One day back in 1959 in San Clemente, California, Surf Dawg Rickey and Mysterious Felipe were strolling along the beach, boards under arms, when they ran into a slump-shouldered, hairy-backed man with a ski-jump nose and bags under his eyes who said his name was Dick. Dawg and Felipe felt sorry for this gloomy loner, so they let him sit with them at their beach fire and shared some of their malt liquor and ice cream bars. When Dick went in to surf, Rickey and Felipe were amazed at his moves and dubbed him "Tricky."
Tricky looked at you like a hound dog from under his heavy eyebrows and occasionally shivered his jowls as he spoke. He was homeless and only spent money on corn dogs and Anne Bancroft movies, his favorite the 1953 adventure Treasure of the Golden Condor with Cornel Wilde, George Macready, and Fay Wray (Bancroft would later go on to make a gorilla movie, too, which might explain her eventual attraction to the hairy-backed loner).
At night Rickey's ska band, the Doobie-Wah-Doobies, was usually playing somewhere to a packed house. Mysterious Felipe sat in sometimes playing tambourine, but mostly he nursed a beer in the corner and bobbed his head waiting for the sun to come back up so he could hit the waves once more. Those were golden days for everyone, surfing, sunshine, peace on earth, beautiful Chevrolets, and toking the ganja. Even the gloomy Tricky was "pleased as punch" shaking maracas in Rickey's ska band.
But one evening at a keg party at San Onofre, a film crew was shooting nearby, and Tricky met his idol Anne Bancroft. Anne admitted that her name was really Anna Maria Italiano. Tricky said his name was really Richard Milhous Nixon. Rickey admitted he was a Reginald. Felipe had changed his name so many times he didn't know who he was anymore, but he believed he was from Mexico or Northern Africa. (This was the beginning of the Identity Crisis). Tricky and Anne hit it off and later that night walked away hand in hand under the moonlight. A young film student named Steven Spielberg watched them making love from the shadows and thought bitterly, I wish a shark would eat them.
But, of course, the name changing, the reefer haze, the ice cream bars, and the illusion of eternal youth would all give way to political cynicism and social unrest. Tricky would eventually drift east, descending into wealth, power, and Henry Kissinger. Anne would have Tricky's child, an airtight Hollywood mystery until a famous Village Voice journalist broke the story. The child was Poe Ballantine, named after a cheap scotch or a White Sox knuckleballer of the '40s, no one is sure. Anne was heartbroken (and became ill) when Tricky stumbled into infamy. Dustin Hoffman threw a temper tantrum. Hootie and the Blowfish were fortunately touring Iceland. You can still find Rickey and Felipe; they've moved down the coast just past Guerrero Negro on the Baja Peninsula. Rickey's band sounds a little more ranchera these days. But the surfing is still pretty good.
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