Michael Phillips, The Airstream Chronicles - Celebrity Visitors To The Airstream

Celebrity Visitors To The Airstream

Today started out like any other day in the Airstream, with Bell coming out to sneak a couple of smokes and pick at my breakfast while I tried to eat. He dropped off a big box of returned Tropez phones, and told me to clean them up and re-box them when I finished spray painting the day's order of gold roses and packaging up the bootleg Cusco cassettes that he dubbed over the weekend. Nothing out of the ordinary.

Just before noon a pickup truck fishtailed into the driveway with its horn blowing. Bell and I were both outside, and when he saw the truck coming, he ran into the double-wide and locked the door. I was frantically trying to keep the dust that the truck kicked up off of the freshly painted roses, when who should jump out of the truck but my old friend Sean Penn. We'd met at the Beverly Hills gun club years ago and I ended up helping him through his messy divorce from Madonna.

"mjp, you son of a bitch! How are ya!"

"A-OK baby, what the hell are you doing in Pahrump?"

"Ah, you know, I'm looking for some land in the desert. Those tight-asses in Malibu keep complaining about the noise from the guns." He pulled an AK47 out of the truck cab and tossed it to me. "This is perfect out here man, you got nothing but dirt for miles around!" He grabbed another huge automatic weapon from the truck and spun around and let a few dozen rounds go out into the wilderness. "Lets do some shooting!"

It wasn't until then that I noticed there was someone else in the truck. "Hey, who's with you?"

"Oh, that's Shannen Doherty. We've been running together for a few weeks. Bitch is crazy man, you'd love her."

She was slumped against the passenger side door with her tongue hanging part way out. She didn't look good. "Looks like you killed her," I said.

Sean laughed and said, "Oh, well, we've been up for three days straight drinking vodka out of coconut shells and driving around the god damn desert. She's a little tired. Besides, you know I haven't killed anyone in years!"

We walked out to the fence and Sean kicked down a big section and headed out to find a target. "I got your address from Ugly Bob at the Malibu Cantina. What the hell are you doing out here anyway?"

"I'm working for Art Bell, the radio guy."

"No shit?" Penn said, cracking a big smile, "I've heard that show. That bastard's out of his mind! I like him!" He saw something move a hundred yards away and blew whatever it was to pieces with a barrage of firepower.

"You'll have to say hi to him before you leave. I think he'd like you too. You know, he doesn't get to meet many people. He doesn't like to go out much."

Penn was just blasting away blindly by then, sweeping across huge parcels of desert. He was in his element, and seemed happy. "Damn, I like it out here! This is the life! You got any cold beer in that trailer?"

We headed back toward the Airstream and as we passed his truck Sean kicked the door and yelled, "Wake up in there! We're going visiting!"

Shannen raised her head about an inch and squinted at Sean. "Fuck you!" she screamed, "Get me back to the city, you asshole!" and threw a coconut at Sean, who ducked just in time to avoid a blow to the head.

"Jesus, I'm fond of her..." he said, and we went into the Airstream.

"Beer's in that little fridge over there. Make yourself at home, I'm going to get Bell and bring him out here to meet you."

I walked up the rickety steps to the double-wide and banged on the flimsy aluminum door. There was no answer, and when I turned my head to look in the window I saw Bell peering out from behind the curtains. "Arty! Come on out. There's someone here I want you to meet."

I heard his muffled voice from inside, "I ain't coming out there. You got some kind of lunatic in the Airstream! He'll just hurt me and make fun of my glasses! Make him go away or I'm calling the police!" Bell pulled the curtains shut.

"Arty, come on, he's not going to hurt you. It's the actor, Sean Penn. He's harmless, come and say hello." But Bell wouldn't budge. "He brought someone with him I think you'd like to meet..."

"You heard me MJB, either he leaves or I call the police! I mean it!"

I went back out to the Airstream and Sean was going through the cupboards. "Where the hell do you keep the RealLime juice?"

"I don't think I have any. So you're going to buy a patch of desert, eh?"

"Yeah, I think so. What's it like out here?"

"Well, people leave you alone. And there's less of them to bother you."

"Hmm. That suits me, alright. So where's your boss? I thought he was coming out? I want to meet that nut!"

"He's on the bowl. He'll probably come out later."

"What the hell is Shannen doing out there..." he got up and went to the door. "Come in here! what's wrong with you? You're gonna dry up and blow away!" He sat back down at the table, and Shannen unsteadily made her way through the door.

"You dick! You said by the time I woke up we'd be in L.A.!"

She threw her purse at Sean, and it caught him on the arm, spilling its contents all over the trailer. "Now baby, just sit down and drink some beer. You'll feel better in no time."

She plopped down next to him and angrily grabbed his beer and chugged it down. She reeked of body odor and vomit, and the underarms of her dress were covered with large white stains. She put down the beer can and let loose a long belch, looked at Sean and said, "Get me another one, asshole." He smiled and went to get more beer. Shannen looked at me as if it were the first time she noticed anyone else in the room.

"Who the hell are you?"

"I'm a friend of Sean's. Nice to meet you."

"Yeah right." she said, opening another beer.

"Don't you just love her!" Sean said, putting his arm around her.

"Get off me, shorty!" she said, shrugging his arm away and sliding to the corner of the Airstream's "grub nook." She leaned her head against the wall and passed out almost immediately.

"I suppose I should get her back to L.A." Sean said. "Is Bell coming out or not?"

"Probably not. Like I said, he's not so good with people. He'd just try to sell you one of these crappy phones anyway." I said, kicking the box of Tropez's.

"Oh well. Listen, before I go, you want a stab at her?" He nodded toward Shannen.

"What are you talking about?"

"You want to do her? She's out of it man, just lay her out on the floor. She won't mind, and she's good, man! Umm hmm!" He had that crazy smile on his face again.

The thought of having sex with Doherty in the condition she was in not only disgusted me, but it just seemed wrong. So very wrong. Sean sat there smiling at me and raising his eyebrows. I reached over and locked the door of the Airstream...

mjp
1/15/96

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