I'm not so sure I wasn't invited to the Beer Summit yesterday. I have to be frank; I would have sided with the professor and his charges of overbearing cop authority. For you see, such an instance was sort of my story about this time 12 years ago in my old apartment complex where apparently some dude was flashing his parts before the unsuspecting tenants. Somehow, at the very same time as there were some cops in the neigborhood, I was mistaken briefly for the guy and was questioned for over half an hour by the curb, totally messing up my plans for the evening. Here is a slightly embellished version of the story as presented by Bryan Beller, Mike Keneally's bass player, who was told it by Toss Panos, Mike Keneally's drummer (both of whom I toured with in 1996). Toss, despite being a supporting character in the drama, was sort of an unreliable witness due to his amazing consumption of Greek ouzo liquor that night. They both had it out for me and my foibles, as both treated me like the pesky little brother on tour. So this story was ripe for exaggeration and some condescension. Read it and you might imagine how I'd feel more like Professor Gates than the officer... Here is the 1997 story on BryanBeller.com, quoted here since it is taken from a really long blog of Bryan's.
And that brings us to the story I know you've all been waiting for... the tale of Toss Panos and Ed Lucas out on the town in San Diego. Boy, is this a good one.
Apparently Toss had plans to visit his family down in San Diego for a weekend in early June. It was the Friday of this particular weekend, and Toss was just about to head out the door when the phone rang. It was our old friend Ed, a San Diego resident. Ed wanted to know when Mr. Panos would next be down San Diego way, and Toss gave him the standard "funny you should ask" response. It's not like Toss and Ed hang out every day (an arrangement that doesn't seem to bother Toss that much—I can't speak for Ed), but Toss was in a rush and basically said "what the fuck" and gave Ed directions to a place that he'd be hanging out with a couple of family members as well as Peter Schlacher, the European tour promoter for Waternoise (Toss' jazz project). Toss figured that Ed wouldn't show. He figured wrong.
By the time Ed showed up, Toss and friends/family had already consumed mass quantities of Ouzo, a particularly devastating brand of Greek liquor. Ed doesn't drink, and so he was apparently happy enough simply to be in the company of some very inebriated Greeks, plus one inebriated German (Peter Schlacher's nationality). Party on, dudes.
Toss, Ed and Peter then split from the family Panos and headed over to the Catamaran to take in a performance by The Steely Damned, a local band that covers the music of you-know-who (and a damned good job they do of it). One hour and many more drinks for Peter and Toss later, it became obvious that Ed was the only one in any condition to drive. And if you remember The Alternate Reality (and Ed's driving habits), then you're well aware that saying "Ed was the safest driver available" is saying something indeed. [This telling flatters Toss, who was driving his own car separate from me.]
After leaving the Catamaran, the next agreed upon destination was a strip club. This brought our drunken heroes to a somewhat seedy part of town [my place in Clairemont, later to be found out as a place where one of the 9/11 terrorists did his flight training while just two miles from Montgomery Field]. Ed suddenly turned right into a dark street and declared, "Hey you guys, I'm gonna go change my shirt." Ed then ran out of the car and up into his (apparent) dwelling, leaving the car parked awkwardly in the middle of the street [my car was in my driveway, a tad sloppy, but not in the street]. Toss, realizing that the car was in a bad spot [his car, out in the middle of the street], was forced to jump into the driver's seat and get the car turned around and parked properly. As Toss performed some kind of illegal maneuver to get the car pointed in the right direction, a cop car came up from behind them, lights flashing and sirens wailing [yes lights but no sirens]. Toss stopped. The cop got out of the car and asked, "What are you guys doing here?" It was a D.U.I. waiting to happen. But wait—it gets better.
Toss tried to explain to the nice officer (without breathing in his general direction) that they were merely waiting for a friend who went upstairs to "go change his shirt". The cop, understandably, was skeptical. He asked what their "friend" looked like. Peter replied, "Well, he's kind of big, with glasses and a military haircut. "Really?" the cop answered curiously. All of a sudden, down came Ed with his fresh shirt on. "What's going on?" he asked. The cop scowled. "Come here," he said to Ed. The next thing Ed knew, he was in handcuffs and in the back of the cop car [not really but I was held near the car across the street from my place, and questioned at length]. Two other cop cars arrived in a matter of minutes. Toss and Peter were held there for more than 30 minutes before the cops finally explained why Ed was being detained.
It seems that in that section of San Diego, there had been reports of a man matching Ed's description who was running around flashing little kids and masturbating in front of them for their viewing pleasure [one woman seemed to have complained of some dude exposing himself, and I think I know who these two were]. Toss and Peter meekly tried to explain that, although Ed was not the brightest bulb in the light store, he certainly wasn't capable of such a heinous act. The cops held them anyway.
Finally, one hour after Ed went to go change his shirt, the cops let Peter and Toss go about their business. When the two of them left, Ed was still in the back of the cop car in handcuffs [not cuffed, but those bastards did get to leave. It spoiled my evening]. Was it possible that Ed could have been The San Diego Stroker? Personally I doubt it, but you never know. None of us have heard from him since.
It's always a family affair in The Life Of Bryan, isn't it? As I said earlier, it's been a bit boring 'round these parts, so I figured I could do worse than tell you that little story.