Police Stories: Long Beach, U.S.A. – Let’s Hit The Beach, Dude!


Recently, during a road trip to Los Angeles, I was given the opportunity to see some of the finest police work.

I was transporting a friend to the Los Angeles International Airport. We had arrived a day ahead of schedule and decided to spend the day in Long Beach. We had not planned on going to the beach and were left without our swimming suits. To be safe, we asked a few locals if there would be any problem with wearing just our underwear on the beach and in the water. Everyone we asked said they didn’t think that there would be any problem at all, and one person even went so far as to tell us that people were often seen wearing only their underwear on the beach.

With what we thought was the approval of local beach goers, we proceeded onto the beach and found a spot to spend the day. We eventually took to the water and swam to the break. We were about 30 feet away from the beach, with water up to our chests. During our swimming, someone kept yelling. Thinking it was an irritated child, we ignored it. The voice continued, and we finally turned around to see what all the commotion was about.

“Hey! Hey! Get in here now!” yelled a tall lifeguard.

“Who, us?” was the general reaction of me and my friend. We indicated our obvious surprise by displaying a look of wonder and confusion on our faces.

“Now! Get your asses in here now!” continued the lifeguard.

We immediately did so, assuming that we had drifted too far into the surf and that we were going to receive the usual, fatherly but stern talking to about beach rules. Now, my friend must have been feeling incredibly obedient that day, because he swam quickly to the beach and got out of the water. Upon doing so, he was promptly abducted and restrained with what looked like a very unusual and painful stranglehold. I continued toward the beach—more out of concern for my friend than out of obedience for the now smiling lifeguard.

I reached the beach and cautiously approached the lifeguard. I then asked what was wrong and asked him to let my friend go. “Get over here and shut the fuck up” was the only response I got from our somewhat dubious lifeguard until I did as he said.

When I got within arms reach of our friendly beach protector, he seized me and put me in a similar restraining hold. He then began dragging us to the beach substation. On our way, I noticed that the locals who had before seemed so friendly and helpful had now become extremely irate and had lent themselves to jeering and spitting. We were greeted by two flaxen-haired, overly sun-tanned lifeguards who escorted us inside. We were immediately handcuffed to two of the many state-of-the-art exercise machines and left alone to ponder our fates.

While sitting there, dripping in salt-water, in our underwear, with “Surfin’ USA” playing softly in the background, I realized that our excursion to the beach had somehow gone amiss and that the seemingly good-natured folks of Long Beach had suddenly changed their minds about the beach dress code.

The lifeguard came back with a stern and contorted look on his face that bore the likeness of Humphrey Bogart when he was covered in leeches in The African Queen. He proceeded to ask us what the hell we thought we were doing swimming in our underwear on his beach. We told him that we had asked around to see if there was anything wrong with swimming in our underwear and that everyone had told us that indeed there was nothing wrong with it. He then went into a series of John Travolta genuflects and said, in effect “What? You guys expect me ta bulieve dat?” Well, we did. He then asked us if we were each other’s sexual partners, if we liked that kind of thing (what kind of thing?), if they let us do that where we were from and if we would wait right there. He then called the city police and within 20 minutes we found ourselves in a jail cell in Long Beach.

We were subjected to more of the same pre-pubescent, mind-numbing insults and ego-retarded shows of manhood by a short, fat, smelly, hairy, old spice-type cop. He told us that if he had his way he would “have our balls cut off” and “put a bullet through both of our heads, and dump us in a drainage system.” He also inquired about our past employment (god knows why). My friend and I were presently working with developmentally disabled adolescents as instructors. We told him so, and he asked if we liked to perform sexual acts with those children. At this point, I began to lose faith in the intelligence of this policeman and wondered how long it would be until we could return to the beach.

He left for about ten minutes and returned with a 6’5” blonde, mustached, fuck-face buddy of his. “Oh, great,” I thought, “more John Travolta impressions.” His partner told us that if they booked us he would personally find a way to teach us that “no homo-faggot-lesbian-hippie-free-love-schizo fuckers were ever going to be allowed in his town.”

Now, my friend and I thought all this was grand and that these ‘peace’ officers had slightly overdone the “Welcome to Long Beach” motif. We asked them when or if they were going to book us and if we could go. We sat there for about two more hours, handcuffed to the bars, still in our underwear. Every ten minutes, like clockwork, our two new friends visited us, told us what they would do to us in their town, and left again. Finally they released us, gave us our clothes, and deemed us Personae Non Gratae?

We were relieved, grateful, and I think even learned a few important lessons: (1) Never trust anything that anyone says in Long Beach. (2) Cops are great people. (3) It is no wonder that America’s former president Ronald Reagan hails from Long Beach.


Read below for more from the SLUG Archives:

Ecce Homo

A Subjective History of Punk Rock in Utah