Excerpts from Electric Degeneration, Degenerate Press' semi-weekly e-zine, free and ad-free. A full episode contains sections for music reviews, upcoming events, blasphemy, classifieds, and anything else we feel like saying. If you'd like to subscribe just contact us.
You can surf the entire archive.
LIVING IN A SHOTGUN SHACK
(This, perhaps my favorite tale of the series, got lost in the shuffle during the Loafing stint. Consider it an early Consumass present. Huge thanks to degenerate RVI for filling in the blanks!)
BH was a perpetual college student, as well as a perpetual party machine. I first met him when I was still in high school and wound up crawling on my hands and knees from his apartment as the college guys laughed at my comparatively inexperienced inebriation. A few years later BH had a new place, a little basement apartment on the edge of town. He invited us over but by the time we arrived BH had run off somewhere. We made ourselves at home.
Milwaukee’s Best was our drink of choice in those days. At less than $5 a 12-pack, nothing provided more buzz for the buck than The Beast, as we called it. We crowded around the table for a game of “quarters” to help us guzzle the stuff fast enough to get the intoxicating effects, but without as much of the aluminum-shavings-floating-in-watered-down-piss flavor you’d get if you sipped the stuff.
Soon BH walked through the door with armloads of beer, as well as a couple of packs of wine coolers (it was the 80’s) and a funnel. He walked past the table just as someone landed the quarter in the glass so they handed the glass to BH, though he wasn’t even in the game. BH gulped the Beast down, handed back the glass and quarter and stepped into the kitchen. The game continued, each of us bouncing the quarter off the table and often into the half-full glass.
BH returned with the funnel and a beer. Moments later I was amazed at how fast the liquid poured down the transparent tube and into his gullet. A second beer followed the first. I rolled my eyes and went back to the game at hand.
We were all buzzed and chatty and having a swell time but BH was too impatient to sit and play quarters. He went back to funneling. When the funnel was half-empty and a beer was not within reach, he popped open a wine cooler and poured it in on top of the beer still bubbling down the tube. It inspired groans and sarcastic cheers in the room. He gulped down the last drops of the concoction and wiped his smiling, dripping mouth just as the quarter landed in the glass on the table again, so someone handed the glass to BH. He slugged it back without a thought, paused for a moment then puked the beer right back out again, filling the glass to the rim. He’d filled himself to the point where he literally couldn’t hold another drop.
We reacted as you would if someone set down a glass of recycled beer in front of you, scattering and cursing. BH giggled, burped, and took the glass to the kitchen to wash it out. We made him get us an entirely fresh glass.
The quarter made the circle again while BH stood by, grinning stupidly. And stupidly someone handed him the glass again. Yet again he emptied the glass, then leaned forward and refilled it. He couldn’t absorb the stuff as fast as he was pouring it in. This second glass full of gagged-up beer ended the game.
I headed for the door just as a figure flew down the street. He was almost past me before I realized it was another friend, TS, zooming by on his skateboard. I yelled after him, “There’s gravel down there!!”
I had turned my car around at the bottom of the hill so I knew what he was headed for – a dead-end where the pavement turned to gravel. But it was too late. He was at full speed and couldn’t have stopped even if he had heard me. He sailed around the bend out of sight. I jogged after him.
Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz-tick…. CLANG CLANG BANG clung… BARK BARK BARK I rounded the corner and saw him sprawled amongst a pile of metal garbage cans with the neighbor’s dogs going nuts behind a fence. He was bleeding from multiple places but the gash in his head oozed the most. I helped him to his feet. It didn’t look too bad, but he was a little wobbly on his feet. Someone drove him across town to the apartment of his sister, PS.
Meanwhile, PS was on the other side of town at a trailer affectionately known as “The Commune” due to the burnt-out losers that frequented the place (myself included) consuming mass quantities of any intoxicants they could get their hands on. RVI, TJ and SC were all competing for PS’ attention as the rest of the Communards, as RVI called them, focused on getting more intoxicated.
Soon PS left with TJ and SC, leaving the rest of the gang behind. Someone had taken apart the refrigerator for the express purpose of huffing Freon.
After a lungful of the gas, AG went berserk, thrashing and shrieking, then forcing his head through the glass of one of the trailer’s windows.
Self-destruction was tolerated, even celebrated, but the destruction of rental property motivated several slackers to dogpile AG. They dragged him to the back bedroom to look at his head while DN and RVI just looked at one another and just shook their heads.
DN and RVI weren’t nearly as self-destructive as the others – or at least in the same fashion – but were too tired and drunk to drive. They swept up the broken glass and looked around for a place to crash. But the floor was spongy from months (if not years) of absorbing spilled beer, bongwater, bile and God knows what else.
Down the hall, AG’s flailing, moaning, and yelling eventually quieted down.
The rest of the gang plodded through the living room, saying AG was okay but that they were running out of beer and were headed to the store. DN walked out with them, leaving RVI alone with AG still moaning in the back room.
RVI sat there, looking at the wreckage, and lit a cigarette to help fend off the odors. “I remember just looking at the mess and smelling the smell and feeling really depressed. What a fucking life. Everything had gotten really quiet. So I stood up and walked into the kitchen for no particular reason and noticed this really large, unclean butcher knife lying on the cluttered counter. I picked it up and thought all kinds of bad thoughts about using it on myself, but, instead, suddenly and violently stabbed the ceiling with it -- again, for no particular reason. Damn thing went in like
4 inches, probably into the wood frame or something because it was wedged tight. I just broke out in uncontrollable laughter and decided not to tell the drug addicts I did it and let them worry themselves to death the next day as I was certain they were too screwed up to notice it that night. I got another beer and went back to my place on the couch, exactly where I had been sitting, lit another cigarette, and drank slowly.”
The rest of the gang reappeared with more beer. RVI sat, nonchalantly waiting to see if they would notice the butcher knife jammed into the roof.
About 10 minutes later one of them happened to look up, "Jeezis!!!"
They all gathered around in utter amazement -- and not a little fear/worry/concern -- before starting to ask who did it. RVI denied knowing anything about it except that the damn thing had been there all night. Why hadn't they noticed it before?
Meanwhile, PS arrived at her apartment to find her brother, skater TS, bleeding from multiple cuts and having a hard time staying upright. She had a screaming fight with TJ and TS about whether or not he should be taken to the hospital. SC ducked out to his truck.
Perhaps the neighbors phoned the police, or maybe they were just driving by, but the cops stopped to find out what all the commotion was about.
TJ was zonked out of his skull. He also had the Commune’s pet python, Monty, around his neck.
TS was passed out on the floor oozing a puddle of blood onto the linoleum.
PS was screaming her head off.
And SC sat behind the wheel of his truck.
In retrospect, I feel sorry for the cops in this situation. I can easily imagine them asking each other, in thick North Georgia accents, "What - in - the - hell…?"
From what I recall hearing, they let PS take her brother to the hospital, then pulled SC out of his truck for a sobriety test. While they were attending to SC, TJ noticed an opening and bolted. The cops chased after him but there was no way they were going to catch him. He ran across town with Monty still around his neck, confused and biting TJ the entire way.
Back at The Commune, RVI played at being deadpan while the others tried to solve the riddle of the butcher knife in the roof. The door flew open and TJ burst in, bleeding from multiple snakebite wounds, still being meted out by Monty.
He was huffing and out of breath, sweating like a pig -- the only thing he could get out was "Cops! Cops -- coming!!!"
DN and RVI asked what had happened to PS and SC. As TJ put Monty back in his tank and gathered together a few things, all he could say was something about SC getting arrested, that the cops had told TJ to stand still but they had turned their backs, so he ran. Now the cops were looking for him.
The gang went into overdrive, grabbing shit and scattering like rats. All except AG, who was still incoherent in the back bedroom.
DN and RVI looked at each other – neither of them were in any condition to drive, especially with cops on the way. So they fled to DN’s car, a little Subaru wagon parked a little distance from the trailer. They put the front seats all the way back and hid inside. They peered around every few minutes, waiting for the impending raid that, with every half hour, seemed less and less likely.
No cops showed up. DN and RVI watched as, one by one, the Communards skulked back to their lair. But there was no way DN or RVI were going back inside that night so they decided to just sleep it off in the Subaru.
At the hospital, TJ was found to be suffering from a concussion. He would be ok.
SC, on the other hand, failed the sobriety test and was taken to the county jail. In the days before DUI was the crime of the century, his mother could’ve bailed him out. We were surprised to hear that SC’s mother, Ms. C, left him in jail overnight. Ms. C was the 4H lady who was the sweetest person to EVERYbody.
Somewhere around sunrise, DN and RVI awoke to the sound of a car speeding past and skidding to a stop in front of the trailer. They thought the cops had finally gotten a clue and they were all going to be hauled in. But after the car door slammed, the voice they heard was not a cop's, but some lady who obviously was not used to expressing unfettered fury. DN and RVI peered over the dash to see the familiar, formerly-mousy 4H lady screaming bloody murder.
It was both frightening and absurd.
RVI didn't know whether to laugh himself silly or die of embarrassment. "SC stood by the steps to the trailer, head down, cap pulled low over his eyes, hands clasped in front of him, obviously beaten. She called him every sort of disgrace to her name that she could think of -- and that was quite a few.
Then, in a rage, she assaulted the trailer door and beat the hell out of it, demanding that the inhabitants come out immediately and face her wrath. She cut loose with a string of curse words that caused my eyes to go really wide. My God, Ms. C was cussing! DN muttered the understatement of the decade: ‘Uh, she's really mad.’ The upshot of her exhortations was this: the gang of evil scum inside had corrupted her son and caused him to drink, which he never would have done without someone to put him up to it, and she demanded that they all come out so she could see who they were and give them a piece of her mind; she called them cowards, she called them drunks, she called them bad names -- the latter part, of course, was true. Inside, assuming anyone was conscious, no one even came to a window.”
Ms. C screamed until she was hoarse, then grabbed SC by the arm and led him away.
DN and RVI cowered in the floorboards of the Subaru until Ms. C peeled out of the parking lot.
The boys waited on the floor a few minutes before sitting up. RVI asked DN if he was okay to drive. DN said they were leaving one way or another before she sent the cops back, which, after what they’d witnessed, sounded like a distinct possibility. DN gunned the car to life and got the hell out of town.
Many years later we were swapping sordid tales when we realized these events all took place the same night but on different sides of town with different portions of our extended tribe. Eventually we pieced together the entire affair. I didn’t witness the latter half of the night but I was there when things started to go wrong.
Christ, I wish we'd all had video cameras. I doubt we would've been sober enough to use 'em though...
All content on this site is owned by Degenerate Press and cannot be used without our permission. We have lawyers for friends with nothing better to do than cause trouble (no kidding), so play nice. Copyright © 2006, All Rights Reserved