"I'm proud of you, kid," said Green Hair. He pulled out a pack of Silk Cuts from his pocket, and lit a cigarette indolently. "Don't ever take shit from cunts like that."
"Yeah, but she's gonna kill me when I get back! I mean, like. really, totally KILL me!"
"So? You have a few hours of freedom before the Wicked Witch of the West disembowels you. Better make the most of it then. Wanna fag?"
"What?" Sam stared incredulously at the green-haired rocker. "You want me to what?"
Green Hair gave him a funny look. "I asked you if you wanted a cigarette." He pulled a cigarette out of the package and offered it to him. "Do ya smoke?"
"Oh." Sam's face turned scarlet. "I thought you were asking me. if I wanted to, um."
Green Hair stared at him, then threw his head back and started howling hysterically. "Jesus fucking CHRIST! You thought I was making a pass at you? Whoa, that's fuckin' rich!" He laughed so hard he almost fell over, and had to lean against a wall for support. After a few minutes, his chuckles died down to wheezes, and then to the occasional hiccup. "Fags. you know. it doesn't have anything to do with butt pirates. it's just what they call cigs here. Didn't you know that?"
"No!" Sam cried, humiliated and furious at himself. "Why should I know that? I'm not from England! I don't know anything about this place. I don't what they fucking call anything!"
" down, Junior. I'm just joking. Look, if it makes you feel any better, when I first came here, I didn't know jackshit. Hell, I still trip up now and then."
"How long have you lived here?" Sam looked quizzically at his companion.
Green Hair sucked on his cig- fag?- and gazed off into the distance. His eyes were suddenly shadowed. "About four years now."
"Geez, that's a long time!"
"You're tellin' me," he answered sourly.
"Um, if you don't mind my asking. where are you from?'
"Oh." Sam scratched his ear, at a loss for words. He had spent all of his life in Southern California, and he knew almost nothing about the East Coast. "You know," he said lamely, "that's sort of surprising you lived here so long. You still sound pretty American. Like, I knew this guy, who lived in Australia for half a year, and when he came back, he totally had the accent down!"
"Yeah, well, I've resisted sounding like a Limey. And I've been hangin' out with these other Americans. until recently. Funny thing," he said sarcastically. "They didn't like the Sex Pistols as much as I did."
"The. 'Sex Pistols'?" Sam's brow knotted. "Is that the band on your shirt?"
"Yeah!" Green Hair suddenly brightened. "They're so fucking cool. so fucking brilliant. they're the best fucking band in the whole UNIVERSE!"
"Really?" Sam asked dubiously.
"Yeah! Their music is about as far from that whiny hippie shit as you can get. It's so raw- so angry- it's like takin' a buzzsaw to somebody's skull!"
"And that's a good thing?"
"Fuck yeah!" His eyes glittered almost maniacally. "When me and my girlfriend saw them- almost a month ago, at the 100 Club- it was like I was hit over the head. It was like this revelation. That it's good to be angry. And that all music doesn't have to be like fuckin' Hawkwind or Janis Ian! I mean, what the hell did that mealy-mouthed flower-tossing hippie drippy love crap do for us anyway? Not to mention," he added loudly, "I'm FUCKING SICK OF IT!"
"What did your girlfriend think?"
"What do you think?" Green Hair shrugged. "She hated it. She told me, 'Oh, it's so mean-spirited and violent, I don't understand how anybody could like it.'" He said the last in a girly squeak that made Sam grin. "And I told her all the crap I just told you, but she just said, 'but someone could get hurt, and all that angry stuff gives me bad vibes.' And then she told me that my liking it so much just proved how immature I was. And I told her that I didn't fucking care what she thought, and she could just shove all her Joni Mitchell records up her ass."
"I take it you're not dating her anymore."
Green Hair grimaced. "Well, we'd been together for two years, which was just too damn long if you ask me. I think we just didn't have anything better to do. By the end it was like flogging a dead horse. We were sick of looking at each other."
"Was she American?"
"Yeah." Green Hair dropped his cigarette butt and ground it under the toe of his boot. As he looked disinclined to discuss her any further, Sam changed the subject. "Have you had green hair long?"
"Couple weeks. After all that bullshit with Sharon, I, uh, felt I needed a major change. These clothes." He gestured at himself. "I threw 'em together right before I saw the Stranglers a few weeks ago. Figured if I felt like a punk, might as well dress like one too."
"So those are your concert threads?"
"Yeah. Yeah, I guess you could call 'em that."
"So," Sam asked shyly, "I guess that means you're going out to see a band tonight?"
"Gee, kiddo, it's funny you should ask." Green Hair grinned lopsidedly. "As a matter of fact, when you bumped into me I was headed to see the Sex Pistols at the Nashville."
All at once, Sam was frozen with an incredible, wild surge of jealousy. He couldn't begin to imagine what these 'Sex Pistols' sounded like- his knowledge of music was strictly limited to Casey Kasem's Top 40- but already in his mind this mysterious group was taking on a significance of almost mythic proportions. "Now that's something I'd like exposure to!" he blurted out.
"Exposure?" Green Hair looked confused. "What the fuck?"
Sam blushed. "Oh, it's what my aunt said. That. that 'my young mind needed exposure to cultured things.' You know." He made a hideous face. "Like museums and antique shops."
"Well, museums and antique shops can't hold a candle to the sheer fucking brilliance that is the Sex Pistols," replied Green Hair with serene confidence of a religious convert. He started walking down the street, while Sam just stared at him, dumbfoundedly. The punk turned around with an amused expression. "Well, whaddya waitin' for, Chicken Little?" he called out. "The sky to fall? Get your ass in gear or we'll miss the show!"
Sam blinked; then, with a joy beyond words, he ran to catch up with Green Hair. "Wow!" he exclaimed. "Wow, I can't believe this! Thanks!"
Green Hair shrugged again, cool as cucumber. "No problem."
But Sam, overwhelmed, just continued babbling. "I mean, really, this is so cool! I'd never be able to do shit like this back in L.A. God, my friends are gonna be so jealous! I can't wait to tell 'em!"
"Yeah. Be sure to tell your aunt all about it too." Green Hair gave him a wicked grin. "I'm sure she'd love to hear about all the 'exposure' you're gonna get tonight!"