This is a story. This is a true story. This is a story about a band called GWAR, my best friend and a drug called Flunitrazepam, better known as the date rape drug or roofies.
My best friend and I have known each other for nigh on twenty years in two different states. We met in Boston when I lived there and we moved to Los Angeles together. We survived the first year in Los Angeles on ramen noodles and government cheese that didn’t even come from the government. We had to buy it ourselves like chumps. “Cheese” may be a stretch since I’m pretty sure there was no dairy in it. It was labeled “cheese food product.” Never trust anything that has to be labeled “food” because you might confuse it with spackle or plastic explosives.
In twenty years, my friend and I have had quite a few adventures, a lot of which I can’t remember clearly because I was crapulous, i.e. shit hammered, pickled, pissed, pants-on-head drunk. The particular night in question, I was not drunk, probably because we couldn’t afford to get drunk after blowing all our money on GWAR tickets. Priorities.
We went to see GWAR. Are you familiar with GWAR? They look like this:
GWAR really dresses like that. They have performed live in those costumes since 1984. Hopefully, not those costumes since they’d be really funky by now. I assume they are costumes, but perhaps they just have very bad skin. I don’t want to judge.
GWAR sounds like this:
Incidentally, when I went to look up that video, I forgot that I had headphones in and I was already listening Johan Sebastian Bach’s Violin Concerto in A minor, BWV 1041: III. Allegro assai. I wouldn’t recommend doing that. It’s quite jarring. Although, it might make a cool mash-up by someone with more musical talent than me, which is everyone.
The particular night that I’m talking about, without having actually talked about it yet, my friend and I were at GWAR with two adorable punk boys with mohawks from Sacramento. We met these adorable punk boys with mohawks at an Exploited show two nights before. They were in town to see The Exploited and GWAR shows, one day apart. They had nowhere to stay and were planning to sleep on the streets of Los Angeles, the literal definition of gutter punks, so I let them stay with me. In retrospect, letting two homeless-in-LA strangers stay in my house probably wasn’t the wisest decision I could have made, but they really were adorable and I have a total weakness for mohawks.
This is a picture of Wattie Buchan from The Exploited, but my two adorable punk boys looked similar:
The Exploited sounds like this:
The Exploited have been together since 1980 and they were one of my first and favorite punk bands. They still are. I’ve met Wattie more than a few times and I’ve never been able to understand most of what he says. He has a very thick Edinburgh accent and I can only understand about every fifth word, so I just end up smiling and nodding my head at him like an idiot. Last time I ran into him, I just gave him a hug.
Wattie sounds like this (skip to 40 seconds in):
Now, if you are an astute observer of music, you might realize that those two bands, GWAR and The Exploited, sound not much at all alike. One is metal, the other is punk. Part of the reason why I trusted my adorable punk boys enough to stay at my house is because of that discrepancy. When I was an idiot punk teenager, I wouldn’t listen to anything but punk. I looked down on every other genre, especially metal. Metal was lame. I have since stopped being such an idiot and now I like both. I like people who like both. So, when my adorable punk boys said they had tickets for GWAR and The Exploited, my heart went all a pitter-pat, because I did, too.
Adorable punk boy 1, as it turned out, was gay and had a huge crush on adorable punk boy 2. Adorable punk boy 2 knew that adorable punk boy 1 was gay, but he was completely oblivious to the fact that adorable punk boy 1 was smitten with him. Boys are dumb. Meanwhile, adorable punk boy 2 was smitten with me, so an awkward three-way love triangle developed like some weird, other worldly romantic comedy.
I lived in a studio apartment at the time and the only sleeping surface I had was a queen size bed. I wish I had an aerial shot of the three of us spooning mohawk-style. When you have a mohawk up, you have to sleep on your side.
My adorable punk boys and I helped each other put our mohawks up with Knox gelatine, the best way to put up a mohawk. Yep, I had a mohawk, too. My mohawk was glorious. It was pink and so long that I had to put it into liberty spikes instead of the traditional fan shape like Wattie. It was really difficult to put it up myself because my arms weren’t long enough to reach the ends. When it was up, I couldn’t drive because my hair tried to impale the top of the car and the car always won.
My mohawk looked like this:
That’s a self-portrait I drew based on a picture taken of me with my mohawk up on the night in question. The original picture is gone now, but the drawing remains. I was so damn hardcore it hurt. OORAH.
When all of our hair was blatantly disregarding the laws of gravity by accusingly pointing at the sky and was not likely to move without serious infrastructure damage, we four–two adorable punk boys, my best friend and me–trotted off to the GWAR show in Hollywood. Weeee!
One thing I always seem to forget about GWAR shows beforehand is that they shoot fake blood and green slime at their audience. It’s a gesture of love. They have a blood cannon and a slime cannon. It’s fake blood since it isn’t salty and it dries to a nice bright red. Real blood is salty and dries to a brownish color. I’ve been covered with real blood before, so I know the difference. Although perhaps GWAR are really aliens and their blood is bright red and bland.
This is what happens at GWAR shows:
You can’t make out much in that video, but you can clearly see and hear a “SPLOOGE” sound as this dude’s camera takes a direct hit. Then he pans the camera to show the blood soaked audience. Look how soaked they are! That was me. Not literally, mind you; I’m not in that video, but all GWAR shows are pretty much the same.
We were stuck in the pit within range of the blood cannons, pretty close to where the guy who filmed that video was standing. My friend, being the innately sly type, ducked out of the pit to get a drink from the bar before the cannons started. She somehow subconsciously knew. While I, like a goddamn moran, stood there and took a huge load in the face. A load of blood, I mean. Fake blood.
My friend stayed at the bar, all dry and smug, sipping her cocktail for the rest of the show. However, her craftiness in escaping the blood torrent would eventually work against her. During some split second that she turned away, some unmitigated bastard slipped roofies in her drink.
Near the end of the show, adorable punk boys and I escaped the pit and went to the bar. My friend was nowhere to be found. We looked everywhere, but we couldn’t find her. I tried calling her phone, but there was no answer. We went outside. There she was leaning against the venue wall by the car, almost passed out and covered in her own vomit. Well, fuck.
She was delirious and completely out of it. I was worried. We couldn’t get her in the car because she could not stop throwing up. What to do? I spied a convenience store kitty-corner across the street. I told adorable punk boys to stay with my friend while I ran over there. I thought maybe some water would help her. It probably couldn’t hurt. Besides, I was thirsty.
I walked in, went to the coolers, picked up four bottles of ice-cold water and walked to the counter. The man behind the counter pulled out a shotgun and told me not to move. I instinctively put my hands up. He was calling the police. What’s wrong? I wasn’t planning to steal anything! Put the phone down! He wouldn’t listen.
After a few minutes, the police showed up. They took me outside. It was only then, when I saw my reflection in the glass of the store, that I realized the problem. With the panic of my sick friend, I had completely forgotten that I was drenched in blood. Oopsies. I looked like this, but with more green slime and a pinkish-red mohawk:
I calmly explained the situation to the police officers: GWAR show, blood cannons, roofied friend, buying water. I pointed across the street to the parking lot where two adorable mohawked boys were waving at me. Unlike the bodega man, apparently, the officers were familiar with what real blood looks like and that this was not it. They mostly believed my story.
The Hollywood police officers put me in the back of their squad car, which gave me a bit of a fright, and we drove over to the venue parking lot. Three of us had mohawks and were covered in blood. The other was on the ground throwing up and looked like death. The cops sighed. They asked if we wanted to call an ambulance. My friend, who was coming around, but still throwing up, said no. She’d be alright. We didn’t believe her, but it was her decision. One of the police officers went to the squad car and came back with a bottle of water. He handed it to my friend. Here, drink this when you’re able. Those cops were so understanding that I actually bowed to them as if I was Japanese as they drove away. I am not Japanese.
We stayed there holding her hair and patting her back for a good long while. The parking lot was empty and everybody was gone. When the sun was coming up, my friend said that she might be able to attempt something like getting in the car as long as she had the safety of an emergency barf bag. The problem was that she had driven since none of the rest of us, in our vain, peacocky state, could drive. I said, fuck it, threw the rest of the water in the bottle over the top of my head to loosen up the Knox gelatine and got in the driver’s seat. Even the blood had done nothing to make my mohawk fall.
My friend crawled into the bathroom and spent the night there, alternating between throwing up and sleeping. The next morning, she felt like her head was crushed in a vice, but she was okay. I went into the bathroom and finally got a good look at myself. Crooked mohawk, smeared makeup and drenched in blood. No wonder that man had called the police.
The adorable mohawk boys went back up north. I was right to trust them since they were complete gentlemen, cordial and did nothing untoward at all. We talked for a while afterwards, but then I moved and we lost touch. We’ll always have GWAR.
Written for the Weekly Writing Challenge.