[WARRIOR SPIRIT] Hamilton is the filthy, depressing, crime-ridden armpit of Ontario. Honest to fucking God. The entire east end of "The Hammer" is built around a monolithic steel factory which spews thick black smoke and flames into the air and who knows what else into Hamilton Harbour. The lead singer of a local band moonlights as an underwater arc welder of all things, and he once told me that he saw a fish with two heads swimming around down there. Of course, he was piss drunk when he told me the story and probably piss drunk while doing the welding, so who the hell knows. The point is that this is the shithole I crawled out of, and the noxious, burnt plastic smell which hung perpetually in the air seemed to keep me sleepwalking through my tedious, unremarkable formative years. School didn't interest me, and I sure as fuck wasn't going to go out and get a job. So what finally woke my lazy ass up? Punk music. I bought my first record in 1973, picked up my first guitar in 1974 and started my first band in 1975. None of us could play for shit, but we were young and we were angry and we were fed up with all the bullshit going on in the world – and back then it was enough. Once I started, I couldn't stop. The music. The politics. The lifestyle. The brutal orchestrated violence. I thought it would last forever. It lasted 4 years. 2 albums. 3 concussions. Hundreds of live gigs. Zero cash. When it was all over, I was lost and the world was changing. I just couldn't face the 80's man, I couldn't. Here we were in the middle of the fucking Cold War with the whole world going right down the nuclear shitter and who's leading the revolution? Who is the voice of the young people? Fucking TIFFANY. The goddamned New Kids on the Block. So what did I do? I gave up. I became a bouncer in a shitty little local club and tuned out. Got soft. Watched punk die. Went back to sleep. But this has been a weird kinda year. Somalia is mess. Some nutjob tried to blow up the World Trade Centre. The ATF burned children to stop some idiot in Waco who thought he was Jesus. Mulroney ran and hid after screwing Canadians for years and now we have some chick as Prime Minister that the people didn't even elect. The LAPD got a slap on the wrist for beating Rodney King. Some crazy bitch in the US even cut off her husband's cock, for chrissakes. The world is changing, and what is punk's response? The motherfucking OFFSPRING? No way. That's it. It's time for punk – TRUE punk – to come back and wake some people up. It's time for the return of Hammer Hardcore. But I'm not ready, not yet. Forget the fact that I have no money and that the band had scattered to the four winds. I need something else. A kickstart. A return to the roots of punk. A test of sorts, to see if I'm still hardcore.
Personality: Our first album was self-titled 'cause that's just how it always is y'know? Nobody outside the local punk clubs in Southern Ontario knew who the hell we were so we needed to get the name out there – Hammer Hardcore. Hammer, because we were from Hamilton and Hardcore ... well, cause we were hardcore. Wait, scratch that – we were FUCKING hardcore. I remember one time we were somewhere up north – Thunder Bay I think – and this asshole didn't like our set and so he jumps up on stage and starts pissing on the amp. I had spent my last Unemployment Insurance cheque on that damned amp, so it got me pretty hot. I jumped on the guy and then all hell broke loose. Chairs and fists were flying all over the bar. Dredge jumped out from behind the drumset and started knocking people flat. Jimmy smashed his guitar into to some poor bastards mouth and knocked out 5 of his teeth. Harriet grabbed the mike and stood on the big amps yelling obscenities at people at making lewd comments about their mother. I got hit in the head with a beer bottle, but just kept right on pounding the guy who pissed on my gear. That's pretty much how every other gig went for like 2 years, before the record company, the club owners and the RCMP made us take it down a notch. That was the best thing about punk in Canada though – it shocked and angered just as many people as it did down in the States, but no one shot at us. No one pulled a knife. We could get rowdie the old fashioned way and have some fucking fun with it, y'know?
| Standard Normal human strength.||Agility:|
|Superior This fighter can dodge, weave and move |
with the grace of an Olympic gymnast.
|Superior Hardy. |
Takes punishment like a heavyweight fighter or wrester.
|Standard Normal human mental resources.|
About 10 seconds after I decided to start the band again, I told that awful motherfucker who owns the dive bar I work in that I quit. I spent the next 20 seconds listening to Shaky Larry angrily rant about what an ungrateful bastard I am and how he was going to withhold my last cheque until hell freezes over. Then, I spent the next 5 seconds looking for Dredge. Putting the band back together started with Dredge, and it had nothing to do with his rather suspect skills as a drummer. First off, he was easy to find, because for the last 15 years he had practically lived at the bar, and at close to 300 pounds he was hard to hide. The only reason I needed the full 5 seconds to find him was that by then he was already face down on the floor by the pinball machine. It took me a full minute to wake him up, another 30 seconds to get him to a chair and another 50 seconds to repeat the process after he fell off the chair and back onto the floor. 15 seconds to confirm that he was still somewhat conscious, 20 seconds to explain that I was getting Hammer Hardcore back together, 40 seconds for him to process the information and 2 seconds to mumble "Yeah man, whatever." And that was it. The comeback had begun in under 5 minutes. That was the second reason I started with Dredge, he'd be the easiest to convince. The third of course, was that he had a car. "Are you sober enough to drive, man?" I asked. "Fuck no." he slurred in response. "Well too fucking bad 'cause I can't drive shift," was my unsympathetic response, "Move your fat ass – we gotta go see Harriet."
Terrain Familiarity: Bar Fight
"There is absolutely no way I am giving you this ticket," said Harriet sternly. In her hand, she held an ornate envelope containing the invitation to a prestigious and secretive martial arts tournament that technically I wasn't even supposed to know about. Around us, men and women congregated in a dimly lit factory, which had been condemned many years earlier and for damn good reason. Underground fighting clubs had been around for years, of course, but after the band split up Harriet started up the best of the best and slowly squeezed the competition out of the picture. That's what Harriet was like – kick ass and take no prisoners. It's why we were all in love with her, deep down. "C'mon Harriet, I'm getting the band back together. I need this." "First of all," she said, "we haven't played together in almost 15 years. Secondly, I've got a good racket here and maybe I don't want to give it all up to placate your fucking mid-life crisis and thirdly, the name on this ticket isn't Billy Hardcore. It's Hieu Trinh." "Huey Duck? That asshole from Vietnam?" "He's from Mississauga, Billy, and he's the best fighter I've ever seen come through here. He's earned this." "Better than me?" I asked indignantly. Harriet stopped and thought for a moment, "You're good Billy. It's why I let you fight here when you need cash. But the guys at this tournament aren't drunk steelworkers, they are serious fighters – trained martial artists. The best in the world. You're a street brawler – you wouldn't know a roundhouse from an outhouse." In the makeshift ring surrounded on all sides by seedy patrons, half-beaten competitors and bookies with fistfuls of money, Huey Duck prepared for his next match. I knew the hard road started here. "If I beat him," I told Harriet, "you give me that ticket." Harriet looked angry, "He's half your age Billy, and twice the fighter you are. This isn't another drunk you can knock out with one punch." I took off my shirt and cracked my knuckles, "Put that invite on the line and we'll fucking see, Harriet."
It wasn't the first time I had lost a tooth in a fight, but lemme tell you it was by far the most painful. My entire jaw was on fire and I could feel the exact imprint of his fist on my face. Huey Duck of course was laughing at me – in part because he's an asshole but mostly because I was the motherfucker lying on the floor. The crowd was throwing garbage at me and telling me to get up and, not wanting to look like a complete fucking tool, I staggered to my feet. Wiping the blood from my mouth, with my left eye partially shut from the swelling and standing there in the middle of that feeding frenzy of violence, it started to come back to me. The rush. The madness. The freedom. The incredible high of unrestrained violence. "Hit me again, motherfucker," I taunted. Huey was all too happy to oblige. The reason they called him Duck after all is that's what you needed to do if he swung at you. He was fast, and hit like you like a brick dropped from the CN Tower. This time he went for my gut, and the blow tore through my torso like Evelyn Dick after a night on the town. I dropped to my knees, trying hard to take in a breath as Huey circled the makeshift ring and played to an increasingly amused audience. Despite the pain, I staggered to my feet and growled, "Try that again." With a broad smile, Huey ran at me and, trying to end things quickly I guess, spun around with a blinding kick. He didn't expect me to be fast enough to duck it. He didn't expect me to be able land a fist in his face either. He certainly didn't expect to get knocked the fuck out, but he was. Flat on his back. One punch. Same as always. The crowd was silent. Dredge was silent. Harriet was silent. Huey Duck was REAL silent. My whole life I've been doing this. Jimmy always said I was a freak – that CSIS was going to bust down the door one day and cart me off to some lab with the rest of the monkeys – but I think of it as a gift. I don't know why and I don't know how and really, I don't give a shit. I just wanted that goddamned envelope. "When I get back," I said to Harriet, "you better have a fucking bass in your hands."
- Power: Induced Sleep
- Kit Power Link: Master Training
"You open that fucking door or I swear to God Genvieve I am going to bust it down." As always, Genevieve wasn't going to make things easy, which is part of the reason I left her. It also could have been that she caught me cheating on her and came after me with a meat cleaver, but mostly it was the being difficult thing. I think. Damn that sexy french accent... I never should have married her in the first place. "Fuck ov, Billy!", she shouted rudely from the 3rd floor window, "eef you don't get out of 'ere I am going to call zee cops!" With that, she threw a small ceramic lamp out the window, which just missed my head and shattered loudly at Dredge's feet. Dredge of course was used to this kind of drama, and really was entirely too hungover at this point to care one way or the other. "I want my shitkickers, Genevieve! That's MY shit!", I shouted. "Fuck you," came the predictable response, "my lawyer, ee says zat half of your sheet is mine, non? Go and take me to court you cheeting bastard and maybe I will give you ONE, eh?" This time a shower of cold water from the sink came raining down on top of me. "Ow do you like zat, eh?" she taunted. By this time, Genevieve's neighbours were all peeking their heads out from windows and doors to see what the commotion was about. "Maybe I should just tell all your neighbours here about the time you, Sylvain Sylvain and that 15 year old runaway holed up in that hotel room for..." "Zut alors, don't you dare Billy! Don't you dare!" she interrupted angrily. "No? Maybe I should tell them about our trip to Sault Ste Marie in '77? Or the washroom at CBGBs after the Ramones concert in..." "Ere zen! Ere zey are you fucking bastard!" she shrieked as she receded into her apartment spewing a string of obscenities in french. A moment later, a pair of heavy black leather boots lined with thick, worn, dented Hamilton steel flew from the 3rd floor and landed on the hood of the car with a loud metallic CLANG. "Tabernac! Take zem and fuck off!" she called down to the street and then spat. "Dude," said Dredge meekly as he examined the damage to his car. "No time, Dredge," I noted as I grabbed my boots and jumped into the car, "we gotta go see Jimmy."
Genevieve the Ex
"That has to be the single most idiotic idea I have ever heard in my entire life," Angela said. It probably was, mind you, but there was no way I was giving that bitch the satisfaction of being right. "Look are you going to give me a medical clearance or not?" I asked impatiently, "Jimmy, talk to your woman." Jimmy, who had been meekly sitting in a chair on the far side of the room opened his mouth to speak but was silenced by the raised finger of his wife. "James Andrew Horacek – not ONE WORD." Angela stuck her raised finger in my face and continued her shrew-like raving, "First of all, I am NOT his 'woman'. I am his wife. And as his wife, I can tell you with 100% certainty that there is no way in HELL I am going to let you drag him back into that stupid punk band of yours after all this time. You're almost 40 years old Billy, it's time to grow up and get a real job, like James." Standing up from the examination table I countered, "A real job? You've hired him as a fucking medical secretary in your clinic. He's the best guitarist in the city and you've cut off his nuts so he can do your filing!" "Billy don't be like that man it's just..." Jimmy's words were once again cut short by Angela's raised finger and he slunk back into his chair. "Let me tell you something Billy. I have tried to be accommodating. I have treated you after every fight and put up with your anti-establishment nonsense for TEN YEARS and I am SICK OF IT. But you know what, I'm going to sign that medical clearance. You know why? Because even though I've seen you take beating after beating and somehow – miraculously – continue your pathetic little existence, I know for a fact that this is beyond you. Are you medically fit to fight? Close enough," she said as she rubber stamped and signed my clearance forms. "And let me tell you something, Billy, the only reason I am doing this is because I know it will probably kill or permanently injure you." Grabbing the forms and handing them to Dredge, I said "You're all heart Angela. I liked you better when you were a groupie." Angered, Angela began to kick us out of the office when I caught sight of Jimmy. I could see it in his eyes – the fire was there, but he was trapped. "Let's make a deal Angela," I said, suddenly struck by an idea, "If I lose, I'll never come by here again, but if I win, you let Jimmy join the band again." Angela smiled, "You're on. I look forward to never hearing from you ever again, Billy Hardcore. Now get the hell out of my office." As Dredge and I pulled out of the parking lot, I thought about Jimmy. Out of all of us, he had fallen the farthest – and needed this the most. We needed the money the tournament would provide but we needed something more. We needed a reminder of just what hardcore really meant – and I aimed to fuck a lot of people up to find out.
- Power: Iron Will
- Kit Power Link: Master Training