The Cops Never Showed

Grabbing a taco in a pirates’ den

Hillcrest house party
  • Hillcrest house party

Waking up early on weekends is something I refuse to do. I eat my breakfast at lunchtime. And that wasn’t going to change because I had some friends going to Oktoberfest in Ocean Beach.

I got there at 3:00 p.m., found parking half an hour later, and paid my $5 to get in. I didn’t mind that, but the beers for $5 each got costly (note to self: don’t ride the “Zipper” after three beers and lots of strudel).

Ferris wheel at O.B.'s Oktoberfest

Ferris wheel at O.B.'s Oktoberfest

It was great watching the band Deadline Friday, but the tent they played inside was stuffy and smelled funky. Even though I wanted to see bands like Psydecar, Tea Leaf Green, Rockola, and d’fRost, I couldn’t stand the scene. I ended up leaving after an hour.

Local singer José Sinatra was talking to a few people, and I overheard a guy say, “That freak thinks he’s Rod Stewart or something.”

The real party was over in Hillcrest. Nicole Braa was throwing a surprise party for her boyfriend Reno. The thing I’ve found with surprise parties is that the guest of honor usually finds out. Or, when they walk in, they piss their pants when everyone screams “Surprise!” in the dark. But he was brought up to the house blindfolded. Nicole took the blindfold off in front of the house, and he saw the decorations. There were over a hundred people there, so hiding behind the couch wasn’t an option.

Nicole said, “The decorations took about five hours to do. I’m happy with the way they turned out.” She had decorations and lights all over the front yard. Some colorful cloth was going from the trees to the house, and she had blankets and pillows set up in the front yard, and with benches on the porch, there were lots of areas out front to hang out.

There are five people living in the three-bedroom house, and one of the ladies said, “This is the pirates’ den. We have parties here all the time. The family on our right side, they’re young and sometimes come to our parties. On the other side, they sometimes complain about the noise. The lady has cancer and is always going through treatments. But they tell us if the noise stops by 11:00, it’s not a problem. And once the police come out, it’s shut down. The cops have a new rule where, if they come out once, your party is shut down. No more warnings.”

I’m surprised that when the band playing the party (the Biddy Bums) stops at 11:00, it is even noisier, with everyone carrying on outside. But the cops never showed up.

When the Biddy Bums got done, somebody asked where the drummer was. The singer said, “He got appendicitis. We’re going to do a benefit for him soon. This was our acoustic set.” I brought a couple of sixpacks to the party, but they didn’t need it. There wasn’t a shortage of booze. After I drank a few beers and a margarita, I made the mistake of taking part in the toasts they had for Reno. (Why is it drunk people always want to toast people?) They poured me shots of Don Julio tequila. After the seventh toast, I was toasted. The room was spinning, and I went to the porch.

The Biddy Bums playing at Hillcrest house party

The Biddy Bums playing at Hillcrest house party

The three guys out there wanted to talk movies. They debated the best movies of all time. “How can you say The Hustler was better than Cool Hand Luke?” Another brought up A Clockwork Orange and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. I was hoping, when I commented on movies, I didn’t sound like one of the crazy guys from that movie. I was surprised that I could actually have a decent conversation when everything around me was spinning.

Nicole came running outside, telling everybody they had to come back in and dance, since the Biddy Bums were going to do another song. They all went inside, and I talked to a cute Chinese girl who said she works for a party rental company. I asked if she helped set this party up, and she said, “No, but I’ve helped them with parties before. We have a lot of stuff like canopies, which they didn’t need. When the Super Bowl was here, we did the party in Balboa Park for Playboy. They asked me if I wanted to be an edible model. They asked all our female employees. I declined.”

“What does that entail?” I asked.

“I would have had to lay on a table naked. And I would be covered in food, and people would eat it off of me.”

Speaking of food, I grabbed a taco. Lots of Mexican food was set up in the living room, right in front of the band. I glanced at a girl on the couch who lit up a cigarette. Her boyfriend came in and started yelling at her. He said, “Who the hell smokes inside another person’s house? Get outside with that thing! Are you crazy?”

I don’t think the people living here would’ve cared. A pipe with pot was passed around in the kitchen for a while and nobody complained. Half of the crowd seemed to smoke cigarettes outside, and that’s why it was so loud in the front yard. And with blankets and pillows set up out there, it looked like a mini-Woodstock.

There was an interesting mix of people here. A few gays and lesbians. A few who looked like frat guys. A few blacks, an Indian guy, some Latinos, and the cutest, quietest Japanese girl in a conservative pink dress.

One girl walked into the party with a shaved head. I overheard two guys talking about how hot she was, and one said, “She would be ten times prettier with hair. It’s like Sinéad O’Connor or Annie Lennox. Why do chicks do that?” His friend said, “Maybe she’s not trying to impress guys like us, but women.”

Mariam, one of the ladies who lives here, was bitching that the ice trays in the freezer were empty. It was funny watching people constantly checking them, yet nobody was filling them up (note to self: remind my roommate to fill ice trays once in a while).

I called Mariam by the name Jennifer most of the night, because she was wearing a Disneyland shirt that said “Jennifer.” She finally told me, “I only got this because it was a dollar at the thrift store. I didn’t care that it wasn’t my name.”

Guests at the Hillcrest house party

Guests at the Hillcrest house party

I hear two blonde guys in the front yard talking about being Irish, and one said, “I was drunk hours before I got to this party.” But it really didn’t look as if anyone was drunk or wasted. Although I saw a lot of stuff consumed, people weren’t loud and obnoxious. Everyone was polite and had interesting things to say. And there were interesting things to look at on the walls: An old Miles Davis poster. Some paintings done by one of the ladies of the house. A poster that said “Mary Carey for Governor” (she was the porn star in the race).

The guy in the kitchen who had the pipe was talking to me about pot smoking. He looked like Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers and said the usual things about how hemp is used in all kinds of things, like rope and clothing. And that alcohol is a lot worse, and he doesn’t drink. After 20 minutes of this, we were told we had to leave the kitchen. One of the roommates went to bed, and her room was closest to the kitchen. I went back out to the porch to talk movies and sober up before driving home. Someone made the mistake of saying he’d never seen The Never Ending Story, and one guy who was a bit tipsy explained every single scene in it. That was enough for me. I drove home at 3:00 a.m.

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