Scorpion Dust Blues


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It was Tuesday night, the 1993 Presidential Election party.

The incumbent Australian President, beloved Tasmanian pisstank and occasional cricketer David Boon, was facing off with the interloping, permulleted Aussie rules football demigod Dermott Brereton.

Festivities had kicked off early the prior Saturday morning, probably.

That’s when Ed Von Satan and Johnny Platinum, wizened rock and roll lotharios (they still figured themselves to be), had lured a self-described “contemporary visual artist” away from her understandably distraught boyfriend as the sun scraped over the awning of some scabby, last resort Adelaide pokies barn.

The weedy cuckold had clawed forlornly at the Silver Top cab’s rear window as the two spidery cads and their new playmate awayed into the unseasonably warm winter’s morning.

Her name was Echo Deconstruction-Meme.

Johnny, lead singer of the recently re-formed - “not reformed!” - late ‘70s glam superheroes Switchback, had spotted her up front and gagging for it during the lethargic two man acoustic set he’d played with Ed, for a handful. Of drinks tokens, late on Friday night.

Back at what turned out to be her mum’s unassuming double brick veneer, the two self-designated ladykillers had had the script flipped on them comprehensively by the pneumatic, wild-eyed Ms Echo Deconstruction-Meme.

They’d entered the darkened front hallway, all knotted up in clammy anticipation of imminent filthy business.

Ed and Johnny stopped cold in their tracks as Echo flicked on a couple of moody, buzzing fluorescents.

“Strike me pink,” Johnny gasped.

The entire length of the hallway was lined with sagging condoms, full of blackened jizz, nailed haphazardly to ceiling and wall alike.

For melodramatic good measure, the artist in residence had garotted and strung up melted, eyeless dolls at random intervals. The walls themselves were a mosaic of broken, mirrored glass glued up for maximum disorienting, gut churning effect.

“Jesus, love, I thought you did, like, velvet paintings of cats or something!” Ed croaked.

Echo slammed the heavy oak front door shut, padlocked it and produced a hefty baggie of bright yellow pills from betwixt her bat-wing tattooed decolletage.

“C’mon, you big blouses. Let’s make this interesting.”


Saturday slipped and groaned into an unfathomably loose Sunday session, relocated at some stage to the bandmates’ Paradise, 5075 share pad. A couple of Echo’s up-for-it mates rolled in at some point.

Monday was merely a fleshy, tangled liquid smear.

Early Tuesday morning, Johnny wandered, tackle out, to the parapet overlooking the abando car yard next door, under the shadow of the Catholic church across the road, and did the Yank national anthem on a sunburst finish Strat, a mockery in white cowboy boots and gangling car crash loucheness.

This is pretty much what the lads were calling a quiet weekend these days.


Later that morning.

Johnny was out front, surveying the collateral damage from the prior 72-96 hours.

He’d kicked off with a bump of dust illuminated by UV lamp, with the writhing carapaces of those spider-assassinating scorpion fuckers, isometroides vescus writhing in the tank below.


There it was.

A bilious, bowel strangling, rabies-foam exercise in character assassination.

There it it was.

A shock and awe daisy cutter napalm leave no evidence reality tampering time stream distorting gonzo sulphur breathed lunatic fringe derangement daubed savagely across the pin-striped bonnet of Johnny’s beloved, imported Chrysler Lebaron GTC in scarlet house paint.


What did that even mean?

Like, in English.

Septum aflame and raw of gum, Johnny - wondered if he’d ever learned anything at all. He was all of thirty four and attempting to lazily manufacture a career reboot of his former band whilst also debauching his way through the lesser elements of the outer suburban Adelaide rock-slash-metal scene.

They’d squibbed it spectacularly with them twins from The Magpie last Tuesday night, he hazily recollected.

That never happened back in the day.

His current thumping head-mantra: never assume your intended double or nothing is down with the powders.


Keep them bubbles on hand, he reminded himself, so as to prevent yet another round of former rock demi-god hubris deflating exit music.

It was getting all too common.


Fucken mole.

Whoever it was.

Johnny filed that one away for another solo album title anyway, now he’d given it some thought.

That was enough of that.

Switchback lead singer Johnny Platinum wasn’t renowned for extended moments of maudlin introspection, especially after his breakfast libations had kicked in.

Plus, he’d just sorted out a haul of pretty spectacular gear for his imminent election house party.

The dealer was en fucken route.


Ed scraped dried bath salt scum from his good eye socket and sat upright in the tepid bathtub. 
It was about three in the arvo.

As in, the fabled Ten Palmer Street election night party was already well and truly under way.

He dragged on some filthy denim kecks, donned a scuffed cowboy lid and ambled downstairs, navigating through the local scene ne’erdo’wells who’d materialised during his brief, rejuvenative bath-kip.

“Tex… mate. Mick. Angry Ernie, m’brother. Bear… how are ya, cunt? Hopesy. Blixa.  Chrissy B. Jacko, Rocko, Ballbags, you cheeky baaaaaarrrrssssstards. Silly. Mick. Naughty. Warren. Flog, mate. Horn. Spud, m’man. Tim, mate. Bulldog, Gnome, Hemphead, Boxhead…”

The ancient gaff’s living area had been hollowed out into a pretty audacious open plan party zone cum jam room when the lads had moved in a year or so back.

It helped that their landlords - glorious old duffers they were - had pretty much phased into another, profoundly more senile and scooter-bound plane of existence, meaning they’d never made it across the road and up the steps from their adjacent retirement village to do a house inspection in the time Ed and Johnny had been tearing it up.

Anyway, shit had kicked off again in trademark lowlife Ten Palmer style earlier in the afternoon.

About a hundred or so scallywags, pirates, bikers, scumbags, dealers, creeps and general low lives from the local scene were getting loose in the cavernous, blacked-out confines of the downstairs zone.

A boxy old projector was rigged up - a disaster of cables and gaffer tape jury rigged by Switchback’s roadie Flog - beaming live election coverage in flickering monochrome across the least despoiled wall available. A highlights package detailing Dermie Brereton’s switch from star footballer to national politics presently unspooled.

Absolutely zero revellers gave two fucks.

Ed wove through the throng on spaghetti limbs and sprawled at the makeshift bar, swiping a lonely milk carton full of someone else’s home brew.

The house band, BABALÖN, were set up in the taped off “in the round” jam area in the centre of the room, plowing viciously through a set of screamy riot girl punk. 
Pretty bloody good they were, too -  nice and feisty, and plenty prone to delivering the occasional boot to a wayward handsy mosher, as Chris Billy, the ‘Back’s drummer,  had discovered several times the last time the ladies had played support for them a few weeks back.

Settling into a busted hard rubbish pleather chair, Ed took a long pull on his contraband booze, sparked a spliff and reflexively coughed a nugget of something chemical down his gullet.


Later, Ed was getting a celebratory hummer in the scabrous downstairs khazi of Number Ten.

He’d couldn’t stand that permulleted fuckwit Dermie Brereton. Consequently, the Boon win had given him his fifth or sixth party wind when his chewable uppers had rebooted him after another minor blackout.

The generous fellatrix in question was, eh, maybe nineteen? Shaved minge - weird, Ed liked some grass on the wicket - with some blurry cherry tattoos. Schoolgirl clobber. Had attacked him while he was zipping up and bunged a pill of unknown origin in his gob.

Said fellatrix (actual name: Paula) was presently, enthusiastically, putting some truth to that old saw: ‘could suck a golf ball through a garden hose’.

Or chrome off an exhaust pipe, he supposed absent-mindedly, close to his vinegar strokes.

Ed was clumsily attempting to switch it up so he could return some favours to Paula on the closed bog lid, thus avoiding some more calamitous word of mouth sex reviews, when Johnny crashed festivities.

All six four of Master Platinum slumped to the WC floor in a flail of scrawny contorted limbs, prostrate and inhibiting Ed’s ability to deploy some of his most renowned cunnilingual moves.

Half collapsed through the gauzy Balinese curtain they’d strung up as a portal to the bogs, Johnny had definitely knocked off some pretty heroic horse tranqs via his much-ballyhooed dealer and was having a delicate spazz out moment.

Ed booted Johnny in the ribs, a vicious jab of a worn out Cuban. The singer groaned and threw up on the tiles, completely dead to it.


The phone was ringing somewhere deep in the bowels of Number Ten.

For reasons potentially cosmic, Ed felt compelled to disengage from his red hot crotchy ministrations and clambered over Johnny to find the bastard Telecom device.

Stumbling down the hall over a thicket of hangers on and party legends in the offing, Ed spied the offending telecommunications device, somehow still moored to the wall, a rarity for these sorts of knees ups.

He was further shocked to note that he’d even heard the fucking thing, seeing as how BABALÖN were flailing their way through a rapidly unravelling set of barely coherent Jefferson Starship covers.

Nodding to their frontwoman, Izzy, to dial it down a few notches, Ed grabbed the molded plastic handset and hefted it to his ear.

“Yep, cunty?”

The connection was pathetic, a symptom of repeated shoddy repairs by Flog, all patched up with cannibalised pickup wire and gaff. Somewhere from deep inside a furious, echoing 44-gallon of cybernetic wasps:
 “--- I said we need the band in Sydney, main stage, headlining on Friday night!”

Ed, dumbfounded: “Whatnow?”

“--- in or are you out?”

“You don’t have to ask me twice, knackers. Giz a mo.”

Incredulous, Ed scrawled down a few details on the ‘Z’  index page of Johnny’s copy of Hammer of the Gods, murmured something in the affirmative down the handset then let it swing.

He tore out the page and jammed it in his vest pocket, making a mental note not to use it as spliff paper later on.

Sly grin forming, Ed Von Satan turned to the assembled ladies of BABALÖN, who were still plugged in, amps humming while they passed the amyl around.

“Girls, wanna re-form Töxxik Shökk with me and hit the road?” he smirked lop-sidedly, somehow always keeping the ruined side of his face in shadow.

“Like, do a headliner in Sydney this Friday night?”

The BABALÖN ladies were dyed in the tie, hard as nails, flannel-armored Gen X rock warriors - perpetually bored as sin in dead end outer-northern Adelaide and up for anyfuckingthing.

Izzy shook off the last of her poppers rush and sneered nonchalantly.

“Why the fuck not, ay?”

Ushering the three piece into the so-called studio adjoining the jam room, Ed gestured towards a six foot tank loaded up with writhing scorpions.

Flicking on the UV lamp, he scratched out four long, jagged lines of tacky yellow upper, etching fans into the murky glass of the terrarium’s ceiling.

Ed produced a filthy prawn from his back pocket, rolled it expertly and handed it to singer-guitarist Izzy.

Izzy sealed the pact, then their bassist, Beav of Destruction, did same.

Ma’at, the drummer, went last.

Dropping his shoulder, Ed hoovered up the remainder, looked up from the makeshift mirror and palmed an oozing river of chemical snot from his chin.

“Let’s go and do a fucken headline gig, eh, ladies?”

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