Jessica Zoe Hutchins
One of the four walkie-talkies attached
to my harness lets out a static-filled blurb:
"Task force to Kiddo, Task force to Kiddo, Do You Read Me, repeat,
Do You Read Me? Over."
There's no headset, so I take my hands off the wheel to respond.
"That's an affirmative, Boss. Kiddo reading you loud and clear.
"Have you reached your destination, Kiddo? over."
"I've got about a five-minute ETA on the Van Nuys Airport. Over."
12/31/99: 14:00 hour: I'm heading down the 5 doing about 90
miles per hour, the fastest speed my vehicle will afford. I
am not manning the Hummer today, but a low-profile sedan, a
rental with no plates.
I run through my checklist.
Walkie-Talkies (60 count). check.
High impact waterproof flashlight. check.
35 mm camera with telephoto lens. check.
$1,000.00 US Dollars cash, taped to abdomen. check.
Radio Shack Sonorous 2000 bullhorn. check.
Night Vision Goggles. check.
1 full bottle herbal tranquilizers: Saint John's Wort/Kava Kava/Valerian
Root blend. check.
3 packages testosterone patches, most applied to jugular prior
to event. check.
I look good: the Los Angeles Parking Enforcement Officer uniform
fits snugly over my bullet proof Kevlar vest, although I did
have to tape my breasts down to fit into it correctly. Navy
blue pea-coat, brass buttons. Tactical boots highly shined.
Hair slicked neatly beneath the imitation LAPD officer's cap.
The walkie-talkie squacks again:
"10-4 kiddo, just checking in. Those threats of terrorist attacks
at the festival have been verified. My sources say Y2K complications
may leave whole areas of the city without electricity and water.
Weather reports predict rain. You've got those organizational
charts? Make sure you're wearing your uniform."
"Roger. My cap is on."
Six months of rigorous training have led up to this day, the
last of the Millennium: December 31st, 1999. The setting: Los
Angeles, aka the "Entertainment Capital of the World", where
even in the most peaceful of times, light precipitation instigates
chaotic frenzies of mud slides and car accidents; where racial
tensions, botched cosmetic surgeries and muscle-building smart-drinks
form an intoxicating cocktail creating the most nerve-wracked,
lonely, delusional population in America.
But I stand ready. Each and every late night at Celebration
Headquarters spent constructing precise organizational charts
and power-point presentations, sit-ups, push-ups, pull-ups,
a perusal of "The 48 Rules Of Power" and a subscription to "Soldier
of Fortune" magazine has no doubt left me fully prepared for
any emergency our City's Public Festival could possibly experience
Brandishing my official Celebrate L.A. Badge, which identifies
me as the Cultural Affairs Liaison Deputy for the City of Los
Angeles Official Public Millennium Celebration, I pull up to
the reclining guard-figure in a neon-orange jacket positioned
at the opening of the chain-link fence. The figure does not
respond, so I assume it must be participating in one of those
union slow-down strikes popular with civil servants. I enter
the grounds and proceed westward, down the dirt road behind
the airplane hangar.
In my rearview mirror, I notice I am being tailgated by a 1999
Ford Explorer, Warner Brothers Edition. I am not alarmed. Despite
the recent rash of unsolicited attacks on type-B personality
drivers by those whom the more forgiving of us would call "victims"
of Road Rage, I know there is little risk of violent physical
attack, since the statistics state that such attacks most often
happen to women in white cars, and my car is not white. Additionally,
we are now technically "off-roading", a modern recreation known
to be rage -releasing, as opposed to the rage-inducing activity
of operating a vehicle on a paved road. I instinctively understand
that aggressive confrontation is always to be expected. I park
and exit my vehicle.
The final trumpeting notes of Warner Brothers' "That's All Folks"
cuts abruptly as the vehicle comes to a halt. The driver of
the Warner Brothers SUV exits his vehicle, announcing himself
to be Mike Bendavid, the self-proclaimed "Jewish Cowboy".
I surreptitiously glance through my organizational chart to
confirm identifying characteristics: 61", medium-large
build, soft paunch, black cowboy hat , oversized face, undersized
features, high-heeled yellow cowboy boots (brand new) which
he rocks back and forth on. Overall demeanor of an adolescent
boy with Attention Deficit Disorder. I shake his small hand,
but remain business-like, emphasizing my importance by standing
straight and tall, despite the 62 pounds of walkie-talkies strapped
to my back.
I bark a list of responsibilities at Mike Ben-David, who is,
according to my charts, in charge of Line-Dance 2000 Spectacular
and caretaker of its acclaimed Celebrity Dance Host, Jan Michael
Vincent, star of the mid-70's movie "Sandcastles" and "AirWolf",
a short-lived television series of the eighties.
Orders issued, I make an about-face and march from the lot towards
the adjacent Celebration Site. The party of the Millennium will
commence at T-minus 1 hour.
"Headquarters to Kiddo, come in Kiddo. Is the site ready?"
I brusquely greet the group of reclining figures in neon-orange
jackets emblazoned with the word "security" slumped by the side
of the airplane hangar at the gate of chain-link fence. These
are decoys, and thus no response is to be expected.
"Kiddo to HQ, Entering the Celebration Site; proceeding under
the giant television screen. Confirming, 2 large celebratory
banners have been secured to the fence. Over."
Banners are imperative to alerting the general public that a
celebration should be taking place at this site. I note that
they present quite a colorful contrast to the massive sprawl
of crumbling concrete and overcast sky!
I announce my presence to the guardians of our City's Festival.
76 Los Angeles Police officers can be found 250 yards due East
in a portable command-post/armored vehicle, concealed by a mural
of multi-racial clowns surrounded by laughing Angelenos in wheelchairs.
The command-post has a welcoming, jovial atmosphere. It is be
warm inside, and the fragrance of Old Spice cologne mixed with
the smell of baking cinnamon buns is perceptible. The officers
do not respond to my announcement. Perhaps they surmise that
I am not one of them; that my double-breasted, brass buttoned
pea-coat is not a government-issued pea-coat but a cheap knock-off
manufactured by a popular discount designer. I consider
resorting to donut jokes to attract their attention. I wonder
if the apparent snub is due to the undesirability of my visage:
the large, painful pimple that throbs in the center of my forehead
perhaps diminishes my clout as their fellow civil servant .
Perhaps I appear a teenager, an amateur, prone to acne breakouts,
even though I am nearing thirty years. I remind myself that
seeming setbacks such as these may prove beneficial attributes
in future circumstances, and exit the armored vehicle to report
to my post.
As the Official Cultural Affairs Liaison Deputy for the City
of Los Angeles Official Public Millennium Celebration, priority
number one is the selling of Official Millennium T-Shirts to
My post, a tent located approximately 400 yards southeast of
the entrance, is stocked with 40 large cardboard boxes, filled
with t-shirts, all white, all XXLarge. All t-shirts have a logo
printed on the front, depicting a pink, freckled child with
an afro, wearing a kimono. Sex is indeterminable. The depicted
child stares, eyes blank, mouth agape, into a computer screen.
The screen of the computer reads: Celebrate L.A. 2000. I am
aware that no one, not even an infant, needs or wants to wear
a shirt in any size but XXL. I will advise potential buyers
accordingly, Pointing out that the purchased shirt will be useful
throughout the year as a gentle reminder to celebrate their
city year-round, as well as to enhance relations among the ever-increasing
overweight population of the Los Angeles.
At approximately T-minus 7 hours to Millennium, an army of sorts
becomes visible on the Northwest horizon. The motley team advances
slowly into my territory. Recognizable by their uniform royal-crimson
baseball caps, these are the Volunteers, assigned to point revelers
in the direction of the Port-a-Potties. The majority of the
group will have trouble focusing on the assignment, channeling
their ever-waning energy toward the acquisition of 1.) paraphernalia
and 2.)hot food, neither of which they will expect to pay for.
Particularly skilled at haggling is the groups leader,
who will be wearing two baseball caps, one on top of the other.
I keep feelings of claustrophobia at bay as I am descended upon,
diverting the groups attentions to the trap that I have
set for them, seven shacks behind mine: one indoor space-heater
and 14 flats of par-tee-pack Frito-Lay snacks, along with a
barrel of trial-size containers of antibacterial body-lotion.
The cacophonous moan of 4 shofars blown by well-respected rabbis
accompanied by chinese gongs, a bass drum and a phalanx of scottish
bagpipes sends the volunteers nervously scurrying towards the
Port-a-Potties. I am not sure whether they are running to use
the potties or to begin chaperoning revelers towards the
potties. With the aid of my Sonorous 2000 Bullhorn, I herd most
of them into position.
The Celebration of the Millennium has officially commenced.
The cross-cultural musical composition is interrupted by the
hacking-away of choppers overhead; the wind generated by the
blades flaps the tent-sides and renders me deaf to the musical
accompaniment. I instinctively shield my head and dive for cover,
being well-trained for this kind of situation. The choppers
converge from all directions. One goes into a backspin, streaming
a trail of rusty smoke across the clouds. Another circles backwards,
emitting large puffs of exhaust, as well as some sparks and
fire. Two more nearly collide as they cut side-strokes perpendicular
to each other. The sky darkens, and I spot two unchaperoned
youngsters huddling together in fear, quietly crying. I take
a picture for the archives. The copters, having thoroughly smeared
the palette of sky with their rubicon excrement, retreat one
by one, with the exception of the Mother-Chopper, larger than
the others and emblazoned with the aforementioned "Celebrate
L.A. 2000" logo, as well as an additional slogan reiterated
in large text on a distant blimp: "For the Children".
The Mother-Chopper lands as the crowd scatters, its entrance
made more spectacular by the simultaneous dropping of 2000 balloons
by the cruising blimp. I have been informed that each balloon
is laden with a small scrap of paper containing a "Millennium
Wish", each wish authored by a child with a terminal illness.
Ecological conservation restrictions mandate that the balloons
must be collected and disposed of properly within the hour,
to ensure that native flora and fauna of the airport will not
be adversely affected by the jetsam. I wonder briefly what constitutes
the native flora and fauna of the airport? rats? pigeons? crabgrass?
A die-hard lover of all nature's creatures, I salute a flock
of pigeons clustered near the kettle-corn vendor and issue orders
to the custodial crew over the bullhorn to begin cleanup immediately,
encouraging the scant population of celebrants to assist.
The choppers blades slow as the craft lands, The last
strains of Wagner's "Flight of the Valkaries" becomes
tinnily audible over the P.A. system, followed by the announcement
of the arrival of Jan-Michael Vincent, Celebrity Dance Host
for "Line-Dance 2000 Spectacular":
"Leading San Fernando Valleys 2000 line dancers today
of the Seventies, star of the hit television series "Airwolf"
in the Eighties
. JanMichael Vincent no longer suffers
from alcoholic dementia, and has recovered the ability to walk
after suffering a broken neck in a drunk-driving accident just
last month! Currently disputing charges of spousal abuse by
his ex-wife Tina, Jan-Michael has kept a positive Southland
attitude, recently resurrecting his acting career, and will
appear in the upcoming mini-series, "The Real Mrs. Jefferson",
cast as a member of a White Supremacist group in the deep South
during the Civil War...Lets put our hands together for
Jan-Michael Vincent!". Jan-Michael emerges from the Chopper,
supported on either side by Darren, his agent, and Tanya, his
confidante and manager.
His large red face matches his large red hand, which he waves
in greeting to the revelers and fastidious custodial crew who
pause from their work popping balloons and stuffing them into
the large green garbage bags to wave back to him.
Shattering my image of integration for the has-been superstar,
naturally that of the phoenix emerging triumphantly from the
fire, Jan-Michael suddenly jackknifes forward, then catapults
backward, whipping his two supporters back and forth, forcing
them to follow his movements in a grotesque swing-your-partner
sequence as they attempt to act as counterweights to the convulsing
"Kiddo to Headquarters. Kiddo to Headquarters. Weve
got a code 2 incident by the landing pad. Repeat, weve
got a code 2 incident by the landing pad, nine twenty nine
(man down), repeat, we've got a nine twenty nine,"
I scream into three of the walkie-talkies at once. Response:
silence, then feedback.
I scan the area to assess the situation before taking action:
Jan-Michaels body has landed head-first at the bottom
of the helicopters staircase; Tanya and Darren
cluster around the heap, flapping their arms and clapping their
hands over their mouths. Princes "Party Like Its
1999" is crackling quietly over the P.A.. The blimp still
hovers motionless above, a few wayward balloons drift sluggishly
into the Valley. A bakers dozen police officers are lined
up at the complimentary hot-chocolate stand near the Port-A-Potties,
apparently oblivious to the critical situation.
With the clarity of purpose that crisis grants only the lucky,
I cut across the airfield, making my way towards the accident,
past the Ferris Wheel. I do not fail to notice that half of
the decorative lighting on the wheel is not operating. I take
a picture for the archives. The wheel itself continues to rotate
a lone passenger. Past the wheel are a couple shacks housing
carnival games and the two loud-mouths whose yells only compete
with each others in a last-ditch attempt to advertise their
"AirWolf is fine, folks, hes just not used to wearing
cowboy boots!" The voice of Mike Ben-David echoes across
the airfield, accented with knowing chuckles. I can make out
the figure of Jan-Michael, no longer supported by Tanya and
Darren, his large red hand waving again, this time to the charter-bus
carrying his dancers pulling up to the airfield entrance; He
seems to be improvising a variation of the classic line-dance
favorite, "The Alley Cat".
"Kiddo to Headquarters, it's a code 12, false alarm. Over" the
walkie-talkie issues no response. the talkie comes alive again:
"HQ to Kiddo, Please remain at your post. Remember, the
T-Shirts are Your Primary responsibility! Over
A timely alert: From across the airfield a whirlpool of red-caps
circle my booth, my cardboard boxes, my t-shirts. A volunteer-infestationthe
shirts are pulled from the boxes and passed hand-to-hand, each
person aiding a partner in donning 4 OR 5 shirts apiece; arms
up, shirts over the head.
"Layers, people, layers insulate the body's warmth!"
The situation is easily alleviated. The high-frequency chirp-alarm
I have activated over my "Sonorous Dominator 2000"
Bullhorn, followed by a brief yet authoritative announcement
that 1.the shirts are not waterproof and 2. All profits
from t-shirt sales go to children with reading disabilities,
has convinced the aged pilferers to cease their larcenous frenzy
and return the t-shirts to me in a peaceful, orderly manner.
I pass out garbage bags, of which there is an abundance, for
the volunteers to wear as rain ponchos.
Jan-Michael has officially begun to lead "Parade 2000:
Line Dance Spectacular", in the West Airplane Hangar. My
cameras telephoto lens provides me with a good view from
my vantage-point, despite the gently falling rain. 30-odd dancers
costumed in pointed cowboy boots and fringed jackets are illuminated
by distant flourescents hanging from the cavernous ceiling of
the hangar, and the high-beams of flashlights pointed at them
by well-meaning police officers offer little more than glare.
The lighting in the hangar is perhaps too dim for photographs
for the archives. I shoot anyway. As the hats bob and the boots
tap and swivel, I cannot quite make out through my lens what
exactly the Celebrity Dance Host is doing with his body to the
tune of "Shameless" sung by Garth Brookes. Luckily, his Professional
Dance Partner, Mike Ben-David, demonstrates expertise not only
in line-dancing, but also in the sport of corral: he prods,
yanks, and firmly spins the man, camouflaging Jans errant
staggers and trips by blocking any view of it with a phenomenally
fast skip-to-my-lou-step-ball-change-heel-pivot-high-kick, followed
by a whirling 360 degree spin around the Superstar.
I report to the limousine behind the west hangar to deliver
an official Thank you to Jan Michael for his outstanding performance.
The celebrity's limousine idles on the wet dirt road behind
the hangar. Summoning the enthusiasm that distinguishes a great
hostess from a mere pleasant one, I wedge myself into the leather
seat between agent Darren, and Mike Bendavid. The stuffy interior
of the limo reeks of Cutty Sark, and I can't refrain from mentioning
that Celebrate LA 2000 is intended to be a family-oriented,
thus alcohol-free event, after which statement I gaze with equal
admiration at those who sit across from me: Jan-Michael Vincent,
short of breath no doubt from dancing with a newly healed broken
neck, and Tanya, his confidante. I can tell by the way Tanya
examines me that she is a woman wrought with jealousy, excruciatingly
possessive of her man Jan. In this respect, the pulsating pimple
on my forehead has gained me partial immunity to the omnipresent
call to competitive man-snatching.
"Jan Michael," I begin, reciting my well-memorized lines, "as
the Cultural Affairs Liaison Deputy for the City of Los Angeles
Official Public Millennium Celebration I am thrilled that you
could grace the City of Los Angeles with your presence here
today. Thank you, Jan Michael, for making this a truly memorable
Jan Michael grunts. I can only assume the grunt was not a deliberate
slight, but truly the most eloquent gesture he could muster.
As I continue my twelve and a half minute benediction, my mind
cannot help but wander to the Jan-Michael Vincent homepage Guestbook,
which I had come upon during internet research on our Celebrity
host. The "Guestbook" of messages meant for the expression of
admiration and support for Jan most closely resembled the cyber-version
of the walls of an unkempt public toilet stall, a toilet stall
with infinite walls on which to scratch out anonymous messages
containing all the pathetic desperation, nonsensical babble
and vile aggression the average American citizen finds so difficult
to express in any other manner:
Jan I have read about your accident and it saddens me. You
have been my inspiration my hero for a very long time. You are
right in what you are doing some one has to show these bastards
that they cant destroy someones life and just walk away. That
is what they did back on June 13 1992 when my two day old son
had open heart surgery. They told me he had a 98% chance of
surviving. the next day they told me he was braindead. Three
days later I put a little bible under his hand and gave him
back to god. as I walked away I looked back at him and his eyes
began to open. After months of recovery it was time to go home.
Thats when one of the nurses left his records in the room. I
discovered what they would never tell me, what went wrong? The
surgeon had cut blood flow off to his brain for nearly fifteen
minutes. The cerebral palsy partial blindness, liver and lung
damage was there fault.
That was October 21, 1992. So stand tall Jan micheal and know
that you are right. You are my inspiration that sometimes there
is justice in the world that we live in. You to are and will
allways be the wind beneath my wings.
Lily, Kentucky USA
Dear Jan, I'm really glad I found this site. I found it when
searching "PISS DRINKER". The one good thing about FAGS is that
they like all kinds of weird shit. I want a HOMO so I can get
something really rough, like a CHEESE GRATER or 60 GRIT SANDPAPER,
then I want to TEAR THEIR ASS TO SHREDS with it. I mean the
ASS CHEEKS, the ASSHOLE, the CRACK - everything. I'd even roll
the sandpaper up and fuck them in the ass if that's what they
wanted. Then I WANT TO PISS IN THE BLOODY OPEN WOUNDS! Man,
that really gets me going. How great would that be?
Sun City, Arizona
I'M AFAN OF MR. VINCENT'S BUT I THINK JAN WASTED HIS TALENT.HIS
INFLUENCE OVER MANY OTHER UP AND COMING ACTORS WAS OBVIOUS.HIS
FRONTAL NUDITY IN THE 1974 MOVIE BUSTER AND BILLIE WAS NOT ONLY
a FIRST FOR A MAJOR MOVIE ACTOR BUT SOMETHING RICHARD GERE COPIED
NOT ONLY AMERICAN GIGOLO BUT ALSO IN BREATHLESS. REPORTS I HAVE
HEARD ABOUT VINCENT BEING PASSED OUT IN A DRAINAGE DITCH AND
RUNNING AROUND DRUNK KNOCKING ON PEOPLES DOOR IS SAD.THIS ONCE
BRIGHT STAR NEVER REALLY HAD THAT ONE BLOCKBUSTER MOVIE TO PUT
HIM AT THE TOP OF THE A MOVIE LIST.HIS STRAIGHT TO VIDEO MOVIES
ARE VERY ENTERTAINING AND HAVE GIVEN HIM A MYSTIQUE sp AND LEGENDARY
CULT FOLLOWING HE HAS AS ONE OF THE B-MOVIES TOP STARS. I BELIEVE
HE IS CLOSE TO RELEASE FROM HIS CURRENT VIOLATION OF PAROLE
SENTENCE AND HOPE ONLY THE BEST FOR HIM.
jeff boyce <pop182>
columbus, ohio usa
Jan, my friend, I am praying for you. I am praying that you
let me suck your frank and lick your beans.
London , England