ONE CRAZY SUMMER
by Evan Rissi
The first time I went surfing was in the summer of 1991. As a recent college graduate I was quickly hired by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and assigned to their Los Angeles offices, where I was placed into the bank robbery department. At the time, Los Angeles County was the bank robbery capital of the world, with 1,322 of them in 1990 (which was up 26% from the year before) and the F.B.I. solving over 1,000 of them. I was a rookie in every sense of the word—young,
dumb, and full of cum—but I was ready to take on anything.
On my first day two things happened: first, I became partners with a veteran of the Bureau, Angelo Pappas, who had been working bank robbery for 22 years. Secondly, a group of bank robbers called the Ex-Presidents (four men that robbed banks wearing ex-United States presidents masks) successfully robbed their 27th bank of the year. Now, the reason that all this is relevant is that Pappas had some outrageous theory that the Ex-Presidents were a group of surfers, robbing banks in L.A. throughout the summer to fuel their adrenaline-filled lifestyles. In order to prove this theory, I went undercover into the surf culture to try and find this tight-knit group of criminals. Obviously, this involved surfing.
As it turns out, surfing is hard. Even though I was extremely athletic and was an all-American college football quarterback, I just couldn’t do it. I blended in with the local surfers about as well as I would at a Tyler Perry movie premiere. Nevertheless, I started getting my surfing chops through the teachings of a beautiful woman named Tyler, who brought me under her wing into the surf world. Tyler was very special, and I put my life on the line for her many times (we’re still together). It was through her that I first met Bodhi, the greatest surfer I’ve ever met.
They called him the Bodhisattva, which is a Buddhist term for an enlightened being, and he didn’t disappoint the title. Bodhi was all about the ride…the rush, the adrenaline, and having amazing hair. He made surfing a spiritual experience, an experience that not many people have. Still working undercover, I was picking up leads on certain crews that could feasibly be the Ex-Presidents. At one point, Bodhi and I whooped some of these dudes’ asses and ended up becoming friends. He made me understand what surfing was all about and I thank him to this day for it. Thank you, Bodhi.
If Pappas taught me anything in our time together, it was that it’s never too early for lunch—and that there’s a sandwich shop in downtown L.A. that serves the best meatball sandwiches of all time. Pappas was definitely a character, and hands down the best partner I’ve ever had. Every year on his birthday I eat two of those meatball sandwiches in his honor.
To make a long story short, it turned out that Bodhi and his friends were the Ex-Presidents all along. It took me a while to figure it out, but once I did a bunch of things happened: they kidnapped Tyler, forced me to help them rob a bank, and we went skydiving (really fun). Pappas was shot and killed, all of Bodhi’s friends were shot and killed, and Bodhi escaped to Mexico. I followed his trail through every city in Mexico, found an old passport of his in Sumatra, missed him by a week in Fiji, and finally caught up with him nine months later at Bells Beach in Australia. I knew he wouldn’t miss his opportunity to surf the biggest waves the Earth had seen in 50 years.
Bodhi died doing what he loved most: surfing. Even after handcuffing him on the beach, I let him paddle out there knowing that he had zero intention of coming back. I understood that a free spirit such as his never would have been able to handle a cage. As for me, I quit the force immediately after (pretty much at the exact same time Bodhi’s body was destroyed by giant waves), and have continued to surf every day since. My days of chasing bad guys are long gone. There are only two things I chase now: tequila shots and point breaks.