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Authors: JD Glass

Punk and Zen

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Punk and Zen

∗ ∗ ∗ ∗

Angst, sex, love, rock.
Trace, Candace, Francesca… Samantha.
Losing control—and finding the truth within.
Nina is an adult and free on her own terms, but what do you do after you break
free? Freedom to… what? She doesn't feel too much, doesn't trust anyone, and
she certainly knows better than to look for love. That? She saves for music,
whether she's playing guitar or DJing… and everyone dances to her tune.
But when the dreams Nina works so hard for start to fall into place, the past
she thinks she's left behind returns. As she opens herself—to everything—Nina
learns that being punk alone is not enough. She needs to love and be loved, to
let go—without losing herself.
Angst. Sex. Love. Rock. 'Nuff said.

I know that it’s easier fought than won

Everything that’s
good? Already done

Nothing ever seems
to work out right

Close your eyes and
dream tonight

When everything
just falls away

You learn that
nothing gold can stay

Love Calls Again
When the world comes crashing in

And the good guy
never wins

Love Calls Again
I know what it’s like to push too far

Perception makes it
all seem so hard

Just don’t
stop—don’t throw yourself away

You can make it to
another day
When everything just falls away

You learn that nothing
gold can stay

Love Calls Again
When the world comes crashing in

And the good guy
never wins

Love Calls Again

from “Love Calls”
by Life Underwater

∗ ∗ ∗ ∗

Love
Bites

My face is green now it’s turning blue

I think I got it from fucking you

Make it go away

“Make It Go Away”—Adam’s Rib

Let no one fool you. Love? Sux, period end. There,
I’ve said it, and I’ll say it again. Love sux. Luv sucks. Luuuuuvvvvv
ssssssuhhhhhhkkks. I think I’ve gotten my point across.

Now, that’s not to say anything bad (well, not really)
about sex. Sex, at its worst, is always better than a day at work, and more so
if it’s twice on Sunday.

Here’s the deal about love, such as it is.

First, there they are, the boy/girl/alien of your
dreams, and they are bee-yoo-tee-fool, with an emphasis ABC on fool. And,
of course, they have a tragic story—what else could make them so alluring, if
they weren’t just so strong and vulnerable, so needing to be rescued and loved?
And, of course, you and me, the idiots with the good hearts, do just
that—rescue and love—hoping, because we’re so darn noble, and worthy, and
deserving, and, darn it, just so
nice
, that when the pain is over, the
boy/girl/alien will see that love was here with them all along, inhabiting our
bodies.

Second, of course, there are challenges, obstacles
along the way. You have to prove your love, prove that the object of your
affections is worthy of love because, of course, being so damaged, they’re not
very trusting, and we’ll just have to understand that, be patient. It’s not us,
it’s them, and after all, they knew they were never very lovable to begin
with—they just somehow seem to push everyone who loves them away.

We, of course, swallow this hook, line, and sinker,
and vow to ourselves that
we
,
you
,
I
will be the one,
the
very one
, because of our goodness and purity of love, to prove to the
damaged basket case of a boy/girl/alien once and for all that yes, love is
real, life is good, and sex, well, okay, it would be nice (oh so very, very
nice), but not necessary, because, after all, this is true love. And there are
no conditions on true love, especially for those (read:
us
, the suckers)
who are noble of heart. Besides, that’s not what we’re all about, since we’re
so noble and good and all, and we don’t want the poor wounded boy/girl/alien to
think we’re just in this to get laid—really.

Third, and it never fails, comes the
come-here-no-go-away sequence. Conversations tend to run along these lines:
“This is never going to work; it’s not you, it’s me—get out,” followed by tears
and groveling, vehement statements as to why we, the hero of this epic, aren’t
really good enough; the tragic departure scene; and then, a call on the car phone
(if you can afford one) halfway home on a five-hour drive: “Baby, I’m sorry, I
miss you, I need you, come back.” Whereupon, the knight turns the steel horse
around (or gets on the bus or the plane, pulls out a bicycle, or walks) back to
the scene of the original bloodletting, all forgiveness and understanding
because, after all, they’re hurting, they’ve had a damaging past, and we’re
here to heal that—
all
of that.

At about this point, casual friends and distant
cousins have started to make comments, like, “Hmm, why don’t you hang out with
us
tonight? We have a few friends coming over, remember [insert name of puppy-love
crush]? Yeah, we just ran into each other, and wouldn’t it be great? If we all
hung out?” or other such things like, “Geez, are you okay? Wanna talk about
it?” And our most intimate friends and family are just telling us directly,
“Lose the crazy boy/girl/alien—you’re getting, no, wait, you
ar
e brain
damaged. C’mon, we’ll get you drunk, and laid, and you’ll feel much better.”

The sad thing is, how did they know we weren’t getting
laid? All this suffering, and no loving to make up for it. Oh, yeah, maybe, a
couple of times, maybe a lot—the first few weeks—but then, all that baggage
shows up (damage, remember?) and, well, it just ain’t happening anymore.

After a long time of this (and we, the noble rescuers,
put up with this for a while, sometimes years, because the boy/girl/alien never
really breaks it clean, so we have hope), we finally realize that we’ve been
had, taken for a ride, to the cleaners and back, tire tracks on our backs,
nobility wasted, ABC heart sore and certainly not nearly as trusting or
as nice as before. Sometimes the rescuer becomes the boy/girl/alien to some
other undeserving good sort, and the cycle continues: hallelujah and pass the
ammunition.

This is one type of love, and I’m sad to say, I’ve not
only witnessed this happen to beloved family members and friends, but I myself
have followed this sad, sad pattern.

∗ ∗ ∗ ∗

Studio
B

I’ve
been dreaming again and something tells me

I’m
standing on the wall—if I don’t jump, I’ll fall

I’ve
been feeling again and I remember

There’s
nothing left to gain drinking from the pain

I
say good-bye for the moment—I say good-bye and I’m frozen

I
say good-bye for the moment—I say good-bye and I’m golden…

Don’t
cry for me

“I Say
Good-bye”—Life Underwater

∗ ∗ ∗ ∗

I sat alone outside the control room because, with the
exception of the bassist who was doing some backup vocal takes, everyone else
had found somewhere else in the building to be for the moment, grabbing food or
cigarettes or some other such stuff. No such luck for me, though. I was sucking
down a cup of tea that was probably too cold to do any good, as well as missing
milk and sugar—which is the way I like it, but unfortunately milk was out if I
wanted to sing—and trying to collect myself.

Through the soundproof glass doors I could see the
hands of Mr. Jeremy J. “Bear” Jenns, the engineer, flying over the hundred
thousand points of light, buttons, sliders, and whatchamacallits, eyes closed
and grooving to the sound that wasn’t merely enough for him to have flowing
through his headset, but also had to be pumped through the studio monitors.

As for myself, I couldn’t tell if my teeth were
rattling and hands bouncing because I was nervous or because I could hear the
tracks for myself, and they were making circular waves in my cup. So much for
soundproof, I thought wryly and grimaced, then downed the rest of the tepid
brown water.

I crumpled the cup in my hands, tossed it in the can,
then picked my ABC ass up and off the sofa I’d parked myself on to hustle
back into the studio. It sounded like the backup vocal had been nailed, and
that meant it would soon be my turn to do a final lead vocal take.

“All right, then, baby. Let’s give it a listen,” Bear
said into the microphone on his board.

An alto female voice floated back into the room
through the monitors. “I’d like to try that again.”

“Well, it sounded pretty damn good,” Bear commented
mildly, “not pitchy or anything. Come on, take a break, hear it for yourself,
and then see what you think,” he persuaded, waving “come here” through the
window into the studio. “We’ll roll it under Nina’s take.”

Now a word about Bear. He was, well, big. His chair
was custom made, large enough to hold three people comfortably, and still it
bent under him. And though his military-style beard was neatly trimmed, his
hair was wild—curly and long, sticking out at crazy angles. He used that mane
as a holder for this foot-long, inch-wide pencil he used to manipulate the
knobs and faders he couldn’t reach by himself across that tremendous sound
board/mixing console/mother ship communication center.

In a word, he was huge, larger than life itself, and
more real than stereo color. Of course, my mind may have overreacted to the
situation by painting things in hyper-realism, but then again, I’d never been
in my own recording studio before, or worked with my own hand-picked engineer.
Five years. It had taken five years to get to this point, and only by sweating
every detail.

I heard the pop of electric disconnect, the headset
being put down, then Bear slid his chair along the huge board to open the door
to the right of it.

The foam-padded door opened, revealing dark long hair
pulled back into a ponytail parked over a pair of usually clear, but now stony
blue eyes, and lips that weren’t smiling. A shirt that had been pulled off due
to the threat of heat exhaustion hung from the waistband, leaving only a black
tank top over black jeans, and a bass guitar slung over a strong bare shoulder
to complete the picture. Words floated in with the body.

“Dude, I think there’s one section—a measure toward
the end of the break—that I’m going to need to redo,” she said, voice slightly
hoarse from effort.

“Ya know, baby, you’re just a perfectionist.” I
smiled, walking toward her. “Because from what I heard, I think you nailed it.”

Samantha’s eyes lit up when she heard my voice.

“Hey, you’re back!” she answered with delighted
surprise. A smile that’s just for me graced her lips, and she reached out as I
neared her. Caught up in the pull I always feel between us, in less than a
moment I was where I wanted to be, and her lips were where I needed them, on
mine.

No kidding, no shit, and I’m sure to some, no
surprise, either, I live, and I mean live, for those kisses, soft and sensual,
filled with tenderness and love, or hard, demanding, and speaking in the most
direct way of good ol’-fashioned primal lust.

All of them inflamed desire, but this wasn’t the time
or place. We had a job to do, and we were paying by the hour. A greedy moment
or two, okay, well, maybe it was more, of that sweet fullness, a line of fire
running from the tip of her tongue through me, and we broke off, breathless, my
face flushed and warm, just in time to hear Bear speak under his breath.

“Okay, if I balance the highs here and pan through the
mids—”

“I’m ready to give it a shot, Bear,” I interrupted,
and he faced us, pushing that mutant pencil back into his tangled curls.

“This is one hell of a hot track.” He grinned. “You sure
you inspired her enough there?” He nodded his chin at Samantha. “I mean, don’t
let me interrupt. Do what you need to do to get her, uh,” he flushed into his
beard, “get it down, er, done.”

I glanced over. Either Samantha was blushing or she
was feeling the aftereffects of our friendly little greeting; her face was as
red as mine. I squeezed her hip and let go.

“Time to get this show on the road,” I murmured in
apology and eased toward the sound room door, but Samantha tightened her grip
and reeled me back.

Her lips brushed against my ear. “We’ll finish this
later,” she told me quietly, sending warm chills along my neck.

“Definitely,” I promised in just as heated a tone and
twisted my head for a quick kiss, but a flash exploded in my face, blinding me
momentarily.

I heard a familiar laugh.

“Oh, that was perfect, love. Just keep going,” the
laughing voice said. “Don’t let me stop you.”

I blinked away the white and green clouds in my eyes.
“I’m blind. Candace must be here,” I said loudly. The light clouds faded and
shifted from green to purple, and a slight figure approached and resolved
itself.

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