L.A. Stories: New Year’s Eve


This post is rated R for adult language, drug use, and vampire violence.  Parental guidance is suggested.

New Year’s Eve is always an iffy proposition.You want to be with your friends, you want the promise of memorable times.And you want to promise your friends memorable times.But there is always the chance that there may be little fun – or worse, boredom.Sitting around getting shitty on the couch with a bottle of Tott’s is not the best New Year’s Eve. The night should be memorable. This is the chance I was taking when trying to wrangle friends together for New Years.Out of the group of 12-some-odd friends, it ended up being myself and one another, who we shall call Duane for the sake of protecting the innocent.And here is how the night went:

8:00:I wait at home, dressed and ready to go.Duane and I decided that we should get to the party early so that if it blows ass we can punt on first down and find fun elsewhere.Destination is Pasadena, a good 35-45 minute hike on a good day.So, this place better be bumpin.I’m sacrificing an evening with some of my best friends, for a potential dud of a house party.But like I said before, therein lies the risk.

8:23: Duane arrives, finally ready to go.I question his promptness, which he retorts with some lame answer about being overworked and needs rest or some shit.

8:25:My roommate, John, announces his plans to go to Redondo Beach for something or another.Duane and I decide he’s gay for not joining us.We roll.

8:40:On the 10, heading East and onto the 110 interchange which goes right by the Staples Center, which is lit up by a billion spotlights, with tents around the main center, and a Ferris Wheel. Thats right, a fuckin Ferris Wheel.

8:41:I question Duane’s choice of parties and say we should have gone to the Ferris Wheel party.He says that the 18-year old model he is dating is going to be there and thought it would be weird to hang out with other 18-year olds.I question this logic.

8:42:I longingly watch the Ferris Wheel disappear behind the buildings of downtown LA as we bend around toward Pasadena.

9:03:We take the Arroyo Grande exit into Pasadena, and Duane realizes he fucked up and took the wrong exit, blathering some excuse about working in Pasadena and this is the way that he would normally take. He gets on his cell phone and calls for directions.I grunt in disapproval.

9:10:I look out the window, prompted by the sound of people yelling and horns blowing.Not car horns, but cheap, plastic, colorful horns that are sold at cheap, plastic stores like WalMart to cheap, plastic people.Outside, there are thousands…and when I say thousands, I mean THOUSANDS, of people on the sidewalks of Pasadena.My mind is a flurry of neural activity.Pasadena..click…New Years Eve…click click…New Years Day…clack click…Pasadena + New Years Day = Rose Bowl…clackety clack ching…Rose Bowl = Rose Bowl Parade … KA-CHING!!You have got to be kidding me.I look closer.Chairs are set up five deep on the sidewalk.Sleeping bags and inflatable mattresses puncuate the chaos.People huddle around fires with fingerless gloves keeping themselves warm.I look down the straightaway that is Colorado Blvd.Blinking yellow lights converge in perspective into one, blinking yellow mass.Miles ahead of us.Miles of people.Miles of lunatics who wish to spend the night in the cold…for a parade.I didn’t see the point of parades when I was little, when my parents forced my brother and I to go.I never grew to get the point or the attraction.And this scene from Escape from New York solidified my belief that I do not want to ever go to a parade again…I may not even watch one on TV.

9:17:WHACK!!Something hits the side of the car.Duane jumps slightly, as much as Duane will respond emotionally to a situation, which is usually not at all.Neither of us have any idea what is was.

9:18:WHACK! WHACK! A wad of wet toilet paper smacks into the windshield.The cast of Lord of the Flies point and laugh.I grab the door handle to get out to grab one of the beasts to use his body as a squeegee to clean off the window.I pause. Think. Contemplate.I am not one of the tribe.I am one man against a million insane, rabid Rose Bowl Parade fanatics.They would be unpredictable at best.Cannabilistic at worst.I have images of the crowd swarming around the Land Rover like rancid lake water, flipping it into the roof, and igniting it with makeshift torches from one of their bonfires.

9:32:We want to get off this road.Now!We have arrived at the RV area.Gas stations and restaurants have been made into parking lot C at NASCAR.Campers and Motor Homes are packed in together with barely enough room for the owners to slide their fat-pseudo-camping asses out of their luxury RVs to adjust their DirectTV so they don’t miss a minute of American Idol or Dick Clark’s animatronic doppelganger countdown to midnight for every time zone in the world.

9:45:We turn off Colorado after running the gauntlet for nearly an hour.Duane and I are both alive.The Land Rover is plastered with toiler paper and shaving cream.We park on the street without much worry that people will continue to vandalize the already vandalized SUV.At best, they’ll have pity.

9:48: We enter the party with our contribution beer. I survey the partygoers. 10-12 people.Not bad for ten minutes to ten. Fair mixture of guys and dolls.

9:50:Start to meet people.My brain stores everyone’s name for future reference.Begin to file by “hot”, “taken”, “cool”, and “douche”

9:51:I introduce myself to a moderately attractive blonde with a gemmed tiara that has a blinking colored light in it.This is Tracy.I introduce myself as Todd (which I have a habit of doing).She opens her eyes wide. “My brother’s name is Todd!”I open my eyes wide in kind “My brothers name is Tracy!”She pushes me hard in the shoulder, “SHUT UP!You’re lying.Really?”I convince her that I would never lie to her, which she believes.We’ve bonded.

9:58:A hot redhead, Erin, wearing a paper tiara explains to Duane and I that she made the Cheese and Sausage that is prominently displayed on clear plastic servingware.I tell her that I am extremely impressed that she makes her own cheese and sausage and ask her how that process works.I had never done it before and wished to know.She clarifies that she cut it and presented it – but she still appreciated my humor.I compliment her on her cheese and sausage cutting abilities, even though it was erratically sliced with no sense of consistency or creativity.

9:59:A dude, Christian, grabs a slice of sausage and states loudly, “Why the fuck is this sausage sliced so fucking thick?”

10:08:Duane comes up and tells me that Erin asked him for a Vodka Cranberry with Spritzer. I nod in acknowledgment…”OK”. Duane asks “What the fuck is a spritzer?”I make an educated guess that its some kind of carbonated beverage – seltzer, Sprite, Pierre.He evidentally has no confidence in my answer because he turns to Lindsay, a short, jovial young lady with a nice laugh.She confirms my answer.

10:10: Duane scurries around the kitchen looking for “spritzer”. I find a Black Cherry Fresca, which will have to suffice.At least its clear and carbonated.I decide that’s going to be my drink – Vodka and Fresca.I already feel closer to the people waiting out on the sidewalk for tacky floats to pass by.

10:15:A burly and slovenly dressed guy with a long forehead and a half empty bottle of Jager stumbles in and demands that I take a shot.I find out that this is Israel.I opt to not make any Palestinian references.I decline the shot.

10:18:In order to avoid further drunken chatting with Israel, I walk out to the patio where people linger and contribute to their eventual lung cancer. Suddenly violent chattering emerges from the trees across the cul-de-sac.Everyone turns with curiosity with lots of intelligent questions like “What the hell was that?”I explain that they are mating Spider Monkeys.One guy, Greg, feels that I’m serious and is determined to convince me that Pasadena is not the natural habitat for Spider Monkeys.

10:30:A conversation begins with Chad, who will appear later in our story, and Faith, a short brunette who has pounds on her that she seems like she is not used to carrying.The topic is Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.Chad performed on stage in it.My family raised me on musical theater, so I’m familiar with it.And Faith just had a child…but is also a fan of musicals.I find that she likes to interject that she “recently had a child” at random places in the conversation.

10:58:Tracy passes out stickers with W.T.B.K. on it, which I came to find out meant “Wants To Be Kissed.”I support this plan as it provides an indication for those who would be safe to plant a kiss and not suffer violent repercussions from boyfriends and husbands.Or on the flipside, girlfriends and wives.

11:20:Faith finds me again and proceeds to enlighten me more about her child, and that SpiderMonkey Greg is the father of said child, but who, in fact, is not her husband.I wonder if this is supposed to be the “all-clear” message, and that I’m cleared for landing.Mind you, I’m still in a pattern and not prepared to land on anyone’s runway. She explains that she was a cheerleader in high school, and so this weight is not normally there (ah! Explanation).I tell her that I can still see the cheerleader in her.She glows and proclaims her love for me.

11:26:Faith pulls me into one of the bedrooms where there is a picture of her as a cheerleader with Not-Redhead Erin, the owner of the house and thrower of the party.Many others are in the bedroom chitchatting, so I feel safe that I won’t be molested.We look at her picture.

11:27:I feel a firm grip on my neck, and I’m pulled backwards.I turn and Israel is standing there, his hand still around the nape of my neck.“That’s my sister”, Israel proclaims, “Mi Familia”At the time I couldn’t recall if that was Hispanic or Italian.Either way, it’s a threat.I mention that I don’t see a resemblance.He seems not to understand, repeats “Mi Familia”, steps back and thumps his chest.I conclude that this may happen frequently given that Faith already had one fatherless child with SpiderMonkey Greg.  I guess the W.T.B.K. label doesn’t protect against neandrathalic brothers who have obviously grown up without a mother because their Oedipal instincts have been refocused on their sister.

11:30:Angry at this display of unnecessary AlphaMale-ism, I decide to distract myself by injecting myself into a conversation with Duane and a young, beautiful girl named Noelle, whose name is about as appropriate a name as I can think of for her.When you look at her, its like Christmas morning.Duane seems like he’s doing well. I dismiss myself, so that he may do better.

11:37:Meet Brittany and LuLu.If I rolled my eyes back any further when hearing the name LuLu, I could check my pituitary for tumors.They wear matching what looked like soft cotton potato sacks.So their bodies are a non-descript lump with arms and legs sticking out.Brittany is nice and bouncy and just became available – as indicated by her W.T.B.K sticker.LuLu was the designated cockblock.They spend much of the night in the bathroom. This is because anytime a guy would approach Brittany, it was time for LuLu to go to the bathroom.It was either that, or they snorted a lot of blow.I choose not to put in the effort, I could see from the get go that any move would prove otiose.

11:42:Chad, Linsday and two others, Ian (brother of Redhead Erin) and Derek.Suddenly, Chad starts dancing, which he seems quite good at and totally enjoys.It’s so sudden, that it’s like switch was thrown.I equated him to a late model G.I.Joe that you’d press on his back and he’d throw punches.But this was G.I. Chad – who actually sounds like he would be part of the Don’t Ask-Don’t Tell Platoon.Others seem to think that’s funny.They’re drunk though.Chad stops dancing, then asks me to throw his switch – which I mime doing.He starts to dance. Everyone laughs.I’m funny – or he’s funny – or we’re funny.Regardless, I’m gonna take some credit.

11:59:45:Everyone counts down to Midnight.I take a place closest to RedHead Erin who likes to hold stares with me without comment and wears a W.T.B.K. sticker.She might as well have being flagging “fuck me” in semaphore.

11:59:50:People chant “Ten!”

11:59:55:Erin and I watch the clock tick down on my iPod – still chanting.

12:00:00:HAPPY NEW YEAR!I tell Erin to kiss me.She does.People commence drinking.

12:38I survey the crowd of drunken individuals.Faith sits on a small ottoman.She looks up at me and pats the open space next to her.I pause.Shrug my shoulders, and walk over to sit next to her.The moment I sit, Israel, from out of nowhere, takes her hand and leads her away.I have no idea I pose this kind of threat.

12:42 Brittany sits in a papasan next to me, she turns and we begin to chat.Lulu informs Brittany that she needs to go to the bathroom and leads her off…are you kidding me?

12:45I stand and go to talk to a group of dudes including SpiderMonkey Greg, who doesn’t seem to have a problem with me talking to the mother of his child.

1:45: SMASH!The sliding glass door shatters.Everyone turns and gasps.Not-Redhead Erin’s mouth is agape.Israel stands there, rubbing the forehead that was just used as a battering ram.There is Karma after all.I smile that douchebaggery has not prevailed.

1:46:Christian the Sausage Critic proclaims that the party is over and that everyone needs to leave.People funnel out the door.I’m wondering where he got the authority to disban the party.  Evidentally, cheese and saugage are not his only specialty.Duane and I concede to going home.Chad and Lindsay cathc us and tell us to go with them.We ask where. They say downtown, “it’ll be fun.”

1:50:Chad stumbles toward his car fumbling with his keys.Linsday grabs him, telling him that he’s too drunk. Duane suggests that I drive because I have imbibed the least – which was true.My last Vodka and Fresca has been hours ago.Chad agrees.

2:05:We drive on the 210 headed for the 134.We had circumvented the army of misfit toys waiting for the parade and are headed downtown.Where?I don’t know, and all three of my navigators are hammered.

2:20:Chad’s on his phone.“Yeah?Still going on? Can you get us in? Me, Linds, Duane, and Todd.Nah, they’re cool.Yeah.How much?Can you do it for 40? Sweet!”He closes his phone.We’re good.I inquire what we’re doing.He claims that it will be fun.I don’t have a rebuttal.

2:35: Lost in downtown Los Angeles.Not necessarily a good place to be lost in driving a toilet-paper encrusted Land Rover at 2:35 am on New Years Eve.

2:50:We pull up to a parking structure.People mill about dressed as if there is a masquerade ball somwhere nearby.

2:53: We park for $10.Lindsay and Duane hang back on the sidewalk. I follow Chad as he stumbles across the street to the ATM, which is a freestanding box in the middle of the sidewalk.No bank.No storefront.Its like a mailbox that gives you money.Chad leans on it heavily for balance as he pulls 20s and stuffs them in his pockets.

2:59:Money in hand, we cross the street to meet up with Duane and Lindsay who are climbing into a non-descript white van along with many other people.We climb in and take a seat.Behind me is a gorgeous woman looking like she stepped out of Dr. Zhivago with a fur cap, matching coat, and boots, with a skin tight leotard.She demands that I share her Vodka with her, which is in a plastic athletic water bottle with a straw.Always a sucker for a beautiful Russian-looking woman in fur and skin-tight leotard, I gladly accommodate.She is right.It’s vodka. And that’s all it is.I smile and return it.She hugs me.I turn to Chad and mention that she just got off the lift.He tells me to be cool and not trip.I was cool and not tripping, but chose not to argue facts.

3:10:The non-descript van pulls up to a non-descript alley.We get out with our new group of very descript friends.We get into a short line waiting to go through a non-descript door.

3:22:We walk through the door into sensory overload.The first room people are dancing to music so loud you don’t hear it so much as feel it.The bars are still serving alcohol.Some rooms are stages ringed with sofas.People dressed as cats, pirates, DapperDans, Santa’s Elves, etc, etc lounge around. Dance. Drink.Further back is a patio area with another couple of rounded patios with rail-less balconies above.Women in 8” platforms dance perilously close to a shattered 3rd thoracic vertebrae.Another bar in the back serves more fantasy clientele.A line of fur and masks pours out from some curtains indicating the restrooms.Another DJ area is filled with dancers undulating to the rhythms.

3:35:Chad comes up and asks if I’ve having fun.I can’t say no.I’ve never experienced anything quite like it.He checks if I want some E.Now, I’ve done some drugs in my life.E is not one on the list.And me, being the practical one, asks questions.How much?How long will it last?What are the effects?He answers.I say sure.Why not?I give him money.

3:45: Chad brings back a pill and a few bottles of water.I take it.Duane takes it.Chad and Lindsay take two or three.

3:47:Duane becomes paranoid about taking E. Last time he took it he ended up at a strip club and was considering flying to Hawaii with a stripper and marrying her.That is, until, from a sitting position on his lap, she laughed at him and called him stupid.I can understand his reluctance.

3:53:Line to the bathroom.Step through the curtains to an enclosed room of four porta-potties, and the worse stench I’ve smelled since the broccoli fields of Santa Maria.But, I have to pee, so, I deal.

4:07:I’m having a good time, but I’m watching myself, trying to pay attention to the E that is supposed to be coursing its way through my brain.I’m not getting anything.Honestly.

4:12:I find Chad and Linsday dancing.Duane is nearby talking with a BlueHaired Beautiful Asian.He doesn’t seem to be having a problem with the drug this time around.She leaves and he notifies me that she’s a stripper…who recognized him.Uh oh.

4:15: Chad makes sure that I’m OK.I’m fine.I’m not feeling any different.

4:18:Linsday comes up and hugs me, grabs the back of my neck and rubs vigorously.She asks if that feels good.Sure, it feels good.Doesn’t feel any different than any other time my neck is rubbed.But it feels good.I don’t let on that this isn’t doing anything.I don’t want to ruin it for her. She seems to be enjoying it.Not to mention that her pupils are big enough that I can see the rods and cones in her retinas.

4:38:I see Dr. Zhivago, she gives me a hug and a kiss.

4:41:Dancing happens.

5:02:The DJ switches.The guy is right up next to the crowd with equipment that I have never seen before – and I’m a techhead.It has buttons, and dials, and screens, and blinking lights, and I don’t know what else.But whatever this guy is doin – its creating music, and its amazing.He moves his finger around on a glowing touchpad and the music warps and bends.He spins it in different patterns and I’m reminded of some kind of Cronenberg bio-amalgam of a Spirograph, and Etch-A-Sketch, and a Lite-Brite.

5:13:Chad checks to make sure that I’m doing OK.

5:21:Lindsay comes by and rubs my neck more and squeezes my hand for what seems like a half hour.I’m still not feeling different.I’m a little disappointed.

5:45: Duane stands underneath a space heater talking to Joy, a blond dressed in ripped nylon and leather.I join them.Duane states that he’s feeling waves of sobriety and the E.Joy explains that’s what they mean by rolling.Duane’s happy.He is in a state where he doesn’t care what other people think.He just goes up and talks to people.I mention that he should stock up on this stuff, because he is NOT like this otherwise.He probably would have agreed if it weren’t for the minor downsides of longterm ecstasy issues like serotonin loss, paranoia, memory loss, depression, and psychotic disorders.Looking at this though, it sounds similar to the laundry list of side effects from the multitude of FDA approved drugs like Cyalis, Zoloft, or Prevacid.I’m sure if E were presented in a commercial with a family running in slow motion though a field of flowers during a sunset, and the announcer listed all the side effects, that E would be a huge maintstream seller.Because its a controlled substance, however, its different.But hey, if you need help to get a hard-on, and it may potentially cause a brain embolism, go for it.It’s your body

5:48:The sky lightens with the coming sun.

6:10:Chad checks in on me and asks if I want another hit.I decline because we are going to have to leave at some point, and since I still don’t know how it would affect me…well, I need to possibly drive.

6:18:More dancing and talking and chatting and peeing and things happen for the next three hours.

9:00:I inform Chad that I have a breakfast to attend and that I must go.They are going to stay behind and keep going, and will take a taxi back.Duane is fine to leave.It’s been a long night.We find our way outside.A girl with a tackle box of piercings in her face asks if I got her a cab.I ask why would I do that?She asks if I would get her one.I inform her that I don’t work here.A thin woman named Donna in a cat outfit and insane blue contacts notifies me that I’m wearing a suit and I look like a work there.I’m actually not wearing a “suit” but I am wearing a suit “jacket”, so I concede.

9:02:We climb in the nondescript van that will presumably take us back to our car.

9:03:I’m conversating with Donna and others.Donna introduces me to Nikki, a beautiful, light-skin black woman in a fur Fedora.Nikki smiles a hello, turns back to Donna, and says “He’s hot!”Donna nods.I smile inside, which could mean that I’m so tired that my sarcasm and wit have run out, and that’s all I could do.  Either that, or I was blushing.

9:10:We climb into Duane’s toiletpaper and shaving cream covered Land Rover and head out of the parking lot.

9:15:Duane and I are lost in Downtown LA using the rising sun to gauge which direction we should go.

9:20:We head back to Venice Beach.I look around, and nothing really looks like LA.There is no traffic.The air is clear.The hills are green, dotted with homes.It’s very surreal – a perfect feeling for the kind of night that preceded it.

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