Fatso walked up next to me and pinched the back of my neck. It was pretty hard, but not that hard. He was usually pretty gentle on me. He was always doing this, and other people got it much worse. No matter who he was pinching, he thought it was funny, and he sometimes called it the lobster claw, which was funny.
“Oh you fucker,” I gave Fatso a fakers stink eye and rubbed the back of my neck. “Can’t you take it easy on the ladies? Jesus.”
Fatso rustled my short purple hair, “You’re no lady Stef, you’re just a little shit.” He lit a smoke and looked at the stage. “Who’s up next?”
“I think the Tit Squad? Maybe it’s the Stinks. I don’t know, I just showed up a little bit ago,” I said, patting Fatso’s cargo pants pockets for his smokes.
“Still broke, huh?” He pulled his pack from a jacket pocket and handed me one. “Nah, just lazy.” Fatso rolled his eyes.
For awhile we sat smoking and quiet in the loud room. I liked doing this, but Fatso had a hard time not talking for too long. He was impossible to go to the movies with, and I heard that he was the worst person to be caught up with at the end of a party, but it was pretty cool to hang with him during shows. He was big, like really big, being made of a lot of muscle, but mostly fat, so no one ever fucked with us. I could stand on the side of the mesh of thrashing bodies where people were dancing, and no one ever touched me.
I could feel him shifting his considerable weight next to me. “Go ahead, talk,” I said, turning to look at him.
Fatso didn’t say anything at first, just pointed at this old guy standing in the middle of the room, then, loud as hell said to the room, “Whose fucking dad is that?” He broke out laughing like a maniac.
Ten or eleven other kids, some with mohawks, others with long, greasy hair and face piercings turned to look at Fatso, and then, following the length of his hand with their eyes, noticed the guy standing there with a six pack of unopened beer cans by his feet, arms crossed, like a totally useless dick. He was wearing khakis for fucks sake. Khakis and a button down – tucked in. His belt and shoes matched, and his hair was done in this weird Ken doll business man style. There was a brief silence while everyone considered the situation.
“Hey daaaaaaad,” one of them yelled. “I fucked your wife, and she tasted like suburban meatloaf” a particularly small girl with raccoon-like make-up screamed across the room. Laughter rose up all around us like flames. The man stood, arms crossed, shoulders swinging back and forth a little bit. I could see he was sweating. I looked at Fatso, who was laughing like crazy. “What the fuck is he even doing here?”
“Wait,” Fatso said, his loose body still shuddering from his laughter, “I have an idea.” Fatso heaved himself up off the floor. As he walked, he turned to look at me, flipping me off, then rearranging his fingers into a thumbs up. Not intimidated at all, he approached the man. They spoke for a second, the man shook his head and returned to staring at the stage. Fatso lowered his shoulders, turning back to me faster than I had thought he could, so that his arms swung out to his sides like a poodle skirt., “I hate you, Dad,” he screamed, stomping dramatically back over to me.
I laughed. “Fatso, what happened over there, you big idiot?”
“Turns out this dad’s not of the cool variety. He wouldn’t let me have a beer. Total bullshit.” Fatso lit a smoke defiantly, blowing smoke in Dad’s direction.
Tit Squad didn’t used to be a good band, not until that freaky chick Sheila took over. She’s scary as hell, but it works on stage. They’re still not good, but they’re better. All their songs sound exactly the fucking same, but that one song is pretty good. Fatso spent the set with his arms crossed, and nodding his head, appearing to agree with each beat the band presented. In between songs he made comments to me. “This shit sucks.” “I heard that chick fucked a donkey.” “Gotta piss.” “For a band called Tit Squad, they sure don’t have a lot of tits.” He jerked a thumb in the direction of the sexually ambiguous bass player, who had long straight hair, no chest to speak of, and wore a sour expression across its face, adorned with mascara and the beginnings of a mustache. “I don’t know,” I laughed, “the singer’s pretty stacked.” Fatso shrugged, looking back at Dad. “What the fuck is he doing?” I looked back at Dad, who had moved to the back center of the room, out of the way of the building crowd. He had removed his button up shirt, and now wore only a white undershirt. Every few seconds he lifted a beer can to his lips and drank furiously. “Who the hell is this guy?” I smiled, nodding to the band, that insane front woman screeching, Chicks want to worship killers, too.
The break between Tit Squad and the Stinks was almost unbearably long. There were still three more bands that were supposed to play, and it was already almost midnight. I had to be home soon. “Jesus, when are they starting,” I whined. Fatso was quiet. “Fatso, when are they starting? Don’t you know those assholes? Where are they?” Fatso nudged me with his elbow, nodding toward the stage. I scanned the room. At the left side of the stage, leaning against the plywood was Dad, looking like a drunkard, and chatting up the singer of Tit Squad. “Ho-ly shit,” I said, turning valley girl open mouthed to Fatso who just shook his head. “Who is this guy? I bet he fucks her. Awesome. Totally fucking awesome.”
For the first time that night I really took a look at Dad. He was handsome, but weird looking because he had to be in his 40s. Not very tall, or particularly muscular, he stood with a posture that I didn’t notice before, his back hunched and arms slack. Every now and then he would straighten up and smile as if he were just remembering that he was talking to a hot babe. Looking at him made me feel two things, I decided, one – like I should be home doing homework or something, and not out late smoking and getting felt up in the circle pit by dudes who hadn’t showered in weeks, and two – that I was inconceivably young. “Heeelllloooooo,” a harsh voice came across the speakers, “you probably know us, because this town is smaller than a baby’s asshole, but just in case you don’t – we’re the Stinks and we’re going to kill you to death!”
Excited, Dad broke his gaze from the leader of the Tit Squad, and let out a scream like a wild animal. The Stinks stormed the stage and started playing, their distortion veiling the sound of any actual instruments. The dead are killing/the dead are killing/the dead are killing themselves! Dad tossed his last, half empty beer can straight up into the air and dove into the crowd of violently flailing kids. Fatso let out a laugh I’d never heard before, a high-pitched cackle that almost sounded like a baby’s delight and gave me the good old lobster claw, “Holy shit, man. I never thought I’d know a Dad I could look up to. That bastard is alright with me.”