Short Story- "The Puke Pen"

“The Puke Pen”
by Jennifer Patino

The pounding on my apartment door nearly made me stab myself in the eye with my mascara stick.

Jesus, I thought.

I stumbled across the piles of clothes that were lying around what I called my living room and flung the door open.

“Why do you always have to knock so goddamned loud?”  I asked Sahara.

She blew smoke in my face and smiled.  “Cuz I know you have your music blasting.”

I closed the door behind her as she strolled in and flopped down on my tattered love seat.

“You look good.”  I commented.

“I know.”

Sahara was wearing a tiny tank top that said “Heart of Rock N Roll” across her chest in roses with her signature leather miniskirt, fishnets, and her even more signature spike heeled boots.  A three quarter length sleeved jean jacket went perfectly with her silver bangles and hoop earrings to match.

“Alright, let me finish putting on my makeup.”  I went into the bathroom to continue to do myself up knowing I would never match Sahara.

“I can’t believe you’re dragging me to The Puke Pen!”  she called.

“It’s for The Fucksticks!” I yelled back.

“Yeah, yeah, yeah.  I’ll live.  But if I hear one comment about how hot the lead singer is, I’m leaving!”

The Fucksticks were our favorite band and all the chicks were crazy over Leadhead Larry, the lead singer of the local underground punk band.  They were the hottest on the scene right now but Sahara and I couldn’t share in all of the girls’ love for Larry’s looks.  We just didn’t get it.

“Where’s the liquor?”  she called at me again.

I finished applying my lipstick and said, “Same place, baby.”

I heard glasses clinking.  It was never good to drink at the club.  The drinks were shitty and cost more than rent it seemed.  The show was free so the owners had a way of stiffing you on alcoholic beverages.  Our IDs were fake anyway.

I came out into the living room and Sahara whistled.  “You look awesome!  You’re having a good hair day, girl.”

I smiled but I didn’t feel I looked awesome.  My combat boots, school girl skirt, and Misfits tight fitting tee shirt didn’t even compare to the hotness of Sahara’s outfit.  But I was used to that.

She was snorting a line of coke off of my coffee table and I sat next to her and lit one of the two joints I had rolled for the evening.  We’d be smoking the second one on the way I’m sure.

She offered me the five dollar bill she had rolled up to snort the coke with to me but I refused.

“I can’t stand that shit.”  I said passing her the J.

She shrugged and took two good puffs before coughing out, “Fill my flask with some of that vodka.  We’ll need it.”

“Oh, hell yeah.”  I said, filling it and then stuffing the bottle into my satchel.

“We should get going anyway.  We’re already a half hour late.  That means by the time we get there they’ll be taking the stage.”

As we walked out the door and down the steps Sahara said, “Goddammit, Shayna, I hate the fucking Puke Pen.”

The place was loud already and some lame chick band was opening for The Fucksticks.

“I hate these whiny bitch bands.”  Sahara said.

We were drunk already.

The flask was gone too which was why I came prepared with the bottle.

Sahara and I took at least three huge swigs of it before entering the joint.

Kidd came up to us immediately.

“Hey, Sahara.”  he smiled at her.

“What’s going on, Kidd?”  I said.

Sahara just blew smoke in his face.  He was the only guy who Sahara wouldn’t touch, probably because he actually cared about her.

“The Fucksticks are gonna kick ass tonight!”  He said, sipping his Rolling Rock.

“Yeah.”  Sahara finally spoke.

There was one of those long awkward silences that I hated but it was soon broken by the sound of Pete, the owner of The Puke Pen on the microphone.

“The Fucksticks are up next Fuckers!”  he bellowed and the roar of the girls in the front row was deafening.

“Catch you girls later!”  Kidd said and was off into the crowd.

“Let’s go.”  Sahara said, lighting another Camel.

We pushed our way through the crowd and Sahara got called a bitch twice by two different girls.

“Fuck off.”  I said to one of them who did nothing but flip me off.  That was the thing with these chicks.  Most of them were just posers who wouldn’t know what to do if something really did go down.

We were finally at the front after a lot of elbowing and I lit a cigarette myself to get ready for this show.

Soon, Leadhead Larry and the rest of the band took the stage and opened with their most famous song, “Eating Your Own Head.”

I realized then that this band really didn’t have much going for them lyric wise.  They were just so damn fun to watch.  Either that or they were just fun to watch when you were fucked up.

The crowd kept leaning in closer and closer and Sahara was getting tired of it really quick.

“If one more person touches me, I swear I’m going to fucking kill them!”  She yelled. Then we were back to just singing along with the lyrics.

Out of nowhere this super tall guy with a mohawk adding even more to his height slammed into Sahara.

“Keep that moshing shit to yourself, dickhead!”  She yelled at him.

He didn’t even hear her.

When it happened again I could almost feel Sahara’s temper rising.

They didn’t call her “hotter than desert heat” for nothing.

“Fucking prick.”  she said, lighting another cigarette and elbowing another guy out of the way.

Suddenly, Sahara was slammed into the front of the stage and burned herself with her cigarette.

All hell broke loose then.

“You fucking asshole!”  she screamed at tall mohawk guy and shoved him surprisingly hard for the height difference.

“Eat shit, you fucking cunt!”  he yelled at her.

That’s when she grabbed the beer out of some guy’s hand and threw it in his face.

Oh shit, I thought.

The guy didn’t hesitate.  He spit right in Sahara’s face and charged after her, nearly all of his friends stopping to stare at what was wrong.

The Fucksticks didn’t stop singing, the girls didn’t stop screaming, but Sahara stepped out of the way fast enough for him to crash into me and the stage.

I got up quickly but the guy was getting pretty trampled.

“Fuck you, mother fucker!”  Sahara screamed kicking him.

I tried to pull her arm because I saw Pete and Marley, the bouncer heading our way.  Sahara nearly flung me off.

Marley grabbed Sahara by the waist but somehow she struggled out of it.  I stood in shock as Marley was suddenly on the ground after getting clocked by some kid in the mosh pit.

I don’t know if it was the amount of substances Sahara had in her or the anger that was in her that made her do it but the next thing I knew she was kicking Marley so hard that the heel of her boot had started to make his neck bleed.  It was probably a combination of both.

I grabbed her then with Pete desperately trying to grab a hold of me.

Everyone in The Puke Pen was going fucking nuts and the band kept singing.

“Fuckers!”  Sahara screamed as we made our way to the back.

Pete was trying to fight the crowd to get to us but we were out the door and into Sahara’s car before he even had a chance.

Sahara was laughing her ass off but I was scared shitless.

“Hotter than desert heat!”  she yelled out the window as I sped off.

We pulled up to Sanders’ Beach and Sahara was laughing her ass off in between sips from the Vodka bottle.

I was shakily smoking a cigarette and searching desperately for a roach in my ashtray.

No luck.

“You’re fucking crazy.”  I said to her.

“But it’s fun…..”  she could not stop laughing.

“If the cops would’ve showed up…..”

I didn’t even finish my sentence.

“Lighten up, Shay.”  she said, opening the car door.

She stumbled over to a rock and sat down, still drinking from the bottle.

My buzz was gone.

It amazed me how some moments in life can really “insta-sober” you.

I shielded my eyes from two approaching headlights.

“Turn your fucking brights off!”  Sahara yelled.

The lights were off as the car parked askew next to us.

“Hey!  You ok?”  It was Kidd and Eddie.

“Yeah….”  I said.

Sahara was up and approaching as soon as she saw Eddie.

“Eddie, my love!”  she shrieked.

“What’s going on, baby?”  he went over and they immediately started making out.

“Well, at least you’re sober.”  Kidd said to me.

“No shit.”  I exhaled.

Eddie was Sahara’s signature “fuck buddy.”  It only happened when they were fucked up though.  Which really wasn’t an unusual state for either one of them.

Kidd pulled a joint out of his jacket pocket and I almost cried.

“You wanna hit this?”  he asked me.

“Like I’ve never wanted to before.”  I responded.

He nodded, took two hits, and passed it to me.

He lit one of those Djarum blacks that the emo kids smoked and smiled at me.

“It was one hell of a show though.”  he said.

I think these were the first words Kidd had ever spoken directly to me.

Sahara and Eddie were giggling off in the distance before I heard him yell, “You kids behave now!  Sahara and I are going under the bridge.  Be back later!”

They were off and I was glad.  I felt bad for Kidd though.  I knew how much he liked her.

“Sorry.”  I said staring off at the water.

“For what?” he said.  His cologne mixed with the smell of the clove was like Heaven to me for some reason.

I tossed my head towards the bridge.

“I’m not getting it.”  He said offering me the joint again.

“It’s just that….I know how you feel about Sahara and all….”  I felt like an idiot suddenly.

“Sahara lives her own life.  Just because I’ve known her since I was born practically doesn’t mean I stand in her way.  She’s a big girl.  A big fucked up girl but she can handle her own.”

“Oh.  Well, does it bother you that she just won’t….like…you know….”  I felt more like an idiot.  What was I even talking about?

“Fuck me?”  he laughed his ass off then.  “Not in the slightest.  I really wouldn’t want to touch her with someone else’s dick, ya know?  I love her and all….but damn.  What do you take me for, Shayna?”

I was confused.  Confused and blushing.

“It’s just that you always talk to her….and like….I don’t know….”

“Ignore you?”

I looked out towards the water again and nodded.

“Maybe that’s because I’m shy.”  he said and started walking towards the rock that Sahara had been sitting on.

“Sweet.  She left the bottle.”  he said sitting down.  He took a swig and patted the space on the rock next to him.

“So…you don’t like her?”  I guess I was a little high.  I couldn’t piece things together very well.

“No.  Not like that.”  he offered me a clove and I took it.  I coughed like crazy as he lit it for me.  I had never had one before.

“Smooth.”  I said.

He smiled at me in the starlight.

“I like you, Shayna.”  he said.

“Oh yeah?”  I didn’t like when guys talked like that.  Especially when I knew they were probably just after a piece of ass.

“Yeah, you have a head on your shoulders.  Sahara’s street smart but she makes dumb decisions.  You’re more down to earth.”  He paused.  “Plus, you’re not a slut.”

“Oh come on….she mostly just fucks around with Eddie.”  I defended her.

“I know…I was kidding.  I mean….you don’t really do that ya know?  Just ‘fuck around’ with anyone.”

“Yeah.  I guess I don’t.”

It was because I wasn’t confident enough.

It was because I didn’t look like Sahara.

Or maybe it was because, yeah, I did feel some decency within myself.

“So that’s why I like you.  And that’s why I never know what to say to you.”  he exhaled and looked up at the sky.

“I didn’t even know you liked The Fucksticks.”  I said.

“They’re ok.  Eddie’s big on them.”  

“Yeah.”  I said.

I didn’t want this to turn into a night of awkward silences.  But I was pretty sure it was going to.

“You want me to light another J?”  he asked me.

I shrugged.

“I’ll take that as a yes.”  he said.

We talked about different constellations, music, movies, things like that.

I found out that Kidd was a writer for The Viper, an underground scene lit mag that was growing more popular all the time.  They all had aliases and he refused to tell me which one he was.

“Oh, come on!”  I shoved him lightly.

“Can’t do it.”  he giggled.  “It’s part of the fun of the mag.”

“I bet I can guess.”  I said.

“Bet you can’t.”

I laughed.  He was right.  I had no clue.

“Well, maybe someday you’ll tell me.”  I smiled.

“Maybe I will, Shayna.  Maybe I will…..”

“What the hell is this?  Falling in love over here?”  I heard Eddie behind us.

Kidd and I both jumped to our feet.

Sahara had a huge smile on her face but she was also completely wasted.  Her hair was a mess and for the first time ever I thought that I might actually look better than she did.

“I wanna go, Shay.”  she mumbled.

“Yeah.  Cool.”  I said.

They made their way to the car and started making out against it.

“You ok to drive?”  Kidd asked me.

“Yeah, I’m cool.  I don’t live far.  Sahara will pass out on my couch, I’m sure.”

“We’ll have to do this again sometime.”  he said.

“You mean, almost get kicked out of the Puke Pen?”  I laughed.

“No.  I meant talking.  Me and you.”

I nodded.

“See you around.”  He patted my shoulder and there was so much more endearment in that than there was in Eddie’s tongue down Sahara’s throat.

“Yeah, see you.”  I said and waved as he and Eddie got in their car.

Before they drove off, Kidd said from the rolled down window, “By the way, Shayna.  I’m Flux Capacitor.  I can’t get enough of those Back to the Future movies.  Read my review on tonight’s show.  It’ll be in next month’s issue.”

“I’ll look for it.”  I said.

Then they were off.

“Alright, whore.”  Sahara said smiling.  “Let’s go now.”

“Oh, fuck off!”  I giggled.

Getting into the car, Sahara said to me, “Know anywhere where we can get some breakfast in this god awful town?”

“I think I do,”  I said.  “I think I do……”

The End

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