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Authors: Thorn Kief Hillsbery

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What We Do Is Secret

BOOK: What We Do Is Secret
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this book is for weasel
oh most defiantly
it is also for
David Dolores

The Californians are an idle, thriftless people, and can make nothing for themselves. . . . In fact, they sometimes appeared to me to be a people on whom a curse had fallen, and stripped them of everything but their pride, their manners, and their voices.

—Richard Henry Dana, Jr., Two Years Before the Mast

Darby Crash, charismatic lead singer for the underground Los Angeles rock band the Germs, was found dead yesterday in a Hollywood residence. Police attributed the cause of death to a “massive” overdose of heroin, and said a note found near the body indicated it was intentional. He was 22.

Crash, whose given name was Jan Paul Beahm, emerged in 1978 as a local icon of the nihilistic punk rock movement that originated in New York and London in the mid-1970s. Following the lead of such groups as the Ramones and the Sex Pistols, the Germs combined anti-establishment lyrics with raucous, simplistic musical accompaniment and sported bizarre fashions inspired by imagery from sado-masochism. Their debut album,
G.I.,
produced by Joan Jett, was released to critical acclaim in 1979 on the independent Los Angeles label Slash. Earlier this year, the Germs contributed five songs to the soundtrack of William Friedkin’s film
Cruising
.

Slash president Robert Biggs described Crash as a “brilliant” songwriter, and said his performances constitute the “centerpiece” of the recently completed documentary film
The Decline of Western
Civilization,
directed by Penelope Spheeris.

“Darby was a legend,” Biggs said. “For a lot of young people in southern California, John Lennon’s death the same day was meaningless, but they’ll feel Darby’s loss for the rest of their lives.”

—Los Angeles Times, December 8, 1980

east of la brea

1

This is supposed to be about Darby Crash, but I don’t think it’s going to be. All my so-called life it seems it’s this boy here and that girl there and once they see my Germs burn and hear it’s real they know what they want as in word on the old-school LA punk scene and they know how to get it as in Tell it, Rockets, but now that I’m at their service sitting down to let my fingers do the talking the first clue card on the table says the only secrets I’m spilling are mine all mine alone, which sounds like here comes trouble if missing in traction from slippage in the spillage are the bleed-all-about-it excess-clusives that all those jacks and all those jills are pitching pretty pennies to read.

Like with yours coolly for instance, door number one there’s the sex stuff that’s nothing to do with punk at all, and door number two there’s stuff like what happened that night at the Nast Western that’s punk as fuckety-fuck, cross my cold cold heart and hope to cry baby cry, but still I’m not proud of, how could I be. And I try to be all, No Fear and No Regrets but there’s one kind of fear you can’t exactly high-five with and make it all better now, that fear of who you really are, ocean deep inside.

And I’ve had it for a while. Though not long enough to get over it, which I guess I will someday. So maybe what I should do right now is just say Shine, and go back to the Jell-O factory and wait bloody wait on someday bloody someday.

But I hate waiting.

I hate lots of things. I hate poseurs and trendoids and especially I hate vals and especially especially that Valley hesher hang called Rock Corporation where all these clueless Germettes who didn’t know who I was picked me out for a pounding, and when I defended myself these dumb buff surf boys from Seamy Valley jumped in screaming, “Don’t hit a girl, faggot.” I hate the Bible and J. D. Salinger and Kurt Vonnegut. I hate anything to do with fifties-based rock. I hate the Frito Bandito. I hate Exene because she lied to me, once, and Hellin Killer because she didn’t, twice. I hate that kid Elliot Mess because he’s dirty, he’s like so dirty he’s contagious, and I think of him with Darby and it makes me want to puke.

I hate every single waitress at the IHOP on Sunset across from Hollywood High. I hate picture postcards with jackalopes and Jake the Alligator Man. I hate that chicken game where you throw the knife between your fingers. I hate retarded punk names like Donna Rhia and Adam Bomb and Dinah Cancer. I hate Aleister Crowley and Jimmy Page. I hate Alice Cooper because he plays golf and I hate Avon Products too, Darby’s mom had a serious case of collection infection, you had to juggle rubber duckies just to close the bathroom door.

I hate the Dils, they’re fakes, they’re not Communists. I hate Farrah Fawcett-Majors. I hate sniffing spot remover. I hate Rod Stewart haircuts. I hate that stuff that comes in a can, Party Slime or whatever, I hate when you get it in your hair. I hate all those loser chicks, the Crash Trash. I hate Spock ears. I hate Gerber because when someone passes out at a party she’ll take a straw and blow vodka down their throat, and the idea is they’ll wake up puking, but sometimes they puke without waking and that’s how Jimi Hendrix died. I hate the way Darby comes in too soon on “No God,” on
Lexicon Devil
, after the instrumental part, and ruins it.

I hate telemarketing and phone sex and maps to the homes of the oh my stars. I hate that dude who nails himself to the Volkswagen. I hate the Greeks and the Romans and all that shit about how every advanced civilization is basically homosexual. I hate that sick fuck chickenhawk Tar. I hate all the HB bands with their fake English accents. I hate people who say
G.I.
means Germs Incognito when it’s Guerrilla Insurgency, and I hate the Doors. I hate heroin. I hate Amber. I hate Casey Cola. I hate dry hits. I hate the fuckin tarantula that’s in
The
Decline
. I hate all those little punk trashettes where you walk all over them in your boots in Daddy’s living room and to them it’s “having sex.” I hate Flipper’s Roller Boogie Palace and I hate people who say Mohawk when they mean Mohican. I hate that Queen song “Another One Bites the Dust.” And I hate Scientology, oh I hate it wicked bad, Darby said there were twenty-six meanings for the word
the
and he liked to know exactly what they meant, he learned that from Scientology.

I love one thing in all LA, I love the purple sky at night.

2

So I’m cold, huh?

You got a fire, stoke it up, call me!

How fun, I don’t even fuck no more, there ain’t no livin’ large no more, we don’t barely have a scene at all, and I don’t even bleed the same blood when I’m cut no more. And I heard it through the grapevine that Kickboy’s leaving town.

After all the fears he faced down.

Ain’t no wave, new wave, this bullshit can’t be true, is that what change meant, rearrangement, bought by who?

But I don’t trip on it too hard now, how the Go-Go’s are number one from sea to slimy sea when Darby said they’ve got no lyrics, they’ve got nothing, they’re going nowhere, how it’s maybe morning in America to Reagan but midnight in Hollywood to me, and I can’t get there from here.

Even though he could.

I’m used to being in the dark I guess, I kind of like it, you might say I’m factory-equipped and more, with anything about my parents including their names on the options list, though supposedly they were leftists and true they left me, mostly without but leastways blessed with an engine that could as much as it would, once I discovered nocturnal combustion.

At any early age.

As both a means to a living and a means to an end, in the land of diseased and home of depraved, anyways, where a stranger tonight might be the Strangler tomorrow. So my next big discovery was this belief I still keep to my secret religious-like self, that night makes right at the end of the day, and tomorrow belongs to anyone but me. I do take precautions, though. And at least my crib at the Jell-O factory’s safe from all spying eyes Communist or otherwise, all but Mr. Jaundiced One, ripping down the bloodshot sky, cooling his way towards surfers at play, slanting in and warming me awake to a moment in I-wonderland, because there’s no set schedule, lime on Tuesdays, grape on Fridays, you never never know. You sit up stretching and Big Gulp it in and you can’t help flexing your smile muscles too, flavor-check, flavor-check,
Hell fuckin strawberry na!

On a good night.

Black cherry, on a bad one.

How fun.

What did the lezzie hooker say in
Long Dong Does Hong
Kong?

“Not my pick to rickety-rick.”

It’s just too Robo remindful, a Robo high’s like your head’s wrapped mummy-wise in layers of those stringy flat gauze bandages, but fright years thicker, Kotex-thicker, creepy, clinging, itching and smothering you, all at once. You get fuzzboxedin with Quaaludes too, but at least you laugh, fall two floors down a fire escape on ’ludes and next thing you know the local hyena hang’s one big inferiority complex, and you’re on report to the SPCA. On Robitussin just try coming up with a basic grin, never mind the audio track. Even if you finally figure out your lips might be somehow involved it’s still quantum mechanics without any tools when you failed elementary auto shop. You’re nothing but a sick fuck Robo zombie.

But back in the day at the Punk Crash Pad at Hollywood Towers, more often than not it was Robo or squat. We’d jack it incognito with our hair under Dodgers caps, late at night from Ralph’s on Sunset with Stickboy taking charge, your wish is my commando-style. He’d lead us single-file down the aisle and we’d snag it on the move without breaking stride, off their shelf and down our tightie not-so-whities. Then most times we’d do the paying customer thing too, and go through the checkout line with diversionary Yoo-Hoos and candy bars, especially if Serena was working, or working it, that’s more like it. She played watch the crotch like some good citizens play the slots in Vegas, so it was this cat-and-mouse deal at first, but since she never busted us we schooled ourselves at Watson Elementary that she must be a nympho, and then Stickboy let it slip accidentally on purpose that he had a bigger Big Hunk than Dee Dee Ramone, which urban legend gave thumbs-up to even though he just turned twelve. And no shit, Sherlock, from there to infirmity she had us singing “Serena Is a Punk Rocker,” we were like her homies and she’d sell us smokes and open up just for us, or Stickboy anyways, making his jokes about flowing her handshakes with Big Jim and the Twins, and giving burly squeezes to the Robo through his jeans.

Then we’d bail for home street home, not exactly the Apartment of Water and Power with both H
2
O and AC-go juice cut completely, and since none of us could A the Q how to run the hellevators off D for Duracells we climbed the fire stairs past where any street trash squatters ever had the guts or glory for, and just for insurance against any dirtbags or elderqueers who maybe might we built booby traps, like for example you counted six steps above the sixth-floor landing and then six more which added up to 666 the sign of the Beast, so you remembered where the big Mazola slick was that we poured on the stairs that otherwise you’d slip on in the dark and reach for the handrail studded with single-edge razor blades stuck in blobs of Bazooka bubble gum. And likewise we did a sharpened bamboo pongee stick palisade with rat poison on the tips nine steps times two above the ninth-floor landing in honor of that English band 999.

The bad-planning part of this was coming down there weren’t any handy-dandy memory aids like six-six-six or nine-nine-nine, since twelve steps above the sixth floor turns out to be seven steps below the seventh floor or some higher math like that, and it’s just too many numbers to keep straight in your head period, let alone comma number one, before
especially when you’re loaded on cough syrup,
and comma number two, before
and ten years old besides
.

Because Stickboy was the oldest one of all of us, and he was older by a year at least. So okay, maybe shaving’s still a novelty to yours coolly, here and now in the flutter and wow, mourning in America, year one, A.D.

After Darby.

But am I over and I mean cradle to 45 Grave my thirst for the worst, oh most defiantly, and it’s not like I needed reinforcement or anything but it wasn’t a raspberry night before my birthday and it wasn’t a tangerine night before my birthday and it wasn’t a hell fuckin strawberry na night before my birthday, I woke to blackest blackest cheerless cherry and I still can’t shake it, Robo and Jell-O are the usual suspects but up the boardwalk from Phranc’s there’s a cotton candy vendor and a breeze blowing Sid-like as in My Way and I can’t hold my breath forever, now can I.

No need to close my maybe-blues, just inhale.

And it’s that night, now.

BOOK: What We Do Is Secret
6.83Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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