Hollywood Hills
Hollywood Hills

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EXCERPT

ONE

“The butt-floss bunny’s busted, bro,” said the alliteration-loving, sunbaked blond surfer. He was already in his black wet suit, lying on the sand and ogling the photo shoot thirty yards farther south on Malibu Beach on a late summer day that made Southern California’s kahunas wonder why the rest of the world lived anywhere else.

“They can’t jam her, dude,” his taller surfing partner said, hair darker blond and also streaked with highlights, as he squirmed into his own black wet suit. “The ordinance says no nude sunbathing. Well, she ain’t sunbathing and she’s wearing a gold eye patch over her cookie and a pair of Dr. Scholl’s corn pads over her nibs. So she ain’t technically unclothed, even though she is, like, hormonally speaking, as naked as Minnie the mermaid who haunts my dreams.”

“Anyways, everybody can see she ain’t no surf bunny,” said the shorter surfer. “Even her toenails are way jeweled up and all perfectamundo. So if chocka chicks wanna go denuded for a professional photo op, they deserve a pass.”

“She deserves more than that for putting up with that met-sex woffie, for sure,” the tall surfer said, referring to the skeletal metrosexual photographer in a tight pink T-shirt, with a fall of so casual highlighted hair draped over his non-camera eye. The photographer was yapping orders to his perspiring young male assistant, whose gelled hair was combed up from the sides in a faux-hawk ’do, almost as fast as he clicked photos of the redhead.

“If she gets a ticket, it should be for littering a public beach with those two hodads in rainbow rubber, not for displaying her fabuloso physique,” the shorter surfer replied, alluding to the two male models sharing the photo session as mere backdrop.

One was wearing a cherry-red wet suit with a white stripe up one leg, and the other a lemon-yellow wet suit equally offensive to the observing ring of sneering water enforcers who claimed this part of Malibu as kahuna turf. They viewed anyone wearing anything but a solid black or navy wet suit as dissing surfing traditions, and as a legitimate target to be surfboard-speared if they dared enter the water to claim a wave.

That lip-curling judgment was further confirmed by the leashes attached to the spanking-new longboards being used as props, surfboard leashes being almost as objectionable as colored wet suits to the gathering group of surfing purists watching the goings-on. The longboards, one turquoise, one violet, were positioned directly behind the magnificent redhead, who kept changing poses for the photographer. He was carefully framing provocative body shots fore and aft, unfazed by the L.A. Sheriff’s Department black-and-white pulling into a parking space reserved for emergency vehicles.

“Here comes five-oh,” said the taller surfer to his partner when two uniformed deputies, a young man and an older woman, got out and strode across the sand toward the photo shoot.

“Never a cop when you need one, bro,” the shorter surfer noted. “And we don’t need one now. The last time the little scallywag jiggled, one of her corn pads popped loose, which was like, too cool for school.”

The taller surfer said, “Roger that. She is fully hot. Fully! But personally, right now I’m all dialed in to see what happens if the pair of rainbow donks actually hit the briny on their unwaxed logs. The surf Nazis’re gonna go all return-of-Jaws berserk when they smell that kooker blood in the water.”

“Get your happy on, bro,” his partner said. “Forget the two squids. Just wax up and enjoy the gymnosophical gyrations of that slammin’ spanker.”

“Gymno…?” said the tall surfer. Then, “Dude, I hate it when you take community college classes and go all vocabu-lyrical instead of speaking everyday American English.”

Just then, the woman deputy, a tall Asian veteran with her black hair pulled into a tight bun, moved ahead of her burly young Latino partner to confront the photographer, who reluctantly stopped shooting and faced her.

“This is attracting an unruly crowd,” she said. “It’s not the time or place for a photo session of this nature on Malibu Beach. I’d like you to shut it down and take it to a more private location.”

As the deputy said this, the redhead was performing splits on the yellow surfboard that one of the male models had placed flat on the sand as a pedestal for the next flurry of shots. But when the redhead got into the splits position, she lost control of her eye patch thong, attached by a string that rode over her hips and disappeared between the cheeks of her liquid-tanned buttocks. When the eye patch got crumpled against her upper thigh, her shaved genitalia were exposed, and a cheer went up from the raucous ring of twenty young men, most of them in wet suits, now completely surrounding the photo shoot. A salvo of lascivious commentary followed as the young men pushed in closer.

“See what I mean?” said the woman deputy to the photographer. “Shut this down now.”

“About her thong,” the photographer said. “If she puts one on that’s made of wider material, will we be all right? I mean, I’ve been told that if there’s a patch over her tulips and enough material in back so that her cheeks don’t touch each other, it cannot be considered nudity on a public beach.”

The giggling redhead, seemingly aroused by the male effluvium enveloping her like funky smoke, said to her boss, “You mean it’ll make my costume legal if my cheeks don’t touch?”

And with that, she arched her back, grabbed a buttock in each hand, and spread them slightly, all the while winking at her play-surfer colleagues in rainbow suits. Both of them had declined her offer to whiff a few lines just before the photo shoot and now looked unnerved by her coke-driven behavior.

The one in the lemon-yellow wet suit whispered in her ear, “Gloria, this is not risqué, this is fucking risky. We’re surrounded by testosterone-crazed animals.”

“That’s it,” said the woman deputy as the model rearranged her thong. “You’re in violation of the law. Get off this beach and stand by our car. Do it now.”

The photographer sighed in disgust, hands on his narrow hips, and gazed up, muttering to the vast cloudless sky over Malibu and the Pacific Ocean before reluctantly saying, “Okay, kids, it’s a fucking wrap.”

“I was just getting into it!” the redhead cried, snatching a towel from a folding chair.

And though alcohol consumption was prohibited on the beach, the grungiest of the nonsurfers were hammered, and an open can of beer was thrown from the back of the crowd. It soared over the heads of the nearest surfers, striking the deputy on the back of the head just above her bun of hair, splashing beer onto her tan uniform shirt.

“Owwww!” she yelped, whirling toward the mob.

“I saw which one did it!” her partner said, barging through the ring of wet suits, running down the beach after a fleeing teen in a torn T-shirt. As a result of having sloshed down two 40s of Olde English and a six-pack of Corona, the teen tripped over an obese, snoring tourist in plaid golf pants who was tits up and turning bubblegum-pink under the late afternoon sun.

The deputy wrestled the kid to the sand, looking as though he were trying to decide whether to grab handcuffs or pepper spray, when his partner, blood droplets wetting the collar of her uniform shirt, ran up and pounced on the thrashing teen, who yelled, “I didn’t mean to hit nobody! It was just a lucky shot!”

“Unlucky for you, asshole,” the Latino deputy said.

“I can hook him up,” the woman deputy said to her partner as they grappled, “if you’ll get his goddamn arm twisted back.”

“I’m suing you!” the kid hollered. Then to the milling crowd of onlookers, “You people are witnessing police brutality! Give me your names and phone numbers!”

After their prisoner was handcuffed, they jerked him upright and started dragging him toward the parking lot.

Then another of the grungier beach creatures, in board shorts, inked-out from his neck to his knees with full-sleeve tatts on both arms and missing an incisor and two bicuspids in his upper grille, yelled, “Let him go. He didn’t do nothing. Some nigger threw the beer and ran off.”

He drunkenly slouched toward the deputies, full of booze and bravado, holding the neck of an empty beer bottle like a hammer, and the young deputy drew his Taser and pointed it at him. The female deputy immediately talked into her rover and requested backup while she kept her eyes on the increasingly rowdy mob, at the same time trying to decide which of the half dozen nonsurfing sand maggots could be a real threat.

She didn’t realize that backup was much closer than she thought, and it arrived in a violent explosion of energy that stunned everybody. The tall blond surfer and his shorter partner issued no warnings, but running full speed, the taller one surged in low like a blitzing linebacker and slammed his shoulder into the lower spine of the guy with the beer bottle, who sailed forward, back bowed, and crashed hard against two surfers, knocking both of them flat on the sand. One of the other sleazed-out beach lice in ragged jeans instantly leaped on the back of the tall surfer as he was getting to his feet and tried for a stranglehold. He let go when the shorter surfer grabbed his hair, jerked his head back, and dug three piston punches into the guy’s kidneys, which made him drop to the sand, howling louder than his wounded mate.

“Get him to your car fast!” the tall surfer yelled to the deputies.

He picked up and brandished the beer bottle, standing shoulder to shoulder with his partner, facing off the jeering gaggle of now-hesitant surfers as the deputies continued dragging their handcuffed prisoner across the warm white sand of Malibu Beach.

The remainder of the surfing crowd suddenly had to rethink the whole business after seeing the two beach rats get cranked by the dynamic duo, whoever the fuck they were. And besides, since the wicked wahini and her crew were scampering to their SUV, the sexy rush was over. They figured that pretty soon there’d be more cops.

And anyway, they’d been out of the water too long. Adrenaline started gushing and synapses snapping when they saw half a dozen other surfers digging through the breakers. The surf was peaky and a young ripper came slicing in on a hugangus juicy while other surfers hooted him on. So what the fuck were they doing on dry land dicking around with these cops anyway?

Suddenly, as though on command, they all turned and began scrambling toward the ocean like a raft of clumsy sea lions, but once in the water and on their boards, they were transformed, and they darted, sleek as otters, through the shore break, with cops and even the redhead utterly forgotten. Their only concern was not getting cut off as they paddled from break to break in waves punchy and raw, waiting for a big one because this…this was what it was all about. They had discovered the meaning of life.

After the deputies got their handcuffed prisoner strapped into the backseat of the caged patrol unit, the tall surfer and his shorter partner heard the yelp of sirens as the LASD black-and-white units came roaring into the parking lot.

“Dude, I mighta rearranged a few disks in that sand maggot’s back,” the tall surfer said to his partner. “If we don’t wanna get bogged to the ass in paperwork and lawsuits and shit, I think we should, like, fade out at this point and maybe frequent Bolsa Chica Beach for the next few weeks.”

“I hear ya, bro,” his partner said. “The sleazed-out surf rat that I nailed is gonna be pissing blood for a few days, so I ain’t ready to answer a bunch of questions about why we didn’t ID ourselves and advise them of their rights and give them all a chance to kick the shit outta the deputies and us, too. I say, let’s bounce.”

The younger, Latino deputy was busy corralling the photo crew as witnesses for his reports, and the older, female deputy was gingerly touching her injured head and scanning the growing crowd of looky-loos, but she couldn’t find the surfing pair who’d decked the beach rats. She definitely needed them for the arrest and crime reports now that they were going to book their prisoner for the felony assault on a peace officer, but the arriving backup units caused a traffic snarl and she had to direct cars out of their way. This allowed the tall blond surfer and his shorter blond partner, hiding behind the throngs of beachgoers, to slip away, collect their boards, and scurry unobserved to their pickup truck in the parking lot.

They drove off and headed for the closest In-N-Out Burger, where they each devoured two cheeseburgers and fries. They arrived at work in time for a shower, a shave, an allowable application of hair gel, and a quick change into uniforms, ready for the 5:15 p.m. midwatch roll call.

All of the other police officers at Hollywood Station referred to this team of surfer cops as Flotsam and Jetsam.



Copyright © 2012 by Joseph Wambaugh