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Welcome to The Dungeon 

Basted days and nights in a 20th-century dormitory basement

Wednesday, Nov 29 2006

Page 10 of 10

Senator Little Kurt recorded his bio earlier, poolside. It’s such a depressing tale — the happy marriage, the high-paying job that he enjoys, the healthy, promising spawn — that I can’t bear to include it here.

Those guys clear out, return to their pop-club masochism. I don’t get the attraction. I pour a scotch from my stash, load some Count Basie (a.k.a. Count Bastie) on the iTunes, take a light hit of pipeweed and get back to work.

SUMMER OF ’82 APPROACHES. Most of us will be leaving the Dungeon forever. We formulate plans to share apartments. We decide to have one final kick-ass party: Jungle II, the sequel.

click to flip through (5) (Illustration by Deanna Staffo)
  • (Illustration by Deanna Staffo)

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Carrillo spends three or four days painting the walls with jungle animals while the rest of us again gently harvest palm fronds from the Valley to the South Bay. Rum takes a coalition down to Mexico for specialty beverages. We cover all surfaces — from the lounge to the end of the hallway, everything but floors and doors — with freshly killed fronds. The posters go up. We have a reputation from last year. The kegs, the lights, the music, my trusty bong . . . And Animal. Animal builds a waterfall.

Animal built a small waterfall for the first Jungle party, but that was just a training waterfall. This one, the second and One True Waterfall — meticulously crafted of cement over two-by-fours, tenderly painted and equipped with a mighty water pump — this was Animal’s masterpiece.

Animal builds the waterfall instead of studying or attending classes, for nine or 10 days straight. The last three nights, he barely sleeps.

“I remember coming home from a music gig with one of the bands I was working with,” Rum recalls as we sit in bumper-to-bumper traffic, westbound through Death Valley, 2006. “I came home at like 3 a.m., and you were working on the waterfall. And you looked up and said, ‘Hey.’ Like it was the most absolutely normal Tuesday night.”

“I don’t know why I built it,” says Animal. “I could think of some symbolism for it, or whatever, but I think I just wanted the waterfall more than I wanted anything else. That’s characteristic of my personality: I lock onto one thing at a time, and then just throw everything into it, to the detriment of other things. I think that’s probably my biggest weakness.”

“It was a thing of beauty,” says Rum. “And it weighed about 800 pounds.”

Seventy-two hours pass like nothing. Sunday morning, with little fanfare, we disband, vowing to gather again as soon as we can. Rum drives back with Animal and me. We hit bumper-to-bumper traffic on the westbound 15 in Death Valley, and after about 20 minutes, we see why: a fatal accident on the eastbound side. A small white car’s lying upside down in the gulley. A crew’s preparing to lift a bagged body out from beside the wreckage.

THE PROBLEM WAS THAT after the party was over, there was still a massive waterfall sitting out in front of the elevators.

“First we tried to lift it,” says Rum. “Four or five big huge monster guys, and we couldn’t even budge it.”

But even if we’d been able to move it, there was nowhere for it to go. Too big to fit in the elevators or down the hall. No way to remove the waterfall from the Dungeon floor at all. It would take forever to destroy.

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