Security

2005 November 19
by barclay

“Since you’re my boys, if you see anyone out of line or breaking shit or whatever, just kick ‘em out. I don’t give a fuck, just toss ‘em.”

“Whose party is this again?”

“My little sister’s, but it’s at my dad’s house. Should be mad little girls there, like, eighteen, nineteen, twenty years old. Some high school, some college. It’ll be banging.”

We’re just leaving the suburban outskirts of San Diego. As we dig deeper into the forested hills, the temperature begins to drop and it starts to feel like a real November evening. We’re hauling six thousand pounds of steel over two lanes on a twisty road to Ramona, to the house Joey grew up in. We start to slow when we see cars lining the side of the highway for hundreds of yards.

Joey sighs. “Fuckin’ amateurs. Like the cops won’t notice this.”

We pull on into the extended driveway, cars packed so tightly we have to pull back the mirrors of the truck in to pass. As we approach the automated gate, a drunk teenager stops us.

“Yo, five bucks to get in.”

The truck cab erupts in laughter from Joey, Carter, Adam, Matt, and myself.

“What, you guys aren’t going to drink? Five bucks for a cup.”

More laughter.

Smiling, Joey explains, “Little dude, this is my place.”

“Oh, shit, you’re Jane’s bruddha! Snap! Here’s some cups.”

“Yo, thanks, keep it up.”

We pull in through the gate, farther up a steep incline past more cars, past a pool and hot tub teeming with drunks, up farther, to the top of the ridge line near the house. The overnighters have pitched tents, and it looks like some might already be occupied.

We mosey down the road, past the spa, into the throngs. There’s an mediocre band jamming near the pool, amidst three hundred or so kids, grouped by proximity to the kegs and fire pit. We trail through the crowd, amused, realizing most of these people were born in the mid to late eighties, and don’t know how hold their liquor, or properly tap a keg, or even poor a good beer for that matter.

A bubbly blond little eighteen year old runs up to Joey: “It says V.I.P. on my ass! Want to see?” She unbuckles her jeans, dropping trou while bending over. She pushes out her ass while adjusting her red thong. Cocking her head around, she barks, “Take a picture!” Matt slaps her ass, Carter whips out a camera phone, taking a picture of Adam licking the letter “P” emblazoned in sharpie on her right cheek. Joey shoots me a pleased told-you-so look and bellows a laugh.

A girl walks unsteadily up to me, extending her palm. “And what’s your name?”

“Barclay.”

She cocks her hips and coils a curl around her finger. “How old are you?”

She too drunk and I’m too quick. “What was your name again?”

“Oh, I’m Kaitlin, I’m friends with …” trailing off into a brief conversation.

She’s too drunk to notice my dodge and I’m too sober, for now, to lie.

I catch snippets of conversation, from a little angel that just had the lights switched on her while screwing some guy in the pool house “… we we were totally going to have a threesome, but I ran out of condoms … yeah, sucks …”

Fuckin’ amateurs.

We continue to mingle, shooting the shit with each other and meta-laughing about while we meta-flirt with the girls. Every once in a while we have to calm down some asshole who gets too drunk and angry and stupid, by we’re there more to just hang than we are to play security. We’re just security by default, as we’re friends of the older bruddha – and ‘cause of that martial arts thing.

Every once in a while we get some straggler tailing us, someone who doesn’t know how to act at a party so they loosely follow around others: “Don’t you go San Diego State?”

I laugh and keep walking. This is too funny.

I have to step in the middle of some altercation, but the two guys don’t want to fight, they’re too busy posturing, willing to forego the fight if they can both walk away while saving face. I let them, making my presence known but not interfering. I see the quick nervous flicks of eyes over to me then back to the commotion. Later in the evening, one of the two gets himself riled up again. I’m there, I was up at the hot-tub with a birds eye view, I could see the group off to side, agitating, angry, and slide down the hill unnoticed.

Before he reaches his target, I’m there casually, as if I just happened to run into me. He recognizes me and tries to enlist me, “What’s your name?”

I lie. “Paul.”

“Man, Paul, this guy’s been talking shit about me all year, would you let someone do that to you?”

Ah, an emotional appeal. Get me involved. Get me answering your questions. A simple ploy. Bruddha, you’re not good enough to play that game with me.

“Let it go, bro. Look at all these honeys here, would you seriously rather be fighting than fucking?”

“I’m already fucking a girl, but this guy’s been talking shit ALL YE—”

“You’re fucking a girl? Right now? Like, the invisible woman, ‘cause I don’t see her.”

He cranes his head, scanning the crowd, looking for her. Yup, he’s under my control now. He’s thinking about what I want him to think about – his girl, and the things he wants to do with her, not some asshat that called him names.

Her spots her and points her out. I don’t follow his finger.

“She’s cute. So why don’t you take her home and fuck her silly?”

He appears to weigh the options and capitulates, retreating to his crowd of friends, but retaining enough ego to call me a “pussy,” on the way out, from the “safety” of his group of friends. Bruddha, unlike you, I can let it slide.

Fuckin’ amateurs.

I’m pissing in the woods when the cops arrive. Carter walks up behind me, “You thinking what I’m thinking?”

“Yup.” I zip up.

We start creeping through the woods, testing our stealthiness, putting our outdoor training to use. The cops are out at the highway, directing the flow of cars from the base of the driveway since cries of “5-0” rang through the party. There’s a lot of dried leaves about, and we’re a little tipsy, but there’s great contrast of light and shadow and enough noise from the party to mask our approach. We crouch, just off the side of driveway, listening. People walk withing feet of us and don’t see us. Carter and I snicker, drawing a line across our neck with an index finger, denoting when someone enters the range of a quick and silent kill.

A new police vehicle pulls up, the sheriff. Over the bullhorn, he commands “I want to talk to the organizer of this party or we’re coming in, and we’re going to start checking for things you don’t want to check for.”

We sneak back to the pool, to warn Joey and Jane. The party’s still two-fifty strong. There’s no way the bullhorn could have been heard this far away and over the substantial din.

“Joey, time to clear, or they’re coming in.”

Some drunk girl chimes in. “No, no, everyone should stay! That guy other there said they need a warrant to come in!”

“Honey, all they need to see is one drunk, high, or otherwise fucked up minor to come stumbling out of this place, and they have probable cause. You think that hasn’t happened yet?”

Even in high school, we knew how to tap a keg. We knew what a release valve was for. We always had enough condoms. We knew not to rely on legal advice from some drunk guy from our English class. We knew that when the cops came, everyone should walk away, not try to barricade yourself in. If you walk away, they let you. If you force them to come in, they’ll pat you down and find whatever beer, smokes, weed, or whatever you have stashed on or near you.

Fuckin’ amateurs.

Joey makes the call, “Alright, clear ‘em out, Jane, grab a bunch of your hot friends, take ‘em up to the house, and we’ll keep a smaller shindig going after the cops leave.”

We wander, gently prodding suggestible psyches. “Dude, the cops are here, I’d take off if I were you.” “Dude, they’re gonna try to come in here, where’s my ride?” “Dude, dude, dude….”

There’s a group near the back that’s not moving. The yeah-I-heard- you-but-I-think-I’m-entitled group. Walking up, I wave non-chalantly toward the exit and shake my head slowly, like your kid has just drawn on the wall and lied about it, and you’re too tired to deal with explaining the logic of how you figured it out.

“Gitthefuckouttahere.”

Some drunk little whore is offended by my presentation but not the hand down her pants. “What the fuck, man, you don’t have to be so rude.”

“Honey, I’m doing you a favor. Just get the fuck outta here.”

“You’re doing us a favor? Right.” She looks at her boy. “What a dick.”

I shake my head again, not willing to explain to them how I can smell the joint and they really don’t want the cops in here.

“Like I care. Fuckin’ move.”

They begin to exit, fifteen people in one big offended mood. The last guy up, the guy in the leather jacket, the guy who stands up last to show how cool he is, offers his sage advice over the cherry of his cigarette. “You should care, dude.”

I actually laugh.

“Whatever. Haul ass.”

I meander over to a another crowd. Johnny Punker saddles up next to me. Cracking open a beer while looking at him over my shoulder, I make a suggestion. “I’d leave if I were you.” People give me looks. Yeah, that’s right, I’m old enough to drink and kick people out of a party at the same time.

He assumes a hard-core attitude. “No way man, I leave this party when the cops bust in and handcuff me and drag me out.” Yeah, way to stick it to the corporate man, way to find something important to fight for.

I look back at him and swivel my body square with his.

“No, you’re leaving. You understand me?”

“Uh, yeah, I’m leaving ‘cause you’re telling me to. Uh, later.”

He high-tails it out the back. At least he catches on quick, quicker than his friend, who pronounces to his remaining friends, “The cops aren’t really here.”

“Uh, yeah, they are. Walk twenty yards that way,” indicating with my finger, “you can see the red and blue flashes through the trees. I may not have been around much, but usually just cops have those.”

“Yeah, right, the cops aren’t here.”

“You think I’m sending dozens of hot little girls away for no reason? Are you an idiot?”

He turns back to his friends, mumbling, “There’s no way the cops are here.”

“Alright, dumbass, just go. Leave. Right now. You’re not smart enough to be at this party. Get the fuck out.”

“Who do you think you are?”

“I’m your guardian fuckin’ angel.”

“I–”

“No, fuck that. Just leave. Bye. Go. Now.”

“But–

“Nope. Go.” I wave him off and walk away, leaving him to to escort himself out.

Fuckin’ amateurs.

When we’ve got the party down to a decent size, the police pull away and we start up the DJ. There’s male and female nakedness at the hot tub, and things are relaxed. We share the more interesting anecdotes of clearing three hundred people without incident with five somewhat drunk assholes. I lay back on the side of the tub, thinking of how stupid I was when I was eighteen. I watch the stars of a rural night sky dance and dip and hide behind the silhouette of a pretty young thing dancing above me, and I am content, even thought I too am still, a fuckin’ amateur.

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