Annabelle Blesch was a former parochial school student who moved into the Mission District as soon as she graduated high school. Undecided about whether she wanted to go to college or not, she promised her parents she would consider going to a good art school if they let her get her own apartment near the school of her choice. She never enrolled. She kept the apartment.
In the meantime she made a new set of friends and went to punk shows with them, dyed her hair platinum blonde, and dove into the whole DIY punk lifestyle. Her pale white skin made her look ghostlike. She painted her lips and fingernails and toenails cherry red, the brightest color she could find in the beauty shops. She wanted to date artists. She wanted to date musicians. She ended up with Dante Sterno.
Nobody wants to hang out with a girl named Annabelle Blesch so she changed her name to Animal Flesh. It was neatly shortened to simply Animal, which suited her just fine. Animal stretched out on the Murphy bed they had which lay not too far from the bay window overlooking the street. She had her sketch pad out and was studiously sketching the bum across the street rummaging through a trio of dented garbage cans.
Her tabby cat jumped on the bed and almost toppled over her plastic box of colored pencils.
“Not now, Sketchy! I’m working!” she pushed the cat away by the butt, and Sketchy protested with a growled meow.
Animal was getting some good shading on the bum’s piss stained jeans when she heard the door at the bottom of the stairs slam.
“HELLO?” she bellowed.
“It’s just me!” Dante hollered, his voice rising up the stairs as he walked up and into the bedroom.
“Home already?” she asked, still concentrating on her candid model across the street.
“Fuck it”, Dante grunted. Animal stopped what she was doing and spun around to look at Dante. She frowned at his roughed up, disheveled appearance.
“What the hell happened to you?”
“What the hell happened to me? The Working Class is what happened to me, those sons of bitches. They jumped me right after their set!”
Animal cackled. “You got accosted by those well-bred rich kids? Ho!”
“It’s not funny, you bitch”.
“Was there shin-kicking and a Lacrosse at dawn challenge?”
Dante threw his leather jacket on the bed, which Sketchy turned into a cat bed.
“I was so embarrassed. The girls had to step in and break things up”.
Animal cackled even more. “What did you expect? Their flunky fans aren’t going to stand for yearbook photos of them holding corsages in their powder blue prom suits”.
“It’s my job to deliver the truth! It’s punk rock”.
Animal blew a farting raspberry, turned back to the window and continued her sketching.
“What are you doing?” Dante asked.
“I’m sketching the bum across the street. He’s studying every piece of crap like a gold prospector”, she rubbed her eraser over a flubbed line. “What an asshole!”
“That man’s the real working class”, Dante puffed out his chest.
“That asshole never worked a day in his life. That’s why he’s shopping through everybody’s trash”.
Dante walked out to the kitchen. “I’m getting a beer. Do you want one?”
“Nnnnnope! That guy’s got a trail of piss going from his waist down to the cuff of his leg. How’d he piss all over his waist?” she mused.
Dante took a pull of his beer and collapsed on the bed next to Animal. He leaned over and kissed her pretty blonde hair. “Let’s fuck”, he said.
“No, not now. I’m getting some good shadows and light. This one’s going to be good”, she ran her light pink tongue over her bright red lips, concentrating on the sad tableau outside.
Sketchy jumped up to the bay window and looked out over the street like a gargoyle. Animal pushed him aside lightly with her pencil so he wouldn’t block her view. The cat meowed in protest. Dante jumped off the bed and scanned his records, trying to decide if he was going to listen to The Sex Pistols, The Dead Boys or The Residents.
The following morning, Dante took Animal out to breakfast at Sun Song Cafe, their favorite coffee shop on 16th and Valencia, run by a Chinese family who made the best bacon, eggs and toast specials for under $3.00. After 12 noon they served dim sum for the rest of the day.
Animal guzzled coffee and dipped her bacon piece into her maple syrup and crunched it while running a commentary about the stupid girls who worked at her art supply store.
“Dumb bitches wouldn’t know the difference between poster board and foam board, Jesus, how did they get hired anyway they must have blown Kenny the manager who doesn’t know shit about fauvism or post-modern and –“
Dante nervously drummed on the table with his fork and spoon, his eyes darting around, noticing a few scenesters sitting in a booth by the corner.
It was Megan Trouble and Careless Carlos, popular punks on the scene, both looking disheveled and eating murky oatmeal. Dante’s hearing was directed towards their table as Animal prattled on. He leaned slightly towards the direction of their booth, listening carefully.
“…had to be at least ten in there…it was hard to tell with the red light bulb and nothing else for light…”
“…I know…Can you believe how big his package was? He could choke a horse with it…”
“…I thought she was so political…but look at her…putting out like some Tijuana whore…damn…”
Dante’s eyes lit up over that last one. He fidgeted like crazy.
“So, GULP, this dumb cunt started shading shit with a pastel and said, look, it’s just as good as crayons, BURP! Crayons, shit, what a dumb bitch!”
Dante got up from the table.
“Look, baby, I see some people I know from last night at the show. I’ll be back in a minute!”
Animal frowned. “It’s just that dumb fag Carlos and that skanky Megan. So what?”
“Gimme a minute. I’ll be back, have some more coffee!”
Dante approached the booth, prompting Megan and Careless Carlos to immediately shut up.
“Hey guys, what’s going on? Didn’t see you at The Mab last night”.
Megan eyed him skeptically, tossing her dark, curly hair.
“YEAH, SO?” Careless yowled, the pock marks popping on his jowly face.
“I was invited to this party but I couldn’t make it. Fuck!” Dante used his imagination. “Heard it was down around Guerrero and there was a room just for –“
“Don’t tell him anything, Careless!” Megan sneered. “He’s the snitch who writes for that shitty fanzine!”
“Fuck off, snitch!” Carlos’ weak little mouth twisted in a passive-aggressive way.
“Now, listen, guys, if you don’t tell me about this killer party I missed then I’ll have to tell the cops about a few underage punk girls that had to blow a certain punk singer who was hung like –“
“COME ON, CARELESS!” Megan roared. “LET’S GO! I JUST LOST MY APPETITE!”
The pair got up, shoving their way past Dante to pay the old Chinese cashier by the front door. Dante ran over to his table.
“What was that all about?” Animal complained. “Sit down and finish your breakfast”.
“QUICK!” Dante jumped up and down like a small child. “GIVE ME TWENTY BUCKS!!!”
“Fuck, Dante!” Animal pulled out two tens from her purse. “You’d better pay me back before Friday. And you’d better pay for this, too. You promised!”
Dante scooped the bills from the table and ran out the door after Megan and Careless.
“What’s he doing now?” Animal asked herself, watching Dante stop the sleazy pair by the front window.
With the sounds of dishes and silverware clanging in her ears, she watched Dante pull out the two bills (previously hers) and hand them over to them. Everyone smiled and suddenly looked very chatty through the coffee shop window.
Animal groaned. “You’ve gotta be kidding me. That bastard’s buying shitty gossip with MY MONEY! I worked for that dough – he’s so dead!!!”
Animal felt like tearing her hair out when she saw Dante light Megan’s cigarette for her like a French gigolo. Then Careless Carlos took his two hands and used them to measure something long and big. They all laughed uproariously.
“Yeah”, Animal growled. “Laugh now, asshole, bruise later. You son of a bitch!”
A waitress walked up to her table. “More coffee?”
“Yeah, thanks!” Animal tapped her foot angrily, losing her impatience as the minutes ticked by.
A minute ticked by and finally they waved goodbye to each other like old, beloved friends. Dante entered the coffee shop, his phony smile melting into a stony stare.
“Greatest twenty dollars I ever spent!” he growled.
“MY twenty dollars, Dickhead!” Animal hissed.
“And worth every penny!”
“You’d better pay me back –“
“With interest”, he growled. She didn’t believe him for a minute. “Check, please!”
Dante pondered the time he would have to spend waiting for the next issue of Ripoff to reach press, like four weeks since the new one just came out. He thought he was going to burst if he didn’t spit out the new item he just heard from Megan Trouble and her whiny sidekick. Unable to hold it in much longer, he finally grabbed their battered electric typewriter from the closet and plugged it in. The Smith-Corona was fished out of a trash can six months ago and rarely used, chiefly because several of the keys didn’t work.
Dante began pounding away at the keys like a maniac. The time was five pm. Animal would soon be home from her job at Easels Anonymous.
“BAY AREA BURNING AND BANGING!
“Your intre id unk gadfly was at a arty on Guerrero Street thrown by that band known for their shocking songs about heroin and Genet…not only were they cooking u but there was a tiny little Friendship Room where about a dozen o ular and not-so- o ular scenesters got nude and lewd with each other…It was anarchy in the nude cave! Clothes off and laying Twister with each other’s hot & tots… Anna Darkness from The Broken Toys was doing the twist with a anting female fan while taking it from Jimmy Na alm of The Tor edoes…
“That roto-feminist unkette Donna Fillmore of Lady Cyborg barked like a dog while Fill Flames s anked her as she took all ten inches of well-endowed…
“…the dirtiest orgy SF punk ever witnessed”, Careless Carlos laughed. “People getting sweaty and slimy with each other on that banged up queen-sized mattress picked up from God knows where! And oh my God, some of those boys were SO gifted! Who knew???”
“Shut up, Carlos!” Megan whined. “These chicks were dishing out pussy like it was their last fuck on Earth, dyking out and throwing their bullshit feminist attitudes out the window once they saw all those thick cocks shooting off in their faces”.
Carless jumped back in. “That room smelled like a high school locker room with the oldest tuna casserole on the stove. It was so smelly I had to run out periodically to keep from chucking. Are you going to print I was there?”
“That Jimmy Napalm, he had the sweetest basket! I couldn’t get him out of my mouth”.
“All your favorite unk heroes and zeroes were there gro ing and blowing and banging u a storm, changing ositions and artners faster than you can count. I’ll bet there’ll be some good hardcore coming out of this jam session. You heard it here first from your man Dante Sterno”.
Two hours later Animal read Dante’s copy, slowly lowered the paper and frowned.
“This is the filthiest thing I’ve ever read. This is the filthiest thing you’ve ever written. You can’t have this published. Don’t do it”.
“BUT THE PEOPLE HAVE A RIGHT TO KNOW!” Dante jumped up proudly.
“THE PEOPLE HAVE A RIGHT TO BREAK YOUR LEGS!” Animal yelled back.
“Warren will publish this in a fucking flash. Think of how many copies we can sell. We can get some of these people to pose naked and shit!”
“Stupid, these guys are going to come banging on our door looking for your ass to kick and I’m going to have to cover for you again”.
Dante just scoffed. Animal threw the article down to the floor.
“Is this the shit my twenty bucks paid for?”
Dante just stared down at the article lying on the floor.
“I paid for your death warrant? These kids are going to come by looking for your neck to break. You’re not publishing that shit!”
“Yes, I am”.
“No, you’re not”.
“Yes, I am”, Dante said, picking up his article from the floor.
“Fuck you, Dante! I’m going for a walk”.
Animal grabbed her coat and purse, storming down the staircase and slammed the door as hard as she could. Once she reached the sidewalk, she felt like flipping a coin. Tails she’d go to a coffee shop, heads she’d give Jimmy Napalm from The Torpedoes a call.
Apologies to Charlotte Free for using her images.