Friday, March 28, 2008

In Memory of Conspiracy Theory Brian

Those of you who actually know me (lucky devils!) have seen that I live in an apartment building that can best be described as "whacky. " I don't have neighbors, but rather "a cast of lovable characters." And because of the building's set up - open hallways, all facing a big courtyard with a pool -it seems that you can't step outside without running into one of them. There's Terry, the old woman who stands at 4'10", wears a terry cloth tube top/shorts one piece year round, and sells her prescription pain killers to my friends. And Melanie who lives upstairs, a former child actor who takes our bottles and cans to the recycling center for us, and has a talkative parrot with no feathers.

In college, a friend of mine asked, "Why is everything in your life so weird?" I still don't know the answer to that, but I believe that my neighbors help me uphold that standard of weirdness.

And one of the best, one of the classic neighbors, Conspiracy Theory Brian, died last week. And so to say goodbye, here is a little story about him.

He lived alone, and was probably in his sixties? He could've been 50 for all I know. He was sick with kidney problems and just looked really unhealthy so it was hard to tell his age.

Some things about him:

He claims he was given the death penalty in Texas for smoking pot but used his charm and savvy to con his way out of it.

He said the CIA came to him for answers.

Several times a week, he would tape newspaper articles to our front door when the topics concerned big entertainment companies, particularly NBC. He was trying to warn Devin about the secret plots of Jeff Zucker and Ben Silverman.

He feared the Scientologists were out to get him. Now this, I believed. I'm pretty sure they're after all of us.

So one day a few months ago, he told Melanie, who lives in the apartment next door, "If you ever see the newspapers piling up outside my front door, you'll know something's wrong. You'll know they've come for me."

And of course, in the next few days, one newspaper after the next collects at his doorstep, causing Melanie to panic. She pounds on his front door, nobody answers. So she calls the fire department. They show up, and break into his apartment...and he's just sitting there, watching TV. Perfectly fine (you know, as fine as he could be). He apparently just felt like keeping to himself for a while.

Now, few people had ever been inside his apartment. And when the fire fighters broke in, they were, I'd imagine, pretty horrified. Reportedly, his place was unfit for human life. Filthy. Full of bugs. Decades worth of newspapers stacked to the ceiling. He'd rigged a booby trap at his front door- needles swung down to prick the intruders, thus capturing their DNA for him to inspect later and make a positive identification.

The owners of the building were called in, and they were furious at the sight of the place. They told him he had 4 days to get it in proper condition or he'd be kicked out. And this, in actuality, would probably mean he'd end up on the streets. There was no way he could handle apartment hunting, no way he could afford anything but the rent-controlled place he'd been in for 30 years. And he had no family or anyone to help him out.

But he did have his neighbors! And we all cared. Our friend a few doors over called in a cleaning crew to scrub down the place. Of course, when they showed up and saw the state of it, they refused to take the job for their original quote. They'd need hundreds more.

Fortunately, and quite miraculously, Conspiracy Theory Brian was able to come up with the rest of the money needed to pay the cleaners. But he didn't pay by cash or check. No, a man like him could only find that money from the most unlikely source...

A Gold Coin. Conjured up from the depths of his apartment. And then pawned for like $800.

Ah, we'll miss ya.


surviving myself said...

that is awesome. I wish I was as cool as Conspiracy Theory Brian.

Peter said...

Your building sounds exactly like the vision I have in my mind of an apartment building in Hollywood.

Formed, of course, by watching the Seinfeld episodes when Kramer moved to LA.

JenBun said...

That sounds exactly like the place where Funny Man lives... in North Hollywood... hmmmm.

Did Flava Flav live there at one point? (True story.)

RIP, Conspiracy Theory Brian... they got you at last. (Or they'll never get you now... depending on which particular conspiracy you subscribe to.)

Katelin said...

this just doesn't seem real. can i come visit you and meet these people? haha. i love it. and a very nice farewell to brian :)

Felicia said...

Sad! How did you actually find out he died? Who found him?

Inono said...

A gold coin?! Wow, its so pirate-like!

devin said...

Conspiracy Theory Brian's sworn enemy was john travolta - because Brian was investigating Scientology under the guise of writing his unauthorized biography. Tom Cruise was also after him, and it may surprise you to know that he even came to our apartment building a few times to get Brian to cool it. Also, Brian, was asked to lead the Manson family after Charlie was arrested and thrown in jail. All true stories. According to Brian, anyway. But those were the truly crazy stories.

The thing is, the rest of the conspiracy stuff he spouted off - you know, it seemed out of left field, but most of it actually kind of made sense if you stopped to think about it. like how a small cabal of a handful of powerful people control the world, or how he used to hang out at the Playboy Mansion (okay that didn't make sense, but it was at least phathomable. in fact, i'm not sure if he actually ever said that or i just made it up for the script i wrote about him). Most of his stories were ones that could conceivably have been true. And I always wanted them to be, for him, but for me a little too. Because that way he wasn't actually crazy and i could imagine the world the way Brian saw it. To think that maybe he knew the real deal and the joke was actually on us.

And beyond that he was actually a really, really nice guy. And funny.

Like the time he proposed to Ryan just to see his reaction. Or kept wishing me a happy chunacka because he knew I was irish catholic and it would baffle me.

Also he always shared his pot.

Anwyay, I'm glad I knew him.

mindy said...

I wish I knew a lady who'd sell her prescription drugs.

Um. Just kidding?

nicoleantoinette said...

"Why is everything in your life so weird?"

Hahaha. You crack my shit up.

nicoleantoinette said...

Also? you're finally on my blogroll! I just got around to updating it this morning and was all "she's great! why isn't she on here yet?!"

Hollywood Sucker said...

surviving- Oh but you are!

peter- Yeah, they must've like that episode too.

jenbun- Really? ok your friend must live in my building. Is he the baptist who lives upstairs and makes custom guitars?

katelin- sure come on down! i'll throw a gardenburger on the ol' bbq for ya

felicia- Eh. You don't want to know.

inono- exactly. who knows what other treasures will be found as his place is cleaned out.

devin- thank you for adding!

mindy- come over and i'll introduce you two.

nicole- thanks

and nicole- thanks again!

margottt said...

i've always wanted an apartment building filled with characters!! where in LA do you live again!? i'm going to LA in a couple weeks to look at apartments yayy!