They came around the back way. Around behind the store. The back of that evil corporate monolith. Or at least one of its tentacles. A pod. An over ripe fruit drawing flies with the sweet smell of consumerism. Union busting, anti small buisness scum. They deserve being releived of inventory. Shrinkage. That shit is in their budget anyway. Along with the life insurance claims the company takes out on It’s employees. Owners are owners. The motherfuckers who decide for you the use of your own life.
Besides. It’s not stealing. Or shoplifting. Or boosting even. It’s the reappropriarion of material goods for the revolution. Makes perfect sense when you think about it.The heroin they bought every day was paid for through black and grey market resale of these liberated commodities. And the dope was coming from a pipline going back to a certain group of insurgents south of the border. As previously stated, makes perfect sense. It’s the 21st century, anything and everything can be politically justified.
At any rate, there they were. The rain had eased up a bit. Squid had snatched and got away with some movies. Five a pop all day. Filled some orders. Everyone wants the new releases, though sometimes they got orders for dumb shit like tv series that had been off the air six years. Tonight was a decent haul though. Fucking better have been. Three trips into the superstore, the first two aborted due to some secret shopper security mad dogging on Squid. Mikey came up with a ratchet set second shot in. The beeper tag was stashed away inside the box and had to be cut out. No biggie. By the third trip Squid just bought a bag of pretzels then tossed the dvds in the bag.
All said they’d pull about a hundo off the nights work plus the open end wrench set left over from the previous evenings job. More than enough to stay well. More than enough to feel better than usual.
So spirits were running high by the time they came around the back of the superstore. Out along the cut down the side leading to the bike path, then through the hole clipped in the fence and across the field, behind the hotel, about a half mile to downtown before making the last few blocks to the safe house. Wasn’t that far. Maybe a little further when you’re soaked from the rain, but at least that had pretty much stopped. That was all ahead, the journey back. Mikey asessed everything. He was feeling a little jumpy in the guts knowing the dope was all but secured now. By the time Squid went to meet his connect Mikey would be puking with anticipation. Happened every time. Used to hit him back in Philly like that. Five blocks from the cop spot and he’d be blowing chunder out the car door on Broad and Leihigh. Not dope sick. Just knew it was coming. Some junkies get it that bad. They’ll be puking or shitting the pants just from the thought. Mikey had it that bad.
They came out onto the bike path and saw a figure down by the lightpole. Probably some tweaker up to similar no good. Mikey had gone to stash his pack by the pole on the way in but one of them was hawking. They’re everywhere now, the tweakers. Always watching. A thousand sets of glassed over meth fueled eyeballs. Just waiting to snake a stashed backpack or anything really to diggle. No honor amongst these.
They drew closer. Whoever it was by the light it was a she and she had a cig out. Squid had only rolled and packed enough for the short night they had incorrectly assumed it would be. The last had been smoked after Mikey staged a failed attempt to peel the photo booth for bills and change. Fucking dicount mall. What a joke that had been. Couldn’t even find the fabled easy snatch iphone kiosk. Waste of time. But it was next to the superstore so they had hit it. Then they came out into the pouring rain and wet misery.
Squid called out to the girl under the pool of light along the bike path, “Hey, sell me a smoke?” “It’s my last. It’ll cost you” she replied. “Whats hittin for change Mikey? I got 50 and some brown brothers” Squid says to his cohort. Mikey digs in his pockets. Counts. Looks at the girl. A vision of beauty. Junkie, that much is obvious. She hasn’t been out on the track or anything though. Not yet at least. With any luck she’ll avoid washing out up on Aurora in Seattle under the heel of a pimp. That would be a shame. She’s really something else. Stunning.
Mikey digs in his other pockets. Counts some more change. “72 cents dude.” Squid hands the girl his coins. Mikey follows suit. He glances to her eyes as he drops the money in her hand. Her fingers curl up to capture the coinage and graze Mikeys fingertips in turn. He wishes he hadn’t glued over his tips to hide the prints or he would have felt it more. It’s the small things you sacrifice when you roll hard, someone once told him. True that. Missing out on a split second touch from a stone bush beauty is one of those small things. He knows eventually it’ll all add up again and he’ll decide to kick and go back to the straight life. Back out East. Six months in Eagleville, second oldest junk hospital in the country besides Lexington. They’ll clean him up again. Maybe he’ll go on Suboxone. Fucking new wonder drug, that one.
It’s light enough under the damaged lamp to see her peepers are pinpointed. Mikey looks in her eyes and is snapped from his moments reverie. Almost no pupil in a sea of green. She’s high.
The girl collects the change. Hands Squid the cigarette. Menthol. Fuck. It matters not though. Not at this juncture. Too tired and wet. A smoke is a smoke.
Squid lights the smoke. “I’m Squid. Thats Philadelphia Mike. You out shopping too?” “Waiting on my friend. They call me Pixie.” she says. Mike speaks up, “The pigs just threw this young girl in a squad car about half an hour back. Caught her boosting. She put up a good fight. Hope it wasn’t your friend.” “Naw” comes Pixie’s response. A pause and she continues, “No…my friend Jarrod. Jarrod Bones.” Squid goes, “I know him I think. He smokes junk. He your old man?” “Yeah. I guess”, she replies. Mikey knows him too, Jarrod. Total chump really. He used to surf the Russians couch. Not much of an earner. Dumbass kept making emergency exit runs at the Freddy’s up in Renton. Hitting the auto alarm on the way out with nothing worthwile really. Bullshit. Everyone told him. Stupid fuck kept going back. The rent a pigs had him pegged though. The last time they saw him come in the store and just lined up outside the emergency exit. Gafffled him right the fuck up when he popped the door. Yeah, that kid was undeserving of a creature so lovely as this Pixie. And she is quite lovely. Mid twenties. Auburn hair under a Volcom beanie. 501′s not slut tight but huggy enough you caught some curve viewage. No facial sores. Features sculpted by dope use but only in the good ways. The green eyes, like smoky absinthe.
Our heros are sprung, so to speak.
Squid is out of any running though. Married some decades now and he doesn’t run around on his. Philly Mike’s terminal shyness usually precludes him from much beyond furitive glances and some jokey quips. This time he’s near crippled. You don’t see ones like this usually. It’s rare. Typically they run into the hardcore paint banging junkie chicks. The ones you just stay the fuck away from if you know what’s good for you. Ex-biker bitches, shit like that. All used up and willing to cut you for a cottonshot. This one maybe was like that. She had the thousand yard stare back behind those eyes. It hadn’t consumed her yet though. It would.
So much for said heros being on the make or off on a rescue the maiden mission. Pixie was beautiful but hard enough on a quick read that they knew better. Someone else would learn. That Jarrod kid no doubt.
Conversation bubbles up. Shop talk as it were. Which stores are hitting. Which ones are a bust. Mikey relates his tale of getting pinched the previous week and shares his court date. Theft third degree. They all agree it’ll be a fine and community service.
Minutes pass. A few and then ten. Mikey seems to be amusing Pixie with his wisecracks. She laughs a lot. Not fake party laughs. She seems genuinely amused. Squid tells her he gets good dope if she ever needs to cop in town. They exchange numbers.
Mikey says “C’mon, bro. Let’s go by the Dragon bar and off these so we can get home. I’m fucken soaked.” “Yeah, no doubt, we still have to hit Giant for a liquor order anyway”, says Squid.
They bid farewell to Pixie. March off. Get back downtown within the hour.
One last thing. The liquor run. After a brief confer they decide to stock up big tonight. One of the restaurants ordered some 100 proof So. Co. anyway.
Forty minutes later and they’re walking out of a supermarket downtown with five fifths of booze apiece.
And now it goes that the night manager decides to play superman.
Mikey gets body blocked at the door. Fucking Securitas, cut rate Mexican rent a pigs. Fat fucker leans into Mikey, two bottles go flying. Squid makes to bolt. Two cart boys and the manager tackle him.
All this is happening right out front by the big electric sliding doors.
Suddenly shots ring out. Pop. Pop. Pop. The front door windows shatter. Mikey feels the spreading wetness emanating from the rent a cops crotch pressed up against his side. They scatter. The security gaurd, cart boys, manager. Pussies. Running back in towards the produce section.
Mikey and Squid hit the floor.
Car pulls up. 98 Taurus. Red. Battered.
Pixie yells from the drivers side, weilding a .380 “Looks like I found you guys right in time. Get in. Jarrod got busted back at Wally world. Lets go cop.”
Mikey looks over to Squid. Thinks to himself. Goddam. She is that hardcore after all.
There’s shattered glass and booze everywhere across the floor. The girl with the gun is pulled up on the sidewalk in front of the supermarket. Cops will come.”Dude. Pixie came for us. Lets roll” “All over it brother. Grab the pack.”
And off they go.
To be continued.
So tour wrapped up and now I’m back on my old stamping grounds of Auburn, Washington-after an almost exactly 20 years back East.
I moved to Pa. in December of 1993 from Tacoma. I had some legal entanglements stemming from a felony malicious mischeif case caught down in Olympia after performing an autonomous act of class warfare….well, basically I smashed up some rich motherfuckers boat at the Olympia Yacht Club when I was having a big time manic episode back then. That’s not to say it was entirely random and senseless, but all the same I was a bit loopy at the time.
Anyway, I copped an insanity plea and served about a year in the Legal Offenders Unit at Western State Hospital down in Steilacoom. I got out, but had a ten year tail-not termed outright parole, they call it “conditional release” but it amounted to the same…so of course I wanted to get out of it so I could smoke weed and drink beah like a normal NW punker, right? Totally. So with the help of some relatives out in Pa. I was able to have all my paper transferred out there along with my skinny ass and of course, my guitar & other shit.
And so I went. And I stayed there for waaay too long. I played in a bunch of bands in and around Scranton, Pa., notably on guitar for Skunkwater and as bassist for Belas Fix. Then I got involved heavily in the use and trafficking of heroin, got busted in 98 on a robbery beef and served eight years in a Pennsylvania state prison. While I was in there I started my current ‘zine, Usual Suspect, did seven issues from behind bars, played bass in the intitututional ensamble for a few years, lifted some weights, jerked off a lot.
Got out in 06 and paroled to Erie, Pa. In 08 I married the woman I was with before I fell on state time. It was a huge mistake, the whole marriage thing. Ever involving myself with that female in the first place…
But had I not gone to prison I would have come back out here to the NW in the later 90′s, and had I not wed I would have come back after I got off of state parole in 09. However, she didn’t want to be away from her family so I wound up stuck back out near Scranton. I didn’t want to be living there in America’s armpit, but…well…she had the pussy so she made the rules.
At any rate. This is supposed to be about Auburn.
I moved here from Spokane Wa. in 1987. Went to the beginning of my last grade of high school here-10th grade. Then I dropped out because I had more pressing concerns involving getting drunk, stage diving and riding a skateboard.
Auburn, A-town, Aubburned Out, it’s a special place. About 20 miles south of Seattle it carries the pedigree of being the birthplace of some damn fine NW hardcore bands from the latter cold war era-the legendary Subvert got their start here, and as well It’s the birthplace of Social Wart, Blowchunks, Ghosts of Roadkill, and The Bongwater Endeavor-the latter being a long lost tape session of me and Marvin Starr. Basically just guitar and vocals, Marv on guitar and me yelling mic’d shit. It was pretty funny.
Anyway…here I am. Auburn. The town sure has changed. There’s way more people. Used to be like 26,000 people or something…it was just a lot smaller. Now theres like seventy grand. It’s all pretty huge now.
And everyone is on meth. I shit you not. There should be a sign on the highway as you come into town….Welcome to Auburn! Plan on staying awake a long fucking time, yo!
It’s crazy. Wandering zombies. My first day in town I saw this little girl…like fouteen years old…and she’s riding this bike and all uber-pale and skinny like a toothpick…and she looks at me locking her pleading eyes into my fucking soul and she whimpers out, “i need shards…”
I’m like whafuk? Thinking to myself thats what they call it out here…I learned that in California the night I smoked some of that shit out of a vaporizer. Shards. Gnarly shit.
Still. It was a shock. This little kid. A child.
And that’s really it, my thing with Auburn. I’ll always love it here, but it’s also always going to have a pall of sadness for me. Everything from the dead body discovered at a woodsy drinking spot out near Black Diamond…to the stuff documented in my second book…to now, the ongoing tragedy, displaced families living in the park, the lives of some of my oldest and dearest friends as they still have to struggle…my own problems landing work and trying to keep my head in check. Been getting a bit too fucked up lately. Drank a bottle of American Honey with Johnny Blank last night and got tore up. Oh, and because I now reside in a state where it’s legal as fuck to smoke ganja….
Well nevermind. I do have a new band coagulating. We’re called Holy Fucking Shit. Seriously. It’s me on guitar and Johnny Blank playing bass. Deric is supposed to be coming out from Scranton to lay down vocal stylings, and if we’re lucky Xtian will drag his hobo ass out from Erie to play drums. It’ll be epic, as they say nowaday. Maybe a punk rock train wreck of epic proportions. I’ll give it that much. Well, thats our intent at least.
Yup. Fucking Auburn.
Sept. 14 2013
So much has happened. Here I am now back in Erie…sleeping at the mission.
I guess I manage to survive. Kind of self evident really.
And here I am scribbling at this.
Nov. 13 2013
More shit happened. Some bad. Mainly before I got out of Erie. All before really. Since, it’s been pretty good. The past week and a half…two weeks…what ever that haze is back there in my head.
Just finished tour with 13 Scars and Reagan Youth. Headed back to the NW. It’ll be my first time back in like 20 years.
After that…I dunno. Maybe wander the Earth until Spring or something. Maybe wash some dishes or run jackets and weights at a foundry for sustenance wages.
Uh. Yeah. I’m all over it.
He came home same as any other morning.
Shift at the foundry ends at six am, the buzzer sounds like an agonized swarm of hornets in his ears each time but he’s gotten used to it. Buzzer, then clock out, then hit the locker room to shower and change. Most days he just changes clothes and rolls out. The black shit never comes all the way off no matter if you hit the magic rain box there at the shop or back at home. It’s the dust from the black casting sand mixed with soots of varying quality spewed out from the furnace and molten iron its filled with. Gets all up in the nostrils, in every hole in a mans head, under the fingernails, coats the hair. The shit gets everywhere and doesn’t come out for a month after he finally quits.
But thats not yet. He’s still hammering out twelve hour shifts six nights a week. The Vicodin helps him forget the pain enough to stay banging shift out night after night. Then he’s bedridden on his day off healing up for the next week.
It’s grunt work. Picking up the 80 pound bmp weights and moving them to the next row of molds while Goat and Todd take turns pouring the liquified iron out of the pour ladle. There’s only six men on the night shift. Two pour, two run the jackets and weights, one man on the transfer ladle from the furnace and the foreman who mainly yells and tries to keep the antiquated furnace from grounding out with two thousand pounds of molten metal stuck in it.
It happens though. The furnace goes tits up from time to time. Then they have to pig all the iron into a giant drum inside another one packed with sand. Once there was water inside it and it blew when the metal poured in. Big explosion. Goat had been doing this shit thirty years so he knew the sound when it was about to go volcanic. Dude never said hardly nothing ever, and never loudly. So when his voice boomed “GET THE FUCK OUT, NOW!!!!” everyone knew it was for serious. Saved a life or two when that pig drum blew. The metal went completely airborne. Shit was everywhere. Nobody got hit bad enough that their gear didn’t protect them though. By that time everyone had booked halfway out of the back floor. The iron spatter wasn’t to heavy at that distance.
His thoughts turned to shit like that often after work. He’d be laying in bed lazily puffing at a blunt of middy commercial grade…and wondering if seven twenty five an hour was worth risking life and limb for.
It took him some time but he finally decided it wasnt.
It didn’t happen that day though. That day he finished at work and went to the massage parlor up off Peach street to see her.
She went by the name of Jasmine. Mulatto, 23 years old, sidelined at the housewares department out at Wal Mart. Everything about her was beautiful. Especially the soiled dove persona. They’d shower together and then she’d rub his back. They’d talk about writing of all things. She wanted to move to San Francisco with her female lover and become a professional writer. He’d written some books in byegone years. He encouraged her. She’d tell him stories until he drifted off and his two hours ran out. She knew he’d be back the next week to give her money and sometimes head. He was nice enough and had a more than adequate amount of dick, so it was never as bad as sellling a bargain appliance to some redneck family at her other gig.
For him it was simply mutual aid. Was a time when he moralized about things. But then we all sell our bodies for work in one way or another, so it stopped bothering him after thinking of it that way. She wasn’t an addict or a kid, there was no coercion or power imbalance involved. Best of all niether had to lie and utter bullshit about love. It was simple.
He left Jasmine that day, got in his car and drove. Thought about things. About life. About what he was going to do.
Fifteen miles out was the Taylor borough branch of the Northeast Security bank. It was Lindseys second day at work. She knew he’d be coming today but she wasn’t nervous as she scanned the mostly elderly line of customers over the teller counter. He walked in. She had hide her recognition and suppress ghe urge to run out and give her dad a hug.
He waits in line ten minutes. Walks up with a withdrawl slip filled out for five grand. No account at the bank. Same as in Cleveland last year and Hilo two years prior.
He hands her the slip. Pulls out a Raven Arms .25 and levels it across the counter, his body blocking the view from everyone behind him but not the camera. Gotta make it look right for the camera. He speaks slowly with his Pensylvania affect, “Better make that fifteen sweetheart. Or just empty the tills for me better yet. Large bills please.”
He walks out. Calm. Gets back in his battered 98 Taurus and drives to work.
Later he’ll count it, after work and some smoke. 17 grand. Not bad. He’ll wire Linds her cut tomorrow.
He drives back to see Jasmine. Brings a copy of the Writers Marketplace with six thousand dollars stuffed inside an envelope and taped to the inside cover.
He hands her the book. Says “follow your dream” and walks out.
Two days later he decides to quit his job and join the revolution.