Johnny America


Sloan ♥ Neckface


Illustration of two stylish demon-monsters…

­­We first pub­lished Ian Grody’s “Sloan ♥ Neck­face” as a “print ex­clu­sive” with Is­sue Sev­en of John­ny Amer­i­ca way back in 2009. But you can’t buy that is­sue of the ’zine any more, and the sto­ry is as fresh and fun now as it was a decade ago, so we’re pleased to bring Neck­face to the site. In ready­ing this sto­ry for the web, we were de­light­ed to dis­cov­er that it has be­come a short in­die film, for those who like that sort of thing… which if you’re read­ing John­ny Amer­i­ca, as clear­ly you are, you prob­a­bly do.

— J.A.


Dear Neck­face:

To­day I took the 19 from Cham­bers. The guy hunched over me, ey­ing the map, had some­thing sil­ver in his pock­et. When the train stopped, the sil­ver thing fell out. The guy picked it up. Spray-paint. Red. I thought of you. The guy had a thick neck with a sub­tle jaw. He was a beau­ti­ful con­tin­u­ous body like a— yup, it hit me — neck­face. I said hel­lo. He grunt­ed. Did you grunt at me? Sound trav­els quick and hard like can­non­balls through such un-sculpt­ed bod­ies! Was it you I said hel­lo to? If not, know I’m think­ing of you, you’ve got a lit win­dow in my brain. Well, I’m leav­ing this note next to your lat­est tag, as usu­al. FLUG, it’s grunt work climb­ing bill­boards and fire es­capes, but if you can do it…

Yours Yours Yours,


Dear Neck­face:

Yours Yours Yours,

Des­per­a­do Nu­mero Dos (AKA Sloan)

Dear Neck­face:

I saw what you did at the Cham­bers Street sub­way. Big bub­ble let­ters. NECKFACE. Right by the beam I usu­al­ly stand next to. Sweet­ie! No­tice my — I don’t want to call them re­vi­sions — okay, sup­ple­ments? Right‑o, I trans­formed your C’s! Those open-mouthed let­ters with down-dip­ping curves be­came closed mouthed hearts. And I’ve got a con­fes­sion. The paint pens used to sym­bol­ize our love… stolen. Tucked them right un­der my pash­mi­na at Home De­pot on 23rd. Asked the sales­man to car­ry a plas­tic palm from home fur­nish­ings to the reg­is­ter. And while he was dis­tract­ed… hehe. What can I say, we’re out­laws. Des­per­a­do Nu­mero Uno and Des­per­a­do Nu­mero Dos. Fun­ny how love can fill a girl with brav­ery. Any­way, I’ll be cruis­ing Tribeca tonight, look­ing for new tags. I fig­ured out your habit of can­vass­ing one neigh­bor­hood at a time. Adorable.

Crap­py news. Some a‑hole tagged over our Cham­bers Street col­lab­o­ra­tion. Big black ex­es right through NECKFACE. I know, in­fu­ri­at­ing. But wor­ry not, my lit­tle artist, I’ve sup­ple­ment­ed oth­er tags. You’ll no­tice heart-shaped C’s in the NECKFACE near The Odeon. Plus, hearts on the gi­ant Calvin Klein ad on Canal Street! How did I get there? Well, I on­ly snuck in­to a door­man build­ing, took the stairs the roof, and laid a lad­der flat from the roof to the bill­board. Crazi­ness. Can I tell you why I love you? Oh — be­fore I for­get — I al­so sup­ple­ment­ed the NECK­FACEs on the land bridge by the Uni­ver­si­ty, over the mar­quis of The Flea, way up above the Brandy Li­brary. I love you be­cause you’re un­afraid. You plas­ter your name across this me­trop­o­lis of risk-fears like a… a big il­lu­mi­nat­ed thing. Like a hope? When I see NECKFACE, I see BE NOT AFRAID. See for your­selves the lengths to which I go, scal­ing sky­scrap­ers, elud­ing po­lice­men. I mean, you re­al­ly hang your balls out! So ad­mirable. Any­way, I haven’t seen any new tags so I’m leav­ing this note taped to the top of the beam by Cham­bers Street. Here’s hop­ing it finds you!

Yours Yours Yours,


Dear Neck­face:

Are you mad at me? There’s a new NECKFACE at the Chamber’s Street sta­tion. It’s right above the old one — but, what, no hearts? You ARE mad at me. What’s worse there are big black ex­es through all my sup­ple­ment­ed tags. They’re all tagged over with new NECK­FACEs, al­so sans hearts. Well, let me just say (and ex­cuse my be­ing forth­right) you’re a lit­tle out of line. I mean you’re a great guy with a great mes­sage but what you’re do­ing… it kin­da piss­es me off. If your mes­sage is BE NOT AFRAID then bud­dy, Be Not Afraid To Love. That’s right. I sus­pect the great Neck­face is afraid to ex­press his heart. Will the it­ty-bit­ty bombers wit their wit­ty-bit­ty spray paints say Neck­face went soft? LET THEM. They’re jeal­ous. Your graf­fi­ti means more to this city than the grand to­tal of theirs com­bined! Leave those pussies the Big Pun memo­r­i­al on Av­enue C. Let ’em touch up mu­rals out­side the Third Street Wa­Mu. Re­veal to Man­hat­tan our hearts.

Get With The Fuck­ing Pro­gram ASAP,


Dear Neck­face:

I’m so em­bar­rassed. When I wrote that last let­ter, I was ac­tu­al­ly a wee bit men­stru­al. Don’t be grossed out. And I know it’s no ex­cuse. This isn’t eighth grade gym class, right? I was hurt. I was hurt and the hurt, chem­i­cal­ly mag­ni­fied, sort of… blos­somed? That said, the hurt was not un­found­ed. I dis­agreed with your de­ci­sion, your vi­o­lent black ex­es. Scold­ing you, how­ev­er, is not the an­swer. Ut­ter­ly I see that. The an­swer, I think, is in show­ing. For that rea­son, I cashed in my va­ca­tion days and spent the last week sup­ple­ment­ing all nine­ty-eight Neck­face tags, all over the city. Why, he won­ders. Be­cause… drum­roll please… I love you. I know you, my sweet pre­cious Neckface.

Yours Yours Yours,

You Know Who

Dear Sloan,

You seem like a nice chick. You’ve got a re­al vo­cab­u­lary, like pash­mi­na. This leads me to think you went to col­lege. That’s nice. Now my ques­tion is this. This is my ques­tion. And don’t be of­fend­ed. My in­ten­tion is clar­i­ty. In oth­er words, I on­ly want to know: why does a smart chick such as you be­have like such and il­lit­er­ate cunt-for-brains? Why, he won­ders. Ex­pla­na­tions de­fy log­ic. You know when you first start­ed these let­ters, I said cute. A fan. Fans are nice. But late­ly… for lack of clean­er phras­es… you’ve been fuck­ing my shit the fuck up. Do you un­der­stand what I’m com­mu­ni­cat­ing? This is the mes­sage. The mes­sage sim­ply is: if you fuck with my graf­fi­ti once more, I’m go­ing to hit you with my car. Yes, I will. I will straight up mow you down. Now I’m leav­ing this note by a new tag here, which we can call a test. Screw it up, I’ve got my car keys. And for the record the dude on the train was not me. I’ve got a neck. I just write “Neck­face” be­cause it’s funny.


Dear Sloan:

It’s me, Neck­face. Lis­ten, it could be I used par­tic­u­lar phras­es which con­tained raunchy lan­guage. For that and that on­ly I’m sor­ry. Of course I wouldn’t run you over. Re­gard­ing vi­o­lence I am — con­fi­den­tial­ly speak­ing — op­posed. But you messed up. I got re­al­ly ripped by tag­gers who wouldn’t have tried rip­ping me two days ago. So… that’s why that hap­pened. Any­way, if you’re read­ing this it means you’re still vis­it­ing my new tags. Don’t futz with them! This is my art we’re dis­cussing. If you’ve got art in you, which you may not, but if you do, I en­cour­age you to do your own. But if you do, do them some­place not near mine. Okay? Now if you like go­ing up to the places I tag, I should ex­press that’s okay. Once in a while, I’m okay with that. And if I made you cry, I’m sorry.



Dear Sloan:

I got some­thing to say to you. How are you? My last note which I wrote was gone the morn­ing af­ter so I’m guess­ing you read it. In case the wind blew it some­place, I said I was sor­ry. That is, I was and am apolo­getic for call­ing you names such as il­lit­er­ate, cunt-for-brains, and threat­en­ing to hit you with my car. I don’t even have a car. Lis­ten: me, I just say stuff. Don’t even lis­ten. So… as long as you’re read­ing, I got some­thing to say. All it is this: the note you used to write served as sol­id read­ing ma­te­r­i­al on the sub­way. Since you quit writ­ing — for un­der­stand­able rea­sons — I end up stuck with the news­pa­per, which is fucked. Any­way, the short re­quest I’m tak­ing to long to make… if you’ve got free time, it’s al­right if you leave let­ters by my tags. I won’t get pissed and I’ll have some­thing to look at on the train. Al­so, and very rarely they’re fun­ny, mak­ing me feel joy. Pret­ty much numb-nuts, huh? 

Talk To You Soon,

Des­per­a­do Num­ber One (Neck­face)

Dear Sloan:

What the fuck? How many times does a guy have to say sor­ry? Here I am, stuck with the news­pa­per, every­day the same shit. Barack Oba­ma, El­liot Spitzer. How about a few brief words? Was what I said so bad? It’s as I ex­plained, I just say shit. Okay, like you con­fessed paint pens to me, here I’m con­fess­ing to you. Maybe it’ll prove some­thing and you’ll write. Here I go. The day on the train. A guy dropped a paint can. Red cap. Sil­ver can. That wasn’t a guy. That was me. I grunt­ed. You said hel­lo. I knew it was you, I just got fright­ened. Un­afraid, you called me, but the world is made of things which make me shit. Just think what I look like. I’ve got a fuck­ing neck­face. Foot shoots down it, words blow out of it. How could you call me con­tin­u­ous… or beau­ti­ful? I’m what Ten­nessee Williams called a “no-neck mon­ster!” That’s right, I’ve been read­ing. Since you went to col­lege shouldn’t I be smart? So, stripped down, the mes­sage here, I guess, is I miss the joy of you. Even though that joy is what scared and an­gered me to start with. Look, be care­ful of your feet around the places I’m stick­ing this note. It snowed last night, so the city is iced over. I’ve been at­tempt­ing to rag less dan­ger­ous spots, like clos­er to street lev­el on ac­count of your safe­ty. But due to the snow this one I tagged high, high enough so you can’t miss it.

So Write Something,


Dear Sloan:

Please ex­cuse the hand­writ­ing: my arthri­tis wors­ens in this weath­er. This is Lester Mul­vey. Carl Williams, who you knew as Neck­face, was my room­mate at the 92nd Street Y. Last night Carl slipped off of a bill­board up on West Hous­ton. It’s no won­der what hap­pened. The snow-blind bas­tard couldn’t see the ledge be­low. I re­gret to tell you he died on im­pact. For me too this is sad. Carl was like a son. Of­ten, he con­fid­ed his feel­ings to me, which — for Carl — was no sim­ple task. I’m not cer­tain if you were aware, but Carl cared for you very deeply. Fre­quent­ly he said you were the one hu­man who tru­ly grasped his art. I hope you don’t mind that he shared your let­ters with me. This was some­thing he did as a pre­cau­tion, I be­lieve. In oth­er words, I be­lieve Carl Williams want­ed me to know how to reach you in the event of a tragedy, such as the one that tran­spired last night. There­fore, I am tap­ing this let­ter to the in­side of a beam on the Chamber’s Street sub­way sta­tion. It is the beam on which NECKFACE is twice crossed out, then scrawled clear­ly and clean­ly. In any case, Carl’s fu­ner­al — which I am spon­sor­ing — is at The Vil­lage Fu­ner­al Home lo­cat­ed at the in­ter­sec­tion of Av­enue A and 5th Street, on the south-west cor­ner, be­tween three and four o’clock on Wednesday.

My Con­do­lences,

Lester Mul­vey

Filed under Fiction on April 1st, 2022

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Reader Comments

Hazi Smith wrote:

I’m glad this is a work of fic­tion; Neck­face lives!

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