Punker Notes [Original Novel]
Part Two: Road Trip
On Barnes Road, just a stone’s throw from where I’d lived as a Michigan white trash moron only a few years earlier, we pull around the back of what formerly had been Egelston Junior High to a parking lot. We spot a couple dozen punkers standing near the entrance to the school’s gymnasium.
“Yeah, yer Uncle Monroe was all jokin’ with some punks at my sister’s wedding reception here a couple months back.” Joey Clover, my Aunt Louise’s sixteen-year-old neighbor who’d told me and Jenkins about the punk gigs here, laughs.
Me and Jenkins step out of the Sedan Deville and walk up to the gym to check out the situation. It turns out that Lycanthropy, a relatively well known Nevada punk outfit, are playing tonight. The admission is five dollars, but with our funds running low we can’t afford to pay the admission fee.
We walk back to the car, “Hey, we’re gonna hang around, maybe see if we can get in for free later on after the show’s goin’,” I lean in notifying the Clover kid.
“What ya wanna stick around there for...?” Joey inquires as we drive him back home. “Just wanna go in there and take some uh them punks out with a big double-fisted helicopter move!” Even though I’ve got bleached white hair sticking straight out of my head, and Jenkins has long black bangs hanging practically down to his chin, the fact that we ourselves are punkers seems to be lost on Joey.
Back at the gig we end up talking to the promoter, a woman in her mid-twenties. “You guys are from California?! Co-ol!” she responds.
We hang out and talk to some of the kids, and also with the band members feeling a little comradery with them as they too are from the west.
Then we end up talking to this local punker, Jimmy, a young black guy about eighteen who wants me to get him and his friends some beer.
“Yeah man...,” he’s pitching me a deal though it’s not necessary. “If you buy a case for us..., you guys can drink it with me and my partners. We’ll get all fucked up.”
We’re on our way to get beer and Jimmy’s talking about a camping trip on a small island somewhere in Lake Michigan. “Yeah, we totally thrashed that island. Just got all fucked up and went, like ballistic totally thrashin’ small trees and any kinda plants and flowers.”
“Why’dya thrash it...? Why didn’t ya just hang out?” Jenkins queries, but the guy doesn’t seem to get this idea.
In front of DeYoung’s Market on U.S. 46 Highway, Jimmy gives me some money.
“Yeah..., just get as much uh the cheapest shit they got,” he suggests. “And we’ll get all wasted and go fuckin’ nuts in the pit.”
I walk in and pull a couple twelve-packs of Old Milwaukee from the refrigerated beverages section. I carry them to the checkout counter where the manager starts to ring up the total. My father had gone to elementary school with this guy. He doesn’t recognize me, but I’d been in the place hundreds of times as a kid with my dad.
Back at the junior high sitting in the Cadillac behind the school we’re downing the swill getting to know a few of Jimmy’s friends.
“Yeah tomorrow,” Jimmy gestures towards a field next to the parking lot, “come back here, out in that field’ll be a buncha beer bottles. You can take ‘em back in and get a deposit back for ‘em. Sometimes twenty or thirty bottles.”
The band starts playing and me and Jenkins just walk slowly into the gymnasium. The woman who is putting on the show just kind of smiles and doesn’t ask us for money.
Inside, Lycanthropy is going into full throttle. Some kids are running around in a little ‘pit.’ Jenkins and me stand at the left side of the two-foot high stage. The singer is running around screaming, singing, sprints over to me. Yells in my ear for a second then is back to the middle of the stage directing his attention towards the pit.
Next song the band goes into the Damned’s “Wait For the Blackout.” Jenkins grabs my shoulder pulling me into the fray. We get a little crazy running around in the middle of the pit—this one not nearly as brutal as the ones at the big L.A. punk gigs—screaming along with the lyrics.
Photo by CirrosisAguda