Pat Brown and Broken Ribs - Robert Vogt

Pat Brown points a .45 caliber semi-automatic pistol in my face. Pat Brown, the Pat Brown of Vandals fame—the guy the Vandals wrote the song about—yells, “Get the fuck outta here!”
I’m sitting on a picnic table surrounded by two hundred or so punkers at a party on a Thursday night in the backyard of Pat’s parents’ Long Beach home. I am immobile, hypnotized by the barrel of the revolver being waved in front of me. My eyes follow its movements as Pat continues yelling. Brown’s efforts at breaking up the party prove to be futile even though he has resorted to waving a firearm around.

An oafish punk grabs the edge of the table I’m setting on, screams, “He said, ‘Get the fuck out!’ ” Yanking upwards he sends me sliding backwards down the length of the table. I land ribs first on a short red brick wall that borders a flowerbed.

With the wind knocked out of me I stand panting desperately sucking in air bent half over in pain. I can hear some yelling and name calling going on with the oaf as I catch my breath.

“I-huah, I hahh, I think…ahh…, I need to go to the hospital,” I gasp as Leann Cotton and Nina Bultanski help me make it from the party to my car, a ‘65 Cutlass. Robbie Blount takes the wheel motoring us from Long Beach down to Slater Lake Park in Huntington Beach.

We arrive, Robbie shuts the car off and we are shrouded in the blackness of eucalyptus, willow and oak trees at the far end of a deep parking lot off Gothard Street.

I sit in the back seat slowly sipping a Schlitz. Mark Cellini and Mike Onack are over at a small playground abusing a hobby horse just for the hell of it.

“Gonna kick the shit out of you!” I hear Mark yell as the two curse the thing booting it.


“Fuckin’ pussy!” Mark slams the heel of his engineer boot into the side of the plaything’s head. The toy springs back, forth, sideways on its iron coil. The beating continues while Nina, Leann and Robbie, also drinking Schlitz, lean against the car near my window keeping an eye out for cops.
I crash at Nina’s and it takes me forever to get to sleep with sharp pain piercing me at the slightest movement.

The next morning I visit a doctor and find out I’ve got two broken ribs. There’s nothing that can be done about it. The doctor tells me that I have to take three weeks off work and gives me a prescription for some opioid painkillers.
That night, I ride in the backseat of my car, a quart of Olde English 800 between my legs. Jenkins Arceneaux motors the Olds up and down the hills of La Cienega Boulevard. Me, Jenkins, his older brother Frank and Ryan Smith are heading up to the Odyssey, a club on Beverly Boulevard in L.A.

From speakers directly behind my head the Germs’ Richie Dagger’s Crime blasts vibrating the back portion of the car. I gulp my pain-relievers down with a night oil-derrick landscape whipping by to the right.
A half hour later I’m sitting on a bench with Frank inside the club. The pills and booze have fully kicked in.

“Nasty girls, dance, dance, dance …,” a tune blares from subwoofers placed on the floor and a P.A. mounted near the ceiling.

Frank and I lean back against a purple wall. Flashes from disco-lights illuminate our faces while both the bench and the wall behind us throb from the dance music. We sit enraptured watching a bare mid-rifted blonde bombshell high school girl grind on a pedestal.

“Do you wanna dance with me?” A guy asks me leaning close so I can hear him.

“No!” I shake my head abruptly and instantly return my gaze to the curvy blonde who is now lip-sinking to the music, “I need…, seven inches or more…, get it up…, get it up. I can’t…, wait anymore.”
Then me and Frank are outside on a patio bordering the back of a Union 76 station.

“You girls got any cheese?” Frank asks a pair of heavily made up new-wave teen girls passing by.

“You wanna go dog-trackin’?” I ask a brunette who is oblivious.

After a few more fruitless attempts we make our way back inside. We join Jenkins and Ryan who are shuffling on the dance floor to Captain Sensible’s Wot. Someone accidentally elbows my broken ribs paralyzing me instantly. For a few seconds I’m in the same excruciating pain as the previous night.

At 2 a.m. the club shuts down and new-wavers, amyl nitrate huffers and cough syrup gulpers meander around in front of the spot trying to figure out where to go next. 

The legendary Rodney B., KROQ disc jockey and former glam rock club manager, walks out of the place sporting a purple afro-esque hairdo. A couple of teenage girls dressed like streetwalkers are at his side.

We leave the place and end up at a nearby diner. 

Once inside we realize we’ve only got three dollars and some change between us. We get an order of fries and three cups of coffee.

Jenkins spies a T-bone steak that has barely been touched in the vacated booth next to us. He takes a quick look around then stretches half-standing and reaches for the steak. He snatches the plate the beef is sitting on, places it in front him and digs in.

Robert Vogt was born in the mid-western U.S. into a blue-collar/fundamentalist Christian family. As a teenager he moved with his family to Los Angeles, California. In his early-twenties Vogt entered seminary school but soon grew disillusioned with his studies as the result of his personal struggles with walking the ‘straight and narrow.’ He then ended up starting a punk band with a good friend of his. The band enjoyed fifteen seconds of fame thanks to the punk ‘zine Maximum Rock N Roll. His chapbook Stilnox and Stolichnaya and his novel Conceived in Iniquity are available at LuLu.