Tuesday, October 18, 2016
When I was nineteen I became a state-licensed (as opposed to unlicensed) California security officer. It was in complete contrast to my artistic nature, but in my youth I enjoyed delving into unusual adventures. Besides, the work usually entailed the late-night shift, which coincided with my notoriously nocturnal persona.
My very first security job was a stint at Hughes Aircraft in Irvine (Costa Mesa, actually), where I was armed (though not particularly dangerous). It was an easy job because I didn't have to make any patrols or rounds. My most perilous duties included operating one of the night switchboards. I remember that a group of women from the front office took photos of me because they thought I was cute. I also received numerous phone calls from a male executive who propositioned me for sex.
I'm not bragging, boys and girls - - I'm just telling it like it is. And I'll politely refrain from revealing what happened.....
Late night security work wasn't all fun and games. I had some unbelievably horrific adventures......like the time I worked at Goodwill Industries and the janitor turned out to be a murderer. He left the body of one of his victims outside my office door! I wrote about this in a previous post:
My Night With a Corpse
I was fearless back then, and often purposefully reckless, but the murder incident admittedly scared the living jeeters out of me.
A few years before the murder incident, I had applied for a late-night security job at Westminster Memorial Park Mortuary on Beach Boulevard. The supervisor liked me, but admitted that he thought I was too young. He preferred someone older and more "mature".
During the duration of our interview, he finally admitted the truth: all of the previous security guards had quit - because of strange occurrences at the mortuary. It was supposedly haunted. Loud footsteps were reportedly heard in the hallways and apparitions frequently appeared. After careful consideration of the applicants, a fifty-year-old security guard was chosen.
Three days later I was surprised to get a phone call from the mortuary supervisor. He told me that the new security officer abruptly quit, after experiencing a few "difficult" nights. The job was open, if I still wanted it.
"Hell no", I said. "I'm a guard, not a ghost hunter."
Eventually I did work in another spooky place. It was a company in Brea that manufactured sinks, showers, and bathtubs. The facility consisted of two large buildings - - the factory and warehouse. The entire place was closed on weekends, and that's when I worked there: twelve-hour shifts, from noon 'till midnight, Saturday and Sunday. I was entirely alone and had to patrol the two buildings every hour (12 times a day). Patrolling during the daylight hours was bad enough, but after dark it was especially unnerving.
My apprehension increased when I learned (from my supervisor) that there had been a long-ago accident on the upper floor of the warehouse, where a worker was crushed to death. It was rumored that his ghost lingered there, and his screams could be heard.
That upper floor was extremely creepy - gloomy, dank, and filled with lots of weird noises. Creaks, groans, and muffled human-like gurgles echoed through the cavernous walls. I always dreaded going up there and hurried as quickly as possible. I never did see a ghost, but the noises were strange.
One night I discovered a drunken derelict hiding on the first floor of the factory building. I feigned toughness and managed to scare him out of the building.
Unlike Hughes Aircraft, I was completely unarmed on this job and only had a flashlight. And it was before the era of cell phones.
My work as a security officer was only a small part of my many youthful adventures, but I could write a book about the experiences.
Cabinet of Curious Treasures