..................................FAR OUT, MAN!
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Friday, May 3, 2013




UFO’s had nothing on the bouncing objects that next fixed my attention.

I think it was not long after the Mad Bomber’s reunion party, but I won’t swear to it. What I do remember is that I had a lousy hangover and I went to Shanahan’s to buy the makings of a cure.

Cole’s guaranteed hangover cure: fill glass with ice; one half glass of tequila; one half glass of fresh orange juice; stir, drink and make another. I called the cocktail Agent Orange, after the herbicides they were using to level the Vietnamese jungle.

Shanahan’s didn’t sell hard spirits, but it did sell fresh orange juice, and just beyond it there was a sleazy little liquor store that opened up at 6 a.m. to sell pony jugs to winos and half pints to construction workers. I joined the hardhats and got my tequila. It must have been a Monday – my usual days off were Sunday and Monday - and there was no way that I’d drink on the morning of a work day. When I was a newspaperman I had to be sharp, I had to be ready, I had to be… well, Allan Cole at his best.

The newsroom of a big city daily was an exciting but unforgiving place. Argue all you want with a colleague, but if you breathed fumes in his/her face before noon, you were a goner. I don’t mean fired – booze was an accepted and important part of our lives. Just not in the mornings. For example, a boozy lunch was not only okay, but expected. Besides, how could the bosses object, since they were all reeling from three-and-four-martini lunches and couldn’t smell crap in an outhouse?

Back to my point: which is that I’m pretty sure it was my regular day off when I wended my way home from Shanahan’s and the nearby liquor store. My head was pounding and my belly was grumbling for relief. If you are wondering about smoking marijuana for a cure, I’ll tell you right now that it's not a good idea. Generally speaking, smoking marijuana will only make a hangover worse.

So, I was hurrying home, taking care not to jostle myself too much, when I heard loud shrieks coming from the large green apartment building, where the Yuppies and the Filipino waiter lived. He was a recent addition and lived in the little single on the second floor. He made a good living at one of the fancy new restaurants in the Marina and appeared to be a quiet and unassuming man, who pulled a lot of split shifts – meaning he worked lunch, took off a few hours, then returned for the dinner trade. He told me he worked so hard so he could send home money to his wife and four kids in Manila.

So, you can imagine my surprise when I realized the shrieks – which were definitely of the female variety – were coming from his upstairs apartment. Surely you recall my admonishment in Episode #1 about remembering his window, which overlooked Washington Boulevard. Well, now your good memory is about to pay off.

I couldn’t see the window from where I was standing, but I did see pedestrians pointing up in that direction and motorists were practically colliding as they slammed on their brakes and stuck their heads out to get a gander at whatever was going on.

I hurried on to learn what was up. And a moment later I arrived beneath the window to see a most remarkable sight.

Two stark naked teenage girls, were leaning out the big window screaming obscenities, like: “Come and fuck us. Two bucks a fuck. One a buck a blowjob.” And other such invitations. They wagged their boobs, turned and showed us their behinds and so on and so forth. They were clearly stoned out of their minds. A couple of the motorists – both very large men - pulled over to the curb and started to get out, as if to take them up on the invitation.

I was confounded – did not have faintest idea what to do. It is usually best not to get in the way of large men intent on getting their ashes hauled. I was also scared spitless of getting anywhere near two obviously underage naked girls, harlots though they might be.

Then the girls started screaming, “He raped us. Rape. Rape. Fucking rape.” And the men beat a hasty retreat to their cars and peeled away.

A moment later I heard the “whoop” of a squad car and turned to see the police driving up. Within seconds more squad cars showed up and the cops all climbed out and got themselves a good look at the show.

The girls’ reaction was to scream louder: “He raped us. Rape, rape.”

I made myself scarce, not wishing to somehow become an innocent target of their accusations. I slipped into our apartment and mixed myself an Agent Orange while I told Carol what was happening. She said she’d go and investigate.

“Just don’t mention anything about us being the managers, okay?” I warned.

She just gave me a “No shit, Dick Tracy” look and exited. After a couple of belts I slipped out the back way and peered over the fence to what was up. I saw Carol, along with half the neighborhood, watching the cops escort the girls out. They tried to keep the girls wrapped in blankets, but they were determined to flash half the world, screaming rape and trying to wriggle free.

Finally, the cops got them stashed into a squad car and they took off, leading a whole parade of cop cars. It seemed to me that most of the daytime Venice Division force had turned out to rescue those poor girls.

A little later Carol told me that the girls had given the cops the name of the Filipino waiter as the rapist and had told them where he worked. The next day my DA friend informed me that the waiter had been thoroughly busted and was cooling his heels waiting arraignment on various charges of rape, including the biggie: rape of two minor girls.

“What’s going to happen to him?” I asked.

The guy laughed. “If he were white, probably nothing but a slap on the wrist,” he said. “The girls are both 16 going on 55 and have rap sheets for prostitution as long as my dick. However, he is a Filipino messing with our pure lily-white girls – in the view of my not-so-enlightened colleagues. Personally, I think what really happened is that he tried to get a little fucking too cheap. He gave them room, board and not much spending money. Now, they’re getting even and it’s going to cost him seven years of his life, minimum.”

“Fuck me,” I said.

“Just make sure she’s of age, brother,” he replied.

*     *     *

A few days later I was wondering what, if anything, I should do about the poor Filipino waiter when Roger came calling. “Oh, Al-lan,” he cried, in that sing-song voice he used when my personal world was about to enter the Twilight Zone. “Mister Apart-ment manager.”

“Aw, shit, Roger,” I said. “What now?”

“You have to come and fucking see,” he said, eyes ablaze with merriment.

“See what?”

“Come on, don’t be a dick,” he said. “This is another once in a lifetime deal, Allan.” Then he handed me a joint. “But first you’d better take a big mother toke. You’re gonna need it.”

I took the toke, sucking greedily. If Roger said I was going to need it, I’d probably require a gallon of morphine and a ten-point needle. I traded the joint for a pony of very cheap, very strong Tokay in a paper bag and swigged on it as I followed him down the alley to the Blue Meanie Apartments.

It wasn’t long before I heard people shouting and laughing like there was some kind of a party in progress Sure enough, as we cut down the walkway past the Mad Bomber’s residence I found half the tenants gathered in the courtyard in front of the Van DeKamp girl’s place. You know, Miss Purity Pure Heart with the long blonde hair and blue eyes of an angel from heaven above. 

The guys had a barbecue going – the Mad Bomber flipping burgers and hot dogs – and everybody was passing around jugs of wine, joints and pot-filled pipes while they took their ease on lawn chairs and milk crates.

“Hey, Allan,” the Mad Bomber boomed. “We’re having a party, man. A fuckin’ Happening.”

So I could see. I could also see Jack and Jay there; Jan with a new beaux; Kerry and his latest rail-thin girlfriend; Thom with a woman of amazing girth; Stoner Tom and a sloe-eyed nurse; Steve Lenzi and the Cat Lady; and Richard and his Clara.

Richard was playing a soft jazzy number on his guitar, bottle neck style. And he was singing, “Beat me… Beat me, Daddy… Daddy, beat me more.”

I noticed that Clara - who had been Born Again And Was Loving It - did not seem pleased with either the song or the scene.

“What’s the Happening?” I inquired, trading the now empty pony for a joint.

In the Sixties, a “happening” was a spontaneous event. If you were a true child of the Sixties, especially if you were stoned or had dropped some acid, when that event occurred you would be hip enough to be hep enough to recognize the serendipitous event for what it was and lay back and bliss out and let circumstances overwhelm your senses. From what I was observing, this is exactly what my friends were doing: laying back, I mean. Blissing out and waiting for… well… the “Happening.”

“Hang on,” the Mad Bomber said, leaning forward and turning his head to one side, as if tuning in a radio station with his enormous, hairy ear. “I think it’s gonna start again.”

The crowd – which I now realized was an audience - grew silent.

“Start what?” I asked.

“Shhh!” the audience shushed, many fingers to many lips.

“Fuckin’ listen,” Roger said.

I fuckin’ listened.

And after a moment, I heard a “thwhack!” And after the “thwack!” I heard a moan.

This was followed by another “thwack!” And another low moan.

It was a very human moan, a moan far more of pleasure than pain. And the “thwack!” was a spanking sound, flat palm against rounded delight. I tilted my head to hear better, noticing out of the corner of my eye that everybody else was doing the same.



Another thwack! And another moan.

All around me there was only the sound of the sizzling burgers and hot dogs and the soft strumming of Richard’s guitar.

And then it began. It started with a woman’s shriek that made me jump out of my skin. This was followed by a shouted, “Oh, my God. My God. Beat me, daddy. Beat me harder. Harder daddy, harder.”

The slapping sound became louder and faster. The girl shouted, “With the belt, the belt. Beat me, daddy. Beat me more.”

It was clearly the voice of the butter-wouldn’t-melt-in-her-mouth Van DeKamp girl. A psych major, if you recall. Working her way through school selling buttered buns and other confectionery delights.

The whole crowd erupted in cheers. The Mad Bomber led a chant, “Beat her, daddy. Beat her.”

And then America’s sweetheart wailed, “More, more, Daddy, more. I’m coming, coming… ohhhhhhh!”

Everyone shouted in unison, “She coming, she’s coming. Beat her, daddy. Beat her more.”

Then somebody started banging on bongo drums in time with the slaps and the orgasmic screams.

I never laughed so hard in my life.

Later, when the Van DeKamp girl realized that she’d had a raucous audience she moved out in the dead of night and I never heard from her again.

*     *     *

A few days after the S&M party, the Filipino waiter showed up at my door. He was sheepish and practically begged me to return his rental deposit. He’d spent every cent to bail himself out of jail and he needed to scrape together enough money to hire a good lawyer.

“I was a stupid man,” he said. “A weak man. A sinful man. I should never have brought the girls home with me. But, then they try to blackmail me for more money and when I refuse…” He gestured helplessly. “…Now I am big trouble. Maybe a lawyer can help me.”

I remembered what my friend at the DA’s office had said and decided to intervene.

“Listen,” I told him, “you don’t have a snowball’s chance in hell to get off. They are going to put you so far under the jail that you’ll never see the light of day again.”

“What should I do?” he asked, on the verge of tears.

“Go home,” I said. “Go back to Manila to your wife and children. And don’t ever return to the United States or they will arrest you for jumping bail, plus rape of minor girls.” I held up two fingers. “Two minor girls.”

He looked at me, considering. Then he said, “I could go to San Pedro and get job as a waiter, or a cook's helper on a ship going to Manila.”

“Then do it,” I said and I quickly counted out his money and had him sign a receipt. A little later I saw him getting on the bus, suitcase in hand. He waved to me sadly as the bus drove away.

Many months later I received a post card. On one side was a picture of the waiter surrounded by his loving family. They were standing in front of a small beach house. On the other he’d scrawled, “Thank you, Mr. Allan.”




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Here's the Kindle link for BATTLECRY
Here's the Kindle link for JUGGERNAUT
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Two new companion editions to the international best-selling Sten series. In the first, learn the Emperor's most closely held  cooking secrets. In the other, Sten unleashes his shaggy-dog joke cracking sidekick, Alex Kilgour. Both available as trade paperbacks or in all major e-book flavors. Click here to tickle your funny bone or sizzle your palate.  




Venice Boardwalk Circa 1969
In the depths of the Sixties and The Days Of Rage, a young newsman, accompanied by his pregnant wife and orphaned teenage brother, creates a Paradise of sorts in a sprawling Venice Beach community of apartments, populated by students, artists, budding scientists and engineers lifeguards, poets, bikers with  a few junkies thrown in for good measure. The inhabitants come to call the place “Pepperland,” after the Beatles movie, “Yellow Submarine.” Threatening this paradise is  "The Blue Meanie,"  a crazy giant of a man so frightening that he eventually even scares himself. Here's where to buy the book. 


Diaspar Magazine - the best SF magazine in South America - is publishing the first novel in the Sten series in four 
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