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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.

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