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  • Doin’ Time Chapter #18 ~Lucius the Dude~

     Anonymous updated 6 years, 10 months ago 2Members · 2 Posts
  • esselcue

    Member
    August 17, 2011 at 4:20 pm

    LUCIUS the DUDE

    Long, long ago, in a state far away, when I was a teenager (“tell me about the Old Days, Grandma”) I spent most of my summers at the beach. Fifteenth Street, Newport Beach, California, to be exact. Okay, I confess; I was a Surfer Girl, a Beach Bunny, a Sand Siren, a Beach Blanket Babe. It all sounds a whole lot more risqué than it ever really was. In fact, it was actually a bit on the innocent and naïve side of life.
    From the day school let out each spring until the first day of the fall semester, my life was a sort of ritualistic dance: pile out of bed at the crack of early, stuff my Corvair with beach necessities, surfboards and as many friends as I could fit, and head west down Newport Avenue to the beach Community of Corona Del Mar. Nowadays there is no longer a Newport Avenue. It’s all freeways and endless humanity now, and you can’t find an orange grove or a sugar beet field if your life depended on it. But in the 1960’s it was mainly countryside with a two-lane road that lead from my house all the way to my beloved 15th Street.
    There was nothing really special about 15th Street. It had a lifeguard tower and was about halfway between the rock jetty and the pier. It was a popular spot for families as well as surfers but we didn’t really pay much attention to that. We just knew it was “our place” and it felt comfortable.

    Usually the entire month of June was foggy and gray along the Orange County coastline, at least until noon. We would show up by eight, spread out our towels and wrap up in whatever we could find to keep warm while we awaited the sun’s first rays to come burning through the fog. We were a tough group. I think I shivered off a pound or two of flesh every morning, only to replace it later in the day by devouring hamburgers, nachos, candy, soda and Rocket popsicles.
    It was a very good time as those days are some of my fondest memories. It was a time of guitars and folk songs at a coffee house known as The Prison of Socrates, toasting marshmallows in a fire pit, grunion runs in the moonlight (yes, grunion really do exist and we used to catch them by the hundreds) and a lot of teenage stuff that was really very innocent when I think back on it. We were the Sandra Dee-Big Kahuna-Annette & Frankie-Jan & Dean generation of surfers. No one was mentally challenged or called anyone else “Dude” or wore enormous bathing trunks that hung down from their hips and exposed their underwear. That chapter of surfers came about in the ‘80’s, I think, and was made really popular by Sean Penn and the Spicolli character he portrayed in the movie Fast Times At Ridgemont High.
    I learned a lot when I was a teenager, but some of the most valuable lessons I learned had nothing to do with academics or life skills. I learned such important lessons as: Do not write your current boyfriend’s name on your stomach with suntan lotion because it takes the whole summer for the tan to fade and his name to disappear, which does not bode well with your new boyfriend, which forces you to wear a frumpy, one-piece suit for the rest of the summer to hide the first boyfriends name!
    The point of all of this is that I can readily distinguish a real surfer from a Dude. Lucius may have qualified as a Parrot Head but he was no Surfer. Lucius was a “Dude”.

    Lucius was booked into the jail one warm, summer day on charges of cultivating, possessing and selling marijuana. Growing marijuana in Arizona is not difficult at all as long as one has access to water. It’s warm here and there are lots and lots of remote, hidden areas where those lovely, green plants can thrive-just add H20. No one cares too much if you have a single plant in a terra cotta pot in your living room and use it for an occasional Sunday evening joint. They will arrest and fine you for it because possession and use of pot is illegal in Arizona, but that sort of possession and use is not likely to send you to the Big House.
    Lucius was another matter, however. His cultivation had not been limited to a decorative living room plant and I would venture to guess his use far exceeded a Sunday evening joint. Lucius was a full-blown, dyed-in-the-wool Pot-Head.
    He had one of those middle age, reverse-Mohawk hair-dos, where all the hair has fallen out in the middle and the sides have been allowed to grow out like a shaggy fringe, which he then pulled back into a pitiful ponytail. Not at all attractive and in my opinion, right up there with the infamous “comb-over”. I could envision Lucius at a Jimmy Buffet concert, singing Margarita Ville at the top of his lungs while he waved a smoldering joint around to impress whoever was watching.
    He sported a tattoo of a marijuana leaf on his left forearm with the words One toke over the line encircling it. On the right arm was a tattoo of a surfer inside a wave or “curl” as they are commonly called. He also had one golden tooth in front. This might have been interesting except that the rest of his teeth were stained and crumbling, so the token gold tooth was a bit of a waste.

    Lucius annoyed me. I am not easily annoyed. In fact, I am pretty patient with humanity in general and I seldom lose my cool. I’ve dealt with child molesters, murderers, rapists, bank robbers, drug dealers, prostitutes and mental midgets of every description and I’ve always been able to consider the source and handle it. But Lucius was like sandpaper on my nerves, like a cat’s claws dragging over a chalkboard. He was a disgrace to surfers the world-over; he was a fake, a phony, a Board-Bozo, a Ho-Daddy! I was willing to bet he probably could not even swim, let alone maneuver a surfboard down a wave! I wanted to rip his lips off.
    Unfortunately, that wasn’t up to me, nor did it have anything to do with the reason he was there in my jail. Lucius was there, grating on my last nerve, because he had made his living over the past few years, cultivating and selling an illegal form of hemp. And since all of his capitol had been in his crop, which was now being burned by the local authorities, Lucius had not a dime with which to bond himself out. That meant I had to tolerate him for God-knew-how-long! It didn’t seem fair to me but FAIR, I was told, is a four-letter word.
    You know how it is with cats? How, in a room full of people, a cat will always gravitate towards the person who hates cats the most? That is precisely how it was for Lucius and me. No matter what the occasion or reason, if Lucius needed an officer for any reason, I was always the chosen one. A trip to the dentist? Quayle will transport him! A meeting with a lawyer or bail bondsman? Quayle will take him and stand guard! A court appearance? Never fear, Quayle is available to accompany him. I simply could not get rid of Lucius.
    It’s not that I didn’t try, either. I used every technique known to Detention Officers for avoiding a duty. I would hear his name mentioned and immediately go into my disappearance mode. If a lawyer came to the visiting area and asked to speak with Lucius, I would instantly grab a hand full of papers and announce that I was on a mission. A court date on the transport calendar? I would call in sick and then find out when I returned to work the next day that the court date had been changed-to the next day! It was like my own personal plaguelike I was being tested or punished or suffering some long forgotten Karma. No matter how I tried to avoid him, Lucius the Dude was always there.

    And to make matters worse, Lucius developed a crush on me. He used to make me little gifts: tiny surfboards carved out of soap, necklaces and picture frames constructed from pieces of the TV Guide they had in their dorm, a crucifix woven from pieces of string that had been unraveled from his blankets or towels. Lucius was very creative. I tried explaining to him that, as an officer, I was not allowed to accept any gifts from inmates but that never deterred Lucius in the slightest. He went so far as to make me a ring he had fashioned from some of his own hair (and believe me when I tell you that he had no hair to spare for this frivolous act). It was totally out of control, and all the other officers thought it was pretty darned funny.
    Finally the day came when Lucius was released. He spent about six months in jail, dealing with the courts and making my life a living Hell before a very kind judge gave him six months with credit for the time he had served as well as three years probation. I was jubilant. At last! Lucius was leaving. I was so happy that evening when I got to work and found his name was no longer on the roster that I called out for pizza and celebrated by feeding all the officers on the shift.
    About three days later I was out in my back yard doing typical back yard things, enjoying the spring weather and not giving one single thought to work, when I heard someone call my name. “Yo! Deputy Quayle!”
    Oh, No! The voice sent a chill through me from toes to topknot. Was I dreaming? Was this some sort of horrible déjà vu? Had I fallen into another dimension, or worse yet, in Hell? How could it be? I was wide awake, I knew that, and I had never had any history of hallucinations before, although I know everyone has their own breaking point. Had it happened to me? Was I hearing Lucius?
    I felt as if I was moving in slow motion and had to force myself to turn through some sort of heavy veil, but I did manage to turn and there he was, standing by the fence line that separated my acre from the acre behind me. Wearing cut-offs and a Hawaiian shirt, a can of Bud in his hand. Lucius!

    “You live here?” he asked me with a wide, gold-toothed grin.
    I think I nodded but I did not manage any words.
    “Well, ain’t that the shit!?” Lucius exclaimed. “Ain’t that just the cat’s boner?”
    I finally did manage to swallow and squeak out a few words, “What are you doing here, Lucius?” I asked as swirls of thoughts raced through my head. Had I been stalked? Was I about to be attacked and meet my untimely end at the hands of a Parrot Head? What possible reason could Lucius have for being there, hanging over my back fence on my neighbor’s property?
    “Aaah, it’s just one of them coincidences, I guess,” Lucius stated with glee, “I’m stayin’ here for the next three years, durin’ my probation. This place belongs to my aunt!”

  • Anonymous

    Member
    March 31, 2014 at 12:58 pm

    This was lovely love Niel Diamond

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