Unlike most of the folktales in Meatheads, people take this one half seriously. The scruggly punks of post-apocalyptic Los Angeles say they have these things called hardcores, which apparently aren't the same at all as free wills or fates or consciousnesses or principleses. They're always saying "don't talk about hardcore," it's some kind of taboo, but you can't get anyone to talk about why. Unless they're blackout drunk or otherwise engaged so that only their hardcore's talking.
—You weren’t there. You know those places you can’t even get to. Old people talk bout places you can’t get to, not even if you go there. Cause you go there and it’s all fucked.
—You mean old times, Raff.
—Donn calls them old times cause he’s a scientist. So this one was called Lost Angeles. Same name as here, only that place was too. One fucked part, the shitters had water inside. Nobody was sposed to drink it but sometimes punks did anyway. You’d pull the flusher and the water carried your turds to mcdonalds. Every five million flushes Ronald McReagan would call you to say thanks for being amerikan. A nother fucked part was tours. Bands would come back alive from tours cause yuppies were on an Oki Dog diet and not eating punk steaks. But the fuckedest thing, they weren’t posers in Lost Angeles, they really didn’t talk bout hardcore. So they didn’t need a don’t talk bout hardcore spiel.
But anywhere there’s punks, anywhere, there’s the House of Anything Goes. And this old chick was older than Darby Crash there. She lived in the front attic where she set the floorboards herself. She didn’t specialize. She never said shit. She just lived with her hands facing out. The knuckles all pointed fucked ways and there was more scars than skin.
She didn’t talk bout hardcore.
So this one afternoon she was sleeping with a beer on the kitchen counter. The phone was her pillow so she woke up. Ian McEye of Minor Threat was talking.
Hey, I think I smell beer through the phone, said McEye. Goes Anything House is straight edge, right? No idea why I’d call you if your house wasn’t straight edge. So like, we’re on tour. We need a stage for tonight. At least twenty-three feet square. Then we need a nother like nine hundred and seventy feet square for our crew to sleep on. We all got the straight edge and we heard you have the basement where couch surfers go. Minor Threat would play the Whiskey but Minor Threat can’t play the Whiskey cause last time our crew physically bliterated it cause of the name Whiskey. We all got the straight edge. We’d go somewhere else but we threw out our address book. Somebody put a bad sticker on it.
How are you on the phone if you’re driving, she said. But McEye was gone.
The old chick woke up the living room for a mergency Minor Threat house meeting. Those shows pulled such a big crew, they’d leave all the county’s orange groves and chip factories barren for years. They’d plug every shitter and dry out every sink, and if a dog licked one beer puddle anywhere, they’d hold a community court for it. Every venue they ever had became a crusted crater.
I like Minor Threat, said the old chick. They’re fucking fast.
Some punk kicked the TV and it started talking news. After a lengthy appeals process, the bliterators tooken into custody at last week’s Minor Threat show are getting lectric chaired tonight, it said.
While the House was waking up the old chick did all the dishes. She took back the mountain of bottles behind the washer and dryer and spent the empties money on baby pickles to plant in the bongs. She hid all the sausage patties in a vegetarian broccoli box, she turned the serial killer posters backward and wrote YOUTH CREW and FUCK YOU DO YOUR OWN DISHES on the blank sides. She put new screens in the sink faucets and got the mower engine working on old deepfry oil. Down in the unfinished basement she painted straight edge Xs on the wrists of all the fuckups and bums and new travelers sleeping by the campfire and on the basement stage. Then she woke them all up running over soupcans in the mower blades.
She didn’t talk bout hardcore.
After that she sat with the tired bikes on the front porch and smoked. It looked like the House of Do Dishes and the House of We Got The Straight Edge and the House of What We Say In This House Goes, but Minor Threat hadn’t showed up.
Then something like a thunderclap hit. She saw this fat glowing bulge shoot cross the powerline, running toward downtown. The transformer tower down the street leaned over and started melting, and flies dropped all over the sidewalk like burning marshmallow bits. Lights started snapping out all through the House, from the green xmas stars in the attic to the giant halogen floodlamp over the stove, and then the streetlights. They came back on shining brown like shit soup, so brown you couldn’t tell where anything was.
Everyone climbed the rope ladder to stand on the House’s back, where her fists would pound shingles to keep out the storms. They watched the brownout wash cross the burbs of Lost Angeles, oozing brown light like a mud flood up to the roofs of all the houses. Cars were smashing and honk horning all down the block, and over top the brownout, millions of fresh straight edge ghosts streamed round in the dark like kids of lectric gray graffiti.
Could of spaced out the lectric chairings, said some punk. Do we even got room for that much couch surfers at once?
So they had a mergency brownout house meeting in the living room. Passing round a spoon and a peanut butter jar, and flashlights for under their chins to cut through the brown when they talked.
Minor Threat might be so edge but even they can’t find their way in a lectric brownout, said some punk. Pass the peanut butter. Ronald McReagan like cancelled the show for us.
Pass the light flasher, said some punk. No, they’ll come when the sun’s up. You know what, you can’t outstorm straight edge, but you can outconfuse it. We need to retrofit the house. We’ll bury the bottles in the side yard and put up chore charts and signs. We’ll give them a house of orders and regulations.
I already did that, said the old chick.
No, I still have the light flasher, said some punk. We can present rules and ramifactions so impacted they won’t know how to step, and then we say their pants are in opposition to us or something. We can outedge them and ban them from LA for infractions, so they won’t end up wrecking us to the ground.
I already set up the house with fake order, said the old chick. But to make them feel chill bout playing here. Fuck, I like Minor Threat. Pass the peanut butter.
So they pushed her out the front door and locked her out on the porch. This is a valuable lesson bout cooperation, somebody said through the mail slot. Come back when you’re ready to agree.
She sat on the porch rail and smoked and ate peanut butter and looked at the night. The straight edge ghosts were linking elbows in the sky and moshing out boring new constellations. The X, the Apple Juice, the Double X. Then she set the couch cushions on fire. When the porch was burning hard, she put her lips to the mail slot. I’m ready to agree, she said. Now Minor Threat can see us from far away.
Everybody got out and they sat on the yard for a mergency arson house meeting, edging off from the hot burning porch. We should have one of these every brownout, said some punk. Beats not seeing checkers in the dark, and fuck our tape collections.
I was feeling really threatened by the dishes posters in the new house, said some punk. And the best part is Minor Threat can’t play here now.
What? Fuck. If you’re really not willing, I gotta find them a nother venue, said the old chick. She went through the milk crates under the porch steps and got a bottle of hibachi fuel.
She didn’t talk bout hardcore.
You couldn’t tell where anything was and the dark was hot and brown like shit soup. The transformer tower slipped on its side in a puddle of sparks and molten steel. The porchfire lit round her edges like a cutout as she went fucking off with fuel in her hand. That was how it was the night Minor Threat came to LA.