Getting In To It
I meet Allen Faulkner when I was in college he had done some piercings on me and I spent all my spare time in his studio. I spent much of my time looking through Modern Primitives and old PFIQ's then I found Stellarc. I became enthralled with these performances. It didn't take long before Allen asked if I was willing to perform with TSD. With no hesitation I agreed. That is how it started.
Two weeks later, I found myself duct taped to a cross in front of a large audience watching as Jason Hill cut my chest open with a scalpel. The small triangle scar on my sternum, clean and precise, is still there. It was then Allen's turn on stage he stepped out wearing only jeans, with six shinny sterile hooks placed in his back, just above his shoulder blades. The ropes were meticulously tied and checked. The hooks were now connected to the bar. He placed pressure on the hooks by leaning forward. With me holding one line and Michael Simms on the other side. Allen gave the go ahead and we started walking in circles. As me and Michael circled, like sharks the ropes above Allen twisted like winding up a swing. The crowd screamed as his feet lifted off the stage. The audience went crazy.
I was hooked; from that moment I knew where I was headed. I learned from Allen if he did a show I was there, learning how to tie knots, first aid, cross-contamination, and how to control shock. I prepared for months reading obscure medical papers, watching movies and video footage from previous shows. My new hobby was engulfing me. I spent every free moment dealing with the art of body suspension. The moments that weren't free were spent working with Traumatic Stress Discipline (TSD). Soon it would be my turn. I started calling all my friends, for my birthday party.
The easy part was getting everybody together. TSD had become a close nit gang of friends. Finding a fifteen foot ceiling is not as easy as it sounds. I finally, found one closer to home than I could have hoped for. My younger brother's fraternity house had a seventeen foot vaulted ceiling in the living room. So now I had a location and friends but I had not prepared myself mentally. So I took a couple of days off, I dieted; I worked out, stopped drinking, stopped smoking. Soon it would be my day.
On September 30th of 1996 I woke up looking to have the greatest adventure of my life. That day I would break a three day fast and have caffeine, but above all else I would hang from four hooks implanted in my upper back and perform a suicide suspension. I arrived at the frat-house that my little brother so kindly donated for us to abuse, at about 4 o'clock with a bag full of Taco Bell. We rebuilt the A-frame that Delaney had used 3 months earlier. As this large frame took over the TSD feasted on tacos and burritos. All my friends were in attendance. We chatted and smoked on the porch discussing rigging and shock and generally picking on each others short comings. Delaney had asked me if it would be okay if he suspended next to me. I figured this could be good for moral support. After Allen had pushed the first hook in Delaney's back we realized we had no sharps container with quick thought we grabbed an empty Mickey's bottle. Soon Delaney was pierced and rigged to the large frame. He lifted his feet up and the file cabinet was removed. It was now time to make a dream a reality. I laid on the floor as Allen prepared my back. With a deep breath in and a slow exhale the hooks were stabbed under my skin. I stepped on to the filling cabinet and with a little fuss I was I was slowly wrenched on to my tiptoes. I felt the tacos twist in my stomach and I felt my blood leave my head. I was sick this hurt. I my skin tone had turned to an amusing shade of green. I figured it would hurt but not like this. Not wanting to give up I lifted my feet. I was hanging. I did it. I quickly snapped my feet back on the filling cabinet. Allen tightened the bungee cord some more, lifting my feet a little further off the cabinet. After a moment the filling cabinet was removed. Jokes were made and the mood was generally light. I hung for a couple of minutes but I could still feel the tacos twisting in my stomach. This entire time Delaney just kicked around like it was any other day. I was never able to relax; my toes had been cranked out so hard for so long even they hurt. The only words that I said were "I am okay; I want down" Allen being aware of my expectations asked "Are you positive?" "I think I am going to PUKE"
I was cut down and quickly hustled myself to the bathroom to stare at the toilet. Soon the pain resided and I got blood to my head and I started feeling better. As I came out of the bathroom Allen looked at me and asked "Gonna do it again?" I pondered this for a moment and shrugged, looked at Delaney and screamed "last call in 30 minutes" and we were off to get a couple of quick drinks.
It has been three months since I last got lifted off the ground. But in the five years that I have been performing I have done hundreds of suspensions. I have been involved in the evolution of this art. I watched this go from an obscure subculture to being filmed by "Ripley's Believe It Or Not" and HBO's "Real Sex". I have toured the country and meet a million great people. Will I do it again? I can't wait.
submitted by: Anonymous
on: 08 March 2002