Sheena is a punk rocker. Sheena didn’t want to go to college because she wanted to move out to Chicago with her punk rock boyfriend. His name was Steel and he was in a punk rock band called Glamalglamate. She was in her own punk rock band here in New York called the She-He-Hulks, but they’d only had like two shows together, really basic sort of opening acts, and when she was really honest with herself, she knew it wasn’t going anywhere, the guitarist hadn’t returned anybody’s calls in over a month.
Sheena wanted to start a new punk rock band in Chicago, she had this idea that they’d call themselves the Punk-15, inspired by an obscure lyric from a random Bad Religion song. When she came up with the name, she almost got a little dizzy from the rush of creative potential, but when she told Steel about it, it wasn’t like he was discouraging or anything, but she could tell that he didn’t get it, and he was one of the most punk rock guys she knew, so if he didn’t get it, would the greater Chicago punk community get it? Because even though you’re not supposed to get it right away, you’re supposed to get it eventually, right?
Sheena got upset with Steel when he flatly said, “No way,” when she asked if she could maybe join Glamalgamate. They already had a somewhat impressive following, somewhat impressive for an underground Chicago post-punk band.
“We’re a post-punk band now,” Steel cut her off one time when they were out at the bowling alley and she was trying to tell some punk rockers four lanes down about Glamalgamate. “What does that even mean?” she wanted to ask, but she was glad that she didn’t, because everybody on lane sixteen just kind of nodded along knowingly.
Sheena is a post-punk rocker. “But seriously, why can’t I at least fill in for you guys once in a while?” That was Sheena and Steel fighting about the band again. Glamalgamate’s lead singer Larry had gotten really annoyed at their last show when Sheena showed up with a tambourine. Everybody was a little annoyed, but only Larry really made it obvious, which was, whatever, it’s not like she tried to get on stage or anything.
But yeah, Steel and Sheena had a post-post-punk rock breakup. That is, he gave her like five days to call somebody back in New York, neither of them had enough money to send her back, and she refused to make the call, she was just crying and not leaving the apartment. So finally Steel got on the phone.
“Hello, Mr. Pangrowski?” she thought he was faking it, that no way would he have the balls to call her dad. But two minutes later it was like, “Yep. OK. Thanks. Bye.” Click. For just a second her heart stopped, like it was beating, beating, beating, and then click, and she swore she felt it stop. And that moment kind of lingered for a while, suspended, she actually felt a little relieved, like this wasn’t such a bad way to go, she wouldn’t have to get angry or cry or face her dad when he got to Chicago.
But then it started beating again right away and all of that blood skipped her cheeks and her ears and went straight to her tear ducts, which were already pumping out tears in overdrive, and so this only had the added effect of adding a weird level of physical pain to her incessant crying.
“Steel, come on,” she managed to get out in between sobs, all while he kind of just ignored her and started collecting all of her stuff, laundry mostly, laundry and various punk-rock memorabilia that she had schlepped over in her punk-rock backpack.
And on the drive back to New York she couldn’t even say anything, she just sat in the backseat, crying, now not even wanting cry. Before she wanted to cry because she wanted Steel to know that she was hurting. Even when her dad just kind grabbed her duffel bag and threw it in the back, those tears were helpful in communicating a non-verbal level of despair. But now, enough was enough, these tears just felt pathetic, really.
And it was a long drive back to New York, she hadn’t thought to maybe tweak her playlist a little bit, when that Ramones song came on, it was like a big joke, like the universe just pointing and laughing and spitting and kicking dust into the spit and spitting again and then punching and kicking and stomping and laughing.
“Sheena is. A punk rocker Shee – ee – na – ah is. A punk rocker yeah – ee – yeah – ee – yeah.
Cause she’s a – a punk punk. A punk rocker. A punk punk …”