"Are you that damn reporter? You're leaving this party now!"
In a booming James Earl Jones voice: When we last left our hero, he had successfully crashed a Pee Wee Herman party. As he walked briskly across the street to another party, he saw the fog rolling in thick, thicker than a bowl of Andersen's pea soup. The guy at the door welcomed the crasher in with open arms. And then...A few people asked me what the deal was with my red bow tie. A few others asked what exactly I was writing about.
She told me she was in a band in L.A. called Johanna and the Stir, and they played at the Viper Room, the club that Johnny Depp owns, where River Phoenix died.
I noticed this beautiful three-story house had a black piano and a lot of cheeses, chips, and snacks on a table near it. The counter had lots of bottles. As I made my way to the kitchen, after being there a total of 12 minutes, I saw a guy talking to two women. He was clearly drunk, his body swaying as he talked loudly. I put my hand on his shoulder and said to the gals, "It looks like he's had too much to drink." He grabbed my hand and said, "What are you saying? Are you that damn reporter? You're leaving this party now!" He then grabbed my arms and was pushing me toward the door. The women pleaded with him to calm down. He looked back, saying, "This guy is going to write all this dirt about us. Fuck that! I'm getting rid of him." Since I wasn't moving and he was trying to move me, he said, "Don't make this any harder, man. I can casually walk you out, or we can do this the hard way."
The more she drank, the more we'd hear her hit wrong notes. If anyone mentioned a composer, she'd start playing something by that composer.
I started looking for the guy who'd welcomed me. I saw him in the other room talking to someone, but I couldn't remember his name (I found out later it was Kris). I told this drunk guy, "That guy over there said he was cool with me being here." The drunk kept pushing me, and finally Kris saw what was happening and came over. He said, "No. He's cool, he can stay." The drunk responded, "No, he can't. He's out of here! Who are you?"
"I live here," Kris said. "And I don't know you. Who are you?"
"I'm friends with Susie." It was Susie's 27th birthday party, and she was renting a room here.
They argued a bit more, and I was allowed to stay. I scurried out to the back patio with the smokers until things cooled down.
There was a man and woman each playing a guitar and singing. Sometimes they played along to the songs coming from the house, Bob Marley and Sublime. Breann Petree was the gal's name. She asked, "Are you going to make me famous by writing about me?"
She told me she was in a band in L.A. called Johanna and the Stir, and they played at the Viper Room, the club that Johnny Depp owns, where River Phoenix died. When somebody said something about blondes not being smart, Breann said, "I just got into Mensa yesterday." She ran upstairs -- she was also renting a room here -- and brought down a letter showing she had passed the admittance test. She told me she was going to school, and I asked what she wanted to do when she finished. She thought about it for a minute and said, "I'd like to be a housewife."
When we went inside, she sat at the piano and played a number of songs, a lot of classical pieces. The more she drank, the more we'd hear her hit wrong notes. If anyone mentioned a composer, she'd start playing something by that composer.
After Breann finished, a guy sat at the piano. He sang "Piano Man," and ten others joined in, yelling along. At some point, the piano bench broke, so they wheeled out a chair. As another guy tried to play, Breann sat on his lap.
The more she drank, the more people she jumped on. There was a tall guy who rents a room here. He's from Massachusetts, and at one point, she jumped on his back for a piggyback ride. When he tried playing the piano (he's a beginner), she kept correcting him.
When I sat down at the piano to play one of the five songs I know, Breann started pretending to do a striptease. I asked someone if they had any dollar bills, and Breann jumped on my lap. She was facing me as she gave me a lap dance. I looked over at Kris and he said, "Why are you fighting it, dude? Kick back and enjoy it."
Soon after that, the Massachusetts roommate carried her upstairs to her room. He came back down and was cleaning the place up. He was a really nice guy, with lots of interesting stories on a variety of topics.
I got to this party after midnight, just as many of the guests were leaving. One guy was shouting into a cell phone around 1:30 a.m., giving directions to this party. One guy showed up with a bottle he handed to Susie, saying, "I stole this at another party to bring to you."
Susie, the birthday girl, was a cute, petite Vietnamese. Her boyfriend was a tall, good-looking white guy who looked like Matt Dillon. They were going to Longboards, and some of the crowd went with them. I wasn't sure why people would go out for a beer when there was plenty of booze here, and lots of their friends.
I was looking at the photos on the wall from various countries that Susie had been to. She had taken all these photos.
Susie and her boyfriend returned 45 minutes later, and she told me about her travels. I also found out she was a surfer. Her boyfriend told me he got kicked out of Longboards. "My friend got drunk and he was being obnoxious. They told me to get him out of there. I did, but this new bouncer over there that I don't like had to make some comments as we were leaving. So, we go back, and it became this big deal. They told me I could never come back there. I've spent thousands of dollars there, and now I'm 86'd. I even called and apologized, but they said I'm not welcome there. Can you write about that?"
I asked him why he hangs out with a guy who gets drunk and obnoxious. I happened to visit Longboards a week later and brought up the story with a manager. He was nice and said he thought they handled the situation properly.
The guy from Massachusetts (who reminded me of that character Bull from Night Court) had cleaned up most of the mess, and I asked him what he did for a living. He said, "I clone things." He then joked about a few other jobs he'd had. When I mentioned his attempts at piano, he said, "I'm just learning. Breann is teaching me how to play. I used to play trumpet."
I said, "The trumpet isn't an instrument you can just play at a party, the way you can a guitar or piano. It's not like you can start whipping out some Miles Davis tune."
He said, "Yeah. If somebody died, I could always play 'Taps.' You can't just go into a Miles Davis solo, though."
He told me a funny story about some women who'd moved in across the street. "We wanted to welcome them to the neighborhood, the way people used to do with neighbors. So we made them a cake. We made it from scratch, and we were going to bring it to them, but they weren't home. Finally we saw them backing up. Susie ran out there and stopped them, and we brought them the cake."
I told him it's nice to hear about neighbors doing stuff like that, especially since I kept hearing about neighbors fighting over Christmas lights this year. He said, "Yeah, well, they were all really hot. That's probably why we did it."
He then went to bed.
I told Kris and Susie it must be great having a roommate who cleans everything up. They couldn't stop talking about how great he was. I asked Kris if he gets nervous throwing parties, when they have such nice stuff in their house that could get ruined or stolen. He said, "I had a laptop stolen at a party once. We usually know the people here, and we trust our friends."
It was now 3:30 in the morning, and I realized that the other parties going on in Pacific Beach were probably over. There were only a few of us left, and I started talking sports with a guy named Darius Allen. I had seen him earlier at the party but hadn't spoken with him.
We talked about sports for half an hour. When the subject came to sports movies, I told him I liked the films Ron Shelton has written (Bull Durham, White Men Can't Jump, and The Best of Times). I couldn't believe he had actually seen all three, and he told me about some screenplays he had written. I told him about one I wrote. We ended up talking about movies for hours. The Massachusetts guy came down and told us we were welcome to crash there for the night.
When I noticed it was almost six in the morning, I told Darius I was taking off. He then took off a giant metal leg brace. He said it was from a knee injury. When he told me his last name was Allen, I asked, "Like Marcus?" He said, "Yeah, he's my brother."
Well, now I had to stay and talk to him for another half an hour. Marcus Allen, the NFL Hall of Famer, is arguably the best football player to ever come out of San Diego. Since Marcus had his wedding at O.J. Simpson's house, I asked Darius if he was there. He said, "Of course. I was his best man. There are pictures of me, when I was young, sitting on O.J.'s lap." I said, "I sure hope you don't think Simpson is innocent." He smiled and said, "There are white people in the South that have killed blacks and gotten away with it." I told him, "Well, I'd hate them, too. I don't care about what race someone is. If they murdered, I'd like to see them go to jail." He responded, "This is the system that the white people created, and he got off. Lots of white people have gotten off with crimes against blacks." He brought up the famous case in which a black guy was killed by white men for whistling at a white woman.
When Darius said, "Would this story have been as big if O.J. killed a black woman?" I said, "Of course! If a famous person kills somebody, it's news. Like Phil Spector and now Robert Blake."
As comedian Norm McDonald recently said, "To get race relations back to the way they were before, maybe we should let Robert Blake off and call it even."
It was enjoyable to debate the issue with somebody who not only knew O.J. personally but was smart enough to bring a lot of different things to the table.
The sun was rising and the fog was burning off. As I left this party, I thought of my cousin Bob. He always asks me why I talk to more men at these parties than women. When he finds out I spent three hours talking to a man, he's going to go crazy. It's strange, because my female friends ask why I always talk to the "cute" girls, and why I feel the need to describe their looks.
I can't win either way. If only Darius could've been an ugly woman who I spent that much time talking to, everyone would be happy.