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The Mark David Allen Story

Mark has no idea what month it is...
In 2004, Mark did the incredible...

Sunday, February 29th, 2004 - 1:30pm


     Mark actually got released on February 14th, 2004 - Valentine's Day.  It was a week earlier than expected.  I have no idea where Mark stayed for 2 weeks--I’m stunned he didn’t show up any sooner.  As I've mentioned, it's typical for him to show up in our jail within 24 hours of his release from County Jail.  My December 2003 hope that Mark could lie low or God forbid, get clean, carried on into 2004.  For if he could stay out of trouble for a few weeks, was this something that could be built on?  


     Mark never dies...And therefore neither does hope...


     Back to the day at hand.  Mark was indeed arrested again--for being drunk in public.  He looked average.  I did expect him to look better after drying out for almost 5 months.  What surprised me was his mental status.  He wasn’t any “better”.  Then again, he wasn’t any worse. 


     I asked Mark where he went on last September 16th, 2003 (referring to the time he simply vanished and then was spotted by an officer at County Jail).  I had to remind Mark that he wasn’t seen anywhere for 39 days.  Mark just stared at me.  Suddenly, a light went on in his pulverized skull and he blurted, “I took a bus to Oregon to see my mother.”  Not true.  He hasn’t seen his mother in over 15 years.  According to Mark's Grandmother, Mark’s mother wants nothing to do with him, not in a negative way, but more in a "What can I do with him?" sort of way...


     Mark seemed to have slowed down on the robotic consistency in which he would recite classic rock hits, but he did pick up a new phrase, “I’m doin’ pretty good, how are you?”  This seemed to kick in every time you would corner him, where he was required to deliver an original or purely honest thought or reply.  Everything turned into a "I'm doin' pretty good, how are you?"


     I guess it’s better than his old “Illogical jurisdiction…” mantra.  Something new is always nice, but it’s still pretty meaningless.

Tuesday, March 2nd, 2004 - 2:10 pm


     Mark was arrested for being drunk in public again.  I've noticed that Mark has a pretty good attitude and that only a few things seem to really upset him.  One is being arrested, the handcuffs in particular are not his favorite.  Two, is his property, especially his clothing, he wants to keep it all on and believes it to obtain a value that only he can appreciate.  Three, assuming he'll return to jail. 


     Only once before, had I made the comment to Mark as he was released from jail, that I would see him when he comes back and is arrested again.  I said it very casually and was truly sincere.  I just meant I'd see him when he came back.  Well, this "assumption" draws an incredulous glare from Mark as if I assumed the worst in him.  A look of utter disdain shrouds his face, nearly making me feel ashamed for drawing such an absurd conclusion.


     As I released Mark today, I casually mentioned I'd see him when he came back.  Once again, I was blasted with "The Look".  Accompanying this look, was incredulous anger... 


     I find it fascinating how serious Mark takes his vows to remain sober.  Which I think shines some light on the condition of his mind. 


     Is it possible Mark is straight up serious when he swears he'll never return?  Could he truly believe himself for those few minutes when he is adamant we will never see him again?  What if he is telling the truth--Sincere?  What if it was you?  And your memory was shot?  Would you essentially be re-living your unkept promise?  Over and over and over...And you would never even realize how foolish you sounded? 


     This may explain Mark's believable sincerity.  I don't believe anything else can...

Saturday, March 13th, 2004 - 11:30am


     Mark was arrested for being drunk in public again.  When I asked Mark where he went back on September 16th, 2003, he said, “Surfing in Hawaii, brah!”  I believe he meant it.

Sunday, March 14th, 2004 - 5:00pm


     Mark was arrested for being drunk in public again.  This time he actually accepted fresh clothing.  Usually he won’t touch anything that’s “clean”.  Another day...Another mysterious response from MDA...

Monday, March 15th, 2004 - 11:30pm 


     Mark was arrested for being drunk in public again.  He nailed a trifecta today with his 3rd arrest in 3 days.

Wednesday, March 17th, 2004 - 7:30pm


     Mark was arrested for being drunk in public again.  He finally seems to be hitting his stride, nearly coming in on a daily basis.  He surprised me with an impressive (and rare) display of awareness when he said, “How was your St. Patrick’s Day, David?”  Then he pissed himself.

     Saturday, March 20th, 2004 - 9:00am


     Mark was arrested for being drunk in public again.  I just can't seem to shake my desire to find out where Mark went at the end of last year.  I've been asking him every time I see him if he knows where he went. 


     Each time I ask, my endeavor to know, appears absurd and ridiculous...


     I once again, reminded Mark that he “disappeared” for 39 days back in September of 2003.  He said, “I did?” 


Sunday, March 21st, 2004 - 1:00pm


     Mark was arrested for being drunk in public again.  He smelled awful.  It’s unimaginable unless you experience it.  What follows is something Mark and I have laughed about in regards to his obvious foul smell.  We'd rather be honest and have a chuckle, than ignore it and deny it exists...  After all, which is more human?  Furthermore, Mark knows how much effort I put into to helping him maintain the least offensive presence possible.




     Today, Mark was especially ripe.  When I opened the drunk tank door, it felt like I opened a blast furnace.  I literally felt hot tactile pressure on my face.  Flames shot up my nostrils and coursed through my sinuses.


     I’ve decided to devise a system capable of measuring foul smell.  I don’t believe there is anything like it, at least for "non-scientists"... 


     For temperature, we have Farenheit, Celsius and Kelvin.  For weight, distance, and volume we have the metric or English system.  For brightness, there is lumens...For electric energy there is watts.  Audio volume has decibels.  Horsepower, knots, psi, etc...It goes on and one.


     Why is there no accepted system available to mearsure the degree of foul odor?...


With all of the science in this world, experts agree that the human nose is the most accurate tool for scent recognition and classification.  It’s difficult for scientists to devise a system because of cultural and subjective perception in regards to various odors.  Even men and women assess smell differently.  There is no definitive agreement.  For the most part, this may be true...But I think there is room for improvement.  There is a unit and a scale we can agree on.  I do not think it's impossible.  For the most part, people agree that ice cream tastes "GOOD" and spoiled milk tastes "BAD".  And anyone who has ever stepped in shit or smelled something dead, knows what a "BAD" smell is...And anyone who has ever smelled fruit or a flower knows what a good smell is...


Furthermore, anyone who has ever had the opportunity to take a whiff of Mark, would come to the conclusion that something smells bad.


In honor of Mark, I’m going to call my scale the “ALLENOMETER” (TM).  It will measure the brilliance of stench it what I've termed: “HOBO-UNITS”...


     For all intents and purposes--here are a few baseline measurements:


B.O. (Teenager)                      100  Hobo-units

Kittybox or Petco                    200  Hobo-units

Burp (Salami)                         300  Hobo-units

Rotten Dairy                           400  Hobo-units 

Port-a-Potty (Pre-5K run)         500  Hobo-units 

Intensified Fart                       600  Hobo-units

Rotten Shoes (Transient)         700  Hobo-units

Skunk Spray                          800  Hobo-units

Dead Body                             900  Hobo-units

Mark David Allen                   1000  Hobo-units


     The top end of the scale is the measurement equivalent to 500 horsepower, 212 Farenheit, one metric ton, or 500 watts.


     The honor of topping out the scale with Mark is only fair...And accurate.  Now, he can certainly come in at other levels, but 1000 is the known accepted outermost limits of a human being's ability to comprehend a bad smell.


     For instance, Mark may be released from County Jail and get arrested 2 days later.  He'll probably only clock in at 400 Hobo-units.  But give him 2 weeks on the street, urinating through his own clothing, and he will have reached boiling point on the "The Allenometer" (TM) at 1000 Hobo-units. 

Wednesday, March 25th, 2004 - 8:15pm

     Mark was arrested for being drunk in public again.  He was released from County Jail less than one month ago, yet he looks like he's been on the streets a year...


     Mark's 9 arrestes in one month are shocking, but not as much as the remarkable transformation that only he manages to survive...

Mark's unfortunate, but typical transformation...
Mark was booked 9 times in one month...


Wednesday, March 31st, 2004 - 7:00pm


Mark was arrested for being drunk in public again.  When the hospital medically cleared him prior to booking, his blood pressure was 119 over 67.  Mark is a medical miracle, transcending all logic - The Terminator Vagabond...  Indestructible.


     Saturday, April 3rd, 2004 - 6:20pm


     Mark was arrested for being drunk in public again.  I asked him once again where he went back on September 16th, 2003.  He told me, “I don’t know.”  After some prodding, he eventually came up with “Roger—In L.A.”.   Whatever.

     Sunday, April 4th, 2004 - 5:26pm


     Mark was arrested for being drunk in public again.  He looks horrible.  Swollen.  Cranky.

To this day, every available entity refuses to do something about this problem.  Why?  Money.  No one wants to pay to have Mark evaluated to see whether he is able to care for himself.  Does someone who has made 300+ trips to the E.R. sound like someone who can care for themselves?

When you factor in the amount of time and money it costs the city to have Paramedics pick him up, Police Officers stay with him at the hospital, the hospital tests and treatments and medications, the mileage and wear and tear on vehicles that must taxi him around and up to County Jail.  And then add in the costs of his 10 months spent residing in County Jail.  Certainly these costs outweigh any 30 day hospital stint.

The numbers I have listed above are simply monetary values.  What about service costs and interruptions?  It takes at least 4 hours to deal with Mark when he’s arrested.  So that comes to 124 man hours, and that is for officers only.  This doesn’t take into consideration that paramedic services and police services and doctor and nurse services are interrupted and or wasted as well.

In this day and age, when it’s popular to pick on and criticize police departments, it’s fantastically ironic that they’re the only ones trying to solve this problem.  Their hands are tied.  There is nothing less that an officer would like to do, than arrest Mark.  And then sit with him at the hospital.  They avoid him if possible.

Everyone likes to complain, but very few are willing to do something about it.  Whether anyone does anything about it—YOU’RE PAYING FOR IT.  It’s just a matter of how much you wish to pay?  Certainly, some may ask, “Why the hell do I care about some drunk bum?”  Those who ask that need to look at a larger picture.  What if Mark stumbles in front of your car?  What if he stumbles in front of your daughter’s car?  It’s not a pretty thought, but it’s probably going to happen to someone.  It’s just a matter of when.  Unless, of course, someone lends the police a hand.

Last night, Mark was cleared for booking at the hospital and sent to County Jail.  He’s due to be released on May 18th.  Unless someone does something, this will continue to be a drain on everyone’s resources.

Wednesday, April 7th, 2004 - 7:50pm

Just yesterday I mentioned to someone how surprised I was that Mark had not ventured back into the Laundromat and been arrested for violating the restraining order against him.   I spoke too soon.  Today, that is exactly why he was arrested.                             

Mark has been arrested 31 times in the last 12 months.  This feat is even more remarkable when it is revealed that Mark spent 10 of those last 12 months in County Jail.

Saturday, May 21st, 2004 - 11:00pm

Mark was released from County Jail on May 18th.  The fact that 3 days had gone by since his release and he had not been re-arrested puzzled me. 

Then, all of a sudden, Mark resurfaced--Literally.  A woman walking her dog late at night heard a large splash off the side of one of the bay bridges. 

She called the police who came out and shined their flashlights into the cold murky water below.  Mark was clinging to a large chunk of wood--Shivering away...

Mark was transported to the hospital for treatment.  He was not booked.  The hospital said they would "find a place" for him.  I don't know what this phrase means to them, but from my experience--It is totally ineffective.  It's an effort with no teeth.  Maybe there's a bit of hunger or an appetite to do such a thing, but I have not experienced any real bite. 

The split second Mark realizes he is not "locked in"--He's out.  Mark leaves if he can or perceives he can.  If someone is going to spend their resources to help him, it should at least yield some results.  I'm not being critical of their effort.  This type of effort is rare and I applaud them for trying to do something, but there's enough evidence out there by now that illustrates that much of these intentions de-volve into perceived efforts.

I'm sure I'll see him within a day or two.

Tuesday, May 25th, 2004 - 5:00pm

     Mark was arrested for being drunk in public.  His 2 day stay at the hospital did nothing but prolong the inevitable.  But he did stay out of jail for 2 days on his own... 

When Mark entered the jail, he was so intoxicated that he didn't even recognize me.  In 10 years this is the only the 2nd time this has happened.  His eyes seemed to be going two different directions.  He saw the letter "D." on my name tag and started guessing, "Dan?...  Dennis?"...  Then, all of a sudden, he wasn't trying to guess anymore, he just said my name as if he never forgot it.  Very strange. 

     Mark was arrested at a pizza parlor.  Apparently, he was knocking over tables and carrying on.  His mood was ripe.  Mark carried Carrying on with a burst of unusual zest, that had actually been missing of late.  
     Mark's normal dialogue had added a few gems.  His broken record conversation had somehow been "refreshed" (re-booted?). 
     A few hours earlier, we got word from the local courthouse that one of our other chronic drunks, "MOONDOGGIE" had died from liver failure at the hospital.
     Moondoggie had been around longer that Mark.  They were contemporaries, even though Moondoggie was about a decade older than Mark.  Of course, neither of them were as "bad" as the other and they always had choice names for each other.  Mark loved to refer to Moondoggie as "that wino".  Moondoggie was more extroverted and volatile than Mark.  Although I never saw them together, it was obvious they had crossed paths and did not like each other. 
     A tantrum was sure to be thrown if it was alluded to Moondoggie that he may be similar to Mark in any way...Moondoggie would always go the sexual insult route, whenever he became angry and made it clear to everyone that Mark was a "drunk faggot".  Not literally, just figuratively.  Moondoggie also told me he toured with The Stones and rode will the Hells Angels as well as serving 3 tours in 'Nam with the "Delta Force Da Nang Harbor Chapter 7!".
     When Moondoggie arrived in the jail, he was so amazingly different every time.  Hot and cold.  Some days, you could see he was happy to have a place to sleep.  Others, he was at war with the world and everyone in it.  Everyone was after him or "fucking him over" or something of that nature.  And everybody, including me on more than one occasion was a "fucking faggot!" 
     I would surmise that Moondoggie struggled more with petty criminal behavior and a mental illness-based personality disorder than he did outright hardcore alcoholism like Mark.  Moondoggie didn't get arrested for drunk in public as much as he did other things like; tresspassing, disturbing the peace, fighting in public, vandalism, theft of a shopping cart, etc...  Moondoggie's situation appeared to me to be much more an obvious display of self-medication.
     Lashing out appeared to be Moondoggie's only known way of inter-relating.  He simmered in anger sauce and always seemed to have a hair trigger temper.  Moondoggie always made threats, "I'm gonna eye-hook your faggot ass, Sperling!"  He also had bad habit of screaming and spitting at you when he "talked" to you.  
     Moondoggie would spray spit all over you while he screamed (except when he was screaming in his sleep which he did quite often.  Moondoggie would release violent earth-shaking roars and actually be sound asleep at the time of his screaming.  I never witnessed his screaming every waking him from his sleep.
     Nearly anything would set off Moondoggie.  Especially cops.  I recall a time that I was trying to calm him down in the uncuff and he irately removed one of his urine soaked socks and fired it toward the property bucket.  Well, somehow it curved and found my face, meeting my mouth--SPLOOSH!
     It was so utterly foul and absurd, I think Moondoggie practically expected to be executed then and there.  It actually did appear to be an accident.  Either way, I smiled slowly, turned and walked away as the chorus of my co-workers' jeers followed me down the hallway and into the kitchen where I gave my face a Karen Silkwood Power Shower.
     After that very special episode of Moondoggie Mayhem, he was much less volatile around me...
     One of the last times I saw Moondoggie, he was refusing to leave the jail because he had nowhere to go.  He wasn't thinking very clearly, but he had some medical issues (he'd been arrested out of the hospital for refusing treatment and assaulting a hospital employee).  His abdoman was pretty bloated and he just didn't look right.  He told me he was going to lie down and die in the bushes if I didn't take him back into the jail and let him stay.  I asked, "For how long?"  He simply gave me a distant look.
     Moondoggie was a free man and had burned his bridge at the hospital earlier in the day.  It was a major Catch-22 and he just didn't seem to have any direction or desire, except that nothing seemed to appeal to him.  It reminded me of a dog that's looking for a place to die and just can't figure out where to go.
     I asked Moondoggie if he wanted to go back to the hospital and he didn't want anything to do with the hospital.  He certainly couldn't stay in the jail.  If he did die in jail, there would be no way to prove he wasn't being kept against his will.  It would be a total disaster for everyone involved.
     Moondoggie seemed to be slipping through the cracks just like Mark.  A little too nuts to take care of himself...A little too sick to think clearly or have the energy to do anything effective...And a little too angry to befriend anyone--A lost hard case.
     That was a little over a month ago.  Like the prophetically dying dog, I suppose he found his place lie down...
     When I told Mark that Moondoggie was dead, he just stared.  He then said, "So...Mooner passed away on us, huh?  He got cirrohsis, did he?" (I never mentioned anything about Moondoggie's condition to Mark). 
     A little later, I asked Mark about his own health.  Mark immediately lit up, coming alive in a ferocious fashion, pounding his chest and launching into a rant about his own recent medical evaluation at the hospital, "My liver!  My kidneys!  My pancreas!  They're all totally fine!  I think the doctors...the doctors were stunned!" 

I told Mark that his blood pressure was fantastic at 119 over 67.  He smiled and said, "That's good, huh?--I'm in complete physical jurisdiction!" 

Mark then went back to addressing Moondoggie's situation. "Moon thought he was so fuckin' cool with his shopping cart and...NOW HE'S GONE!"  Mark seemed to relish in the fact that he "outlasted" Moondoggie. 

(1949 - 2004) - R.I.P.

In all the time I've spent with Mark, he never seemed to have any awareness regarding his own health.  With Moondoggie's passing and Mark's recent impressive (internal) checkup, he seemed to be going through a shift in his attitude.  Mark appears to have become aware of his own indestructibility.   

I found it incredibly fascinating now that Mark is aware of the mythic immortality he possesses, that he actually confirmed his first attempt at suicide 3 nights earlier.

I asked Mark about the incident where he "ended up in the bay" 3 nights earlier.  At first, Mark was reluctant to talk about it.  Eventuallly, he angrily confided, "I jumped.  I said, 'fuck it' and 'fuck all you' and 'FUCK EVERYONE!'"  When I asked him if he was suicidal, he just sort of vaguely nodded.  He then grabbed my hand and tried to cry.

Before, Mark simply would not die.  Now, it appears, he knows he never will...

Click on the link below to listen to an audio clip of Mark entering the jail on May 25th, 2004.

Mark enters the jail - 5/24/2004

MDA is frozen in time...

Mark David Allen - May 2004
Mark recharges...
MDA finding temporary peace...

"Fist of Fury" - May 2004
Mark is fired up after an apparent suicide attempt...

Here's a man, who appears to have been killing himself slowly for nearly 20 years, yet within 2 weeks of finding out that he's actually still healthy, he jumps from a bridge?  Was this a plan? 

Once again, Mark has survived an auto accident where everyone was killed but him, was hit by a car and spent 37 days in a coma, drowned--was pronounced dead--Then resucitated, has experienced dozens of life-threatening seizures, head injuries, and choking scenarios.  He has visited the E.R. over 200 times.  All this and now he jumps?  Anyone else would expect to have been dead by now.  Is he now taking deliberate action to end his own fate?  It is difficult to tell. 

In my opinion, jumping from a bridge on top of all of his other behavior is a red flag that someone wants to harm themself.  Maybe I'm crazy.  Mark simply slips through the cracks because he is an alcoholic.  Certainly if he stops drinking--He'll be fine.  And if Dahmer stopped killing, well, he'd just be a normal guy, right?

The hosptial kept Mark for 2 days to dry out.  He said, "I watched TV."

Before I left for the night, Mark looked straight at me, pounded his chest and said, "I'll be back". 


Click here to read an update on Mark David Allen...
Mark's journey is far from over...

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