|L-R Dr. Matt Puke, Aaron Puke esq., Shawn Puke photo by Julie|
My Sugar Walls...
My Sugar Walls...
It was sometime after the watching Harmony Korine’s Trash Humpers. After the 1st additional beer run, and the re-run to someplace that had a much better chip selection. After the heavy consumption of domestic American and Jamaican beer and finishing off of a bag of Ju Ju Fish. It was after the speech to the team, which included the immortal first line "First there was D-Day, then there was this...”
There were photos, goodbyes. There was a re-commitment to hugs for friends, handshakes for enemies ("But you always have been a hugger Shawn" he said). A distribution of sidewalk chalk and the mission briefing itself.
Someone stepped in wolf shit.
We all pissed outside, in the wild, on trees next to the driveway.
It was definitely after a dramatic reading of Sheena Easton song lyrics complete with eye-to-eye moments that the mission would be named.
A silly name for a silly beer driven idea.
Yeah, we were crazy. Thinking crazy thoughts that seemed to make sense somehow in the long run... It would all make sense because we were vibrating on that sort of level.
We were drunk. Everything made sense, no matter the obscurity. It could be done if we want it to be done. I imagine that the decision, and then later execution if all grand events transpired as we were transpiring, and conspiring that night.
First there was the moon landing... then there was this,
ARCHIE & THE PUKES.
I cant remember exactly when, but the awesome ’77 revivalist punk (rePunk) snot-punk Cincinnati band Archie & The Pukes, made famous from their 1995 debut 7" on Cincinnati’s own beloved Centsless Productions… just stopped. Everybody grew up. Everybody went and got themselves a gosh darned edumacation! One day you turn around and where in the fuck is Jeff The Amish? Columbus what? No worries, Andy will just do that too. Aaron’s in San Diego joining the CIA… Matt moved to Texas. Oh wait, Aaron’s back but Matt’s still gone. It was an ending of an era. Leaving the band in true obscurity. Leaving the rest of us to jump at a moments notice when he calls with instructions with the particulars on when, how, where and the why of his visit.
It’s usually a verily awkward window. Maybe a quick stop-by or maybe catch an evening at The Comet. Death in the family so he only has a Wednesday from 7 pm to 7:30... It all usually hits so quickly that it would take some form of unexcused work absence, or a last minute marathoning some evening to truly encompass a visit from Matt. Ultimately guaranteeing yawns and power naps during work hours when the boss isn’t looking or whilst taking breaks the following day.
Matt Puke is definitely worth it.
Yeah, even I cringe at what I have become, in some ways. In secret I loathe the predictable factory worker I have become. My life isn’t without perks; I don’t wish to take back everything I have now. Don’t get the wrong impression from what I’m saying, but I just wish there was more of a melding of those times with these times. Some sort of middle ground...
Matt Puke has become the keeper of the flame, in some ways. The one who embodies all that was those times.
I never want to think the good times are over. NEVER! Good times are ahead, as would be proven, and still yet to be proven again and again (you just wait and see).
But still that call came. Those times.
Evening, sometime in the evening.
“I’ve already called Aaron and Andy.” Matt said.
I first met Matt whilst with my now wife at the very first performance of The Socials May 29th, 1995. He genuinely liked the band. I would like to think he still does. He handed us a version of the Pukes first demo. A cassette with a hand drawn cover tapped over some old metal tape that was deemed obsolete. It still had masking tape over the holes that allow you to record overtop of a manufactured store bought cassette.
As with anyone who listened to that tape, I became a rabid fan of Archie & The Pukes and our friendship would grow at continued Socials shows and other shows where Matt would show up. He, and the band would become a standard in the scene. We would find kinship in the sub-genre of Killed By Death style punk rock and would combine our money to do bulk orders of records no one knew about. We would play shows with our bands, watch each other play shows, drink verily heavy and do all the things that you, the humble reader of this piece, would do.
Or have done. Whatever your case may be.
So Aaron shown up shortly after The Juice by Jerry, Socials drummer who has a handful of early connections to Matt Puke himself. We watched Harmony Korine’s Trash Humpers and tried best to answer each other’s unanswerable questions about the movie.
Wolves kept peering into the window. Just a peek to make sure.
Sometime after dark Matt arrived and things got more intense instantly. The volume of alcohol increased, that was OK, and it was a Saturday night. Sundays are for hangovers, so lets make it count everybody!
We talked of the sneezing, nose wiping beauty of the Pale Hulk, which is much like the other. Green Hulk. Well, no. Pale Hulk is nothing like Real, Green Hulk. Sneezes. Handkerchiefs and/or Bandannas everywhere. Lots of nose wiping and Big K Citrus Drop drinking. Lots of allergies and sweets. Equally, Pale Hulk is still a creature of science. Beautiful science.
Talk, a grand discussion, was held concerning Matt Pukes infamous art (picture included below) that he offered up to myself just before evacing the Midwest. I have had the piece of art for years and still cant figure out its cryptic faux Russian message. The Juice by Jerry took it upon himself to try, that’s the key word, try and decipher its meaning and to this day, got the closest of anybody that’s tried.
Details, as one could imagine, are fuzzy. Like any good American, I will blame something. So I will blame the alcohol! All that I retain of these fuzzy details is something about the movie Billy Jack the faux Russian styled message (that Pale Hulk... er, I mean Matt Puke) insisted was real Russian at one time, was some line from the movie. The Juice by Jerry got close. Damn close. He is a hero for many things, but especially this night and the work he done in the deciphering of this message 6at has eluded me all these years. I will take close. I’m fine with being as close to close as I am… for now.
Talk of Operation Night Bird, and the aforementioned dramatic reading of the Sheena Easton song lyrics to “Sugarwalls” were read… And that led way into the development of what would be called Operation: Sugarwalls. Another meaningless display of break apart vandalism upon dear friends.
The targets would remain the same.
Andy Breightone would become this op’s PRIMARY target. He was PRIMARY because some light showers were entering the area. He had a covered porch. Liam Dolan would once again be a target, but a SECONDARY one. He had no covered area that would protect what we were to do from any sorts of rain.
What we would do would be another meaningless act of art. As if the flamingos weren’t enough for Andy and Liam. Now, we would draw non-permanent children's chalk outlines of Matt Pukes body CSI style on Andy’s porch, and if possible, Liam's driveway. With the message Matt Puke Wuz Here. Later, as the mission began to roll, we would add three finished cans of beer to the equation… Leaving them behind as forensic evidence. For the boys in the lab to figure out.
Matt would even leave an almost finished donut on the outline of one hand.
Matt loves donuts. Once, at The Neus Subjex 4th anniversary party circa February 2000, he ate a dozen Boston Crème-filled donuts. That was just for starters.
With such a mission being impromptu, and ‘of the moment’, we did a couple dry runs of the plan before mounting up. Matt would simply enough, lay there. Aaron and I would draw the outline and then scribe the message.
You gotta have a plan and you must stick to it. In our state, the plan was shaky, true. But it was still a plan. Our drunkenness would propel the plan to new levels adding dangerous elements and widen our chances of being caught as the mission unfolded.
None-the-less, after a speech by myself that unclearly defined reasoning’s of why such an operation should be done or performed that began, rather immortally with Troops, first there was D-Day, then there was this…” (Totally over emphasizing the importance of the current situation), after a dramatic reading of Sheena Easton’s “Sugarwalls” that caused at least two erections between us (My own, plus some other undisclosed persons erection is being counted, maybe more) that led to the mission being re-named Operation: Sugarwalls (for no logical reason mind you) from Aarons suggestion of Operation: Ninja (next time Aaron) and photographs where our faces were covered in make shift disguises…
We pissed on trees, got Killed By Death #3 playing on the CD player (yeah, the lawyer has it on CD) and for the second, of three times that night Aaron Puke Esq. backed out of the manors driveway… A 150-foot journey to a four-lane road that regularly witnesses excessive speeds of 50 mph by most motorists. It was quite a feat in itself.
We placed a quick call to Gunther 8544 to retrieve a difficulty on the mission at hand. Plus, I was just declared an honorary member of Archie & The Pukes! I had to tell Gunther this. So I placed the call to the Tidewater region of Virginia.
It was 1am (approximately) by this time. Gunther answered on the second ring.
Loudly I explained what was going on. The whole evening and I explained Operation: Sugarwalls and what we were doing. I explained the speech. The song lyrics. The stepping in the wolf-shit that smelled the car up and led to the moon-roof and windows all being opened (except the one next to Aarons suit). I explained how we were going to get some more beer and White Castles when we were finished.
Finished! True Victory Castles!
“What are you listening to? Can you turn it down?” Then I explained how I couldn’t. It wasn’t in the mission parameters. Killed By Death #3 was being played loudly. It had to remain there. Mission protocols. On the Or Else level. Gunther understood and did the math in his head and gave the mission difficulty level, an A-. That was a good level. It represented danger.
After brief ears of Matt and Aaron, I thought Gunther would get a kick out of talking to the other operatives a bit). We were heading south from Fairfield into the wild-knowns of Cincinnati. Through Greenhills and all its police speed traps and memories.
Through Finneytown and another stop for a cheap six of Milwaukee’s Best Ice (Ice-Beast) and donuts for Matt (a cool half dozen).
Thru College Hill and no matter what you hear, Aaron was the only one brave enough to flip off the cop who had someone pulled over.
Killed By Death #3 blaring. A sixer of beer and donuts. Moon-roof and windows down. Aaron flipping off cops. Despite the current soundtrack, “Danger Boy” by The Viletones got into my head and blared. Loudlily. Just to me.
The drive by of Base Breighton was all quiet (once again). No lights on. Was the white noise projector projecting? Would the freedom dog, which I eluded in Operation: Night Bird, hear us on this Op? After all, there are more dangerous than one. Three drunken buffoons trying to drink a beer down over the course of a yard, holding chalk and eating donuts. Well, one of us eating donuts.
We had to be loud. Surely Freedom dog would hear us. Alert Andy and Patti and Bam! We were caught!!! 1:30 Am. Three drunken fools on the rage. Drawing on a porch drinking beer and eating donuts… That would be a sight! One for the memory files… But alas, the beer was drank. Donut eaten down to a useable display in the hand area for the outline and empty cans deposited WITHOUT discovery. We even got brave and laughed out loud at one point.
The mission record should show that one of the three actually finished their beer. The other two did a can-evac and poured their remainder out on the lawn. Pollution.
Andy would later post a picture of the final product (also, see below). A beautiful picture of artistic beauty. He would also seriously doubt the freedom Dogs dedication to security.
Or maybe, the operatives of Operation: Sugarwalls were that good. One, the other or maybe both.
As Matt Puke would dictate earlier, as Aaron sped away “Hot Sody” by The Screamin’ Mee-Mee’s would begin and we would sing it, all three in unison driving through a neighborhood of people that were. Simply enough. Just trying to get some sleep.
One of the mission parameters that were decreed early on in the mission was that the windows would be down and moon-roof open. This served a dual purpose. Finally. After a couple weeks of an intense heat wave, the trend broke and gave us a mild evening. Too mild for air conditioning. The heat had tempered everyone to the point that a normal, somewhat uncomfortable summer evening was made into a thing of total comfort. Comfort is relative, and this night that point was proven. Also, with the windows down and the moon-roof open, it added a carefree feeling to the operation.
Oh yeah, it also had made it easier for Aaron to flip off the cops.
The decision to proceed to the secondary target was all-go. With the windows down we also could keep up to the minute tabs on he status of weather. The widely scattered showers had moved in earlier, but it cleared out. They were scattered at best. Things seem to dry up if rain had even hit where Andy lived. So we proceeded to Liam and Lisa’s house.
Castle Dolan. That’s what I’m calling it now.
Aaron, with Matt navigating from the back seat had chosen a back-door route down the hill from College Hill to Liam’s neighborhood. A windy crooked curvy road where you could spy city lights in the area below and also one, according to Aaron neighbored a city dump and some sorts of farm.
Aaron was hugging the curves tightly. Even brushing up against the roadside bushes from time to time. Killed By Death #3 was still playing loudly. The volume knob was turned up, and stayed at that location at this particular moment. Mission parameters were holding…
At one point, as instructed, Aaron held one curve so tightly that I reached my hand out to allow the bushes to make contact. This was a dangerous move. Like as-if the movie Flash Gordon, in he swamp kingdom scene, when Flash put his hand into that big stump that held the poisonous creature. My hand could be ripped to shreds by the arrangement of the branches; depending how deep my arm went through the bush.
Bush touching. A different kind of bush. Touching.
Aaron drove expertly. My hand penetrated about halfway up my wrist. All that I felt was the gentle brushing of one of he bushes leafs embracing the op of my hand with a level of softness never witnessed from plant life before. The plant embraced me. It accepted me. The plant loved me. Shawn Abnoxious, friend of plant life!
The secondary target, Castle Dolan, held a greater difficulty with their dog. I still didn’t know his dog hat well… The drive by was, once again clear. We parked two houses down. This would give us more time o finish off he beer. Well, more time for them to finish off their beers. As soon as I cracked mine, several seconds later I was carrying an empty can around.
The drawing went well. As well as with Base Breighton. We had a few prolonged moments at the castle Dolan when an oncoming car, for some reason, spooked us and we went scurrying up to he house in an attempt to hide. Aaron would later point out how idiotic this was, and he was right. It was stupid. But then again we were three men, drinking heavily, drawing on our friend’s porches in the early morning hours listening to music recorded thirty years ago with analog equipment, on a digital format that spent a handful of minutes actually debating whether or not to place a dead squirrel we found in his neighbors driveway in he outline of where Matt’s hand would be documented.
This night was about stupid as a stupider night could get. Things were reduced to this point, and designed for this point. This night was about being stupid. About still being able to be stupid. About still being able to not forget how stupid felt.
Rain would move in later in the morning reducing the outline at Castle Dolan to a pastel mess with beer cans. As Lisa would say, it looked like some neighbors had a rest stop in their driveway.
Tuff titty, on the operatives’ part. Fucking Mother Nature! The US should have put a couple JDAMS down that bitch’s word-hole back after Hurricane Katrina. Just like all the fucking red-ties wanted to. When we knew her location, had spotters on the job. Now the fucking villain has slipped back into some deep spot where we cant find her.
None-the-less. Stupid felt good.
It felt damn good.
Mission, Operation Sugarwalls: ACCOMPLISHED!
I feel so alive when I'm with you
Come and feel my presence, it's reigning tonight
Heaven on earth inside my sugar walls
Onward to White Castle. Once again. Parameters (Held).
Aaron Puke. A titan. A lawyer. A titanic lawyer. A titanic titan. We hit White Castle and hit it hard. Matt Puke gets a cut up pickle. Aaron asked, and White Castle delivered. I didn’t know they did such things. Whoever I tell about this special order, also states they didn’t know White Castle did such things. Maybe they don’t. Maybe they only do it for Aaron. Or people like Aaron. Aaron Puke is a People’s People. I get two double cheeseburgers with no pickles or onions. Aaron gets two doubles with the pickles and onions. Aaron order’s Matt, along with the pickle, a slew of Mozzarella cheese sticks. In my name, that the workers of White Castle find oddly humorous, but yet endorse, and at one point even chant inside the restaurant, has one dollar donated to a charity I had already forgot about… But lets play it safe and say that it was something special for the kids… And in turn I got a certificate for one free WC. Doing the math on his deal, even in my condition, left he intent of said charitous measure to remain in question, but fuck it.
Victory is as victory does.
We got our food, and ate as we drove (somehow). Aaron took things to the next level when he took a mozzarella cheese stick. He broke it in half, twisted it, and placed it on top of a WC! This changed everything. Even though earlier in the night Aaron was forced onto the phone with Gunther, for brief intros and mission good-lucks, Aaron did not know about the development of the term, or maneuver known as gunthering. Without knowledge, Aaron gunthered his WC! It was the beautiful topper of a beautiful victory representing a beautiful night of pure, relatively forced embraced stupidity.
Driving north, back to Fairfield. Riding high on a successful operation. It could have been many things causing the act, but I’m not going to blame adrenaline, I’m not going to blame plant-life, I’m not going to blame he alcohol. I’m not going to blame the stick market. I’m definitely not going to blame the WC’s… for the fact that as soon as I finished my first Gunthered WC, I immediately vomited the unit back up into my own mouth, catching it for a eat-back. Just as good a second time really.
Let’s go ahead and blame the police. They blame us for every wrong they do, so back at ya pig fucks.
Police were everywhere on the way back. Aaron had installed some tunage by The Descendents for the ride home.
Shit hit hard.
We continued to sing as Aaron kept his finger out for the pig motherfuckers surrounding us. Not the smartest thing to do despite the current environment in Cincinnati concerning the police and their trigger fingers, but this night, Thwart Operations, are NOT about doing the smart thing. They are about the stupid thing and taking it to newer, higher, elevations. Tension was high, but that was OK. Maybe I could blame that for my ate-back WC…
No, that’s not fair. That’s not how justice works around here is it? White Castle has always been there for me. Well, except the time they threatened me with pig intervention…
We return home. There were no parades to meet us. No presidents with three-color banners. Nothing except the same trees to pee on that we pissed on when we left. The trees were my friends even though I piss all over them.
Plants are my friends. They make air for me to breathe.
Lemme take you somewhere you've never been
I can show you things you've never seen
I can make you never wanna fall in love again
Come spend the night inside my sugar walls
(My sugar walls) oooh (my sugar walls)
|Cryptic Artwork by Dr. Matt "Texas" Puke|