Malibu was where the world cracked open for my two older brothers and me. On the stretch of sand between First and Third points, we encountered bums, Vietnam vets, leather-clad punks, and rakish surfers. Out in the sparkling waves, West Val stoners, East Val bongheads, Hollywood vampires, Santa Monica rich kids, Venice gypsies, Topanga hippies, Colony gazillionaires, and beer-swilling Wall knuckleheads all converged, creating a magical soup that not only entertained, but provided an education no school ever could.
Take Mickey Rat, a construction worker from Woodland Hills. Mickey was a nuggety goofyfoot with long, blond hair and a thick, blond moustache. He’d trot across the beach in high-cut Sundek trunks with a yellow Kennedy single fin under arm. At the shoreline, he’d drop his board and go through a series of tai chi exercises. Then he’d take off his shorts. He’d fasten them capelike around his neck and paddle out nude.
It was horrifying to watch Mickey duckdive under a set of waves, his white ass poking skyward. It was even more horrifying to have him nearly run you over, his pumped thighs, dangling dick, soggy balls, and spearlike board streaking past like a scene from a twisted porn film. But besides being a genius at crowd control (no one dared drop in on him), Mickey was also poetic. In this odd homage to the ocean’s primal, amniotic lure, a mere Clark Kent on land turned into a naked, caped Superman in the surf.
Then there was that twenty-one-year-old punk-rock hell chick from Reseda. She had hot-pink spiky hair and wore raunchy black leather skirts with torn fishnets and stiletto heels. Her boyfriend, Dog, was a surfer, so even though she seemed like she’d be more at home in a dominatrix dungeon, she was forced to endure long, sunny hours on the sand.
To help pass the time while Dog was out on the water, she’d thrill us with graphic stories of her sex life, told with such zealous hand, mouth, and hip gestures that they became soft-porn soap operas. And either because she had some latent sense of propriety or just enjoyed toying with us as a cat would a ball of yarn, she’d bring her stories right to the edge and then leave us hanging.
“That’s it for today, kids,” she’d say, and then sashay off toward the pier, leaving us in whatever boner-concealing positions we’d assumed.
This was in the late seventies. Kevin, Steven, and I had only recently discovered surfing, and we were awestruck and intimidated by Malibu’s frenetic vibe. The lineup was packed, the surfers aggro. When sets came, six riders would be up at once and loose boards would fly over the backs of waves like corkscrew missiles.
We’d catch rides from parents, aunts, distant cousins, friends of friends’ older sisters—anyone with a driver’s license headed west. With butterflies in our stomachs but full of ambition, we’d pull our boards from the car, sling our backpacks over our shoulders, and cross the pearly-gate entrance to First Point. The hot sand under our feet felt like instant liberation; the water a kind of tonic in which our terrestrial problems washed away and our true selves emerged.
We came to Malibu at a turning point, both in our lives and the world around us. We came to Malibu when Mohawks and safety pins were replacing long hair and bell-bottoms, when my brother Kevin began to drift from surfing to punk…
Sammy Talks Frank
Aug 2, 01:01 PMPurchase or Subscribe to Slake: Los Angeles
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