Leather jackets

by Alun Thomas

Port was a metal fan. He was 20 years old and had been listening to the music since he was 15. Sometimes Port felt like a rebel. After all wasn't that what metal fans were supposed to be? The bottom line to being a fan was owning a leather jacket. If you had one it set you apart. But they were expensive. If Port bought one it would eat up a whole student loan sum. Port was not sensible to buy a used one for cheap. He thought he had to get a brand new one.

Port had definite ideas on his desired jacket. He had a video compilation of Iron Maiden videos and on ''Two Minutes To Midnight'' Bruce Dickinson was sporting a low cut, beat up jacket. Port wanted one like it. Port rode to college every day on his scooter. He would be too embarrassed to wear a leather jacket on such a dismal bike. In fact the town he lived in was famous for robberies of leather jackets. No one could afford them. When would he ever get to wear it?

Undaunted, Port phoned up the loan office and requested a sum of four hundred dollars. He always felt shame performing this action. For what reason he was unsure. A few days later the money was deposited in his account. Port walked into a store which allegedly had the best selection of jackets in town. As he entered he noticed he was the only one in there. More shame. Now he would be asked for help. He covertly made his way to the leather goods. Then a dirty looking biker approached him. ''Need some help, mate?'' he asked. ''No just looking'' Port replied. The biker wandered off to the counter. He stared at Port. Port looked at the coats.

There were two he liked. One was a traditional leather jacket. The other was a vague variation of the Bruce one. But the Bruce jacket cost $360. The other was $279. Port went with the safe option and bought the cheaper one. Port wore the coat around the house. He looked at himself in the mirror for minutes on end. He was cool. He placed it in his closet, unsure of when he would wear it again.

Over the next few days Port started thinking he had made a mistake. He had betrayed himself for not getting the jacket he had set out to. He had a sleepless night pondering whether or not to get that one as well. The store had a no return policy on leather goods. He decided to. Port extracted another loan sum and went to get the right jacket. He walked into the store.

The biker wasn't there. This time a lady was. ''Looking for anything in particular, love?'' she inquired. Port was caught off guard. The jacket was gone. ''Oh yeah'' he stumbled '' you had a jacket here last week but it's gone.''

At this exact moment Port wanted to leave but the lady was overbearing and he was too weak to just walk off. Before he knew it, he had just ordered the jacket for $396. ''Thanks Mr. Pont'' the lady mistakenly told him as the money disappeared. Port went home and straight to bed.

One week later the jacket arrived. When he picked it up, the biker guy watched him take it with a look of bemusement. Port knew what he was thinking, ''where did that git get the money from for two leather jackets?'' Port smuggeld the jacket into his room so his dad didn't see it. He tried it on. As he looked closer, he noticed there were tassles hanging off the back. How could he have missed that? Port was enraged. He had spent 700 dollars in a week. He placed it alongside the original jacket and stared at them. He was ashamed to own two jackets. He decided to get rid of one.

Port's brother came home. He told him he was going to cut up the Dickinson jacket in the woods by his college. Port's brother said he was crazy. ''It cost too much. Don't be crazy.'' he had said. But Port's mind was made up. The very next morning he took his hunting knife and jacket and stashed them in his scooter. When he got to the college he made his way into the woods. He found a secluded spot. He took the knife, looked at the jacket, and started hacking. He cut the arms off first. Then the inside, outside. He was feverish. As he sliced, a passerby saw him. ''Hey what the hell's going on?'' he yelled. Port stood up brandishing the knife. ''Nothing! Get lost!'' He ran. So did Port, fearful he might call the police.

Port took a few strips of the jacket as a memento and went home. Port's brother couldn't believe he had done it. He thought it was funny though. Port was relieved to be rid of the jacket. But all the same he disliked the other jacket as well. He gave it to his brother. He was sickened by the waste of money more. A few years later he bought a 20 dollar coat like he should have done the first time. One day he couldn't fit it in his bag while he was packing for an overseas trip. He left it behind. Let some other bugger have it.

Uploaded to The Zephyr website June 5, 2002

Back to The Zephyr home page at: www.thezephyr.com