the one dated around the era of Creatures of the Night and Lick It Up, that unsteady era when the makeup came off and Ace left the band. The pages reek of decomposing plastic and upon them are carefully arrayed the Polaroids, each of a female human being in various states of carnal repose. There is a Theresa and a Fran and a Dolly and they are blonde and brunette and Asian and black and in some pictures there are two or more of them, eyes wettened by the camera’s flash, in a succession of hotel rooms. It may as well be a single hotel room, its elements broken down into the raw, Platonic consistency of bed, dresser, lamp, TV. He performed intimate acts with every one of them, and they fill this volume and fifty-seven others from cover to cover, spanning states and continents and decades. He doesn’t know what they are doing now, in their lives, with their cars and children and husbands or boyfriends or girlfriends. Some may even be dead. It is unfathomable to him that they would have forgotten their one night of lust with the God of Thunder, but he has absolutely no recollection of their bodies beyond the white borders of these sexual artifacts. He touches the pages, his memories as impotent as that which lies shriveled beneath his studded codpiece.

Gene Simmons prays his death will come swiftly.

main *|* reviews *|* essays *|* fiction *|* art *|* (dis)likes *|* links *|* submit *|* us *|* interviews