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... it was just a typical night in July of 2000. My friend Nate and I, both nineteen, wasted our nights away in the crotch-like atmospheric conditions of summertime by the gulf, traversing the ghetto which flanked the perimeter of the University of Houston. As if stepping into another dimension, there were an abundance of bodegas whose operators were quite cordial, selling baby-faced white boys from the suburbs myriad varieties of malt liquor and fruit-flavored blunts.

In contrast, the particular suburb where we went to high school prohibited selling 40 oz bottles of beer; moreover, we literally had to cross the tracks into a neighboring municipality to acquire rolling papers. Therefore, when Nate's roommates were around, listening to songs from TV commercials downloaded from Napster and watching hentai movies, we'd stockpile our imbibes and head to our respective parents places in the 'burbs.

2000 was a year of great personal transition. I tasted true love for the first time, which was almost immediately superseded by heartbreak. Subsequently, I developed a taste for MD 20/20. In my father's study one evening, Nate and I were polishing off our God-awful fruit-flavored malt liquor concoctions while playing on broadband internet. Being able to download songs at 45+ kbps and chatting with people across the country was our equivalent to having woken up in Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory.

Suddenly, we were actively immersed in the burgeoning "post-hardcore" music scene via one particular chat forum. High on bad liquor and balls-out frenetic from listening to free tunes by the likes of previously unknown bands such as Cave In, Hatebreed, Coalesce and Snapcase - we created various accounts and formed a pretend gang. Parallel to the "straightedge," etc. gangs of the 1980's hardcore scene, the new "scene" became inundated with local factions of meatheads whose main objective was to hurt spectators at shows. Moreover, during this time, most of the bands we found ourselves deifying were playing venues without stages. Naturally, the gratuitous violence often interrupted the bands. Uploaded videos of brutal ass-kickings at shows nationwide were becoming increasingly common... and we thought all of this sucked.

Over the course of about 2 weeks worth of epic, drunken flame-wars, we had successfully created the illusion of being a real gang. "We" became the "xDGFx" (drunk girl fuckers), wore pink bandannas and were led by an elusive convict named Fluffy McTingle - whose methods of violence were particularly disturbing (malevolently homosexual) and unpredictable. Suddenly, uploaded footage of shows being passed around the net contained people wearing pink bandannas. Soon, there were even xDGFx shirts floating around, being sold all around the country.

A few weeks prior to my moving back away to school, we were Mad Doggin' it as usual at my parents house. The self-professed leader of the northeast's most infamous tough-guy coalition extended an olive branch of sorts to McTingle, as real dudes in our imaginary gang had become a considerable presence at shows. Naturally, we incredulously laughed it off. A couple days later, someone took and posted a picture from the summer's "big" festival up in Massachusetts or Vermont, I can't remember. But what I do remember is a guy crowd-surfing over a dense batch of spectators, one arm extended and close-fisted. Ascending from the pink bandanna draping over his nose and mouth, his intently focused eyes were pinpointed on a huge, bald guy face-to-face with a smaller guy in a pink bandanna.

Nate and I looked at each other, neither of us sure whether we should laugh or just stay away from the internet for a long time. Suddenly, I bolted-out the front door and projectile vomited onto my parents' immaculately landscaped lawn. The puke landed and infiltrated the ground in a 10-or-so inch circumference of grass that died and never, in the proceeding decade, ever grew back. My parents moved from that house over two years ago, but a few weeks ago I drove by to see whether the spot ever recovered. It didn't. And in the confluence of aforesaid events involving such a short span of time... neither have I, really. And I can't quite convince myself that's a particularly bad thing.

Just no more malt liquor.

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