By: Dan O’Neill
I suppose I should have realized from the beginning that the security business was empty,brutal,and despite it’s title ,very insecure.But,on the other hand people always referred to it as easy money and I was looking for a a job where I could turn my brain off and concentrate on my acting.Besides ,I’m very lazy. At my first post in Century City ,CA, a man somehow got on the roof of one of the twin towers I was working in and threatened to jump.He had made it to the top of the building because the guard,newly arrived from Nigeria had taken an impromptu rest break,claiming later that his urethra was about to break,and he couldn’t hold it any longer without spritzing all over. not behaving like a man with the heart of a lion,which was how he billed himself.The man ,who threatened to jump was a lawyer,who had been recently canned.They called his wife,his sister,his priest,and of course all the major news stations showed up,complete with helicopters. The man didn’t jump,and the Nigerian only got a warning.but in a way it was an omen for me of what was to come.
My name is Michael O’Brien up to and I’m an actor.Commercials,bit parts in sitcoms,usually as the dimwitted stud,and in tv dramas as a hot head / flunky.Mostly extra work in movies,usually as something like beach bum number 3 or horny courier or Dwayne.I got into the security business,because I heard, there were hardly any qualifications.If you were breathing ,could speak some form of English, and weren’t a felon,there was a good chance you could get some kind of a so called job .You could always get a schedule that would allow you to go to auditions and to be on call for work.I think I also did it to spite my father, an ex Marine,who wanted me to work at his insurance firm.But insurance bored the hell out of me. I tried it for a couple of months,and thought it sucked.I also got in trouble for supposedly seducing the younger brother of one of the employees at the firm.The dude Adolfo,who was 21,came to me and said he wanted to hook up.He didn’t even work for the company.But,of course I got the blame,the old predatory, gay bullshit. My old man was mortified that I’d try to put the moves on someone,right in his office. A typical Virgo,good at Math and office Management,clueless at family people skills. I was lousy at math and management,but good with people.And ,I was sick of him acting like a fucking drill sergeant,with me one of his sheep like recruits.My earliest memories of Dad we’re of getting criticism from him.The way I dress,the way I ate at the table(there was only one way to hold a knife and fork),the way I made my bed(you had to be able to bounce a quarter off of it)my haircut.( which was never short enough for him) I always wanted to shout “No dad I don’t hear you,so fuck off!Of course, the real problem was he couldn’t deal with me being gay.It sickened him.He claimed it put my mother into a mental hospital and a death from a broken heart.He didn’t think acting was a real job,and he thought men fucking each other was an abomination.I often wondered if he had ever fucked another guy in the corps, or may have been raped.It could explain that’s why he had been so angry. Semper Fi my ass.Maybe I inherited his gay gene,and he couldn’t live with the guilt.
It was doing security in an freight elevator in downtown Los Angeles that I discovered the further joys of Latinos.( Adolfo had just been an appetizer.) I had a tasting menu from; Mexico,Guatemala,Nicaragua,,El Salvador,Honduras,Costa Rica.I was like a kid in a candy store.I wanted to savor all the flavors.
My favorite was Oscar,from,El Salvador.He called himself the guapo guanaco. He had dark brown skin and devilish green eyes that always seemed to be smoldering .Though friends and coworkers thought there was something wrong with his eyesight.He had the most beautiful culo,you could eat breakfast off of.He was always grinning,singing.But he had a serious side too, he was usually reading something by Borges or Jack London. He would always ask”Senor Mike do you think I’m a burro?”He was the best kisser,I had ever experienced.Tender but intense.We were able to come just by kissing.He liked to take his clothes off in front of me and ask what he could do to make me happier . He was always open to new positions.I would show him a video online and he would say”Let’s go for it cabron!”. Once, when we were eating hot fudge sundaes I suggested we make hot fudge sundaes of each other and eat it all off.He said “Si,senor Mike, tienes mucho hambre”. His brother ,Mario,also a janitor,found out about us and went into a rage calling me a pinche puto, a sick succio.He said I had sprung his brother,who he thought was a virgin and made him a sex maniac.He would go on rants about how gabachos we’re sexually exploiting people from his country traumatized by war. He said I was an fucking demonio. Mario claimed I had corrupted Oscar and poisoned his mind with nasty movies like “Y Tu Mama Tambien”,that tried to make guys having sex with each other normal.He made Oscar go to a psychiatrist,but the shrink told him that his brother wasn’t sick or disturbed,that was just the way he was wired.He told Mario,he had to adjust his way of thinking and stop tormenting his brother.
Calvin ,my straight roommate who worked some security posts with me,jokingly said I was corrupting the janitors,putting thoughts in their mind that they never had before. When I arrived for work and said I was hungry tonight. He would sigh”And not for food”.He also said on my work evaluation form under weaknesses they should put”guys from South of the border”. I thought this was heterosexual bullshit,everyone has these thoughts,I just gave them a chance to act it out.Not long after that, they put security cameras in the freight elevator and this religious freak, Howard,a black supervisor,who carried a Bible with him and would often quote from it,about security matters, would monitor how long the elevator was on each floor with a stopwatch.If he suspected something he’d rush to the floor to catch us red handed.He got off on interrupting regular people(not security)fucking in their cars in the garage or in stairwells.His most used phrase was “Fool put your pants On!”.When the janitors asked me what all this new scrutiny meant I said,”Muy malo gueys,no mas fun”.Once, when Julio,a Janitor from Honduras,asked me to go dancing with him,because he was the best La Punta dancer in Los Angeles,Howard overheard and shook his head muttering “depravity”.Later he asked me “What did you and that wetback do after you went prancing ?”.I said we slept.But Howard thundered “You know what I mean”.I said that I did know,and asked sarcastically if I could come to his church on some blessed Sunday and testify to my sins of the flesh.He actually considered it for a moment, seemingly taking me serious.Then he said”No sir..I don’t think the church is ready for that kind of immoral exhibition.
Sadly, Oscar had to go back to El Salvador when his father had a heart attack.He never came back. I had a feeling Mario,who went with him was holding him prisoner in San Salvador.Probably in some fucked up conversion place,where they’d convert him from gay to a mara salvatrucha. I once received a collect call from him from El Salvador,but I didn’t take it.I was afraid.I wasn’t sure why at the time.But now I think.I may have loved him,if such a thing is really possible,and isn’t just a chemical reaction,a social construct so we can act out bad impulses and try to put a good face on them. Carl,who like a lot of other guards was sadly pussy whipped,told met he other day he had met someone a week ago and was in love.He asked me if I thought it was possible and I said no,you can’t know somebody in that time, so how the hell could you love them?You could be in lust,,but nothing more.So it was a fantasy.Pleasant for a while,but not real.For every bullshit story about love at first site lasting,I could give you a thousand stories of ” supposed soulmates” not making it a year.
After Oscar left my life ,security took on a darker hue.There was an incident in a men’s restroom at an office building,when ere an aids patient fell and started hemoraging all over the floor.They tried to get the janitors to clean it up,but the supervisor Guillermo (who was bisexual.a one night stand for me and not much too text home about. I needed a microscope to find his cock.I almost went into hysterical laughter,when I finally located it.I thought this must be some kind of fucking prank.Plus he had a flat ass(.A two time loser) Guillermo said hell no his workers weren’t coming in contact with that fucking blood.So they had to call in a hazmat unit from the health department to clean it up. It was eerie watching these men in spacesuits ,entering the restroom,while passersby looked on wondering what was going on and knowing they were being lied to about the situation.Carl asked if I had ever had any restroom sex and I said no,even though I had a couple of times when I was younger and high .It did make me think more about being careful. Renata, the resident Lesbian,who was called semi affectionately “big dyke”,looked like a younger ,fatter Louis Ck,said there was a new security crackdown coming on gay sex restrooms in office buildings and malls.I say good,because in this day and age with online hookups,there was no need for nasty,degrading sex in filthy restrooms.You take a shit or a piss and move on. Renata always was bitching about not getting any action She was constantly lusting after woman she could never have,especially married ones with kids,and sleeping with other make guards ,who were too ugly or socially inept to get nooky on their own, for some quick cash After she did one of the guys at work,usually in a storage room,she’d say “watch out Sam’s Club Mama’s ready to bulk binge tonight”.I think she went into security ,because she would have starved to death as a hooker.Everybody is hiding something in security.Tax problems,child support payments, tranny trouble.And boy,would they tell you about it,they didn’t have any fucking filters.I wanted to say a little discretion please,a little professionalism if it’s not too much to ask.
Around that time ,Carl and I worked the security at this wedding at a revolving rooftop restaurant in Hollywood.As the guests started arriving I noticed they’re all dressed in black.The maid of honor has wings,like a dark Angel.When I mention to Carl how weird it is .He says you think that’s strange you should take a look at the groom.I look over in the corner and there’s this skinny white guy,with two horns fastened to his forehead,sticking straight out,like a deranged deer.He’s Doing lines of coke with his best man,a husky Asian dude wearing a black cape,a leotard and a top hat.Suddenly the room goes black and a smoke machine is turned on.As the smoke wafted into the slowly turning room,a deep,sinister voice,said over the loud speaker.”God’s and Godesses of the. Universe,Earth,wind and fire come forth to witness this ribald Union of body heat and souped up soul”.The guest had all been given something that looks like sparklers when they entered.The voice told them to take their magic wand and light them up to guide the spirits with their molto mojo.I looked at Carl and he said “Dude you’re rolling your eyes again”.”I can’t help it,”,I said.”Don’t you think this is bizarre?”.”Yeah,said Carl,”even for Hollywood,this is some fucked up shit.”The vows that came after this was relatively normal.There we’re no animals sacrificed.After the ceremony ended, a country Western band played.Then came an Elvis impersonator.He was a black man in his 30’s ,wearing a gold lamee jump suit and platform shoes.He took one look at the crowd and said”Shit,I’m the most normal person here!”
The post I’m at at now is a homeowners association in Beverly Hills called the Jacaranda Arms.It ‘s surrounded by those purple trees, that look beautiful,but smell awful and create a nuisance with people slip sliding all over the sidewalk.The post commander is Dennis Craig,who is a sixty five year old white man,who can’t wait to retire on his Social Security and go and live with his son,daughter in law and two grandkids. He calls security the slow death.He says it’s no business for a young man like me.Dennis has worked all kinds of security posts from :junk yards,to recycling plants,to office buildings,to film studios,to banks,to newspapers ,and he was sick of it.
It’s just so stupid and boring he said After awhile it becomes like a Jim Jarmusch movie,during the parts you sleep through.”
Dennis hated kowtowing to rich prima donnas, with no concept how most people lived,who treated security as servants.The only thing that made it somewhat bearable was the tips and Christmas bonuses.But basically he said through all his years,management was in a constant war with security.”They get constant abuse from their tenants,and security are the only ones they can vent on”
“And it’s usually neurotic women.These bimbos spend their time watching cameras of the security and writing memos.They’re never happy.”I like Dennis,because he had a Midwest directness that reminded me of my father.Though my dad was from Chicago and Dennis was from Kansas City(God did he know his steaks,We both loved t bones),they could have been brothers.It was like Dennis and I had been friends for years.We both thought religion was a fraud,and we both loved weed.Dennis thought it was weird security companies tested for marijuana,in a field where the guards really needed it to cope with the day to day shit.He even told me how he passed his last two drug tests,with someone else’s urine.Dennis claimed he never thought he’d live to be 50,with three bad marriages,a heart attack,and a ton of the herb.
“If I did ,he said I might have taken better care of myself,and I definitely would have saved more money.But right now I’m too tired.When I had the money to travel and do things I didn’t have the time,now I have the time, but not the money or energy.
“But, it’s ok there’s something to be said for sleep and no ambition .A nice easy final glide path can be beautiful”.
Dennis hated most of the homeowners in the building.Key on his deplorable list were: George and Jane,two married attorneys .Jane dressed like a hooker and was always berating her husband’s sexuality and beating him up. He was one of those dweebs that always wore a bow tie and carried an attached case.He looked like he hadn’t slept in days.Every day the police would be called and sometimes Jane would be hauled off to the station.Billy Kedsy,a wimpy little realtor to the stars,who had a pet Chihuahua,he carried everywhere with him and didn’t know the meaning of tipping,but he did know how to demand service.Mark Salzman,an agent,big time into cocaine.He was sleays running around the building claiming non existent people were chasing him.At night he could be heard screaming that he was being tortured,even though he was the only one in the condo. And, he especially loathed Mrs.Murphy,who he called Mrs. Asshole, a crazy cunt and the Bitch of Beverly Hills.She was always in everybody else’s business. Complaining about non existent rules being broken,and threatening to sue or fire anyone who talked back to her.She thought she looked like Heddy Lamar and always dressed in chiffon.But she was a big,fat blob,who whined in a shrill Midwestern twang Dennis also hated the other members of the staff,Dale an ex policeman who always played the blue card when he screwed up,claiming he didn’t have to be here,and was just working to get out of the house.Dale claimed to have been the personal bodyguard for scads of celebrities.Dennis wondered why he didn’t go work for the now or collect some pity money.He suspected that like many security guards his stories were bogus.Maybe he had spent the last year’s in a mental institution.Dale seemed to believe he could control the weather,by his communication with avenging angels and he was into wearing crystal,a sure sign of Looney Tunes land.He was also into wrestling and threatening to go cactus Jack on people who pissed him off.
His least favorite member of the staff was Barbara,a good old girl from Florida.Barbara wanted to be a country western,gospel singer,was a big fan of President Trump and was a vegan.Dennis called her a three time loser.He also dubbed her “the gossip monger rampant”,due to the fact that she was always spreading vicious ,untrue gossip during her graveyard shift.She was also the chief snitch for Mrs Murphy.Barbara told Dennis she wondered why I couldn’t be myself with her and I thought,because I,m just here to do this shitty job and go home,I don’t need a crazy,messed up bitch,who I probably disagree with on most .major issues,to be my friend.
A week later Dennis was smoking a cigarette in the alley behind the condo.He had a massive heart attack,and died two days later at Cedars Sinai Hospital.I hated seeing him hooked up to machines and thought what a fucked up way to go. but,at least he didn’t want to go. It wasn’t like my fucking father putting a gun in his mouth and offing himself .That was really meaningless and it left everybody with guilt.I had never told Dennis how much he was like the father I wish I had and how much he meant to me.I had never asked my father why he was so fucking mean and how I was sorry I hadn’t turned out the way he wanted. But,it wasn’t easy being me.I found it difficult to understand the rage that could have driven him to do that to his head.He was always cranky, going off on supermarket workers ,waiters,movie box office cashier’s etc.But,I never saw him being light or charming. How could I have known it was so serious.?And, even if I did ,could I have stopped him?My Sister,Coleen,who found his,bloody tissue sprayed all over his Notre Dame memorabilia( which he kept like a shrine of his Alma mater)still blamed me.She said”You we’re always such a fuckup,getting expelled from school.soliciting an undercover cop.You could have at least told him you loved him.When I explained to her that I didn’t have that kind of relationship with him.Colleen called me inhuman and a monster.Carl was the only one who understood my ambivalent feelings toward my father,when I told him he once said to my mother after he had whipped me with his belt.””My God,what have we created!”.
“Look , bro , said Carl,”that bastard really damaged you.I mean that kind of shit could scar you for life.But,you’ve got to be the iron butterfly and fuck him back by being happy.”Easier said than done.But,what the hell.I thought he was chickenshit for going that way.If I ever confronted him,I’d tell him I thought he was a fucking coward and he really screwed me up.But,he’d probably say he didn’t remember any of the shit,I was talking about.It was all in my mind.Or else he’d scream I was the biggest failure of his life and he really wanted to turn that gun on me.I recently had a dream where I was in a swimming pool,doing laps,when all of a sudden I look up and see my father jumping from the window of a nearby building.He lands in the pool, a few feet from me,but I don’t do anything. I just tread water and watch as others move into help him.I figure I should probably go to my therapist again,but I really don’t want to go through all that shit.
I knew I didn’t want to go,like either Dennis or my father.In some way,I felt security was killing me.I had to get out.But how?I felt trapped .
A couple of days later my agent,who I never could get ahold of,told me he had an audition for a big part in a major motion picture.
“It looks good Mikey”,he said,”I have a fantastic feeling about this one.All the pieces are coming together.This is the perfect
fit I’ve been promising”.
Could this be the big break,I had been waiting for? Probably,not,I had other big auditions that didn’t turn out.Sure things that fizzled.But,maybe this time I could get a semi reprieve from failure and move on from security.Maybe not .