Culture  A strain that gives you so much more

There’s a girl with a gray peasant skirt and she’s cold. She’s heaving something like a cloth sack. She shivers as she makes her way, northeasternly, through Hochelaga. Her hair holds an unshowered gloss. She’s cold but sweats throughout her brown top. She’s walking towards an intersection dragging the bag on the ground. She feels a subwoofer in her feet before seeing a Jeep Wrangler careen around the corner towards her. And lo, it bears these scrappy fucks, Massachusetts license plates. Head down, she continues on. They pull up to her and say over one another, “yo wassa whatcha got there sweets?” She looks up quickly and pulls again at the bag, which just budges. The dudes turn off the car and get out. They are three. One of them takes the bag out of her hands and says where do you want this? Where are you goin with it? I gotya back. She reaches after the bag, pissed it’s taken, naturally. The second guy remains in the car playing with the iPod. He turns on some melodramatic Berlioz, but it’s soon clear that it’s overlaid with rhymes, in some internet mashup. The third guy eyes the girl. She’s focused on the first guy, bag in hand. She’s scared—again, naturally– so she says, “monsieur, s’il vous plaît, c’est mon sac.” The guy howls, YO GUYS YOU GET THIS LISTEN TO THIS GIRL TALK IT’S CRAAZY. The guy in the passenger seat instead turns up his song. It’s the Symphonie fantastique, still recognizable beyond the autotune filter. It’s a little obtuse. And now—naturally—she doesn’t know what’s to happen. Because this is now playing: crossbeams of violins or whatever lacing with a bratty baritone “Imma fuck ya over thay-yer imma fuck ya over ay-yer let me get at you, hear me some of that god, cause imma fuck right hee-yer.” She doesn’t understand this of course. Her voice feels coarse, “STOP…pour le moment—mon sac, vous.” Of course she’s heard this piece before but not like this, never like this. She can’t smother the smile—naturally. The guy in the car pumps his chin in rhythm with the violin pizzicatos followed by a series of brassy thrusts. The guy holding the bag is laughing, and hands it back to her, Haha I’ll see you later and I mean if anyone gets onto you just scream and we on em aight? He returns to the car with its pulsing sub. As they pull out of view, she smiles and coyly rattles her head, palms raised up. She gets a good grip on the bag and keeps pulling.