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Fiction #156
(published October 30, 2003)
Lexicon Devil
by Margot August Woods
"We did this show so you new people could see what it was like when we were around. You're not going to see it again," Darby Crash said at the end of the Germs' reunion show at Starwood. Now, five days later, I realize how true his statement was. Their last song was "Another One Bites the Dust."

Michelle told me that he scored heroin with the money he made that night. He shot up, spread Christ-like on the floor, and died. He was twenty-two.

I remember a show at the Masque when he lay on stage, lifeless, his eyes closed. Earlier, he had let us scribble on him with a marker. I drew on his shoulder before he wriggled away. The graffiti on his chest looked like cords of dried blood.

Darby got high on everything he could find before he played. He lurched on stage, smashing bottles on himself and rolling in glass. Near the end, the Germs were banned from most clubs in Los Angeles.

I saw their first show at the Orpheum, opening for the Weirdos. The Germs were on stage for five minutes. Donna Rhia beat her drums; Pat Smear ground out feedback; Lorna Doom played her one-string bass and gulped champagne.

Darby, blonde and baby-faced, called himself Bobby Pyn then. He prowled the stage, wrapping himself in yards of scarlet licorice whips. He refused to sing into the mike and drowned it in a jar of Jif. He smeared us with peanut butter. Soon, the police kicked them off the stage and herded us out of the club.

At a Whisky show, Darby sang "Sugar, Sugar" by the Archies and emptied bags of sugar on us. It mixed with our sweat, forming a sticky paste. After we got tossed out, we went to Licorice Pizza, gorging ourselves on free licorice and the newest issue of Flipside.

I got a Germs Burn that night from Dinky. His burn had healed well, a raised circle over the blue veins of his wrist. I extended my arm, chomping down on a licorice whip in anticipation of the pain. He burned a circle on my wrist with his cigarette. When it was finished, it glowed like it was still on fire.

Later, I gave a kid a Germs Burn in the parking lot of the Rainbow. Darby's rules were that it had to be given by somebody who already had one, and it had to be on the left wrist. When it was over, the boy looked at me and laughed.

The burns and the logo Darby wore on an armband reminded me of his eyes. Dilated and vacant, the way they looked during a show. Eyes so blue it hurt to look at them. Darby was too shy to hold a stare anyway; he looked away from me when he talked, playing with the safety pins in his ear.

On the Germs' 7-inches, the logo was off-center, just like dear, dead Darby.

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