Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Sisters (Part 6)

     We were in Santa Monica again.  This time, we were at a union hall waiting for music to start.  There was a punk rock show happening that night, three bands.  The Dwarves headlining, BadTown Boys second, and Gash opening.  This would be their first show in front of an audience, quite a feat to pull off.  They'd passed out a ton of demo tapes, and one fell into the right hands.

     Fang had wanted a foot pedal for the Roland TR-606 drum machine Gash used in lieu of a human drummer, allowing her to pause in the middle of a sequence, and jump from one sequence to another without having to walk to the machine itself.  The shop where they'd bought the pedal was an indie place, whose manager was a serious music fan.  He was the one promoting this show.  After having met the girls and hearing the demo, he called Fang and offered her the gig, a thirty-five minute set.  In fact, he'd knocked off his own band from the opening spot to put Gash on instead.  "What the hell, we're playing the Whiskey the next Friday anyway," he explained.
     Feather, Fang, and Glee were at first a bit alarmed at how obliging Dale the manager was.  He may have sensed their alarm and explained he was the guitarist for a band called Queensland, a queer-core band similar to Pansy Division, only with a harder sound.  Dale felt the dyke-rock bands had a better sound, he loved Tribe 8 and Chromewagon, and pushed his band to develop a harder edge.  He assured the three girls, "Even if I wasn't a fag, I still have more class than to chase after anything ten or fifteen years younger than me.  You're probably gonna have to put up with a lot of lechery in the lifetime of your band, but don't worry about it coming from me or my friends."
     The show would be documented on videotape.  Rich and Sally agreed to man a couple stationary cameras, while Calm Steve used a portable rig.  We'd found a video camera that was as compact as a consumer system, but had the quality we wanted.  I'd spoken with Dale, who agreed to allow us to record the show and even get a four-track recording off the sound board, with one stipulation: all three bands be taped, and also provided with copies of the finished product at no charge.  Fine with us.  It would be a side project for Bekka, who was focusing more heavily on editing.  We told Dale we'd have a complete tape available in about a month following the show.
     At Feather's request, flyers and other promo did not mention that Inana Girl Feather was a member of Gash.  She wanted the music to stand on its own.  If she was recognized, that couldn't be helped, but she didn't want people to think this was some sort of glamour project of hers.  Gash's sound was far too abrasive for mainstream popularity, and the three just wanted to have fun.  How far the band got was totally up in the air.  With Glee only being fifteen and a sophomore in high school, their options for playing live outside California on weekends were limited.  All three managed to keep the stars out of their eyes.
     The show started at 8:30.  Gash and the Inana people arrived around six, to set up cameras and get a good feel for the space.  The hall had a maximum occupancy of 460, a decent sized room for a punk rock show.  Dale had put on shows here before, and advised us where good locations for the stationary cameras would be.  He assured us his sound man was talented, and had recorded live remotes in the past.
     The Dwarves and the BadTown Boys both arrived within five minutes of us.  All three bands wanted to get their sound checks over with, so a bit of pre-show partying could take place.  Each band sort of staked out an area backstage to leave equipment.  The Bad Town Boys had two guitars and a sizable drum kit, so they had the most room.  Gash walked in with their own equipment: bass and guitar slung over shoulders, Glee carrying the Roland and the half-stack it played through.  I was hefting Fang's Marshall amp, Erica and Bekka were carrying Feather's.  We were eyed by the respective bands as we entered: three teenage punk rock girls, two older punks (Erica and I), and --- what the hell? --- Becky Page.  I ran back outside and grabbed the two small amps for the drum machine: it emulated a stereo sound, and needed both speakers to not sound "flat."
    Erica was wearing her DYKE jacket, Bekka was her usual slutty goth garb, I looked the same as I always did (boots, black Ben Davis, t-shirt, and my studded-and-abused denim jacket).  Feather and Fang looked pretty casual --- jeans, Doc Martens, and t-shirts --- while Glee was very much in theater mode.  All three girls had gone to town on their makeup, but Glee was wearing a boy's dress shirt with no bra, Chuck Taylors, and a pair of those tiny Speedo shorts women's beach volleyball players wear.  She also had the cable from a computer printer tied around her neck like a noose, and her hair was at its most chaotic.  It looked like it had been cut with a weed whacker, dyed bright red, and spiked .  Her makeup was so heavy she looked like a raccoon.
     We set everything down and said a collective hello to the members of the other bands.  They were easy to tell apart.  The BadTown Boys were very clean-cut, in matching leather jackets and short hair.  Good looking lads, obvious products of the Los Angeles area.  The Dwarves were hairier and more anarchic.  Each band was familiar with the other, but had never met before.  Conversation was casual but a bit guarded.  The arrival of the opening act gave a bit of common ground: total unknowns, three teenage girls, and for some reason Becky Page is with them.  Not to mention the goon in the denim and the Queer Nation escapee.
     "You still need to unload your drums?" asked one of the BadTown Boys, who I'd later know as Greg.  He and brother Chris were the founders of the band.
     "Already covered," said Feather, holding up the drum machine.  "We hired Big Black's old drummer, his name is Roland."
     "Oh Jesus, a Drumatrix!" exclaimed Vadge, the drummer for the Dwarves.
     Blag Dahlia, the Dwarves' singer, heckled, "So are you playing old Devo covers?"
     Fang, five foot six of skinny punk rock lesbian attitude at sixteen, said, "No.  We do a couple early Black Flag covers, 'Big Dick' by NoMeansNo, and one S.O.D. cover, even though S.O.D. are fuckin' assholes.  You're Blag, right?  We also cover the song 'Let's Fuck,' but since you're on the bill tonight, we're leaving it out of our set.  So are you boys gonna bust out with some Isley Brothers tunes, or just your standard one-two-fuck-you hardcore?"
     Both bands burst into laughter, the BadTown Boys louder than the Dwarves.  HeWhoCannotBeNamed, the Dwarves' guitarist, responded, "Naw, we're just gonna play one long medley of Al Green songs.  We still need to get dressed in our shiny suits."
     "So where are you guys from?" asked Tim from the BadTown Boys.
     "Right here in Santa Monica, more or less," replied Feather.  "I'm Feather, guitar, this is Fang, bass, and this is my little sister Glee, our vocalist.  Me and Glee are from San Diego, but we come up here to practice every weekend....."
     Salt Peter, the Dwarves' bassist, exclaimed, "Hey, I thought I recognized you.  You're Feather, you're the porn star.  So I guess you've kept playing guitar after making '180 Strokes Per Minute,' huh?  And you even brought your girlfriend with you!  Hello, Ms. Page!"
     Bekka gave her royalty smile and said, "Ms. Page is here with her husband, Lenny.  Feather, Fang, and Glee are friends or ours, so we wanted to see their first live gig.  This is Lenny, the man of my dreams, and this is Fang's girlfriend Erica.  Who are all of you gentlemen?  I'll try to keep the names straight."
     The band members all introduced themselves individually.  When they finished, Blag asked, "How the hell old are you three?  You look like kids."
     Fang replied, "Feather is nineteen.  I'm sixteen, and Glee is fifteen.  That's our chronological age, anyway.  For better or worse, all three of us have some fucking mileage.  Our home lives were total shit, you know?  All three of us escaped as soon as we could."
     Catching Fang's accent, Tom (bass -- BadTown Boys) asked, "Are you from Wisconsin?"
     "One state over.  Minnesota.  Minneapolis isn't too bad, but me and Erica had to get the fuck out of the Midwest."  Fang gestured Erica over and continued, "In LA, we can do shit like this in public and nobody freaks out."  She wrapped an arm around Erica's neck and the two deep-kissed for several seconds.  "Assholes in the Midwest get all bugged when they see that."
     Gesturing at Erica, Blag said, "You're older than her, huh?"
     "I am," Erica replied, a bit of challenge in her eyes.  "I'm twice her age.  Funny how love works, you know?  I wasn't expecting to be seduced by a teenage girl at my age, but I was, and....  We've rolled along with it since.  Fang got emancipated and we moved out here at the end of the summer.  We're free now."
     There were a lot of quiet "whoa" noises when Erica announced the age difference between her and Fang.  Further discussion was interrupted by the sound man walking in and saying it was time to do sound checks, who was going first?
     Greg from the BadTown Boys said, "Have Gash go first.  They're using a drum machine, so getting their levels will be fast."  This sounded wise to everyone else.  Gash pulled amps into place, plugged in, and fired up.  Fang instructed the sound man that the Roland would need two mics, and that was it.  They went through individual levels first, then the sound man told them to start playing.  Gash launched into a fast one, an original named "Oceanside's A Drag."  To wit....

I know a place where jarheads are swarming
A low-rent town sitting right on the sea
Check-cashing storefronts and bald-headed grunts
Oceanside sucks the tit of the military.

Oceanside's a drag
Awash in olive drab
When I go, I want to leave
It's a place that shouldn't be

Liquor stores and used cars
Flag-waving honky-tonk bars
To comfort the leatherneck hordes
Oceanside grew like a cyst
At the Pentagon's request
Try not to look too bored

     All this was delivered at breakneck speed, they lyrics shrieked and barked by Glee, who launched into her usual spastic mime impression as soon as the music started.  Jekyll became Hyde, the tiny fifteen year old girl was a bellowing dervish.  Everyone who had been backstage was standing on either side of the stage, listening and watching.  Fang and Feather did a lot of their own jumping around, but Glee's antics were something to see.  She had a lot more room to move around here, compared to the sea container they practiced in.  She flailed and threw herself around, gesturing constantly with her free arm, berating an audience that wasn't there.  When the song jolted to a stop, the onlookers cheered and clapped with surprising gusto.
     The sound man declared himself happy with the results, and said for the BadTown Boys to set up for their check.  As Gash pulled everything back offstage, Blag stepped up to Glee and said, "So I gotta follow you?  Fuckin' great.  You always throw yourself into it like that?"
     Glee considered her response as she unplugged cords from the Roland.  "Well....  Like we said, this is our first live show, so I'm probably going to put more energy into it when we're doing our set.  Any suggestions?"
     "Yeah.  Make sure you've got a few bottles of water onstage with you, you'll need 'em.  And always watch where the edge of the stage is, so you don't fall off."
     "I was probably going to stage dive at some point...."
     "Okay, great.  Diving is one thing, falling off is another.  I've twisted ankles because I was too close to the edge and just stumbled off into the audience."  Blag stared at Glee a bit more.  "So, that was you while you're holding back.  Just....  try to not hospitalize yourself, little girl."  Blag walked backstage to where the rest of the Dwarves were.

     As a gesture of goodwill, I had pizza delivered, and Erica ran to the liquor store for a couple cases of Miller.  Between this and my dispersal of free Ecstasy, both bands were friendly with Gash and their hangers-on.  We had explained the deal we had going with Dale, where each band would get a master-quality tape of the show, which they could use any way they wanted....  Almost.  They could use their own footage how they wished.  Permission would be needed to use the footage of other bands.  They were rather impressed with our efforts to video the show.  Bekka pointed out that we had a hell of a lot of video equipment at our disposal, and documenting Gash's first show seemed like the right thing to do.
     Naturally, Bekka and Feather were the focus of attention.  A two-for-one deal on porn stars that night.  Given the tenor of the Dwarves' songs, I was mildly concerned attitude would carry over into the band's interaction with Bekka and Feather.  Blag was a smart-ass, and quick-witted, but never got crude.  He asked Bekka if she had any musical aspirations.
     "No. None.  Most people don't seem to notice, but in '180 Strokes' I never actually play that damn guitar.  I'm seen strapping it on, or taking it off, or tuning it, but I can't play a note.  As a front-woman, I don't think I'd have the energy that Glee does.  Or Lynn from Tribe 8, or Dolly from Chromewagon.  And my voice isn't good enough to just stand on stage and sing."
     Fang and Erica's relationship was explained to a rather enthralled audience.  Erica said, "From age eleven to age thirty, I had repressed my own sexuality.  I was a mousy little Midwest girl, then a mousy little housewife and mother.  Something happened when I was thirty years old.  It struck me that I spend a lot of time idly making suicide plans, I hated my life.  Fortunately, I was able to add one and one, and realize it was my self-repression that was the culprit.  So, I outed myself to my husband and family and got divorced.
     "The thing was, now that I'd admitted my own dyke-hood, I was still this mousy little thing, only I was hanging around in lesbian bars a few nights a week.  I'd sit there and hope someone would talk to me, but people rarely did.  It's possible to be queer and still be painfully shy.  Meeting Fang was a revelation.  I had never met anyone like her.  She was a fifteen year old girl who was totally fearless of the world.  She announced her sexuality through a bullhorn, she dressed how she wanted, she acted how she wanted....  And for some reason, she thought I was hot.  She was the one who made me realize I was still behaving with a mind-set of 'What will the neighbors think?'  Fang made me stop fearing the world, she made me stop worrying about whether others found me offensive because I'm a dyke.  Especially in the Midwest, people would be offended by me no matter what I looked like or how I behaved.  I stopped trying to kiss the rest of the world's ass, and it's because of Fang."
     Over the neck of his beer, Salt Peter announced, "Damn, it's like some kinda exploitation movie from American-International.... A quiet housewife seduced into the tawdry world of punk rock and lesbian sex!  Lesbians brainwashed this poor woman, and punk rock finished the job!"
     Around ten past eight, Bekka, myself, and the Dwarves piled into their van to pass around a glass pipe.  I was congratulated on my quality of meth.  Blag said, "Don't keep loading the fuckin' pipe over and over.  We'll literally sit here and smoke ourselves into coronaries if we're allowed.  And then we won't play, and we hate disappointing our fans."
     HeWhoCannotBeNamed said, "Hey Becky, I wish we'd known you were gonna be here."
     "Why is that?" asked Bekka.
     "We'd talk you into getting naked, covering yourself in stage blood, and go-go dancing for us during our set."  The van shook with laughter.
     Bekka came back with, "Half of me is also disappointed at this lost opportunity.  The other half of me says you boys can't afford my rates."
     "You mean you wouldn't do it just for the artistic statement?" I teased.
     "Um, artistic statements like that aren't supposed to happen at all-ages shows."
     "924 Gilman in Berkeley would allow it," suggested Salt Peter.
     Blag chuckled.  "Yeah, the day care of the damned has all sorts of shit happen on stage.  I mean, the fuckin' Insaints play there off and on.  Compared to the shit Marian does onstage, I'm about as threatening as Paul Anka."
     We exited the van and went inside.  Both the Dwarves and the BadTown Boys were out in the audience, eager to see Gash perform.  I checked with my camera operators.  All three were happy to be there (and not just because of the free Ecstasy).  Capturing live action, totally unscripted, requires an operator to constantly assess what is happening, and try to capture the most relevant action.  I warned all three that Glee was definitely the most kinetic performer that night, and to remember getting good footage of Feather and Fang was important.  The still cameras were back and to the sides of the stage, well out of the impact zone of the slam pit.  Calm Steve would keep moving around to capture as many angles as possible, while also avoiding the pit.... Or at least not ending up in the middle of it with $2400 worth of camera equipment.
     The house lights dimmed, the stage lights went up, the crowd gave mild applause as the three girls walked on stage.  Glee pulled her mic off its stand and announced, "We're Gash, we're local, and we've only existed for two months, so sorry if we fuck up a lot.  If we do, whine and bitch to your fuckin' friends tonight at Okie Dog."
     They launched into their first song, a cover of "Big Dick" by NoMeansNo.  Most of the song is the same somewhat complex bass line repeated over and over in the original.  Feather added guitar accents, expanding the sound without changing the power of the original version.  Most people in the audience recognized the song from the first notes, and began to cheer.  When the vocals kicked in, Glee jumped right into her routine, trying to act out the lyrics while jumping around and belting out the words.  Her eyes were too wide, her face contorting, as she pantomimed the song:

Like a monkey in a zoo,
you're half gorilla too
When you pound it with your fist
and make it real stiff
Big Dick
Gotta cover your mistakes
your bloody out-takes
So you dip it in the wine
and make a holy sign
Big Dick
Big Dick! Come quick
Big Dick! Come quick
Well, you're running up a tree
you're trying not to scream
then you're pounding on your chest
like you whipped the best
Big Dick
The rivers of the blood
you've spilled have turned to mud
Now the flies are buzzin' round
don't they make a loud sound
Big Dick
Big Dick! Come quick
Big Dick! Come quick
It won't be long
till those bad bits are gone
It won't be long till those bad bits are gone
Now we're sitting by the fire but Daddy's getting tired
'Cause he drank the whole crock
now he's got a limp cock
Big Dick
Big Dick! Come quick
Big Dick! Come quick

     If people weren't paying attention before, they were by the end of the song.  The bass line is a real bastard to play, I've been told, but Fang nailed it all the way through, pick banging into the strings.  The look of fiendish concentration and joy on her face matched the sound well.  The audience was pushing up close to get a better view of the band.  The first hardcore boys began starting the pit up front, and were joined by more, boys and girls.  When the song finished, the audience went nuts.  Glee had thrown herself onto her back, lying flat on the stage, when the song came to an end, so Feather stepped up to her mic and simply said "Thanks" to the audience.
     Glee jumped up and announced, "Here's a good song by a shitty band, it's advice that should be handed out more often in this world."  And with that, Gash threw itself into a cover of "Kill Yourself" by S.O.D.  (They really were assholes, a bunch of racist New Yawk guidos.)

Can't take it, never could
Time to end it, wish you would
Friends and family, they're all gone
Life for you is just a con
Dig yourself a hole in the ground
Push up daisies six feet down
Take a dirt nap, buy the farm
Inject a bubble in your arm

Kill yourself, kill yourself!
Why don't you kill yourself?
Don't rely on no one else
End it all just kill yourself!

Life is just a one way ticket
Everyone must go around
Here's a bucket go and kick it
Slit your wrists without a sound
When you go don't make a big deal
No dramatics, don't overplay
Cause don't you know that we'll all feel
Better once you're gone away

You're a loser, there's nothing left for you
A worthless loser, at everything you do
Kill yourself now!

     This time, Glee jumped off the stage and straight into the edge of the pit, where the five foot three dervish grabbed a random slam dancer by the shirt and began hollering the lyrics into his face, while still pantomiming the lyrics.  A very direct affront,   This was another song most of the audience was familiar with --- S.O.D.'s first album had appallingly high sales for the speed metal genre --- and the random punk she'd decided to abuse shoved her away.  She stumbled backwards....  Then launched herself into the pit again, grabbing a different punk, pulling him to a halt, and verbally abusing him.  This guy's solution was to pick Glee up and throw her back onto the stage like she was a length of firewood.  Glee didn't miss a beat in the lyrics.
     The timing was just right for Glee to crawl from where she'd landed to the edge of the stage and find another victim: this time, a trendy-looking girl right up front.  She grabbed the trendy by the hair and delivered the last three lines of the song into her face, eyes wild, flecks of spittle flying.  The trendy girl tried to disentangle Glee's hand from her hair, to no avail.  She tried backing away and only ended up dragging Glee along with her.  After bellowing out the last line, Glee stretched forward and kissed the trendy on the mouth, obviously trying to wedge her tongue in the trendy's mouth.  Glee finally gave up --- the song was over --- and let go.  The trendy girl shrieked and sniveled, backing away from the psychotic little girl who had attacked her.  Feather and Fang walked up to where Glee was lying on her stomach and pulled her to her feet.  Feather grabbed her mic and said, "That's enough of that, baby girl."
     Glee grabbed the mic back and said, "Aw, but I wanted to taste what she had for dinner."  The audience, already going nuts, got even louder at this announcement.  Glee was covered in sweat, panting slightly, eyes huge, a feral, teeth-bearing smile on her face.
     And so things continued for another eleven songs.  Glee stayed on stage until the set was finished, then took a running dive straight into the audience, crowd-surfing for about thirty seconds before being deposited back up front.  Fang calmly announced into her microphone, "Thanks.  We're Gash, we'll have tapes for sale by the side exit in about five minutes.  Later."  And with that, the three began breaking down and dragging equipment off stage.
     A guy next to me started saying, "Holy fucking shit.  Holy fucking shit.  Holy fucking shit...." over and over.  I looked at him and realized I recognized him.,  He was Bam-Bam, the singer for a band called the Guardians.  They'd had some break-out success, playing really big venues and getting air time on the radio, sort of like San Diego's version of the Offspring.  I nudged him and introduced myself.
     After brief pleasantries, Bam-Bam declared, "I have got to get them in line-ups, I want them opening for us.  That was fucking psycho, their singer is like a female GG Allin.  They sound great, too.  You know them?"
     I replied, "I don't know how much porn you watch, but Feather, the guitarist, is a performer for Inana.  Her breakout role was as Itsy in 'Succubus,' and she starred in '180 Strokes Per Minute....'"
     "God damn, that was her!" Bam-Bam exclaimed.  "I was thinking that yeah, she does look like the chick from those porn movies, but was sorta dismissing the idea, you know?  Whoa.  Um....  Can you introduce me?  We've gotta play some shows together."
     We began walking towards the side of the stage, me prepared to wave my "all access" hand stamp at the bouncer to get back stage.  Bam-Bam asked me, "How old is their singer?  Is she just, like, really small?"
     I chuckled and said, "That's Glee, she's Feather's little sister.  She's fifteen years old, and I doubt she'll get any bigger.  Think about how tiny Feather is."
     Backstage, the members of Gash were knocking back beers before schlepping equipment and going out to sell tapes.  They set their bottles down, equipment ready to be muscled out to Fang's massive Chevy Impala.  (With no drum kit, everything fit in the trunk.)  They were getting ready to do the heave-ho when the guys from BatTown Boys walked up and said, "Please, allow us."  The BadTown Boys grabbed the amps, leaving Feather and Fang with their instruments, and Glee holding the TR-606.  Such gentlemen.  Fang led them out to the Impala, unlocking the trunk and instructing them how everything would fit inside, if arranged correctly.  When the trunk was closed, Greg smiled and said, "You realize, we're gonna look boring as shit after you three.  You're a hard act to follow."
     The boxes of tapes were snatched from the back seat and Gash turned to head back inside.  I stopped them and briefly made introductions.  They knew who Bam-Bam was, and didn't fan-girl out on him (with a bit of effort).  Bam-Bam laid it out, plain and simple.  He wanted Gash opening for the Guardians at every opportunity, and wanted them on their spring and summer tour.  National, plus Europe, Japan, and Australia.
     Three teenage girls gaped.  Glee finally stated, "Whoa."
     Fang, with a lifetime's practice at not trusting people until they'd proven themselves, cocked an eyebrow at Bam-Bam and said, "You're shitting us.  You saw us play our very first fucking live show just now, and you want us to go on tour with the Guardians.  You're shitting us."
     "No bullshit," said Bam-Bam.  "You're tight as hell musically, and you put on an incredible show.  Right now we're working on a new album, but we're playing shows in SoCal off and on, and I want you opening for us.  And we're hammering out the details for our tour next year right now.  We're hitting the road in May, covering the US, then heading for Europe.  I want you all on the bus with us, then on the plane.  You'll blow people's minds."
     "We don't even have a real release yet, just our demo tape...." said Feather.
     "So, I'll talk to Brett at Epitaph and get him to take you on, just for a one-album contract.  That way you'd have a release going into the tour, and you wouldn't be saddled with a major contract....  Or maybe you sign with Fat Wreck Chords.  Fat Mike is easy to get along with, and Epitaph does his distribution."
     We began walking towards the hall.  Feather said, "Shit.... Um, we're gonna have to talk about this.  I mean, when does your tour start?  You said May?  Glee is a fucking high school sophomore, she can't miss the last five or six weeks of school...."
     "Oh yes I can," Glee declared.
      "No, you can't," Feather shot back in a "and that's final" tone of voice.  To Bam-Bam, she stated, "And I'm going to have my own obligations, too.  Lenny, what's going to be happening in the spring and summer with Inana?  Is 'Duane and Dolly' still going to be in production?  What about features?":
     I had to laugh.  "Oh, Jesus.  Right now, we've got the scripts for 'Duane and Dolly' completed for production through the end of February.  We start pre-production of 'Nerdy Girls' on January second, and beyond that, shit....  Me and Mallory and Erica are always knocking script ideas around, it remains to be seen.
     "Personally?  If you want to do the tour, I say go for it.  I can re-work 'Duane and Dolly' so that Dizzy is on hiatus....  Hell, I could drop Jane in as Limp-Dick's temporary love interest, she has the summer free, so far as I know.  You're not on contract, and you'll always be welcome at Inana, so don't worry about blowing your position."
     Feather looked at Bam-Bam and asked, "Do you have exact dates yet?"
     "Shit, I do, but I don't have them in my head," said Bam-Bam.  "I can call you tomorrow and tell you.  Generally, our tour will run from mid-May until the last week of August....  You know, I don't want to jam up Glee's schooling.  We're gonna be on the road in the US for a while, you could hook up with us later in the tour."
     "Fuck, fuck, fuck," stated Fang candidly.  "Um, can we have anyone travel with us?"
     "Well.... who?  You guys are a three piece, we usually count on four members, plus roadies and techs....  Who did you want to bring?"
      "My girlfriend.  I'll introduce you in a minute, she's around someplace."
     Bam-Bam laughed.  "If she wouldn't get bugged being stuck in a tour bus with four beer-drinking, farting, foul-mouthed dorks, plus three roadies and techs, sure, bring her along."
     There was a table sitting near the fire exit of the hall, reserved for Gash to hawk wares.  The other two bands had vinyl, CDs, and t-shirts.  Gash had their demo tapes.  Nonetheless, there were about ten people loitering by the table, waiting to spend money.  Once it was obvious they were open for business, more new fans came over.  Glee's normal demeanor seemed to be a bit shocking, fans seemed to take it for granted her psychotic behavior was a permanent fixture of her personality.  She would explain, "Hey, hand me a microphone, and I'm a different person."
     And who should wander by but the trendy girl, accompanied by her trendy boyfriend.  The girl had a more stud-covered Cyndi Lauper thing going on, while her boyfriend made Milo Aukerman look hardcore.  The girl spotted Glee, strode up to her, and began to flip out.  "Oh my God, you are, like, sooo gross!  You tried to French me!  You are, like, a total freak-monster, you should be in an institution!"
     Glee smiled and said in a calm voice, "Are you saying you've never had another girl's tongue in your mouth?"
     "Of course not!"
     "Not even for fun?"
     "Of course not!  Gross!"
     Fang stepped up and said, "Why is it gross?  I love having another girl's tongue in my mouth.  One girl in particular, for a while now."
     Bam-Bam smirked, "Boopsie, it's a punk rock show.  Sometimes odd and disturbing things are going to happen.  Do you know anything about the headliner tonight?"
     "Who's headlining?  I've never heard of any of the bands playing tonight," declared Boopsie.
     This brought on a wave of laughter at the table.  Erica leaned her head on Fang's shoulder and commented, "Look at the bright side, honey.  Anyone else trying to tongue-fuck your mouth from the stage will be a straight guy.  And by the way, I love having this girl's tongue in my mouth."  She started nuzzling Fang's neck, sliding one hand inside her t-shirt.
     I threw in my own two cents.  "Really sweetie, homophobia is well out of fashion.  Besides, Glee was trying to get a reaction out of you, not seduce you.  Your reaction surprised the hell out of me."
     "I'm not homophobic!" Boopsie asserted.  "I don't care if a girl, you know, like, is into other girls.  I just don't want them trying anything with me."
     "But you are aggressively straight," observed Glee.  "Why would a dyke make a move on you?"
     "Because I'm straight, and I'm hot!  Lezzie girls would all totally want me, and they know they can't have me, but they'd try, you know?"
     More laughter erupted.  Erica looked up from her nuzzling and said, "Um, honey?  You don't do a thing for me."
     "Me either," said Fang in a somewhat breathless manner.  She gave Boopsie an objective looking-over and said, "You're not bad, but you ain't all that, sister. Unless you have a tongue like an anaconda, you don't have anything special.  Then again, I'm in love, so my judgement may be a little clouded."
     Now Boopsie scoffed.  "What, you're in love with her?  Oh, I am so sure...!"
     "We're in love with each other," Erica stated.  "What's the problem with that?"
     "That is so bogus.  Like, girls can't fall in love with each other."
'     It wouldn't have worked better if we'd planned it.  Everyone around the table, including some random folks, loudly demanded, "And why the fuck not?" in one voice.
    The dude with Boopsie recognized the seeds of an angry mob.  He tugged on her arm and said, "Hey, let's go up to the 7-11 before the next band starts."
     Boopsie ignored him completely, stating unequivocally, "Well, duh.  Human beings fall in love so the species will continue.  If humans don't fall in love, they won't have sex, which means they won't, you know, conceive.  And since two girls can't conceive with each other, how can they fall in love?"
     It took everyone a few moments to sort through this convoluted logic.  Finally Bekka queried, "Um....  Are you saying that two human beings can't have sex with each other, unless they're in love?  Am I following you correctly?"
     There was another pause while this was digested.... then the table really blew up with laughter.  Boopsie stood there with a confused smile, like she was was hearing an in-joke everyone else understood.  Bekka caught her breath and asked, "Oh, honey.....  Do you recognize me?"
     "Well, duh, you're Becky Page," answered Boopsie.
     "And you're aware of how I make a living?"
     Acting patronized, Boopsie said, "Yes....  You make porno movies.  Duh."
     "Do you believe that every person I have sex with loves me, and I love them?  I spend a lot of time with penises inside me, but I only love the owner of one particular penis.  Yet somehow, the men I have sex with in front of a camera manage to get the job done.  How do you explain this?"
     Feather muttered, "This should be good."
     A light bulb went on over Boopsie's head.  "Well....  It's not like they need to stay madly in love with you forever!  They're only in love with you for a little while, then they stop."
     Once again, everyone was stunned into silence.  Finally some random dude waiting to buy a cassette prodded, "So you're saying that an emotional state as strong and involving as  romantic love can just be....  turned off, like a faucet?  We can choose, on a whim, to start or stop loving a particular person?  You're saying that being in love is a totally conscious, objective, and rational choice, it's as emotionally driven as selecting a new car to purchase."
     Boopsie stated, "Oh, buying a new car is totally emotional.  It's like, is this car cool?  Does it look cool?  Will I look cool driving it?  Will my friends think I'm a total dorkus if I buy this car?  There's, like, a lot of things to consider."  She took our mute staring as a sign we were fascinated by her wisdom and went on, "Anyway, yeah.  Girls can'f fall in love with other girls, guys can't fall in love with other guys.  It's science."
     "Really."  Erica regarded Boopsie evenly.  "So, the incredible emotions I feel for my girlfriend --- the empathy, the passion, the sense of connection, the trust, the caring --- don't exist.  That's what you're saying.  I'm imagining it all.  Pray tell, why would I do that?"
     "Because you have an urge to make God angry by defying the natural order of things.  You want to taunt God, and try and prove He doesn't know everything...."
     "That's it!" Fang bellowed, and began moving out from behind the table.  Erica grabbed Fang's neck, and was simply dragged along behind her.  Fortunately, Fang also had to circumvent Bam-Bam and I.  We each grabbed a shoulder and brought her to a halt..
     The trendy guy grabbed Boopsie's arm and began pulling her off.  "Come on, we're going, we gotta get the hell out of here," he declared.  Boopsie resisted some, protesting, "What?  What?"  as they headed for the door.  We all watched them go.
     "Okay, no more kissy-face with the crowd," Glee declared.

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