It would have been even funnier if they'd actually arrested our friend Skeith instead of just handcuffing him after spreading him across the hood of the unmarked police car. It was New Year's Eve, and we were on our way to a many-banded shindig at the hep-cat after-hours warehouse Bong Leach-in fact, we were loitering out front, I'm sorry to say, waiting for the magic hour of 2 a.m. to strike. But according to Officers Mendoza and Avila, it wasn't our kind of neighborhood.
"We'd like to know what you're doing here," Avila (henceforth referred to as McGruff the Crime Dog) said after he cuffed Skeith "for his own protection."
As they filled out intimidation-tactic "Field Information" cards-what are we, 16-year-olds out past curfew?-I rambled inanely, purposely telling long, intricate drunken stories of the parties I'd had broken up by the fuzz when I was 17 (I left out the one about how I got arrested protesting the Gulf War) so as to create an easy feeling of goodwill and unity with McGruff. He interrupted-interrupted!-to explain that "The Blacks are two blocks that way. The Hispanics and Asians are up there. So we're just trying to find out for your own protection what you're doing standing next to a red vehicle at 2 a.m. on New Year's Eve in this neighborhood."
I raised my hand politely. Just out of curiosity, I wanted to know if a red vehicle was some kind of code to drug dealers. I'm always ready to learn something new! No, McGruff said, a red vehicle doesn't mean anything, but he'd like to know why we were standing next to a red vehicle. Meanwhile, Mendoza-a sweet, shrimpy guy-had our homegirl Arrissia over at the side of the car and was getting to know her. He asked her what she'd studied in school, where she worked, and all kinds of icebreakers. I'm not sure if he asked her what her sign is, but he did confide that he had volunteered to work New Year's Eve, which made us feel very sad for him (poor Officer Mendoza!), and that if it were up to him, they wouldn't be rousting us at all.
I'm guessing McGruff hadn't volunteered and was feeling a mite crabby about watching us all have more fun than should be legal (at least in his considered opinion) while he had nothing better to do than yell at people: "If you don't change your fucking attitude, we are going to take you to jail! Do you want to go to jail on New Year's Eve?"
No. You should never get arrested on a holiday weekend; they make you wait like five days to get bailed out.
By this point, lots of people were entering the warehouse, and it was pretty obvious why we were there. So, having been stoic, silent martyrs to the after-hours cause up to that point, we decided to rat out the Bong Leach revelers. It was that or the cyanide pills we had secreted for just such an interrogation, and we might need those for bigger, better interrogations. Making big puppy-dog eyes at our new friends, we told them how very sincerely we hoped they wouldn't bust up the party, and would they mind maybe not arresting Skeith, who, after all, was the designated driver, and wasn't that good citizenship on his part?
They harrumphed that probably Bong Leach didn't have the proper permits, and they certainly could shut it down if they wanted to, but seeing as how they were such cool guys, maybe they wouldn't ruin the day. (That came courtesy of the landlord four days later; he hadn't gotten the proper seismic retrofits, and Bong Leach was condemned. Now where will Mention, Shave, Johnny Jones and the Suffering Halos, Johnny Jones' Little Bad Things, The Elderlys and the Fuz play? And where will they play that offers free beer? And what if Scott Devours doesn't find a new home in which to drum shirtless? Oh, the humanity!)
Oh, and they let Skeith go, too. Who says the police are tyrannical blood-sucking small-dicked power-mad oppressors of all that is right and good? Not I!
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It was a damn eventful night. I had already changed a cute gay waiter at the Silver Fox. (For those of you not familiar with the Fox, it's a gay S-M bar-that would be "Stand and Model.") I was a one-woman terrorist attack, kissing everyone in sight, but in a nice way. Also, I seem to have been wearing leather pants and a big Harley-Davidson belt to hide the fact that my fat was leaking over the top of my leather pants in the most atrocious manner, but that's neither here nor there except to say that I was feeling like a 40-year-old lesbian divorcee. So when I asked the cute gay waiter if I might please kiss him Happy New Year, he stuck his gay-waiter tongue in my mouth without so much as a by-your-leave! It was shocking, I tell you! Shocking!
Before that, we'd been at Pine Square, focusing our laser beams of love-which are really quite terrifying-on the dreamy Jimmy Intveld, Big Sandy and His Fly-Rite Boys, and Dave Alvin. (To the guys at the Blue Cafe, who put it together: nice bill!) There was apparently another stage, too, but we opted to hang out with the devils we knew as opposed to the devils we didn't. They hug us more and let us buy them drinks, which is always nice. Plus, Chuckie the Federal Bounty Hunter was there (we had a date for midnight, and every time he turned around after that, he was forced to contend with a sloppy one-woman terrorist attack; poor Chuckie!), and so were our friends Sam and Anita. Sam and Anita are the kind of fun Laguna Beach couple who will disappear for a while, and the next time you see them, they say, "We took a cab to the liquor store and got champagne and beer! Here's your large red-plastic cup of Korbel!" Thanks, Sam and Anita! Anita never minds if you dance with her husband, and Sam shouts things at people, like when he yelled at the host of Entertainment Tonight, "You're wearing makeup!" in the most disgusted manner, and then we laughed and mocked the guy in the middle of his New Year's Eve countdown for thinking he's so cool. Poor Entertainment Tonight guy!
Meanwhile, Dave Alvin was looking pissed off up on the bandstand when the Entertainment Tonight guy came onstage to count down to midnight. It turned out Alvin had his own plans for midnight that included taking off all his clothes and standing there as naked as Dr. Laura before God and all of us, but the Entertainment Tonight guy-did we mention he was wearing makeup?-preempted him. Darn that guy!
But congratulations to Vern and Carrie, who got engaged onstage while some drunk assholes behind us shouted, "Don't do it!" I hate those guys! But at least they weren't wearing makeup. Here's to your new year, my friends. Let's hope we all remember to drink lots of water next time, hmmm?