Continued from Chapter 13.
Lysergic Acid Diethylamide, more commonly known as LSD, is listed in the California Health & Safety Code as a Schedule I narcotic, although in reality, it is a hallucinogenic. Unlike LSD 25, its powerful and unpredictable grandfather from the sixties, the LSD of the eighties is a more toned-down version. The amount of LSD in a single dosage or “hit” currently is generally much cleaner and smaller than when it erupted onto the Peace and Love scene so many years ago. Originally, a batch of LSD was cut with other substances to make it go further in the marketplace. These other substances were often methamphetamine and strychnine, which contributed to a large number of “bad trips.”
LSD fell out of favor for several years during the seventies and early eighties, being replaced by its homicidal cousin, Phencyclidine, more commonly known as PCP or Angel Dust, and different variations of Cocaine. In the late eighties, sophisticated lab techniques and nostalgia for the sixties brought back LSD to upper and middle class college campuses, high schools and in some cases, elementary schools.
An individual under the influence of LSD experiences mild cardiovascular stimulation and, of course, mild to severe hallucinations. Behavior exhibited by the user may fluctuate between catatonia and manic outbursts. To the inexperienced and unsuspecting, the hallucinations can range emotionally from pleasant to terrifying, consisting mainly of an altered perception of all the human senses. The individual’s environment also plays an important role in the “trip” experience as well.
As with many other legal and illegal substances, the human body tends to develop a tolerance and may require more to achieve the desired effect. And while the jury is still out on physical addiction, most professionals in the health care field agree that LSD can at least be psychologically addictive, leading to short or long term personality changes.
In other words, the effects of LSD remain unpredictable.
Another little known fact about LSD is that, like alcohol and PCP, its chemical make-up is such that it can readily pass through a number of semi-permeable membranes. The human epidermis, or skin, is one such membrane.
San Diego Jack Murphy Stadium, home to the San Diego Padres and the Alex Spanos’ Chargers, is nestled in the heart of the San Diego River bed, known as Mission Valley.
Aside from sporting events, additional revenue from the stadium is generated by the occasional rock concert. Having played host to such names as the Rolling Stones, the Eagles, Elton John and Billy Joel, and the Who’s third final concert tour, the 56,000 seat stadium has most often filled to capacity.
The concerts have always required the addition of a number of uniformed and plainclothes police officers to monitor and control crowd behavior before, during and after the concerts. This arrangement provides officers with an opportunity to accumulate valuable overtime pay and for some, a free concert as well. Eastern division, in which the stadium is located, lacks the requisite number of personnel to handle the stadium events. Therefore officers from all divisions are “invited” to work the special details.
The Supreme Court has ruled that quotas by law enforcement agencies are unconstitutional. There has been no ruling, however, on an agency’s requirement for individual self-initiated activity. Self-initiated activity is nothing more than another name for a quota system and acts as a monitor of an officer’s effectiveness in the field with regard to contacts ranging from field interviews to arrests.
Special details generally require a certain amount of activity to insure that officers are not simply using the detail as a way to accumulate overtime without putting forth any effort. Stadium concerts require ten parking citations, five moving vehicle violations, two misdemeanor arrests or one felony arrest. Officers who are able to comply with the self-initiated activity requirements are invited back to work other stadium details, such as baseball and football play-off games.
The day following Pete Castillo’s murder, a multi-band concert was scheduled for the stadium. The headliner band, Phish, had been growing in popularity over the past several years. The relatively mellow sell-out crowd required only a few additional officers. Among those invited to work the concert were Agent Mills and Officer Richards.
Although Mills and Richards had worked an extended shift at the Castillo murder scene, they were both music aficionados and were not about to pass up a chance to see a band that sported a drummer who wore a dress. To insure they would see the concert uninterrupted and be invited back, Mills and Richards always got their contacts in the parking lot before the concert. They had been working this scam for the four years they had been teamed together. They had not missed a single major concert or sporting event.
Gerald Mills had been assigned to Western Division from the day the substation had opened. At first, the division had been the Department’s bastard child, being staffed with rookies and throwaways from other divisions. Gerald, or Uncle Gerry to his friends, had coined Western Division’s motto: Where the debris meets the Sea.
Larry Richards was transferred to Western Division as a rookie, not long after its opening. Larry and Gerry had worked the same shifts for almost two years without more than a “hello” between them. Gerry had worked in Ocean Beach under one sergeant and Larry on the hill in Hillcrest under another. That was until they were assigned to the Pink Panthers.
Several years earlier, in a typical knee jerk response to vocal complaints, on this occasion the homophobic spewing of the religious right, the Department had organized a special vice detail to curtail the growing visibility of the Gay community.
Affectionately dubbed the “Pink Panthers,” the detail was short lived, because, as it turned out, the Gay community was far more vocal and moneyed than the local religious right.
Although some of the complaints were legitimate, such as open sex in certain bathrooms of Balboa and Presidio Parks, others were not so. These complaints revolved around Gay bars in the Hillcrest area of San Diego where, according to the complaints, aberrant sexual behavior was carried on night and day.
Gerry and Larry had been selected with ten other officers to supplement the vice detail. Their job was to cruise the parks and bars and to be solicited for sex by men. Unlike the prostitution detail, simple solicitation for a sex act was all that was required for an arrest, money need not be mentioned. Gerry was selected as an observer and arresting officer. His job was to watch the “bait” officer, not only to make the arrest, but for officer safety as well. When the solicitation was made, the bait officer would scratch his head and walk away from the intended victim nee suspect. The observer would discreetly contact the suspect, identify himself and the arrest would be made. The suspect would oft times never see the complaining officer until the time of trial, if there was one, most cases being plea bargained to avoid public exposure and humiliation.
Larry was selected as a bait officer. At twenty three, slender and blonde, he was a Michelangelo wet dream. Larry held the all-time record for solicitations in a one hour period at 17, four of the solicitations coming at once from four anxious men. Gerry was Larry’s observer and had quite a time keeping up.
On one particularly slow evening, Gerry and Larry had been working an area of Presidio Park nicknamed “Gobble Gulch.” They had made only one arrest in three hours when Larry returned to the car.
“The fish aren’t biting tonight,” said Larry, leaning into their unmarked car.
“I don’t even see any, you must have scared them off with your radiant beauty,” smiled Gerry.
“Let’s try some other place.” suggested Larry.
“Okay, but I gotta piss first,” said Gerry, getting out of the car and walking to the restroom.
“Just don’t touch anything in there with any exposed part of your body,” advised Larry, laughing as he settled back in the passenger seat.
Gerry entered the darkened restroom cursing himself for forgetting his flashlight. He gingerly felt the walls until he came to what he believed to be a stall. He unbuttoned the fly of his Levis and withdrew himself to pee in the general direction of the toilet. It was a public restroom, after all.
“Hi, can I help you with that,” said a voice from the darkness behind.
Gerry could feel the hairs on his neck spring straight out and his sphincter muscle slam shut. Where did this guy come from? They had been watching the restroom for more than two hours and no one had come or gone.
“I’ve got something for that fat ass of yours, faggot. You’re going to look a lot different when I’m through with you.”
Oh, God, thought Gerry, still silent. I’ve got a queer beater, he’s been waiting here all along, And me with my dick in my hand.
Always quick on his feet, Gerry said, “Hey listen, I don’t like things that hurt. Why don’t we go outside? I bet I could make you happy, you sound kind of angry.” He was able to stuff himself back in his pants, but unable to button up. He was now able to make out dim shapes in the dark room, but could not see the man. If he could only get outside, Larry would see him.
“That’s right faggot, we’re going out to the bushes,” snarled the voice. “I don’t want any interruptions while I fuck you. Now start moving toward the door slowly and remember, I can see a lot better than you, Jesus is on my side.”
Wonderful, thought Gerry, A fag rapist for Christ.
As Gerry moved slowly toward the door, he reached under the down vest he was wearing and pulled the .45 semi-automatic pistol from his waist band with his right hand and held it in front of him. With his left hand, he grabbed his badge. His plan was to get outside and put his pistol and badge in the guy’s face and try to avoid any violence, other than beating this asshole senseless after he got him handcuffed. If this wacko didn’t want to go along with the program and fought, blowing him out of existence after he identified himself might save him at a shooting board inquiry. Either way this was going to be dicey.
“Keep moving, you little pussy, just think about this big knife I can slip in between your ribs and into your guts,” whispered the voice menacingly as they crossed the restroom threshold into the open.
Oh fuck, he’s got a knife. God I hate knives. Just a couple feet more and we’ll be under that street light. I hope you’re watching, Richards, thought Gerry glancing toward their car.
Unfortunately, at that moment Larry was developing a situation of his own. As Gerry entered the restroom, a dirty white Volkswagen Fox had pulled in just three feet from the passenger side of their car. Larry had made eye contact with the small dark-haired man driving the car and smiled. That was apparently all the encouragement Sol Shapiro needed as he almost jumped out of his car. He leaned into the window just inches from Larry’s face. Larry could smell the nervous man’s sweat and see his terribly dilated eyes.
Sol licked his lips and looked into the park from the lot. Turning back to Larry he blurted, “Can I butt-fuck you? I’ve even got rubbers.”
So much for romance, thought Larry. He was about to answer when he turned to look for Gerry. Larry could see him walk out of the restroom as a large man followed.
“That’s weird,” said Larry out loud, trying to determine whether or not Gerry was aware of the man behind him.
“OK then, will you just suck my cock?” replied Sol, not to be denied and suddenly realizing he had not even had time to remove his wedding band.
Gerry had now moved directly under the outside lamp and decided to make his move. Taking a deep breath, he set himself and then whirled around in one swift movement, bringing his badge and pistol up into the face of Harold Frazier. The big concrete finisher stood 6-foot 4-inches and weighed over 250 pounds. He was completely caught off guard when the squat little man turned on him and screamed, “Freeze asshole! San Diego Police!”
For a split second Harold began to bring up his fist, but the shock was too much. He fainted and fell to the ground.
Larry saw Gerry’s gun come up and the big man fall. The traffic on the nearby freeway drowned out all sound, but he saw no flash from Gerry’s pistol.
Did he shoot him and I missed it? wondered Larry. He threw open the door forgetting Sol, who, completely off balance, flew back against his own car, collapsing with the wind knocked out of him. Larry started for Gerry at a dead run, pulling the .38 police special from his waistband.
At first Gerry also thought he had shot the giant who now lay prostrate at his feet. It took a second for him to realize that the big man had merely fainted. He looked toward the car and saw Larry running toward him. He quickly flashed four fingers indicating “Code Four,” the “everything’s OK” sign. Larry slowed, but continued to trot to Gerry, still at a loss for what had just happened.
Harold had caused pure adrenaline to drop into Gerry’s system and it had to go somewhere. He let go with an incredible kick to the ribs of the unconscious man. “YOU SICK CRAZY MOTHERFUCKER!” he screamed, followed by a blood curdling half shout, half howl. He realized he was shaking violently as Larry reached him.
“Did you shoot him?” panted Larry. “What the fuck happened?”
“That big asshole was going to rape me!” yelled Gerry. “Cuff him and get him out of here before I kill him. He’s got a knife somewhere.”
Larry took Gerry’s handcuffs and knelt beside the prone figure, grunting as he pulled the large arms behind the man and fixed the handcuffs around his wrists. Harold began to stir, making little moaning noises. Larry and Gerry pulled him into a sitting position. He slowly opened his eyes and looked at the two men, confused, dirt covering his face.
“You, asshole, are under arrest,” snarled Gerry leaning into the man’s face. “You have the right to remain silent. Exercise it.”
Larry had finished patting down Harold for weapons. “No knife, nothing,” he said matter of factly, looking at Gerry.
“You mean I almost shot him and he didn’t even have a knife. You asshole!” screamed Gerry lunging at the sitting figure. Larry did not move quickly enough and Gerry’s beefy right fist caught Harold directly on the nose, sending him backward, blood flying from both nostrils. Larry wrapped both arms around Gerry pulling him back.
“Whoa, big fella. It’s all over. We won,” said Larry in a calming voice. “Go back to the car, I’ll take care of this sorry excuse.”
Gerry stopped struggling. Taking a deep breath, he said, “I’m OK. I’m OK. It’s all right.”
Larry held on to him for a moment to be sure Gerry was not going to renew his attack. He let go of Gerry, who turned and began walking to the car.
“Asshole. Stupid fucking asshole.” muttered Gerry as he stormed back to the car.
Larry helped the now weeping Harold to his feet and began to lead him to the car. Gerry reached the car a few feet ahead of them and walked to the passenger side.
“Shit!” yelped Gerry as he disappeared from view, followed immediately by another voice shrieking in pain.
“Who the fuck are you!?” bellowed Gerry, struggling to regain his feet.
“Don’t hurt me. Help! Police!” screamed a frightened Sol Shapiro, who had just recovered his ability to breathe.
Gerry reached down and pulled the little man up by his collar. “What are you doing lying next to my car, asshole?”
“Don’t hurt me. Please, don’t hurt me,” whined the little man, shielding his face.
“Careful, Uncle Gerry, that’s my new paramour. He hit on me while you were rustling up your date in the bathroom.” Larry laughed, as he placed Harold in the back seat of the car.
Gerry reached into the glove compartment and grabbed another set of handcuffs and placed them on Sol.
“You are also under arrest, asshole.”
“Oh my God, you’re cops. Oh, no. What’s my wife going to say,” pleaded Sol.
“Gee, I don’t know. Maybe something like, ‘Well at least I don’t have to suck your dick anymore, honey,'” said Gerry as he shoved Sol into the rear seat next to Harold. “Maybe you guys can work out a date when you get out,” he said, slamming the door.
Gerry ran his fingers through his hair and massaged his neck. “This detail sucks.”
“Poor choice of words,” snickered Larry.
Gerry looked at Larry. They both smiled and laughed uncontrollably for ten minutes.
Shortly thereafter, they both requested to be removed from the Pink Panthers. There was an opening on Gerry’s squad and Larry asked to be transferred. They had been working as a two man patrol unit since.
Although it was still hours until the concert started, the parking lot was nearly full of revelers. Larry and Gerry could smell the occasional whiff of burning marijuana as they walked among the partiers, a drug enforcement they both ignored unless it came in the pound variety. Car stereos blared the Phish song Icculus, which was being broadcast by the local alternative rock radio station.
“You think I’ll like these guys?” Gerry asked Larry. Gerry was the department de facto Dead Head.
“Absolutely,” replied Larry, “They’re a cross between the Dead and Frank Zappa.”
“I’m trusting you on this one, partner,” said Gerry, turning his attention to the crowd.
They were walking south toward the levee which separated the stadium parking lot from the San Diego River. The river was full this time of year. A southern storm had been gathering since late morning. If it rained, there was a good chance the river would flood some of the lower areas of the valley, creating traffic problems after the concert ended.
At a 30-degree angle, the levee was a concrete embankment which rose about ten feet above the stadium parking lot. There was a narrow pathway across the top. On the river side, large boulders were exposed leading down into the river bed.
Gerry had noticed a small gaggle of people on the levee. They stopped and watched the group for a couple of minutes. Several people had come and gone from the group. One character wearing a red and white stripe stovepipe hat seemed to be the focus of attention. A couple of young girls in tie-die dresses sat next to him, surveying the crowd. A police unit cruised slowly through the parked cars about fifty yards to the west of the group. One of the girls spotted the car and pointed it out to the young man. He casually shooed some of the people away and put something in his pocket. When the car moved away from the small group, the man signaled them to come back.
“You don’t suppose the Cat in the Hat is dealing drugs down there, do you?” asked Gerry, himself wearing a purple and yellow tie dye T-shirt.
“I suppose he just might be,” drawled Larry, who wore a flannel shirt over a t-shirt with “Primus” emblazoned across the front. “Based upon my expertise and training, I’ll bet Thing One and Thing Two are keeping a look out for him,” he continued indicating the two girls.
“Do tell, son,” replied Gerry, “I don’t suppose your experience and training might suggest the best approach to investigate this behavior?”
“I’ve always favored the direct approach my own self. What do you think?” queried Larry.
“He looks pretty honest from here. I think that’s a good idea, let’s just ask him. I’m sure he’ll admit to any wrongdoing.” Gerry joked, as they made their way toward the little group.
Gerry took a Pall Mall cigarette from his pocket and paused to light it. He then held it in a cupped fashion and took a huge “hit.” The effect achieved was that he was smoking a joint. As he held the lung full of smoke, he offered the lit cigarette to Larry.
“This is a filthy habit,” said Larry, accepting the cigarette and taking a long drag to continue the subterfuge.
“Yeah, but it beats the shit out of shooting heroin,” gasped Gerry, exhaling a huge cloud of smoke.
As the pair came within a few feet of their targets, Gerry inadvertently began to cough violently.
“That must be some pretty good shit, old timer,” cracked the young man with the hat.
Gerry was doubled over, leaning on his knees, coughing. Only Larry heard him gasp, “Asshole.”
Larry snubbed out the cigarette and put the “roach” in his pocket. “It’s pretty trashy shit,” he replied, smiling at the girls and winking. “I guess it’ll have to do though. This party is very dry.”
Gerry still had not regained his composure and sat down at the base of the levee. Larry climbed up to the group.
“You guys interested in something a little stronger?” asked the youth.
“I guess it kind of depends on what it might be and how much it’ll set us back,” said Larry, feigning disinterest.
“How about a little day trip for fifteen?” said the young man.
“Hey, Lester, he’s kinda cute, and the old guy put on a pretty good show. Why don’t you send ’em off for free?” said one of the girls sidling up to Larry, who was now joined by a fully recovered Gerry.
“Listen, bitch, why don’t you handle your part of the business and I’ll handle mind,” said Lester, changing briefly from friendly to malevolent and back, smiling at Gerry and Larry.
“Hey, Larry, I don’t need any of this agro scene. Let’s go,” said Gerry, setting the hook by appearing to want to leave.
“It’s cool,” said Lester. “We all got to do our jobs, man. The girls just have to be reminded every once in a while. It’s a job. You understand.”
“Lester here’s got some acid,” said Larry, “What do you think, Uncle Gerry, you up to it. Fifteen a hit.”
“Any good?” asked Gerry
“Guaranteed,” replied Lester.
“What the hell. Not like it’s the first time,” smiled Gerry, pulling a roll of marked bills from his pocket. He took a twenty and ten and handed them to Lester. Lester pocketed the money and then produced a small black leather fanny pack from under his bulky sweater. He unzipped the pack and withdrew two small vials and handed them to Gerry.
“Now that’s some interesting packaging,” said Gerry examining the vials.
“Perfectly measured and no chance of contamination. Just pull the top off and pour it on your tongue, no muss, no fuss,” smiled Lester.
Larry was still trying to figure out how to get the two girls and make this a triple, when Gerry pulled his badge from his pocket and put it in Lester’s face.
“You’re busted,” said Gerry, unexpectedly.
“Pigs!” shouted Lester as he stood and reached into the fanny pack grabbing about fifty vials. Everyone scattered from the area, the girls running in opposite directions along the levee. Lester turned to throw the vials into the river. Gerry was up and grabbed Lester’s hand with both of his. They spun toward Larry who had just gained his feet. Lester and Gerry fell into him and all three rolled down the levee into the parking lot. As they rolled, a number of the vials broke sending glass and fluid onto all three. Gerry landed on top of Lester, which took most of the fight out of him. As he was handcuffed, Larry signaled the patrol unit which had cruised by earlier, for assistance. Gerry pulled the two marked bills from Lester’s pants pocket and picked up the unbroken vials from the ground. Miraculously neither Gerry nor Larry were cut by the glass, although both had been splashed liberally by fluid.
Officers Sam Thompson and Jennifer Starkey pulled up to the trio. “Uncle Gerry,” remarked Jennifer, “what have you big city undercover cops got.”
“Lester Dickhead, possession and possession for sale of a Schedule I narcotic, to wit LSD. Would you mind terribly driving ol’ Lester here up to the command post?”
“Oooh, a felony, guess you guys get to watch the concert,” interjected Sam.
“Hey, only if it doesn’t cut into your parking enforcement.” retorted Gerry. The scam Gerry and Larry ran was pretty common knowledge. Of course Sam wrote about a hundred parking cites at every event and was also one of the privileged invitees. Gerry did not really care for cops who justified their existence through parking cites. He referred to them as “tax collectors.”
“No sweat.” said Jennifer, hoping to avoid a confrontation. “We’ll meet you up there.”
“Thanks,” said Larry and turned the still dazed Lester over to the patrol officers. As they drove off, Gerry and Larry began the short walk back to their unmarked car.
“That wasn’t exactly the way I wanted it to go down,” said Larry, miffed by Gerry’s cavalier arrest.
Gerry did not seem to hear Larry, in fact what he was hearing was a mild ringing in his ears. “Must have hit my head,” thought Gerry out loud. He was seeing little pops of light in front of him. “Sorry, did you say something? I’m feeling a bit light headed.”
“Never mind,” said Larry, “Are you okay?”
“Yeah, I must have bumped my head,” he repeated.
They walked the rest of the way to their car in silence. Gerry plopped down in the passenger seat as Larry put the evidence in the trunk. Larry was feeling a bit odd as well. The trunk lid took an inordinate amount of time raise and when it did the interior appeared massive. He put the envelope containing the LSD and money in the trunk and slammed the lid, with an echoing thunder. He walked to the driver’s seat and sat down, but he could not get the key into the ignition. He looked over at Gerry, who was intently staring at the palm of his hand. He seemed really shiny. In fact, Gerry almost sparkled.
“What are you doing?” asked Larry, almost unaware he had spoken.
Gerry continued to look intently at his hand. “Have you ever looked closely at the lines in your hand?”
In his last moments of semi-lucidity Larry realized they had been dosed by the LSD. He picked up the car microphone. He keyed the mic, “Station A? This is unit 224 X-Ray. Could you start a unit or two our way, and perhaps a paramedic unit would be in order.”
“224 X-Ray. Your location and are you code four?” replied the dispatcher.
“Hmmmm, location. That’s a good question. Somewhere in the stadium parking lot…in a car.” chuckled Larry. Gerry had not taken his eyes from his hand.
“224 X-Ray. 11-51,” asked the dispatcher. The code was used to inquire whether an officer was alright. A response other than “affirmative” would guarantee a response rivaled only by the landing at Normandy.
“Oh, cut the numbers crap,” was Larry’s response as he put the mike down and began singing softly, “Ain’t gonna work on Maggie’s farm no more.” Gerry continued to stare at his hand.
“They were parked at the west end of the lot the last time I saw them,” a voice offered over the air, but neither one was listening to the radio now. Sometime later they were only vaguely aware of someone asking them if they were okay, being disarmed and helped from their car.
By the time Larry and Gerry were transported to the University of California, San Diego Medical Center, they were too busy to notice the trip. They were on their own separate trips, which would last for the next several hours.
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