Doug Marker

Everybody wants to be King for a Day. The day WE were began innocently enough looking through a hole in the fence, then jumping over. It was 1976 and this sort of thing was considered juvenile delinquency. Looking over our shoulder for the cops required the period-classic hair flip to keep its shoulder length from our eyes. Hesitation is loss to pool skaters, and we were barging on the neighbor’s drained fresh for an acid bath. That blackbottom was so clean, you could smell it. Not a chip or crack, it was pristine, empty and dry. The destructive nature of our intention was lost in the moment. Each run left arching four-wheeled tracks behind, covering every conceivable line over hips and bowls unique to that backyard pool . Every wipeout, a skidmark. Worst of all was the chipped black plaster from flying boards meeting abrupt conclusions, dust and rubble accumulations. It didn’t take long until this rowdy visit became vandalism. A look about made that plain. Hang Ten T-shirts were in a brightly striped disarray, discarded in the golden soCAL sunheat. Hoots of derision and laughter echoed within the plastic fencing. Any pool barge begins with caution and stealth, but quickly goes anarchistic. This session was no different. Doug drops in. Paul hoots. Jeff cusses. Chris lights up a joint. Todd shows up with beer. Chicks arrive, and the party ensues in a stranger’s backyard. Caution is thrown to the wind and the guard goes down.
Now, we may be dumb but we’re not stupid. Of course we post a lookout for owners or cops and, this time, it is the later that arrived. With a shout, we were out. Jumping a fence in panicked escape is way easier than the initial trepidatious trespass. Scattering in all directions, we found ourselves surrounded by multiple squad cars and cops everywhere gathering up the stoned teens, laying them out like cordwood. My takedown was especially exciting, since I was determined to not get caught. Rounding a corner and confronting a police revolver, the words “Stop or I’ll shoot your fucking head off” had a certain ring of truth to it and stopped me undead in my tracks. Face smashed into the ground and cuffed, my submission was insured.
Questioned separately, we all have the same story. We were poolskaters. The call was about burglars, so the police were disappointed by the bust. A bunch of punk schoolkids at play is barely illegal, so that was that. We were lawbreaking truants, however, so a ride back to school in the cop car was where the adventure ended and the legend began. Nothing boost the street cred of a hood than getting popped, so the notoriety of a police escort before the school lunch crowd was just the ticket. Temped to cook a story, the truth was just fine. Back in the day, and even today, members of the punk rock skateboarder club was a sure claim to fame. For us, it was certainly sufficient to claim and hold the title of “King for a Day.”