I play poker with a group of guys, and one always deals a game called Diablo. I never thought I'd hear the word outside the poker party. But when Marcy called to invite me to her friend Ashley's birthday party in Clairemont, she told me that if the Diablos showed up, things could get wild. Now, sometimes "wild" isn't a bad thing. If it's "girls going wild" -- fine. If it's somebody with an Uzi -- not fine. I asked what a Diablo was. I was told it was a motorcycle gang that Ashley's father is in.I looked for my old Harley-Davidson T-shirt to wear, but couldn't find it. Oh, well. It wasn't until I was on my way that I realized wearing a UCLA sweatshirt was probably the most opposite thing in my wardrobe.
When I got to this place off of Genesee, there was nowhere to park. With at least a hundred people at the party, cars were everywhere. The curbs were all rounded and the driveways were narrow. It was hard to see if I was parking in front of a driveway or not. So I drove about a mile down the street until I found a spot I could be sure of.
I walked in and found Marcy. Her name is pronounced "Marcy," but I have no idea how it's spelled. It never occurred to me that spelling would be something I needed to worry about. But when I wrote about a party for a girl named Karen, she called to tell me afterward that she was pissed. I had spelled her name wrong -- it's Caryn. A guy named Shaun called once to tell me his name was spelled S-h-a-u-n and not S-e-a-n. And I ended up not even mentioning that guy. In the future, though, if I misspell a name, don't get mad at me. Get mad at your mom for naming you Sanndee!
Marcy introduced me to a few people and showed me the most popular thing at the party -- the ice luge. I had seen one at a military party that looked like a long slide. This one was shaped like a big square block of ice with different zigzags that the alcohol went around. Carved into it was "Ashley, 23." (That's one name I've spelled correctly.) Someone would stand on a chair and pour alcohol down it, while someone else was bent over with their mouth at the end. They weren't using shot glasses though, so they ended up just pouring the alcohol (Jägermeister was used most) straight from the bottle. And it was a lot of booze they'd pour, not just a small shot.
There was something that looked like a trough all around it where the extra alcohol ran into. One guy looked at me and said, "That's a waste, man. If we run out of beer, I'm going to get a straw and drink that." I replied, "Good idea. It's a shame to waste alcohol. There are starving kids in China who don't have alcohol."
Ashley's friend had made this ice luge, and I asked her how long it would last. It was 9:00 p.m. when I asked her (and she was already a bit toasted). She told me, "They said it would last 72 hours. It's sitting on a big block of ice, too. That keeps it cold." A girl who overheard this said, "There's no way that will last 72 hours. Once the sun hits it in the morning, it'll turn into a birdbath."
There was a DJ named Greg. Marcy said he was a friend and she had given him $50 to play this party. He was mostly spinning reggae tunes, but there was some hip-hop mixed in. At one point, I was sitting near his speakers and the vibrations made me think my cell phone was ringing. My eardrums were ringing the next day.
Occasionally, people would dance in front of the DJ. One time I heard somebody hit the concrete. I looked over and it was Ashley. Someone said, "She's drunk." It was the understatement of the night.
The crowd was all in their early 20s and all different races. Of the 100 people, each one was holding either a beer, a cell phone, or a cigarette. Some had all three. The back yard was large enough for everyone, but with that many people, it was getting loud. A neighbor flashed her lights on and off quickly. Someone said, "I think they want us to be quiet. Either that or she's trying to send a fucking S.O.S. to someone."
There was a point when the party did get quiet. Someone was yelling and everyone stopped to listen. He said, "Who has a black Cadillac? It's blocking someone's driveway." The woman I was talking to asked, "Is that your Cadillac?" I replied, "I didn't drive the Caddy tonight. I brought the Benz."
As the crowd got drunker, a few fights almost started. I saw one guy push another and then say, "You should get a damn personality!" I have no idea what that meant, but the guy who he pushed walked away.
A muscular guy was walking around with his fists clenched. I was told he always looks for fights when he's been drinking. I wondered why big guys want to fight when they drink. Are there ever guys who look like Woody Allen who drink too much and then want to mix it up with somebody?
One guy was urinating by two cars parked in the back yard. I guess it would've been too long a walk from the back yard inside to the bathroom. Although one girl at the party had the perfect setup. Her bedroom window faced the back yard, so she'd just pop the screen off and throw her pack of cigarettes into her room. Other times, she'd pop the screen and grab something she needed from her room.
I was talking to one of the other roommates. I thought she was the same age as the rest, but was surprised to find she was older. I asked, "How do you know Ashley?" She said, "Oh, I used to change her diapers when she was a baby. I was her babysitter for years. Then I got pregnant with her father." I was shocked to hear this. She continued, "My son is over there." She pointed to a kid who looked to be about 15. She told me she had recently moved back in. Then she introduced me to the boy's father, who was also the Diablo. He was a tall, good-looking biker. (Note to self: find out if there's a reason that all bikers have mustaches.)