Short Stories

Raw Power


underneath the stairwell raw power

(This story was printed in Unbelievably Bad #14)

I was just going through the motions really. Meanwhile, my mind drifted off on a cloud of indifference. Sarah turned around and looked at me with smoky eyes.

“Why don’t you put it up my arse?” She purred.

I thought about it for a second, after-all, she did have a nice arse. Instead I pulled out and fell heavily on the bed next to her.

“Whatsamatta?” She asked, suddenly self-conscious.

I rubbed my forehead and closed my eyes.

“It’s nothing, it’s just that…well…it’s just that…you’re all the fucking same.”

I can’t say that I blame her for slapping me but thought the spitting was a little dramatic. I was glad when she left but sad that she had got the wrong idea. What I had meant was that they were all the same because I never felt any connection – it was more of a self-observation than anything. We may as well have been two slabs of meat slapping together in the dark.

Then I thought about how I was going to do it.

The wrist? Too messy and slow.

The rope? Too painful.

An OD was the only way to go out really. It was all so depressing and I just wanted it to end. Where had it all gone wrong? Well, I knew the answer to that, because I wrote the damn song, Spill Overflow. It was picked up by Triple J and went national. Hell, I never even liked Triple J, not even when it was Double J.

But their listeners liked Spill Overflow and within a month we had ditched our indie label, got a manager and signed to Mushroom. Then my band, Clandestine Beef, went from playing shitty little venues in the inner west to headlining at the Hordern. I didn’t even notice when our true fans dropped off and the sycophants and phonies flooded in. I was way too busy getting high, fucking groupies and reading about myself online. I sure as hell noticed their absence when we played gigs now though.

Worst of all were the music industry parasites that hung around backstage. They were walking egos with a sense of entitlement that disgusted me to my core. And not only that, but they had no true knowledge or appreciation of rock and roll. All they cared about was status and who was big at the moment.

It depressed the hell out of me when I discovered that the music industry was run by greedy, superficial, two faced motherfuckers who didn’t give a damn about music. They were plastic bastards with no imagination who lacked the talent or balls to write a song or get up on stage so they vicariously sucked the life out of rock and roll. They may as well have been lawyers.

Music had been the only thing that ever made sense to me and it had given me something to live for. Ever since I held my first guitar I knew that it was going to play a big part in my life.  It hadn’t come easy; I had hassled mum for ages until she finally gave in and bought me an SG knock-off from a Cash Converters for my birthday. I was fourteen and had never seen a naked woman before so it was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen.

underneath the stairwell cicadaNow, I hardly left my flat. I had my drugs, food and women delivered. The music industry had sucked my passion for music dry, there was nothing left but a dry, cicada-like husk. The industry was like a translucent dog sized parasite that used its moist proboscis to suckle the blood from cows at night.

I had briefly flirted with the idea of becoming a rock and roll terrorist, even going so far as researching online bomb making manuals and making enquiries about buying a gun. The thought of committing a devastating attack during the ARIAs filled me with a sense of joy but it would have been too much hard work so I settled on suicide.

Out of habit, I walked over to my desk and flicked on the computer monitor and brought up my Facebook page. The post I had put up in the morning had over a thousand likes and over fifty comments. I didn’t know any of the people who had commented. My post said ‘I am a sick and insane man. I need help.’

I read the latest comments.

Rachel Below: LOL you are soooo funny Dean!

Sam Boulevier: How Neetsheen! 🙂

The last one really got to me, not only had the silly cunt misspelt ‘Nietzschean’, she added a smiley face. A fucking smiley face. So I stabbed out another post.


Then I pulled open the drawer and took out the container that I kept my heroin in. Next was a sheet of Xanax and I pressed out a bunch onto the top of my desk. I wanted to make sure – like Hitler. I was about to mix up the gear when I saw a friend request pop up on my page.

Cheese Burger would like to be your friend.

I remembered the name from somewhere so I accepted. As I was pulling a spoon from the drawer, Cheese Burger messaged me.

Hey Bruz Cheese here met u at Mikeys party

Mikey was the Pete Best of Clandestine Beef, quitting as our drummer just before we got our big break.

“It’s like a part time job that you pay to do!” He said right before packing up his kit one last time.

He was Lebanese and was always introducing me to one cousin or another – but Cheese Burger had really stood out.

“Brah, I got the sickest shit, we’re talking ‘end of the fuckin’ road’ gear.”

“Like what, trips?”

He pursed his lips in distaste, “Please! I’m talkin’ weaponised hallucinogens bro, think MK Ultra and Jacob’s Ladder. This is a one way ticket to a dimension of pu-ure pleasure.”

“You don’t come back?”

He made a fist then stretched out his hand near my face, “Booshda, gorn! They will put you in a mental asylum. Three meals a day, warm bed, wipe ya arse for ya and ya just trippin’ balls for the rest of your days.”

So I typed: ready for the MK Ultra shit mate.

He typed: Sick cunt on me way

I typed: Don’t you need my address

He typed: Nuh

Five minutes later there was a frantic knock at my door. I swung it open and Cheese Burger strode into my flat. He had an uncanny resemblance to Paul Keating and never seemed to blink.

“Ma-ate! Stinks of cunny in here.” He waved his hand in front of his nose.

“One of the perks of the job.”

“Life seems good brah, ya sure ya wanta break on through to the other side?”

“Trust me, it’s all smoke and mirrors, there’s no substance.”

“Take ya word for it.”

He sat down with a contented sigh and I went to the fridge, grabbed two beers and walked back. I handed Cheese a beer.

“Fuck no! I’m allergic to alcohol bro, whenever I drink, I break out in handcuffs.”

So I sat down with both.

“How’s Mikey goin’?”

Cheese waved his hand around absent-mindedly, “Yeah well, he’s spewin’ he quit the band when he did.”

“Trust me, he quit at just the right time, and besides, there will be a vacancy for a singer after tonight.”

Cheese shrugged, reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out a vial with a fluorescent green fluid in it.

“So this is it, mate, Raw Power.

“That’s what it’s called?”

Cheese just raised his eyebrows.

“What can I expect from it?”

“Last bloke I gave it to turned into a fire truck.”

“What the fuck?”

“How sick is that? Full orn thought he was a fire truck – was his favourite toy as a boy apparently. Never seen a happier cunt in me life, just sits there making engine and siren noises.”

underneath the stairwell fire engine

I nailed a beer, threw the can on the ground and plucked out my wallet.

“Fuck it, I’m ready to go. What’s the damage?”

Cheese walked over and handed me the vial.

“No charge bruz, this is a community service I provide.”

“Well, that is very civic minded of you.”

I held the vial up to the light. It was a bright emerald colour with flecks of incandescent yellow suspended in it. There seemed to be shadows moving in it, as if it were alive.

“How do I take it?”

“Down the hatch.”

I took the lid off the vial and a wisp of steam come off the top of the fluid.  A brief sense of foreboding flapped butterfly wings in my guts as I contemplated the finality of what I was about to do. This was fleeting and quickly demolished by an overwhelming sense of disenchantment and revulsion at life.

Nothing was sacred anymore, only profane and the fucking universe was indifferent. Love was a lie, a chemical reaction to give us a sense of purpose to stop us from blowing our brains out.

The fact that I was committing social suicide was not lost on me. The reality was that I couldn’t wait to slit the wrists of conformity and watch all the disappointment, betrayal and hypocrisy seep out. And as the fluttering veil descended, with my last breath I would curse all the whores and bastards that had plagued my existence thus far.

Then I closed my eyes and did it. Apart from a slight saline taste Raw Power was almost tasteless. I opened my eyes to see Cheese sitting there with a shit eating grin.

“How long does it…” I didn’t even finish my question before I felt a puke-like lurch in my guts. The sensation rushed upwards for release, got caught in my chest area then spread out like hot, squirming orgasm maggots.

I tried to say something but it caught in my throat and turned into a strangled gurgle. Then there was nothing; complete oblivion smothered by a suffocating blanket of emptiness. And from the darkness came a single, distant note that sounded like heaven.

The richness of it caressed my soul. Then another note rang out they joined into a tune. More miraculous notes sprung up and they joined together into a song. Then another song and another until the void had been replaced by a cacophony of pure sound. Finally, I was listening to every song every composed, played or conceived by the human race, all at once in full volume.

On wings of the morning, I soared majestically on columns and currents of sound. And then I became the music, flowing, racing and dancing across the universe. It was pure and true and real and contained all the beauty of the world, all the hopes and dreams of billions.

Then songs started dropping off one by one, gradually reducing in volume to nothingness until there was only one song amongst the void. It increased in volume until it consumed my whole being and then I became the song, every chord, drumbeat and lyric coursing through my veins and firing my synapses. Then my mouth opened the words were ripped out of my soul.

Look in the eyes of a savage girl, fall deep in love in the underworld, raw power is sure to come a running to you.

I am the compressed AC wave form that bursts from a valve in a sonic explosion; the screaming transistor as a current hits the diode and erupts out of an amp; a pick-up vibrating with the heat from a D string. I am Raw Power.