Tuesday, July 07, 2009
Screaming. Screaming. Screaming.
HER OBSESSION. The punk piece that began it all. They wrote like bands, on computers, with custom input devices that fed into a central processor which made a narrative of it all. In the case of the Shuteye Train, it was said that they were merely documenting crimes already committed -- a kind of computer-compiled confession. Nobody knows what really happened. Just that South Street in Philadelphia suddenly became a place to be feared in 1980 or thereabouts. The moment the worm turned. Even the Pagans stopped going there. Ancient history with no continuing relevance? Sure. Did they exist? We're kind of sort of betting they did. What is fiction, after all, but writing that doesn't claim to be history, only truth.
0.Hear we come, the Shuteye Train, ranting and writing and all for you.
1.We knew a guy.
2 He was like you, a regular type guy, and we knew him since like the time he first got his head together and started doing his own thing.
3 Back then he was in college in the days when coke was like this sugary ripoff made by this giant corporate fascist oppressor.
4 He thought his father was a pig. So was his mother. In fact she threw this like fit when Steve stayed over Christmas vacation in his own room with his girlfriend Marjorie.
5 His name was Steve.
6 He started college as a political science major but in sophomore year he switched to black studies, he was into civil rites and the Revolution and had these ideals and everything.
7 Shammadamma. We’re the Shuteye Train, coming at you.
2.Steve learned a lot in black studies.
2 Like he learned history was all lies and the US was like this really corrupt evil totalitarian state with these policies of genocide in Southeast Asia and the inner cities.
3 Steve really freaked when he like found out what was going down, so his roommate got he and Marjorie into the party and they all worked night and day for the Revolution.
3.One night Steve dropped some acid and Marjorie and him were talking about the Revolution until Steve got off and Marjorie was saying like how everything had to be destroyed, the government and everything, before social justice could, you know, happen.
2 And Steve started having these really heavy thoughts about what all Marjorie was saying just as he started to get off.
3 There was this Doors album on and he started getting like really tuned in to the heaviness of the Revolution and the heaviness of the music all at the same time and pretty soon it was like he could really see the music coming right out of the speakers and the music like was the Revolution just starting to happen and it was beautiful.
4 When he concentrated Steve could stretch his arms right across the room and feel the music wrap around his fingers and crawl all over his body, like the Revolution was pulling him in and making him a part of it and all.
5 It was like really blowing his mind and then it pulled him right out of the room and down into the street and into this latenight store where it like told him to get some cans of spraypaint.
6 Marjorie went with him and she couldn’t hear the music but she was getting this like contact high and she could see the way the Doors were, you know, swirling all around Steve, making him knock things off the shelf, so she got into it herself and pushed over this giant cardboard TV announcer who was advertising some kind of detergent on the shelf next to him.
7 The store manager was this real pig and he calls the cops, so the Doors music like pulled them out of the store and told Steve to spraypaint like all the college walls that didn’t have ivy on them.
8 They spraypainted all the slogans they could think of and all the ones the Doors told Steve to paint and later Steve’s old man wouldn’t go bail and he had to write his term paper on ‘Modern Slavery’ in jail, which was really far out and got an A-minus.
9 Shammadamma, we’re the Shuteye Train, punk writer band from the land of Kain.
4.So Steve and Marjorie went to Woodstock nation and it was really beautiful, you know?
2 They borrowed this old van and drove to Woodstock and got stuck in a field but it didn’t matter, people gave them dope and they drank wine and got off on the music, it was like really incredible because there was this love all around and Steve made it with this chick from Skidmore and Marjorie thought the whole thing was beautiful and she took off all her clothes and went wading and didn’t get embarrassed at all like she usually was about how she was a little overweight, and she even made it later with this enormous ugly fat guy.
3 But he had a beautiful soul and was into Country Joe and the Fish like you wouldn’t believe.
4 Steve didn’t even mind, he had dropped some really wild mescaline and it was like he was this fat guy and he could even feel the tattoo of an eagle this guy had on his arm which flapped its wings to the music of Country Joe.
5 It rained but they didn’t care and later they couldn’t get the van unstuck but they didn’t care about that either, so they hitched a ride back to Boston, only they wound up not going to Boston right off but staying for a while with these really beautiful people who had this farm in New Hampshire.
6 Even the ducks got stoned. Shammadamma.
5.But then there was like Altamont and Kent State and Steve got into graduate school with his deferment and Marjorie got knocked up.
2 Steve’s old man had already cut him off except for tuition, so Marjorie had to split for Philadelphia and have the kid at her sister’s house.
3 She named it Peaceflower.
4 And then Steve and her like started to grow apart because Marjorie was kind of, you know, standing still, and couldn’t see how the Revolution had bummed out, and how if you wanted to reform the system you had to do it from like inside, with your caring and ideals and everything.
5 There was this really bad scene the time Marjorie came up from Philadelphia to visit, and like her sister was getting ready to throw her out in the street if she didn’t get a job, and Steve couldn’t make her see like how his father had finally decided to pay Steve’s way through law school, which Steve had just gotten into, only he wouldn’t if Steve turned up with this kid, which how could he be sure was, you know, really his?
6 They were in this nice restaurant in Boston with white tablecloths and all, and the waiter had like sneered when Marjorie ordered strawberry wine, and she wouldn’t eat the ratatouille because she got so uptight.
7 She really freaked when Steve let slip about the kid and, you know, whose it was and all, and she started to cry and said how she really loved Steve in the deepest possible way and there was only ever that fat guy at Woodstock, which was different and wasn’t her idea anyway.
8 But how could Steve be, you know, sure, and anyway there was law school and he was only going so he could reform the system from within like they’d talked about, and couldn’t she see how it was, but Marjorie only cried into her ratatouille and left the next day.
9 Shammadamma, the Shuteye Train, burning through the boomer brain.
6.Steve’s mom and dad came to his law school graduation.
2 He introduced them to Sara. She was president of the Women’s Law Alliance and Steve’s current female companion.
3 They all went out to dinner and Sara and Steve’s folks didn’t hit it off very well.
4 Sara asked Steve’s dad how many women had been in his class at medical school and got into a huff when Steve’s dad said not many, they’d had to chase nurses instead.
5 Then Sara asked Steve’s mom how she could stand not having been allowed to accomplish anything with her life.
7 Steve’s mom said you can talk to me that way when you’ve raised three sons and made a good home for your family like I have.
8 Sara sniffed and ate a cracker, and later when he was alone with his parents Steve explained how hard it was for women who wanted careers in a chauvinist society and how you had to understand if they seemed a little aggressive sometimes.
9 They forgave Sara and him the next day when he stood there in his robes and got his law degree, and told him how proud they were that he had made the law review and gotten such a good job in Philadelphia.
10 Shammadamma, the Shuteye Train, making tracks and planning pain.
7.Steve worked real hard for the firm, long days and nights of endless pressure and toil.
2 He wondered for a long time how he stood it and what good was an expensive car and an apartment in Society Hill if you never got to enjoy them, but after he broke up with Sara, who was, after all, far too militant and humorless to be a good companion for Steve, he found out that Philadelphia was an entertaining city.
3 He read up on astrology and took up racketball and learned to disco, and the women of Philadelphia loved him.
4 But he played around only in moderation and kept his nose pretty firmly to the grindstone, and it was no surprise when he got invited to join an exclusive golf club that Elizabeth’s father was a big wheel in.
5 On the sixteenth green one Sunday not long after that, he met some of the senior partners of the firm and a few months later he was promoted to associate partner, which made him laugh a little to himself because he felt like some kind of impostor, because he was really like the same guy he had always been, only maybe more laid back and not quite so idealistic, and wouldn’t it be funny if like everyone else was really an impostor too, like walking around disguised in three-piece suits and expensive golf clubs?
8.One day soon after Steve had finished his first big case, Elizabeth said maybe it was time they got married, shammadamma, and Steve had this big decision to make.
2 He thought and thought, and thought finally that maybe a father-in-law and a wife might be the thing to do, the next step to take.
3 So they set a date in June and Elizabeth moved out of the apartment for awhile to keep the older friends and relatives from getting upset, and Steve played golf with Elizabeth’s father, and Elizabeth and her mother shopped like mad, and engraved invitations went out in the mail and brought back hundreds of wedding presents and then hundreds of wedding guests, who filled the ivy-covered church so that Elizabeth and Steve could get properly married and live happily ever after.
9.So they stood at the altar and the priest got ready to say the words and behind them in the church all their friends were smiling and looking forward to the reception, and Steve thought how everything was going to work out just right, and life was really okay, you know?
2 And the organist finished the processional and then the doors of the church swung open with a tremendous crash.
3 Naturally Steve turned around to look, because who on earth could be coming in so late?
10.Shammadamma, the Shuteye Train.
2 We write with guns.
11.And some of the women screamed, and Steve couldn’t believe what was happening, like who were these people and what did they want?
2 Shammadamma, pullatrigga. Shammadamma, shootabooma.
12.And Steve tried to, you know, get away when he saw what was coming down, tried to run for his life, but it was way too late and where was there for him to go anyway?
2 Shammadamma, BLAMMADAMMA. BLAMMADAMMA BLAMMADAMMA BLAMMADAMMA BLAMMADAMMA.
13.We knew a guy, a regular type guy, but he died on his wedding day.
That last line is kind of an inversion. What they really meant was 'Shammadamma.'
Just so you Millennial Kids know what we're talking about here.