Night Out With The Worm: A Dennis Rodman Story
You ever have one of those nights that is so random and far-fetched, you don’t even know how to tell the story to sum up the sheer madness of it all? This is one of those stories. And I’ll do my best to tell it.
The night started like any other great American story, at a Major League Baseball game, Angels and Rays to be exact. I attended the game with my mates Steve, Warren, Cain, and his brother Abe. Since Anaheim, California isn’t known for any nightlife outside the walls of Walt Disney’s finest piece of land, when the last out occurs your only option becomes a place that is delightfully tacky, yet unrefined. You guessed it, Hooters.
The five of us spent a few hours indulging in some beers, apps, and determining Moundball dues. As we are finishing up, in walks one of the most polarizing and recognizable people on our planet, Dennis Rodman. What Dennis Rodman was doing in a 90% empty Hooters in Anaheim at 11:30PM on a Saturday night was beyond me, but at that moment I don’t think any of us could have imagined how the rest of the evening would play out.
Dennis Rodman is one of the few people of our era whose notoriety may be defined a dozen different ways depending on who you ask. Some people would recognize him due to his acting career, his (failed) marriages, outlandish behavior, unique hairstyle or piercings, legal or sobriety issues, or most recently his affairs with a notorious enemy of the state. The list goes on and on. I think you’d be hard-pressed to name many individuals more renowned both domestically and globally than the so-called Worm. For Steve, Warren, and I the feeling is a little different. We all grew up in (suburban) Chicago during the incredible Bulls era, making Rodman a vital part of our childhood.
Warning: I’m going to sound like a bit of a snob here, but deal with it. Since I’ve been a Los Angeles resident I’
The five of us sat there questioning what to do. Do we approach like we belong? Do we ask for a picture? Or do we float off into the night quietly? I feel like the fear with celebrities is if you have a bad experience it will ruin your perception of them forever. For most girls, I think a good example would be Beyoncé. Chicks fucking love Beyoncé, for reasons I still don’t know. But hey, respect. Anyways, imagine running into Beyoncé in aisle nine of your local Whole Foods. What would you do? Let’s say you approach her, fumble some words about how you love her, mention that Single Ladies was your sorority’s anthem sophomore
I was content with leaving but the other guys wanted to make a move. Steve stepped up, said he was going out there. We had been drinking pretty consistently for over 12 hours at this point, so that may have factored into his valor. We watched him approach through a set of windows, standing over Dennis and his crew talking, and after about 30 seconds took a seat next to him. He was out there for about 20 minutes before he sent us a text:
Come out here, Dennis wants to meet you guys.
We head outside and immediately greeted by Dennis, “heard you boys are from Chicago, grab a chair and sit down.” Warren gets a little antsy in his pantsy and goes right for a chair next to Dennis. “Except that one god damn it!” he shouts. This is when the night began.
There he was, Rodman in the flesh, sporting a white wife beater, blue workout pants, sunglasses, piercings, just chilling. We sat around chatting for over an hour about a flurry of topics: Dennis’ annoyance that his #91 hasn’t been retired by the Bulls, Derrick Rose is a pussy, his excitement to perform with Eddie Vedder and Pearl Jam at Wrigley Field this summer (plus full demonstration), Donald Trump, and restaurants in Chicago. Warren tells him that growing up a Bulls fan, the only jersey he owned was a Rodman one. Steve and Dennis are giving each other a hard time like old pals. Dennis makes a comment about how we’re all good guys, but isn’t sure about Cain yet, thinks he has questionable character and might just be gay. He seemed at ease talking with us. We weren’t gushing over him, just casual conversation like we’d known each other for years.
At one point during our conversation Dennis looked directly at me and said, “You talk and look like you got a big dick, you know that? We’re gonna call you Cock-Guy.”
Cock-Guy. Dennis Rodman tagged me with the nickname Cock-Guy. What is better than that? This man wifed up Carmen Electra, has five NBA title rings, and probably has had two dozen penicillin shots directly up his urethra, but deems me the Cock-Guy. Hilarity ensued. And that’s how the legend began, the legend of Cock-Guy. I ran with it, because how could you not? I spent the rest of the night talking in the third-person. “Cock-Guy would advise against that.”
Hooters was getting ready to close for the night. We gathered that Dennis comes here all the time. We also gathered that when he does come here, they either comp or apply a heavy promo code to his bill. When the tab arrived, Dennis must have asked his friend half a dozen times if the bill was right. Would talk for a couple minutes, and then would look back down on the bill and ask, “is this right?” Over and over. There was a part of me, sorry, there was a part of Cock-Guy that wanted to volunteer and pay the bill. But then I thought, well if Rodman is questioning the bill it’s probably not cheap. Maybe he had been keeping a tab here for years and it was collection day. Maybe he had ripped off 20 shots of Patron before we made our way back to the patio, since Dennis seemed far from sober. Ultimately Dennis’ friend pulled out a Benjamin and a couple Tubman’s to pay the check.
Dennis Rodman is exactly how you would imagine him, totally fucking nuts. I couldn’t tell if he was intoxicated or if that’s truly how he is. Maybe he just has a sluggish cognitive tempo or maybe he has Asperger’s. He would often transition from bro talk into something very philosophical. His motto of the night was “you gotta keep it movin’ and keep it (pause) groovin.” He repeated this several times.
One of the Hooters chicks came and sat at our table as the place was closing. Young girl, maybe 22 years old or so, and judging by her place of employment, desperate for attention. Hanging with Rodman was already a level ten on the weird shit scale, but Dennis decided he wanted to increase that to a 26. In the middle of a basketball charged topic, Dennis just looks at her and said very seriously, “let’s just say you were laying naked on my floor.” No segue, no foreplay, no follow up hypothetical. Just that statement. Nine people sitting at a table, silent for what seemed like an eternity. Someone finally releases a chuckle to break the tension. Rodman has exuded odd behavior all night, seemingly due to a combination of his personality and a mixture of alcohol and/or drugs. The night will be a fun story to tell but Steve and I are both ready to get the fuck out of here and distance ourselves before something fucked up happens.
The group of us make our way into the parking lot. Dennis asks Steve, Warren, and Cock-Guy (myself) where we’re headed. Cain and Abe were driving back up to Inglewood, but the three of us were going to back to Warren’s to change clothes with the intention of going out to a club named Sutra. We’d taken an Uber from a neighboring city to get to the game.
“Hey Cock-Guy, you good to drive?” Dennis asks
“Cock-Guy is good to drive” I say.
“Cool, I’ll drive you guys home.”
Huh? What the hell happened? Let’s recap: Dennis asks if I’m good to drive, I reply yes, and then he volunteers himself? The way he’s has been acting I wouldn’t let him drive a Hot Wheels. I start scheming how to get out of this so I don’t end up riding in a Flight For Life. I approach Abe and Cain, whisper, “You guys gotta offer to take us home. Dennis CAN’T DRIVE!” They agree Dennis is in no shape to operate a toaster oven, let alone a motor vehicle. They go retrieve their car.
I start walking towards the Hooters to deliver the news. I’m rehearsing in my head. “No worries Dennis, we got a ride!” Before I know it, Dennis pulls up in his god damn Range Rover, Steve is sitting shotgun and Warren is in the back with a jolly ass grin on his face. The rest of Dennis’ crew has departed, and there’s room for one more.
“Let’s go Cock-Guy, hop in.”
Immediate thought: We’re going to fucking die tonight. I reluctantly get in and immediately put my seat-belt on. I look at Warren and tell him to do the same. Dennis hops on the 5 freeway and we’re blazing south, meanwhile I can’t stop thinking about our imminent demise. What a way to go out though. What a story it’ll be. My parents are going to wake up to news I died in a car wreck but oh by the way Dennis Rodman was driving. I just keep thinking to myself, what the fuck is going on?
Dennis is SUPER paranoid about this small bag in the back seat in between us, yelling at us to throw it in the trunk. We assure him it’s fine where it’s at but he is persistent about throwing it in the back. I don’t want to touch this shit without latex gloves on. All I need is for some 8-ball of yayo to come rolling into my lap. It’s late, we’ve been drinking all day, and I’m more shook up than Muhammad Ali. I grab the bag and fling it in the trunk like it’s a live grenade. Dennis has the music bumping, all while lighting up a cigar with one hand, texting in the other, and doing a steady 90 MPH as he transitions onto the 55-South.
Still rattled, I nervously blurt out, “hey man, what if we get pulled over?”
Dennis motions to Steve to open the glove compartment. I’m assuming he’s going to show me how he deals with the 5-0 by pulling out a Glock 9. It’s the complete opposite. Steve reaches in and pulls out an authentic police badge and ID. As the kids say these days, ‘shit is officially lit.’ I’m trying to document everything on Snapchat to corroborate my story later on.
Warren is trying to yell over the music to Dennis to take the next exit to get us home. Dennis acknowledges, and then blows right by the exit. “No worries,” Warren says, “you can take the next one.” Dennis acknowledges again, and blows by once again. We’re headed to Tijuana, I fucking knew it! Nope, we pull up to Sutra, the club we said we were intending on going to earlier. What a guy, he’s dropping us off at the club, though none of us are dressed even remotely appropriate to even get into the place.
“You can drop us off right up here,” I say.
“No way! Dennis you’re coming in with us, right?” Warren says much to my dismay.
“Yeah Cock-Guy, I’m coming too.”
Someone issue an Amber Alert. One white male kidnapped by Hall of Fame basketball player.
Sutra is in what they call “The Triangle” in Orange County. It’s in a mall with other restaurants, bars, and a movie theater. I used to be a regular at Sutra until it switched demographics from Asians, ravers, and dance music to its current state of Rap/Hip-Hop. The place is packed on weekends and walking through the mall with Rodman is going to attract some attention. Oh well, we park the car and we’re going. As we are making the walk through the parking garage and terrace, predictably all eyes are on us. Rodman obviously sticks out like a Muslim at a Trump rally, and it doesn’t help he’s paired with three significantly younger white dudes. People are just looking at us confused, questioning what they are seeing, not quite approaching. I’m thinking to myself there is zero chance we’re getting into Sutra. Dennis is dressed like a slob, I’m wearing Sperry’s and a snapback, and Warren’s got shorts on! I’ve seen people turned away at Sutra for less. Dennis takes the lead and approaches the bouncer but doesn’t even need to say a thing.
“Hey Dennis, good to see you again man. Cover is on the house tonight. Four?”
For fuck sake. It appears that Dennis has filled the void I previously left at Sutra. He’s a regular. We walk past a plethora of security and everyone is shaking our hands and introducing themselves to us. We get in and Dennis wants to head straight to the bar for shots. Warren asks Dennis what we should get. Dennis holds up four fingers and says “Jäger.” Well then. I haven’t done a Jäger shot since college, but fuck it. I’m just relieved I made it to the club and not the county morgue. Down the hatch and away we go. We start walking through the club and the mob begins. Sutra of old would not have recognized Rodman, but Sutra of new does. We are doing laps, Dennis won’t stop moving and we’re trying to keep up. Every dude in the club wants to shake his hand. Every chick in the club wants Dennis’ attention. It’s chaotic. People are requesting photos but Dennis wants no part of that shit. In fact, he’s getting annoyed with all the attention unless they resemble a perfect 10 model. After a mere 15 minutes, Dennis is fed up and ready to go.
“Let’s go next door,” he says.
We leave Sutra and enter Saddle Ranch. Sutra is a full on nightclub, dimly lit. Saddle Ranch is a southern style bar with full visibility. Everyone in “The Triangle” is going to be here soon. We get in and head straight to the bar. Dennis lifts four fingers and says “let’s do it again.” More Jäger. It’s at this point Dennis requests Steve and I to go find the hottest girls in the bar and bring them over. We follow the order and go hunting. We find a collection of blonds and ask if they know who Dennis Rodman is. They look puzzled, but of course their douche bag boyfriends do. We get them to follow us over. Steve and I figure if we get Dennis distracted enough we can ditch him.
This is pretty much the moral of the story. You’d think hanging out with Dennis Rodman would be the highlight of your life. But in actuality we just wanted to get the fuck away from him, but he boxed us in like we were Karl Malone.
The girls are into Dennis and he’s into them, but more and more people start coming over requesting photos, totally cock-blocking the Worm. Dennis is denying all wishes, making shit awkward. He’s becoming increasingly irritable and rude to everyone approaching him, and then turning to us like we’re his hired bodyguards. It’s time to get out of here. As we are walking back towards the car a flock of people latch onto us. That’s when the most surreal moment of the night took place. Dennis turns around, looks directly at me with a pale and frightened look, and says, “Help. Help me please.”
What the fuck do you do when Dennis Rodman asks you for help?
We start pushing people away and escort him back to the car. Warren grabs the keys and the wheel while Steve and I are pushing people away from the Range Rover. We hop in and drive off. Dennis perks up and wants to keep the night going, more nightclubs, maybe a strip joint, but we are all adamant about going home. Dennis’ only request, “well let’s get some Taco Bell.”
We hit the drive-thru and Dennis is really conflicted on what to get. He spends over a minute in silence pondering over the menu before he proclaims, “let me get eleven tacos.” If eleven tacos isn’t the order that perfectly reflects Dennis Rodman, I’m not sure what is. Taco Bell guy asks about the denominations: Hard shell? Soft? Chicken? Beef? Ro
Upon arriving, Dennis asks us what we’re doing for lunch the next day. He gives us his phone number and says he’s going to pick us up the following afternoon, with the intention of taking us to one of his restaurants. The guy literally can’t get enough of us. He’s clinging on like we just took his virginity at the prom. Dennis gets out to thank us for a fun night with a handshake and a hug. I’m last to say goodbye, and after I bump off his chest I proclaim, “Cock-Guy Out!”
He loves it.
We get inside the apartment and ask each other, “did that really happen?” It had. We followed up with Dennis the next day. He said he had some stuff to do and would call back later. We never heard from him again. That begs the question that a lot of women can relate to: Why do guys always do that? They say they will call and then they never call, and in the end they just used us. Anyways, this concludes the story of when Dennis Rodman held me against my will, and it will live in infamy.
Until next time Dennis. Cock-Guy Out!
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