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DRUNK IN PUBLIC
The Mark David Allen Story
 

Mark David Allen - 1968 1st grade - 6 years old.
Mark is 6 years old.

     At 8:58 pm on June 27th, 1961, an amazing child named Mark David Allen was born in beautiful Southern California.  Mark's parents moved south into a house relatively near the Beach where he happily embraced the ocean.  
 
     But his was not a Norman Rockwell life.  Mark never knew his birth father and his step-father happily drank himself to death when Mark was a young boy... 
 
     Mark's family's house went into foreclosure, and they were forced to move inland, away from the coast.  They moved in with Mark's grandmother.  Mark didn't wait long to start making bad choices.   

     Mark's grandmother, who played a big hand in trying to raise Mark in his high school years, stated that Mark was not a bad kid.  She went on to add that maybe he was a little mischevious...  Furthermore, she commented that Mark seemed very sad that he never knew his birth father.  Mark's stepfather was a "3 - 5th a day drinker" according to Mark...This had to have a major influence on the young boy.  Mark's grandmother also said that Mark seemed to get agitated very easily.     

MDA in 1970...
MDA in 1970 at 8 years old.
...Mark is 8 years old.

     Mark was often found with valium in his backpack and drank at an early age (these reports come from his grandmother and contradict Mark's insistence that he had his first drink, "3 Mickey's Big-Mouth's" at the age of 18).  Mark's mother had enough, moved to Oregon, and remarried. 

MDA in 1971...
Mark David Allen has been arrested 423 times...
...Mark is 10 years old.

     Mark continued to party.  He also loved to draw and surf.  Mark's grandmother did everything she could to keep Mark straight.  Mark was supposed to graduate from Newport Harbor High School in 1979.  He never graduated.

MDA in 1977...
Mark at 16 years old in 1977
...Mark is 16 years old.

     Mark bounced around the beach for the next few years, bumming off friends, surfing, and getting arrested.  He was being arrested for all kinds of things; petty theft, tresspassing, urinating in public, disturbing the peace, resisting arrest, drunk driving on a bicycle (just once) but mostly, drunk in public.  Mark would often fight with the police when he was arrested. 

Even though Mark could hardly stand...
MDA looking for balance...
...in the beginning, he would often resist & fight.

     On the way home from a surfing trip in Mexico, Mark and two buddies were in a car accident.  Mark was not driving, but everyone was drinking.  Everyone except Mark was killed... 
 
     Mark spent 37 days in a coma and had a linear polyurethane plate installed in his skull.  Mark became racked with survivor's guilt, often asking himself, "Why me?". 
 
     Another tragedy soon made a visit to Mark.  He developed a seizure disorder (most likely from the accident related brain trauma).  While surfing, Mark had a seizure and drowned.  Apparently, when the paramedics arrived, they were unable to revive him.  But a short time later, for some unexplainable reason, Mark simply started breathing again.

More and more, Mark started showing up...
JAIL ENTRY
...at our jail entry door--Dangerously drunk.

     I recall getting to know Mark in 1994 (while working in the jail) when the number of his arrests began to escalate at an alarming rate.  He was getting close to 100 arrests, and I thought to myself, "Why isn't anyone doing anything about this?"  Ironically, I received a cryptic clue on a hot Summer day.  While Mark was being released, he delivered a tragic, yet comic line, "Let's not let this happen again."

Just 3 hours after speaking with him...
3 hours later...Mark arrives...Obliterated.
Mark arrives...Totally obliterated.

     The sincerity in which Mark claims to want to stop drinking is exceptional.  He may want to...Or want to want to?  He is clearly unhappy and in a state of agitation...He lacks peace.  His enthusiasm is strong and says exactly what I would like to hear from him.  I wish I could quit for him.  I simply can't.

MDA in 1994...
Mark closes in on 100 bookings...
...Mark is 33 years old.

     Not only did Mark continue to be arrested, he was often arrested twice in the same day.  Mark has life-threatening seizures.  Once he is sober, the department cannot hold him because he will have a seizure.  Since it is the department's policy not to administer medication, he needs to be released so he can take his medication...Or get drunk.  Either way, it keeps him from having a seizure.

"Just gonna...
Mark has never had a DUI (except on a bicycle)...
...start walking".

     Mark has had so many seizures over the years, only God knows how many times his already brain-injured skull has met the pavement.  Many of the police contacts are radio calls that come from citizens noticing a "man down"...This usually means Mark has collapsed-typically in the street.  The medics and officers find him most regularly bleeding from the head.
 
     Mark's severe alcoholism has prompted a number of officers to predict that he'd be dead within a year... 

     I spent some time talking with Mark in and out of jail.  He would always start our meetings with high hopes and great enthusiasm.  But if I spent enough time with him, he would usually tire of telling me things I wanted to hear.  Then he became brutally honest.  When I asked him if he realized he was killing himself with alcohol, he said with eerie optimism, "That's exactly what my father did."
 
     Mark was capable of delivering very funny lines in a Jeff Spicoli-like drawl.  What makes him even more amusing is his vocabulary is a collection of inventive phrasims and expressionistic conglomeratives that make him sound like a drunk white Don King...
 
     The tone of Mark's voice is charismatic, contagious and intoxicating...Mark has the kind of voice that sticks with you, making you want to imitate it.

"How are you gonna do it?"..
MDA on the bench at Channel Place Park in 1994.
"...I have a way...God."

     The last time I saw Mark, he was sipping a beer given to him by a stranger at Channel Place Park.  I asked him what he planned to do that day.  He said, "I'm going to go to an AA meeting."  I pressed him, "When?"  He ignored my question and added, "As a matter of fact, I went to two, yesterday."
 
     By the time Mark was 34 years old, Mark had amassed a prolific arrest record and alarming local reputation.  Mark had been arrested over 100 tims, most of them for 647(F)PC - DRUNK IN PUBLIC...

     Mark's self-depreciating responses can also be comical.  Such as the time I asked him, "What are you going to do?"  Sincere, he said, "I plan on applying for medical disability."  I asked, "When?" and he deadpanned, "Immediately."  It was if he knew that "immediately" was still too late. 

In the Summer of 1994...
Mark disappeared in August of 1994...
...Mark made his exit...

     A few days later, Mark's step-brother had a one-way plane ticket to Hawaii delivered to Mark via a friend in Newport.  His step-brother, who lived in Hawaii, was going to attempt to get Mark sober.  With 10 court appearenceS for drunk in public ahead of him, Mark apparently got on the plane and went to Hawaii. 

     About 5 years went by before I started to hear many stories about Mark and his various whereabouts.  One story said he washed up on the shore, dead.  Another said he was burned in the cane fields by the locals.  Where these stories came from, no one knew...
 
     It became official that Mark had "vanished" when his grandmother in California filed a missing person's report with the Honolulu Police Department.  She was used to hearing from Mark a couple times a year, but had recently lost all contact with him.

     Honolulu PD was very familar with Mark, having constant contact with him via citations and arrests.  But they, too had lost contact with Mark.  The last recorded contact with Mark was a medical aid after Mark had been hit by a car.  Mark had not been seen since. 
 
     A few more weeks went by and in May of 1999 I bought the cheapest airplane ticket I could find.  Almost 5 years later, I landed in Honolulu and started looking for Mark.  I contacted a detective who said he had some missing persons flyers with Mark's photo on them.  He volunteered to help me pass them out and hang them up.  I told him I would meet him at the police substation on the beach in downtown Waikiki within an hour.

Mark is missing...
Would I find Mark?...Or was he gone?

     Twenty minutes into my search, I thought I found Mark...It turned out to be a transient that looked like Mark.  Actually, I found this transient twice.  It was at this time that I called my wife and discussed the possibility that I had made a big mistake.  I was about 100 yards from the police substation when I noticed the approaching detective and his stack of flyers.  While still on the phone with my wife, I waved to the detective and looked to my right.  There he was, Mark David Allen, lying on a park bench.  I do not know how I recognized him because he was 40 pounds heavier and had a full beard.  Still, I just knew it was him.  
 
     At this time, I hung up with my wife and the detective arrived with the unnecessary flyers.  I told him he could take Mark off the "missing persons" list. 
 
     A few minutes later, Mark woke up, saw me and said, "Hey bro!".  I have no idea if he really knew who I was, nevertheless, he was excited.  He could have been happy to see me, or maybe he thought he was going to get a free meal (which he did).  Either way, he acted like he recognized me.

Mark David Allen - May 1999
Mark sleeps on a bench in Hawaii - May 1999
MDA had 91 arrests in Hawaii...

     It became very evident that Mark had deteroriated immensely.  His teeth were in horrible condition and he told me he had been in Hawaii "for the past 37 years".  He also said he was surfing regularly (clearly not a possibility). 
 
     I asked him what date it was and he said, "Everyone knows it's 1990, bro!"  When I corrected him, he became quite angry... 
    
     His awareness was ridiculously poor.  He may have been somewhat drunk, but he was certainly not hammered when I had to yank him back onto the sidewalk to keep him from being hit by a bus.  Yes, it sounds cliche, but it really was a bus.  And it was a fast moving bus. 
 
     The crosswalk was red and flashing, "DON'T WALK", yet Mark continued into the street as if he was blind...Or on a mission... 
 
     Our destination was Jack In The Box, where I found out from the girl running the register, that Mark was banned from the place.
 
     Mark had apparently developed quite a few relationships in the area, and none of them were good.  The girl at Jack In The Box told me they have a restraining order against him.  She said on more than one occasion he entered the restaurant, dropped his pants, squatted and defecated right in the middle of the floor.
 
     I bought Mark a burger and listened to him tell me more lies.  He said he'd been sober for 6 months (this number changed quite often, 37, 17, etc...) and was attending AA meetings every day.  He said he surfs everyday.  He said he has a girlfriend, wants to have kids, and get a job.  He said everything a young man is supposed to say.

Regal, Mark sits on his bench...
Mark, a bench, and a bottle of vodka...
...With his favorite drink...Vodka.

     I met up with a patrol officer who told me that Honolulu PD had arrested Mark 84 times.  He said it was common for people to give Mark money and food, and that the social system in Hawaii really caters to transients (even bringing food trucks out on the beach to hand out meals) and that with the good weather, who knows how long Mark can live?  Who knows how many arrests he can rack up?
 

   The officer told me he once saw Mark standing in a dumpster eating a submarine sandwich shrouded in turquoise mold.  He said Mark kept puking, then taking more bites.  It appeared Mark couldn't even figure out that the sandwich was the thing that was making him sick.
 
     Before I flew back home to California, I asked Mark how he ended up on the streets.  He told me his step-brother tried to help him but kicked him out...Twice.  Mark then told me to, "Fuck off!"...

"Do you care anymore?"
A bleak horizon...
"FUCK NO!...Get lost!"

     When I returned to California I notified his grandmother and the police department that Mark was indeed still alive.  I'd be lying if I didn't mention that everyone was glad that Mark was now Hawaii's problem.   
 
     Despite the numerous urine-drenched, puke-soaked contacts, medical aids, and mind-numbing hours of officers waiting at the hospital for Mark to be cleared for booking, our department and it's officers have remained dedicated to saving Mark's life and keepin him alive.
    
     Six months later, Mark's uncle was driving through the city of Costa Mesa around mid-day.  As he passed his mother's (Mark's grandmother's) old house, he saw a man pissing in the middle of the sidewalk.  He looked closer and realized it was Mark.  How could this be?  He knew Mark was in Hawaii with no means to get home.  Even if Mark did have the means, what airline would allow him, in his condition, on their plane? 

In December of 1999, Mark returns...
Mark getting booked in California...Again.
...And is booked in California...

     Speculation leads me to believe that Honolulu PD realized where Mark came from after speaking with me during my visit six months earlier.  I imagine, they asked Mark if he wanted to return to California and he said, "Yes."
 
     I don't know why he would say yes in the middle of December.  California is no Minnesota, but much more uncomfortable than Hawaii in December.  In California, under the right circumstances, people freeze to death in December.  Either way, Mark was back.
 
     Mark hitched a ride into Newport.  Mark got drunk and was promptly arrested for the 10 outstanding warrants he left behind 5 years earlier...

Mark serves his time...
Mark back is back in jail...
...On his 10 outstanding warrants...

     After Mark served 45 of a 90 day sentence for his outstanding warrants, he returned to Newport Beach.  It's as if he's got some kind of homing beacon that always leads him back to the beach.   Mark continues to get arrested.  His arrest totals become so staggering, that a number of supervisors have begun to search for alternative sentencing.  The courts don't really view drunk in public as a criminal offense, so Mark rarely serves jail time.  His only real jail time occurs when he fails to appear in court for his many violations and citations.  Ironically, it appears the jail time is what keeps him alive.

*
 
     Mark David Allen has contractually agreed to be covered by David J. Sperling of Defiant Love Productions, on this website, in all recording formats, in the ongoing documentary, and in a book or any other written or photographic materials.
Created & Copyrighted by David J. Sperling