Behind the Attitude, edited by Tasyfa - various authors contributing
Punk rock. It's in your face, and now it's also in your hands, with Rockfic Press's first punk anthology. In these pages you'll find the pierced, tattooed men of punk rock bands across the spectrum, captured in 13 fictional stories that explore what might happen when that proud middle finger goes down. The pos...
Behind the Attitude, edited by Tasyfa - various authors contributing
Punk rock. It's in your face, and now it's also in your hands, with Rockfic Press's first punk anthology. In these pages you'll find the pierced, tattooed men of punk rock bands across the spectrum, captured in 13 fictional stories that explore what might happen when that proud middle finger goes down. The possibilities that exist between band mates, or with members of other bands, both friend and foe—they all appear in this collection of punk rock slash.
At turns searingly hot, heart wrenchingly sad, and even downright silly, there's a story here to satisfy any mood. You'll learn what might happen when men whose nature it is to completely disregard the rules find themselves thrown together in an unexpected situation; when following a familiar habit suddenly leads to a new and different place; when that stubborn inability to back down results in making (and keeping!) a bet that just might change their world. The natural open-mindedness of punk rockers, that commitment to questioning everything, makes for an intriguing collection of slash stories indeed. Open your own mind to the prospect of what could happen when you get under that inked skin and discover what lies behind that punk rock attitude.
Band(s): Fall Out Boy, Foo Fighters (in a crossover), Green Day,The Killers, The Network, Operation Ivy, Pistol Grip, Rancid, The Sex Pistols
Edition: paperback anthology, 5.5" x 8.5", 300 pages
Sexual content: yes
Excerpt (From "Familiar" by Simon Fink)
fa-mil-iar adj. 1. friendly or intimate 2. too friendly, unduly intimate 3. closely acquainted (with) 4. common; ordinary
It had been Billie's idea for the three of us to rent a cabin in the countryside; he had said that we needed to get away from the glitz and over stimulation of the "rock scene" and just go back to basics, commune with nature, rejuvenate our creative energies and jam like we used to do when we first started out.
Of course, 'commune with nature' meant smoke a lot of pot, and 'rejuvenate our creative energies' meant drink a lot of beer, but I have to admit that we have been getting a lot of old fashioned fuck-around playing in; Billie has even scrawled down the rough beginnings of some new songs. Of course that's always a kind of double edged sword since, while writing new songs is one of his favorite things, Billie is also a perfectionist and he'll be stressed until he's gotten every word just right.
But none of that matters right now since said singer is lying in the dewy grass only a few inches from my thigh, joint in hand, going on about how unbelievable stars are. The thing about Billie is, while he's a complete in-your-face asshole most of the time, especially to the public eye, once you get a few joints in him he suddenly becomes a sensitive philosopher.
"Can you fucking believe how far away those things are?" He takes a slow pull on his joint, letting the smoke ease slowly out his nose. "I mean, Jesus, it's like we're nothing but tiny specks of dust."
He continues to ramble, but I tune him out for the most part, letting my mind wander as the alcohol works its way lazily through my system. I know he'll get my attention if he has anything really important to say. I sip at my beer and glance over to where our drummer is sleeping, curled on his side, one hand under his head collecting his drool, the other gripping loosely at the grass. He's got this blissful smile on his face; the kind children wear after a long day of play. Sometimes I envy his ability to just forget everything and enjoy himself.
A sudden pressure on my leg draws my eyes away from Tré and down to find Billie's head resting in my lap. He had once confessed to me that he felt the uncontrollable desire to be close to people whenever he was high and if he ever got too friendly that I should just tell him to back off and he wouldn't be offended. So far that hasn't happened and, in all honesty, I don't really know what I would consider 'too friendly.' I mean, the guy's kissed me before, for most people that would be too friendly.
He has his hand raised in the air above his face, fingers splayed apart, one eye tightly closed, the other concentrating on a space between his digits. He looks as if he's trying to catch the stars from the sky. The image is so adorably childlike that I can't help a gentle laugh from forming in my chest.
"What exactly are you looking at?" I lower my head closer to his and try to follow his line of sight. Taking another sip of my beer – I may need it for whatever his answer is.
He smiles, a lazy grin that starts with a curl of his lips and continues slowly to his deadly green eyes. "I was just wondering if they have punk rock on other planets."
I choke and nearly spit my beer in his face, managing to finally swallow as a sharp laugh rips from my throat. He laughs with me, that giggly laugh he always adopts when he's stoned; his eyes squinting to almost closed. We sit there in ridiculous laughter for a few moments before a sharp snort from Tré causes us to shush one another hastily; fingers pressed to our lips like middle school kids sharing a secret in class behind a teacher's back, shaking with silent laughter. Honestly that shouldn't have been that funny, but that's how Billie and I have always been, laughing at stupid shit that would only prompt most people to raise eyebrows.
He takes a deep breath and lets it out in a slow contented sigh. "Seriously though, I do wonder if there's anything similar to here on other planets…I mean, all that space, it's just baffling to think about how little an impact each of us has on the big picture."
I just nod at him. I've never liked to think about things like that, they tend to make me feel helpless, so I just let him talk as I lean my back against the porch. Almost involuntarily my hand ends up in the tangled mess that is Billie's hair. I try to run my hands through it but they get stuck and I frown down at him.
"You should wear less of that crap in your hair," I tell him quietly, absentmindedly. "I mean, I can understand when we're performing but it's just the three of us, no one here to impress."
He meets my eyes, an unreadable expression on his face, funny how even after all these years I still can't read him all the time. After a moment he shrugs and takes another pull on his joint, noticeably less casual than before.
"If you don't like it I'll stop," he says quietly, looking away, trying to look like he's watching Tré but I can tell from his cloudy eyes that he's not really looking at anything.
"I didn't mean I don't like it," I shake my head and ruffle his hair. It sticks out in odd directions after, making him look far more innocent than he is. "You're just worse than a girl getting ready every morning."
He gasps and jabs a knuckle between my ribs. "You're just as bad as me when we're on tour!"
"Of course," I smirk. "I can't let the ladies down."
He rolls his eyes before returning them to the sky, and I know he's lost in thought again. I lean my head back against the rough wood of the porch, downing the rest of my beer and tossing the bottle aside. Billie will make me pick it up and recycle it tomorrow, along with the 12-or-so bottles Tré haphazardly discarded.
After a time the comfortable weight of his head becomes less pleasant and I am acutely aware of the fact that my entire leg has fallen asleep. I groan inwardly to myself, knowing that I should move, but a part of me, a part that I rarely entertain, likes having him this close to me. It likes that he feels so at ease around me, that he knows he can curl up in my lap if he needs to. When did that happen? We've always been close, but lately that closeness has been…well moments like this seem to be happening more and more lately, and I'd be lying if I said that funny part of me didn't enjoy the attention.
In the end my screaming leg wins the battle with that part of myself and I grudgingly shift. "Sorry," I say when he gives me a questioning look. "Leg's asleep."
He nods and sits up with a stretch, and I feel a strange empty feeling when he does. I shake my leg and few times, wincing as that horrific tingling needle sensation pulses through it. He finishes his joint, pocketing the roach for later.
I lean my head back again with a sigh after the feeling returns to my leg, closing my eyes and letting the alcohol's magic work on my system; that lovely fuzzy feeling blanketing me in a cloud of comfort. It's how I always feel before I get really drunk, just when I've got a nice buzz going. I like that feeling just about as much as I like actually being drunk, and sometimes more. In that state I'm not too apt to act like a fucking moron, and that's good once in a while, especially with two crazy people like Billie Joe and Tré Cool around.
A sudden warmth and pressure pulls me out of my haze and I open my eyes to find Billie practically sitting in my lap. His head is resting against my chest, wild hair tickling my chin. A wave of pleasure and surprise surges through me unexpectedly. Well, this is new.
Somehow my arm ends up resting loosely around him, and I certainly don't remember telling it to do that. Must be the alcohol, I tell myself. I wonder if he'll pull away, but after a moment of him just resting there I relax. This isn't really anything that bad, just two long-time friends drunk and high enjoying each other's company. Nothing to freak out about.
"I like the sound of your heart," he says gently. The sudden sincerity catches me off guard. I tense, kicking myself because he has to have noticed. I let out a slow steady breath, trying to calm myself down, hopping that my heart has had the decency to not quicken because of that.
He shifts, making himself more comfortable and it seems that he has gotten even closer to me, if that's at all possible. His ear is more firmly pressed to the general area of my heart, and though I can't see them I know his eyes must be closed, listening to my heart with the practiced care he would give to a drum beat.
"It sounds like the beat to one of our songs," he says finally.
"Which one?" I ask, trying to sound as casual as possible, ignoring the rushing sound of blood in my ears. Fuck, why is this making me so uncomfortable? No, that's not it; to be honest it's making me feel a little too comfortable. I have the mixed desire to either remove my arm from him and push him away or hug him tightly.
"I can't remember." And he laughs, that damned giggle again. Christ almighty, when did I start finding that cute?
I am very aware of how Billie smells, funny how it didn't register when he first crawled onto me. Strongest is his hair gel, a generic tropical smell, coconuts and piña colada. Then smoke, both heavy tobacco and the acrid scent of weed, and even a hint of wood smoke from the fire we had going earlier. Under all that is the smell of his cologne, musky and spicy, funny that he would bother to wear cologne when it's just the three of us, just about as funny as him fussing over his hair.
It occurs to me while I'm thinking this that he has become strangely quiet and suddenly I realize that his hand has found its way into my own. Unusually gentle, almost…hesitant? My throat goes annoyingly dry and I seriously start to consider telling him to back off. Wouldn't this qualify as 'too friendly'?
But his hand is so damn warm and I mentally kick myself as my fingers curl around his; have I lost all control over my appendages tonight?
He turns and looks up at me and that unreadable expression is on his face again, making me want to shout at him and push him away. Stop making me feel like this Billie; I don't want to feel like this, we're supposed to be best friends, I'm supposed to be able to know what you're thinking. No secrets. No unreadable looks. Talk to me; tell me what's going on.
And now I'm aware of his breath ghosting gently over my face, shit he's close; our noses are almost touching. His eyes are so serious, and there is something strange burning deep within them. I know that look; he gets it whenever he wants to kiss someone; I've seen him give it to girlfriends before, and even to Tré and me. Fuck Billie, if you're going to do it just get it over with so we can share an awkward laugh and then stagger off to get some sleep. Maybe then I can stop feeling like my chest is going to explode.
For a moment it seems as if he will, and my breath catches somewhere between my throat and my chest. But then he hesitates, the fire dying from his eyes and that damned look returning. He pulls away and sits up off me, leaning his back against the porch, a mirror of me by my side.
Moments of silence pass and I feel a growing rage in the pit of my stomach. He's pulled his legs up against his chest and is resting his chin on his knees. I feel an almost uncontrollable urge to hit something. The ground. The porch.
I feel like shit the moment that thought crosses my mind, he's my best fucking friend and I want to hit him. And for what fucking reason? Because he was about to kiss me? He's kissed me before and I didn't think anything of it. So what's the big deal this time?
Because he didn't kiss me?
With that realization I feel what little energy I still have drain from me; this is just too much to fucking handle right now. I'm too tired and too buzzed. Without looking at Billie I rise shakily to my feet, muttering something about needing sleep, and head into the cabin, letting the screen door slam behind me.
I'm just crawling into the sanctuary of my bed when I remember Tré lying out there on the grass. I'd be stupid to wake him up, but I can't just leave him there in the damp cold. Grudgingly I get back up and grab a blanket from the couch. I head back outside; hoping that Billie took the hint and has already gone to his own bed.
I don't look at where Billie was sitting. I don't know what would be worse, finding him still there or not, so I just don't look as I make my way over to Tré, carefully avoiding the bottles. I drape the blanket gently over him holding my breath when he stirs. He shifts, mutters something incoherent, then rolls onto his other side. I let out the breath that I had been holding and turn to head back inside, still avoiding the spot where Billie was.
I want this night to end.
I raise my head as I near the door and stop dead. Billie is standing in front of it, his hands stuffed in his pockets, his head bowed, one foot idly scuffing at the floor.
"Mike," he begins, but I raise a hand and silence him. Whatever it is it can wait until the morning when we're both sober again. I just want to forget this whole awkward mess and go to bed.
"I'm tired," I say simply, looking around him at the door. He looks as if he's about to say more but I meet his eyes steadily and he steps aside.
I begin to make my way again to my bed, thinking longingly of blankets and pillows, but I'm stopped by a firm grip on my wrist.
"Mike, I need to talk to you," Billie says weakly.
I spin around, letting my annoyance show plainly on my face. I pull my arm away from him and shove it angrily in my pocket. "Jesus Christ, Billie, what the fuck is it?"
He flinches as if I've hit him and I know I should feel like shit for that but I'm exhausted and in no mood for anymore of his head games. He opens his mouth once, twice, but can't seem to summon any words. I'm just about to turn away and leave him there when he moves, almost jumping at me, and I'm thrown back slightly, catching my balance just a moment before I fall over.
It's a few seconds before I realize his lips are on mine.
It's awkward and ill aimed, sort of half on and half off my lips; his eyes are shut tight like he's afraid to open them. His fists are clenched tightly at his sides and there is just so much determination radiating from him.
It occurs to me that this kiss is different than the others he's given me; this one isn't to thrill a crowd or a silly thing shared between friends. This is his way of showing me what he feels, sincerely and completely. That realization scares me as much as it sends an unwanted thrill down my spine.
Before I can react he pulls away. "Shit, I'm sorry," he says quickly and stares down at his feet.
He looks so pathetic standing there, his eyes downcast, his hands fiddling with the hem of his shirt. My heart breaks and all remaining annoyance melts away. I know I need to say something, some magic words that will make it all better, but what? Should I tell him that it was okay, that I had wanted him to kiss me?
I had wanted him to kiss me.
It didn't seem that strange or uncomfortable now. It was a silent realization of something I hadn't allowed myself to think about. I shook my head, laughing slightly and rubbing at my bruised lip.
"Next time you do that you think you could give me a little warning first? My lip'll be swollen by tomorrow."
He looks up at me again, one sharp eyebrow curving up in a delicate angle, a hopeful gleam in his eyes. "Next time?"
I flick his forehead playfully. "If I let there be a next time."
He gives me a questioning look, his eyes waving as they search mine. I smile softly at him hoping that he'll understand without words, be able to read me like always. He still seems hesitant, and I wonder if we've both lost our childhood ability to know what the other is thinking without words.
I gently take his hand and lead him over to the couch; sitting and pulling him down next to me, never breaking our locked fingers. I'm lost for words, it shouldn't be this hard to talk to him, and suddenly I feel like this is all horribly wrong, and I'll never be able to even look my best friend in the eyes again, let alone have a decent conversation with him.
I feel a tickling sensation on my hand and I look down to see his thumb rubbing over my knuckles. I watch its progress for a few moments, moving slowly from index to ring; my mind slowly empties of everything but that gentle touch.
"Mike?" His voice is soft, not hesitant, but still lacking his normal confidence.