And Jesus loves them. I haven’t been blogging. I haven’t been journaling. I’m pissed off. I have been sick. Sick and tired, of the rain and cold. It’s going to be one of those non-summers we British Columbians suffer now and then. Fuck it. I’m turning this year around. 2011 is the year I complete my novel. Despite everything. Everyone. I have been caught up in the daunting task of cutting and revising, 150 pages slashed; didn’t think I could do it, so glad I did. When that’s complete I’ll restructure if need be. Here’s a segment of The Town Slut’s Daughter, partially set in Vancouver’s punk rock scene. You’ll have to excuse the wacky formatting, WordPress sucks. I’m afraid there’s no excuse for lapsed Catholic protagonist Fiona Larouchelle. She is not a nice girl.
“Look who’s on TV!” Rita pointed to Joey Shithead on The Vancouver Show with Pia Shandel.
“Ha!” hooted Fiona. “She looks like a Pia Shandel.”
Joey handled bubbly Pia with aplomb. Fiona threw down three tickets to the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre emblazoned with Hit Someone You Love.
“Great!” said Rita. “What’s with all the misogyny? I thought the scene was so equalitarian.” Rita grabbed the kettle, turned on the tap. “Well, I suppose it is if you happen to be young, white and male.”
“Maybe we shouldn’t go.”
“Maybe we shouldn’t. Who is Transformer Productions, anyway?”
“I don’t know. Never heard of them. But it’s a great bill! Rabid, Pointed Sticks, SubHumans, K-Tels.” Angus was a hero for digging up a new venue, O’Hara’s, a derelict nightclub on the pier at the foot of Main. Her father remembered it from when he was a young buck roaming the streets. “I wanna go. We gotta see the K-Tels.”
“Okay. We’re doing our bit to fight sexism, right? We play electric guitars!”
The next night Fiona, Shannon and Rita drove down to the show, a near riot on by the time they arrived.
BAM! THUD! WHAM!
“Hey,” said Fiona, “it’s like Batman.”
Entering cautiously, they noticed a riser to their right and looked up into the scowling faces of thirty or so longhaired bikers and fat, bearded yahoos greeting them with upraised chairs and benches. A table whizzed past their heads, crashing against the wall, but when the girls advanced, like a sea parting, the bikers moved aside to let them pass.
“I guess we don’t pose a threat,” said Fiona, “or maybe they’re sparing the girls.”
Shannon laughed. “As if they have policy.”
They found the K-Tels soldiering through Automan, bassist Jim Bescott and green-haired Art so on the beam, they deftly dodged an assortment of projectiles. Fuming, Rita sidled up to a big greaser just as he was about to launch a Labatt’s can and grabbed him by the arm.
“Hey asshole! Those are my friends.”
He nearly choked on his tongue. Rita stood guard until the frustrated hit man left.
Like hyenas tracking a herd of wildebeest, their tormenters plucked the youngest, sickest, stupidest kids from the crowd, methodically pummeling all attitude out of them. The Bowery Boys were on rodeo clown duty, goading the creeps, pulling them off their friends, getting in a few punches of their own.
“This is nuts!” shouted Fiona. She waved at Oona and Spooner across the room. They dashed over. “Are you okay?”
“Yeah,” sputtered Oona. “What the fuck is going on?”
“I dunno, it’s bizarre,” said Spooner, glancing nervously about the room, “every biker and grease-ball in the Lower Mainland must be here. I heard they’re even coming up from Bellingham.”
Is a mob the sum of its parts? Fiona could see no eye contact, with each other or their prey. No motive, no reason. No head. No heart.
Shannon surveyed the pandemonium. “Well, if this is Valentine’s Day, it must be hell.”
“Maybe this is security,” Rita said grimly. “I’m having visions of Altamont.”
They exited at the first opportunity. Fiona saw Dennis wrestling a particularly nasty biker. She beckoned, afraid for him, but Dennis waved, calmly ducking a punch, then springing up like a jack-in-the-box—*POW*—to neatly plow several teeth down the guy’s throat. Blubbering blood, the biker plopped down onto a spindly, wooden chair. Dennis smiled and pushed it over with his foot. Pointing and laughing at the biker like a beetle on its back, legs and feet paddling the air, Dennis ran over to Fiona.
Arms linked, Fiona, Dennis, Shannon, Rita, Oona, Spooner and Simon marched out. They encountered more thugs leaning against the railings, hooting, howling, grunting.
“Oohhh baby. Nice tits. Nice ass!”
“Hey little girl, come on over here and suck my cock!” The biggest, Judas Priest t-shirt clad, grabbed his crotch. “Come on, ditch those faggots. You need a real man.”
Fiona turned and flipped the bird. “Go fuck yourself.”
The pier trembling, that was the next thing that registered, then feet running, bikers on top of them within a matter of seconds. Spooner was thrown to the ground first—all 135 pounds—punched and kicked while in the fetal position. Desperately holding onto his head, they kicked him in the ribs. Spooner lowered his arms, they kicked him in the skull. One of the bikers grabbed Rita by the elbow and spun her around.
“It’s a girl!”
He turned and punched Simon in the face instead. Fiona jumped on his back, yarding on his greasy hair, vainly attempting to pull his colossal bulk down. He flicked her off like a bug. Rita pounced. He swung round and pinned her arms behind her back. Rita whacked him in the shins with her boot heel. Cursing, he tossed her to the ground. Simon was down too, legs thrashing against a beating, Dennis trying to get to him but up to his eyeballs in fisticuffs with another grease ball.
“Leave them alone!” screamed Fiona. Shannon screamed, Oona screamed, they all screamed. Jesus H. Christ, where are the fucking police when you need them?
“Get off him, you prick!” Rita managed to pull one of them off Spooner though not for long.
The bikers snorted and laughed and continued their gleeful pounding. Sirens! At last, though the bikers were thorough, refusing to stop until the patrol cars’ red and blue lights were flashing across their faces. They scattered, bodies splayed the length of the boardwalk, including an unconscious Spooner. Dennis hauled a bruised-but-okay Simon up off the ground. Oona ran over, crumpling at the sight of Spooner spread-eagled. Shannon crossed herself, Fiona following suit. Christ! Don’t let him be dead. Dennis and Simon ran to search for a paramedic, girls hovering as Rita checked Spooner’s pulse.
Thank God! Rita loosened his collar and positioned his head so the blood drained out of his mouth.
“Spooner. Spooner,” whispered Oona, like Wendy to Peter Pan.
“Maybe we should take him to the hospital ourselves,” said Shannon.
Rita didn’t want to move him. “He might be bleeding internally.”
It felt like forever but help finally arrived. There were many casualties, more chaos ensuing as they prepared to move Spooner’s sad sack of bones. He was attended to with oxygen and seemingly revived by sleight of hand. He blinked, came to hearing friends screaming his silly name, promptly placed on a gurney, Oona permitted to ride in the ambulance with him.
Fiona slapped Dennis on the back. “Hey, Grasshopper.” She mimed punching, kicking. “Martial arts training?”
“A little karate.”
“Nah. My parents just wanted to prepare me, that’s all.”
“They did a good job. You’re still slumming though.”
“So are you.”
“Uh uh. I’m going sideways. You’re lowering yourself.”
“Why? Because I can defend myself?”
“Because your folks want to pay for stuff like that. Because they’re even aware of it.”
Dennis shrugged as if to spit out his silver spoon.
Fiona sopped up the last of her oyster stew with a fist full of sourdough bread, wishing the rain would let up, the Only Seafood Cafe about as cozy as a bus station. It reminded her of all the greasy spoons her mother worked in. Still, she enjoyed hiding out in the tall, wooden booths painted a putrid shade of green—sea green—watching the regulars captain the wobbly stools. Besides, the food was cheap.
“Hey, what’s a girl like you doing in a nice place like this?”
“Oh. Hi Simon. Sit.” He was not alone. Oona and Mad Dog popped out from behind his coat. “Surprise!”
They ordered Cokes, rehashed the previous night’s attack of the killer beer-bellies.
“They managed to put dents into just about everybody!” Oona’s eyes were an even deeper blue framed by wet, ox-blood curls.
Fiona grabbed the saltshaker before Mad Dog could loosen the lid. “Well, I bet Angus changes his attitude after seeing his friends get the snot beat out of them.”
Simon threw a match into a tank crawling with crabs, then started in haranguing the hapless and tatty old men sitting at the counter. Fiona got up to leave, holding onto her jiggling tummy.
“I’m outta here before you manage to get us kicked out of another dive. Come on, Oona, let’s go.”
Simon and Mad Dog trained their puppy dog eyes on Oona. She slammed down the last of her cola. “Okay, let’s go.” The boys groaned.
Fiona popped open her umbrella, put her arm through Oona’s and invited her in and under. The girls strolled down Hastings, stopped at the corner.
“What do you want to do now?” asked Oona.
“I don’t know, but I’m freezing and my mascara’s running. Let’s go somewhere.”
“Hey, I know! Let’s pool our money and get a mickey for Spooner.”
“I don’t know if that’s such a good idea.”
“For medicinal purposes.”
“He’ll probably get plastered. He doesn’t drink much, you know.”
Dennis had blamed the incident on Fiona and her big mouth. Fast and loose with the middle finger too, she felt bad.
“Those guys wanted to kill us!” said Oona. “They would have come after us no matter what.”
They found Spooner limp and pasty as a noodle, girls gasping at the sight of his twin shiners. He waved them in, puffy lips curling into a crooked smile.
“I am so sorry Spooner!”
“Forget it. No use crying over spilled blood,” he said, propping his pulp-face up with a pillow. Oona pulled the bottle out of a paper bag.
“Thank you!” he squeaked.
Fiona handed him a straw. Spooner winced and sucked on the scotch hard and fast. He grimaced, pouring some of the whiskey into a saucer on the floor, to share with Walter his pet pigeon. The bird bent over and much to their delight, actually imbibed.
“Hey, Walter’s a real party animal!” said Fiona.
Walter cooed and squawked for a little while before toppling over. They howled with laughter, Spooner rolling back onto the bed, holding onto himself.
“One more drink and Walter will be under the host!” said Fiona.
“Don’t make me laugh!” groaned Spooner, cradling his ribs. “It hurts!”
Spooner was feeling no pain by the time they left, though Fiona was, acutely afflicted with regret.