Suzie Tremors and the Barbarians of Speed

Chapter Two

Ken Preston

9 February 2024

An illustraation of an angry punk woman screaming into a microphone.

That night I first saw her, I hung around after the show finished. I needed to photograph her. A portrait, showing all the blood and the sweat and that wild, messed up rage in her eyes. A photo like that would pay my rent for a month, easy.

Of course she didn’t give a shit about me or my rent. What I hadn’t realised was that after the show she plummeted, all that rage, all that adrenaline, just drained away like water down the Niagara falls.

I found her slumped on the floor backstage, sitting in a pool of beer or piss, I really couldn’t tell you.

She looked up at me and said, ‘Who the hell are you?’

I held up my Leica. ‘Can I get a photo?’

‘Get lost.’

You’ve got to understand, she was terrifying, even back then. Especially for someone like me, a kid just out of college, face covered in pimples, and a haircut the wrong side of cool. So I did as she said, and I got lost.

But I turned up again the next night. She was crazier than before, cutting herself across her chest, exposing herself to catcalls and jeers. Drinking too, big long pulls on plastic cups full of beer sloshing down her T-shirt, frothing in puddles on the stage.

The tiny audience hated her just as much as the previous night. Maybe more.

At the end of the show I found her again, slumped on the floor, all that energy gone.

A hand on my shoulder. ‘Where you think you going, man?’

I didn’t have to turn around to know that was Nazgul behind me. The iron grip on my shoulder. That lisp, from all the piercings in his lips and tongue.

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