Tag Archives: Calif.


Images by Stacey Warde

‘I want to be out front in informing you, you have absolutely nothing to offer me in any way—not as good company, not as a future companion, and least of all as somebody I’d fuck.’


by Dell Franklin

1967 September

The sexual revolution was going full bore in America, free love rampaging everywhere as pipsqueaks with pipe-stem arms and droopy mustaches stuck their wieners in pretty suburban girls with hair under their arms. I couldn’t get laid and my only comfort was that my roomie, Marshak, a best friend since high school who was going for his master’s in microbiology at Long Beach State after a three-year Army hitch in Patton’s old outfit in Germany, couldn’t either. I, too, had completed my three-year Army hitch and worked for my dad in Compton, driving my ’54 Chevy wagon to that hellhole five mornings a week, stocking, waiting on trade, writing orders, making deliveries. We lived upstairs in a shabby two-storey apartment complex on the corner of Magnolia and Pacific Coast Highway, our window facing the highway and a no-frills wooden shack of a beer bar directly below called The Hull—an establishment of rarified debauchery.

Marshak, a Polack from Pittsburg, felt we wouldn’t get laid until we partook in LSD or weed sharing, both of which we were against, being rare liberals from day one who despised hippies and their movement as protesting dilettantes certain to someday drive luxury cars and live behind the same white picket fences their parents built as they reveled in the luxurious trappings of the American Dream they now scorned.

Marshack and I were both robust ex-athletes with good bodies and couldn’t be considered ugly, though we were starting to wonder, and planned a strategy of both of us hitting on one or two women with the possibility one of us would prove so loathsome and odious the other seemed acceptable and even palatable enough to secure a sincere phone number or a date and possibly get laid on the spot. But the fact was, as a team, we fed off each other’s negativity and ineptitude and so depressed or angered the wenches that they fled like a plague and left us stewing in the Hull, where the primarily older, scabrous clientele consisted of women who told the old fogies they were nothing but worthless drunken child two-timing wastrels and motherfuckers, while the fogies called these harridans whores, bitches, ball-busting witches and worthless cocksuckers.

It went back and forth, Marshak and I discussing Hemingway and Steinbeck and Kerouac or the LA Rams when we weren’t nodding to this crowd, the lot of whom envied our bachelorhood and counseled us on the treachery of womankind, as if we needed it. At this time I was stripped of all romantic inclinations and cared only in getting laid. I’d been out of the Army since February of ’67 and was still on a drought and fighting the urge to head south to Mexico for a hooker, a bottomlessly dismal proposition. A typical weekend evening involved either Marshak or me strolling around at two in the morning, one of us up and waiting with beer in hand, relieved he was not alone in another humiliating rejection.

“Where’d you go?”

“Down on Ocean? You?”

“Hit some clubs and bars clear over in Lakewood. I’m ranging farther and farther. I was thinking of Newport Beach. The O.C. has some prime stuff.”

“Yeh, but yah risk a drunk driving if you stray that far.”

“Well, there’s no use dealing with ‘em if you’re not loaded.”


There came a point, around Christmas, when I felt the desperate loneliness of a neglected woman of less than mediocre appearance might take mercy on me, but my downfall began with a gal around 35 in a club with a band and a female singer belting out a jazzy score. Marshak watched me approach her as she sat alone at a table a few rows down. I was just drunk enough to be brave and perhaps entertaining. I hovered over her, a lanky woman with short hair and sharp features that were not quite offensive. She peered up at me, her fingers around a martini glass. She wore baggy slacks and a sleeveless sweater and large dangling earrings.

“Can I buy you a drink?” I ventured.

“I’m fine.”

“Can I sit down?”

She appraised me up and down in my too machine dried chinos, ancient polo shirt and Army low-quarters. I suppose I needed a haircut. She sighed. “All right.” She wasn’t exactly excited as she lit up a menthol cigarette. I sat down.

“So…I’m Dell.”

She shook my clammy hand like a man. “I’m Florence.”

“I have an aunt named Florence. We call her Fluddy.”

“Oh how nice.” She seemed to smirk.

“Her kids are my cousins, perfect little gentlemen going into dad’s business, married, hatching beasties.”

“And you don’t approve?”

I shrugged as the cocktail waitress took my order—VO rocks—and hers—a martini—and said, “I’m on a different path.”

“And what path is that?”

I told her of my plan to thumb around the country and work at odd jobs after an Army hitch, told her I wanted to ‘walk around the world eating an orange.’ When she asked me what I did, I told her, and asked her what she did, and she told me she was an executive secretary. I asked her what the difference was between a regular secretary and an executive secretary and she leered at me like a lizard and said, “I’m in charge of everybody and everything.”

Somehow, when the drinks came and I paid, I told her of my desire to write. She wanted to know if I’d been in Vietnam. When I told her no, she said, “You’re trying SO hard to be interesting, so you can impress me, so you can get in my pants. You want to be different, but you’re trying too hard on that front, too. I want to be out front in informing you, you have absolutely nothing to offer me in any way—not as good company, not as a future companion, and least of all as somebody I’d fuck. You are so wrapped up in your pathetic little ego, and you’re really not going to be any good for any woman until you come to terms with that. So please go away, little boy, and thank you for the drink.”

I felt like belting her, but that was not in my arsenal. I was too shattered and stricken to rejoinder and skulked back to sit beside Marshak, who seemed to be gloating.

“How’d it go, lover-boy?”

“That rotten hard-hearted bitch stripped me bare, Marshak. She went for my balls.”

“Looks like she got ‘em.”


We decided to stay out of what were considered “pick-up mills” and “hot clubs” and frequent a slew of low-life dives around the corner on notorious Anaheim Street, the armpit of Long Beach. We trekked over there together, so as not to get pummeled by territorial bar thugs; and in hope of scrounging up shop-worn women so sleazy and neglected and blindly alcoholic they might fuck one of us while in the throes of a blackout stage.

We tried talking to these women. Marshak even lit their cigarettes with his Zippo. But they were attached to and preferred their middle-aged counter-parts, who, in tandem with the termagents, tongue-lashed us with bitter scorn, accused us of being nothings and lower than the lowest form of life, and threatened us while teetering in place. We gave up after a month of hitting at least 15 bars—and scaring up nary a nibble.

On Christmas Eve we struck out in the friendliest lounge in Lakewood, garnering only free drinks from an older couple who felt sorry for us. On New Year’s Eve it was worse, and as we drunkenly weaved along PCH toward the Hull around midnight, a svelte Japanese lady in a skin-tight dress and a buxom blond grabbed us and pulled us into a hot sweaty well-lit room of about fifty people listening to and hooting and wailing as a big blond German man around 40 ranted and raved on a stage. The throng immediately embraced us as potential converts, as it took us only a matter of seconds to realize he was a Jehovah’s Witness and these women took one peep at us and felt we needed Jesus more than we needed a piece of ass, and that the best way to get us to buy into Jesus was luring us in with the promise of a piece of ass.

They soon abandoned us and as we started to leave, the big German turned on us, called us “fish-eyed sinners and weaklings who would never find happiness OR a woman until we found Jesus!” The fucker was huge and turned red-faced and came unglued as he continued to berate us, waving his arms, nearly coming off the stage, and we scurried a few blocks to the Hull, where we found solace in our beers and the company of fellow losers who understood our abysmal plight and were happy to have us among them.


One Friday night I came home at 2 and Marshak was not there. I cracked open a beer and waited, and waited. Goddamn, the motherfucker finally got laid and one-upped me, the prick! I went to bed feeling I was the last man in America to get laid. How much more of this could I take? In the morning, as I nursed my coffee and the LA Times, Marshak shambled in. He tried not to gloat, but he was pretty smug.

“Well…?” I said anxiously as he took his sweet time getting coffee and lighting up a non-filtered Pall Mall.

“I was sitting in that moldy diner, down the highway, near Norm’s, around two thirty, just eating a damn donut, and this black hooker is at the other end, in a booth, staring at me. She’s fine. I watched her walk in, and she had an ass to die for, and pretty, but hard. She kept staring at me, and she smiled. Well, I didn’t have any money, so I just sat there, and she comes over, stands there, and she says, ‘White boy, you look like the loneliest, horniest honky motherfucker in America.’ Well, I told her I was. She said she’d fuck my brains out, all night, for twenty bucks. I told her I only had five, which was the truth. And she said, okay, you can pay me later, and she said she was sick of doing Johns and wanted to have a really great fuck with a guy who needed it and didn’t seem like a degenerate criminal or pervert. She said she looked at me and knew I was educated and intelligent and civilized. And she took me to her room, and it was a pretty nice room down the road, and man, she fucked me all goddamn night! She was clean and beautiful and the best fuck I’ve ever had. She sucked my dick and I ate her pussy and got off four times! Can you believe it? An angel of mercy. I’m changed, man, re-charged. As of this minute, I’m a new man!”

CULTURE.GETTING LAID IINow I HAD to get laid! That night I ranged far and wide, driving my croaking old wagon, sizing up bars, going in, sizing up the wenches, knowing immediately there was no chance, especially in busy bars in a trendy area—Belmont Shores—where the hippies mingled with the affluent. I knew now the odds of any of these places serving up a woman for me were about one percent. I finally ended up in a shabby bowling alley in Torrance. It had a small bar with a crowd similar to the Hull’s. A woman who was frowzy, around 45, with headband, and coal-black hair and a pocked complexion, was excoriating a white dude with a bulbous red nose. She could chew ass. She seemed as embattled and sad and bitter as any human I’d come in contact with yet. She finally drove off the red nose and I plunked down beside her. She reeked of alcohol. She sneered at me.

“Yah hate us Navahos, don’tcha, white trash loser, huh?”

“No,” I quickly said, and lit her cigarette with a bar match. “One of my best friends in the Army was an Indian named Dan Big Horse.”

“Big Horse, huh? He a Navaho?”

“Nah, he was Osage, from Oklahoma. We went on leave to Amsterdam together.” I didn’t tell her Big Horse, a dear friend, wanted to fight me or anybody after three beers, and was the toughest, most skilled fighter I’d ever known.

“Fuck Amsterdam!” the woman sneered.

I bought her a beer; we clinked bottles. She gazed at me, unfocused. “You wanna fuck me?” she said.

I nodded. “Yes I do.”

“Then let’s go, Mister Big Horse. We’ll see how big you are.”

She had a room in the seediest motel along PCH. We stripped. She had a decent body, except for her alcohol bloated stomach. She lay on her back and allowed me to paw and grovel. She began to thrash a bit as I rooted upon her, just drunk enough to not blow my wad too quickly, a preparation I always implemented when I went to hookers in the Army, so I’d last longer, always pissing them off and keeping them from making more money on other GIs. She began to berate me as she thrashed, calling me a stupid fucking asshole Osage piece of shit, urging me to finish, yelling at me to finish, but I kept right on ramming and pumping for all my life, until she literally bucked three times, scratched my back, screamed, and passed out.

I shot my stuff into a snoring mass of flesh, tried to get up and go to the shower, but passed out and woke up around dawn to the sounds of the lady puking in the john. With a head swollen like a melon dropped from a roof, I dressed; my body and clothes steeped in her sweat, booze and cheap perfume, and drove home in my heap. I was reading the Sunday paper and drinking coffee when Marshak, smudged with sleep, entered the kitchenette.

“Well…?” he said, sitting down, lighting up, pouring coffee.

“I got laid, Marshak.”

“How was it?”


“Who was she?”

“Navaho woman—former tribal beauty queen, an angel of mercy.”

“Where’d you meet her?”

“A bowling alley in Torrance.”

“A bowling alley? Jesus Christ, what a desperate bastard.”

It was nearing April. I decided to leave my stop-gap job with dad and get the hell out of this miserable existence and spread my wings and head north, to Lake Tahoe, and secure a job in a casino behind the bar, where I’d have the inside track in picking up beautiful cocktail waitresses and female employees, whom I’d heard were the cream of the crop. §

Dell Franklin is the founding publisher of The Rogue Voice and writes from his home in Cayucos, Calif., where getting laid happens almost every day.





Fourth of July in Cayucos

Everyone loves a parade, especially the one in Cayucos, Calif.

Cayucos loves a parade, especially the one that celebrates our liberties on the Fourth of July.

The following essay is an account of a typical Fourth of July celebration that happened not many years ago and is repeated annually in our small town by the sea.

by Stacey Warde

I’m raw and unbalanced, hung over from a bout with beer and whisky. I skipped going to work today. It’s gray, overcast and generally gloomy.

Besides, it’s a Saturday, and a Fourth of July weekend. I hate working weekends, especially holidays, but I’m getting used to it. In this economy, few can afford to turn down work.

I awakened early, before 7 a.m, and rode my bicycle to the park to practice aikido, a Japanese martial art designed to defuse conflict, with a friend. We do it regularly, but it’s been a long time since we’ve practiced. It helps me keep an even temper.

Even with a hangover it felt good to tussle and talk. We usually talk politics and the economy. He hasn’t worked in nearly four months; I’m barely employed, working as a farmhand and laborer.

“There’s no work around here,” he says. “I may have to drive down to San Diego to pick up some work.”

He’s a union carpenter and, until recently, supported a family of six. His four children are grown and graduated from high school. Finances aren’t as critical now as they used to be. Still, like everyone else, he needs to pay the bills.

“If I was smart, I’d find something to do with the military,” he says, “that’s where all of the money is.”

Everyone but the banks and military is bankrupt, I say. “What’s wrong with this country?” We launch into another frustrated, cynical litany of ills that plague our nation: Militarism, greed, corruption in government and business, a weak economy and an empire in decline.

“This can’t go on forever,” he says, “we’re more than a trillion dollars in debt.” If anything, the message of the last few years of economic failure has been: The party’s over. The excesses of our revered material lifestyle have drained our accounts and left us empty handed.

Most Americans, hopeful as ever, seem to think the party has merely lapsed into a sustained lull. Things will get better, they say. The markets will regain their vigor, jobs will become available, and spending will save the republic.

Glossy red, white, and blue plastic streamers wave in the wind from houses along Ocean Avenue, which runs through the middle of Cayucos, the small California coastal town where I live, where every Fourth of July floats and troops of scouts, drill teams, and grass-skirted dancers celebrating the Declaration of Independence will march in a show of America’s love for “freedom.”

Cayucos loves a parade, and its freedom. Our small town plays host to more than 20,000 visitors during the Fourth. They come to celebrate their freedoms by eating hotdogs, playing in the sand, and shopping at the “Peddler’s Fair,” known by locals as “Crap on the Creek,” mostly throw-away junk ware.

The word “freedom” gets tossed around pretty easily these days, as if we all agree on what it means: Freedom of the press, speech and religion; the protection of personal effects from government search and seizure, the right to trial by a jury of peers, the right to bear arms.

More often, however, “freedom” becomes an amalgam of unspecified ideas and feelings, which patriots will defend to the death, about what it means to be an American, which usually includes waving the flag, getting goose bumps during the singing of the national anthem, and chanting “U-S-A!” at soccer games.

Upon closer review, this muddle of feelings and ideas about freedom just as likely arises from the belief that Americans are unique in exercising their right to get rich by whatever means possible, to spend money freely without end or hindrance, even when there isn’t any to spend.

“Freedom isn’t free,” we’re told in countless bumper stickers meant to remind us of the sacrifices that have been made on our behalf. Soldiers, mostly young men and women, have given their lives to ensure we continue to enjoy the clear advantages of being an American, including the right to spend our diminished earnings at any big box store outlet of our choosing.

Fourth of July, as often as not, has come to be celebrated not so much for the Declaration of Independence from tyranny as for America’s great military empire and raw technological power, which still has not squelched terrorism, but nonetheless allows us to conduct full-scale war without the requisite sacrifices at home.

We can still shop at Wal-Mart and Costco and spend freely without guilt while others shed blood in foreign lands to stop the amorphous terrorist cells sprouting everywhere like a cancer across the globe.

“The military isn’t protecting me,” my friend says as we grapple. “My tax dollars are supporting the slaughter of civilians. That’s not independence.” Independence is being able to protect yourself, he suggests. “I don’t need the military to do that.”

In my weakened mental state, I don’t argue the point. He’s right, the War on Terror, as most wars, was a sham from the start. It’s a racket for making people rich. We still haven’t stopped terrorism and maybe never will, our invasion of Afghanistan has become America’s longest-ever war, and the Taliban and its cohorts in other parts of the world are as strong as ever.

“Why are we spending all our money over there?” he asks. “We need it here.” We could better use our resources to buttress education, healthcare, improve failing infrastructures but so much of it, he says, gets lost in the shuffle to ship arms and troops to places known and unknown.

CITY-LIFE.4TH-OF-JULY.IMG_3406Already, chairs have been placed in a mass claim for seating along the parade route. Police tape has been pulled through lines of chairs, marking seating sections between groups of the nearly 20,000 spectators who will gather for the parade.

They come from all points: San Francisco, Fresno, Bakersfield, Los Angeles. It’s the busiest day of the year for our little town of less than 4,000.

The parade features the usual Independence Day amusements: Spectators waving American flags, young gymnasts cartwheeling, local bands rocking out on flatbed trucks, grannies dressed in patriotic colors, waving to the crowd from old jalopies.

Once, an outfit of youngsters from Fresno, dressed in paramilitary uniforms, marched crisply in rigid formation, looking distressingly similar to the goose-stepping Brownshirts who helped the Nazis in their rise to power. They were impressive in their military crispness, their quick response to marching commands.

“I’m not that patriotic,” my friend says. “It’s all a gimmick.” If they can get you to believe their story, such as “we need this war,” he adds, they can get you to do anything they want, like put on a uniform and fight their wars, making the “ultimate” sacrifice, in the name of freedom and democracy. Mostly, such rhetoric is pure bullshit, he says.

Still, we love to celebrate our freedoms, even if they have diminished to little more than buying hotdogs and posting bumper stickers with patriotic slogans.

One year, one of the grass-skirted matrons from a beach-chair drill team bolted from the formation as it approached the entry point of the parade. “Hey!” she shouted and waved, beckoning me to wait for her. She ran to me in a heat and threw her arms around my neck, firmly pressed her middle-aged buxomness against my body, and planted her lips on mine.

The rank smell of alcohol at 10 in the morning assaulted my senses. Before I could pull away, I felt her tongue probing my mouth. “Yuck!” I turned my head away and slipped out of her arms. She ran back to her group as if nothing had happened, happy and drunk as ever.

Cayucos is a friendly place. “Did you see that?” I asked my then-girlfriend.


“She just rammed her tongue down my throat.”

“Yeah, right.”

You never know what’s going to happen at the Cayucos Fourth of July parade, but one thing’s sure: Just about everyone here’s proud to be an American, with or without their hangovers, and more so because we work hard and take pride in putting on a good show for our love of freedom.§

Stacey Warde is publisher of The Rogue Voice.com.

Crazy comes to Cayucos

And suddenly there I was left standing alone, the deputy off to who knows where, and the crazy guy raging pissed off at me.

And suddenly there I was left standing alone, the deputy off to who knows where, and the crazy guy raging pissed off at me. Photos by Stacey Warde

by Stacey Warde

We get our share of crazies passing through town. I met one not long ago at Kelley’s Coffee and Espresso Shop, not long before the place closed down. Right away he took a dislike to me—and to just about everyone who crossed his path.

The sheriff’s deputies had earlier informed window washers on the job across the street that they were looking for a scruffy fellow wearing a plaid jacket. Not an easy task in this town. There are a lot of scruffy guys wearing plaid jackets around here.

Apparently he had been spotted waving a stick in a threatening manner at the middle-school up the road, pretending he had a gun.

As one window washer, who had come in for his coffee, described the character, a man, a stranger fitting the description, passed by the window of the coffee shop. “That’s him!” the window washer exclaimed. “That’s him! Should I call the cops?”

“You bet!” I responded just as a squad car drove by the intersection. I rushed out the door and flagged down the squad car.

The deputy turned the car and came back. He rolled down his window. “That’s your guy right there isn’t it?” I nodded.

“Yeah,” the deputy said, offering a look of irritation. He rolled up his window and drove away.

And suddenly there I was left standing alone, the deputy off to who knows where, and the crazy guy raging pissed off at me.

In this climate of gun crazies blowing children to smithereens I figured that I was doing the right thing. “Here’s your man, the one who was waving his hand like he had a gun at the school yard.”

“You got something to say about me, you say it to my face,” the stranger said.

“OK,” I answered, “apparently the cops are looking for a guy whose description you fit to a T, a guy who was seen menacing the children, like he had a gun up at the school.”

“Say gun again and you’ll be sorry,” he threatened.

“The police said ‘gun,’ not me.”

He stared at me menacingly. “Stare into my eyes!”

I snorted a smirk, trying not to laugh.

COMMENT.CRAZY.IMG_4055“I thought so,” he said, as if he’d judged me an easy target, a weakling. Then he followed me to Kelley’s. We sat out front at one of the tables.

I didn’t want him to feel threatened or challenged or bothering the other customers. I kept watching for the deputies to pull up any moment.

“Where are you from?” I asked.

He stared me down again, said he was from Oklahoma, asked me if I’d ever seen the bloody Arkansas River.

“No,” I answered. “How did it get bloody?”

“From people I took care of.”

“Are you telling me you’re a killer?”

“Just keep pushing me,” he threatened.

Where are the damned deputies? I kept wondering.

“Where are you going?” I asked.

No answer.

“What’s your name?”

He got up and walked away, rattled. Clearly he was insane and maybe even a buffoon but I didn’t know that. From our brief encounter, I deemed him a threat to me and to the community. Even faking waving a gun at children warrants a response.  Apparently, the deputies thought otherwise, despite what they had told the window washers.

I went inside the coffee shop and moments later he came back and sat outside the window facing me, staring at me, giving me the Jedi mind control treatment, disturbing other customers.

I can take care of myself but I didn’t feel like getting into a scrape with him. I just wanted to finish drinking my coffee, reading the newspaper, unmolested by someone who belongs in an institution.

I felt annoyed and threatened. He caused concern among customers and staff. He reportedly made threatening gestures at the school. “He gives me the creeps,” an employee said.

Meanwhile, despite word from the deputies that he had threatened students at the school, he continued to roam free.

Finally, after nearly 30 minutes of staring me down through the window, he came in to borrow the shop phone, saying he had been robbed.

“Sorry, the phone is out of order,” a staffer said.

He went outside and got hold of a cellphone from one of the cyclists who stop in for coffee treats on their road trips up and down Highway 1, the same road that brings the crazies through town.

He called the sheriff’s office on the borrowed phone to report that someone had swiped a Rabobank pen, a freebie the bank gives its customers, from his jacket pocket. The deputies investigated, determined it was a false report and hauled him off to jail.

An arresting deputy said, “Mental health is the problem in this country, not guns. We’ll take him in, have him evaluated.”

The next day, the stranger was back, mad as ever and still raging and threatening.

He pretended again as if he had a gun, this time holding his hand behind his back, while confronting Kelley, owner of the coffee shop. She called the deputies and made a citizen’s arrest.

As the deputy pulled away, the nutter in the back seat threw his head in a jerking motion, lips pursed, as if he was spitting on me and Kelley through the shop window.

He’ll likely be back. Then what? And what about the deputy who left me standing there to confront someone who had been reported seen menacing the children?

I felt exposed and vulnerable, not protected by the deputy’s response to my willingness to help. Later when I mentioned it to another deputy, he seemed perturbed, didn’t want to discuss it.

“We’re too busy,” he said. “I wasn’t here yesterday. I’m here getting the story.”

“I’m part of the story,” I said. He gave me a look, irritated.

“Why is that guy back here?” I persisted. “I thought he was going to be evaluated.” The deputy was clearly more irritated than interested in my questions or my side of the story.

Law enforcement’s response to my willingness to help did little to assure me that they’ve got my back. I felt exposed, unsafe and unprotected by lending my hand to the deputy.

The next time law enforcement seeks my support, I’ll think twice, wondering if the deputy’s action will leave me exposed to threats and danger from those they seek. §

Stacey Warde is the publisher and editor of The Rogue Voice. This article first appeared at his blog, Rogue’s View.