(Submitted by friend of the blog, Spencer Marks)
One time, when I was still a police officer, I went into the break room at the police station and there was another officer there (we’ll call him Phil); he was reading a newspaper, and I sat across from him. Out of the blue he said, “You know, Marks (my last name), you are one of those guys who always seems to know everybody.”
I said, “What do you mean by that?” He continued, “You always seem to be connected to people in these Officer Involved Shootings (we had recently had several of them in the City of L.A.), from different divisions, and you always seem to know a lot of different people…”
“I don’t know what to tell you,” I said. “I know a lot of cops, I’ve worked at a lot of Divisions and I know a lot of people…”
It was a weird conversation. Just then he lowered the newspaper and he pointed to a picture of Val Kilmer, who I grew up with, as Jim Morrison in a movie about the Doors that was about to come out. He said, “I can hardly wait for this movie to come out — I’m a huge fan of Val Kilmer and I’m a huge Doors fan.” I thought, “How did he know that I grew up with Val Kilmer? Did he talk to someone and just set me up with that elaborate statement?” Or is this just a weird coincidence?
And I kind of thought about it for a minute, and said, “you know Phil, you won’t believe this…”
Phil said, “Don’t tell me; you know Val Kilmer…?!”
I said, “I grew up with him. It wasn’t like he was ‘Val Kilmer the actor’– it was Val and his brothers Wesley and Mark–Val was in my sister’s class, and Wesley was in my class. We went to their house all the time, they came to our house to play and we were all friends…”
And Phil said, “Yeah, yeah, yeah… whatever” and we dropped the conversation.
Ten days later, my phone rang at home, and a hesitant voice said “Spencer? It’s Val Kilmer.” At first I thought Phil was just pulling my chain. I hadn’t talked with Val in 15 years and didn’t really recognize his voice right away. So I sort of answered in a very nonchalant voice, “Oh… hi.”
Then he said, almost apologetically, “Is it OK that I called you at home? Peggye gave me your number. I’m doing a new movie and I’m playing an FBI agent and Peggye told me you are working as a police officer and gave me your number…” Those were the magic words, because I knew Phil wouldn’t have known my sister’s name, so I said, “OF COURSE it’s OK that you called me at home!” Val came over, and we talked for a few hours at my house, but I told him, “I can tell you what it’s like to be a street cop, but not an FBI agent… but I have a friend who’s in the FBI. Let’s go talk with him tomorrow.” So I arranged that.
The coincidence part is pretty much over, but the rest is more about human interest. We went (the next day) to talk with my friend the FBI agent, then went to the gun club to go shooting. I felt I needed to apologize to Val about the lukewarm reception when he first phoned. I explained about Phil and the conversation 10 days earlier.
Val started laughing hysterically — we had talked earlier about how the press gets everything wrong, and he said, “Let me send Phil a picture; it’s on two frames, one with a picture of me as Jim Morrison, the other is a picture of me as Jim Morrison being dragged off stage by police officers, and signed: ‘Phil, don’t believe anything the press tells you, but believe everything Spencer tells you. — Val Kilmer'”
Two weeks later, the package arrives, and Phil opened it, and said “Very funny…” as if he didn’t believe it was a real autographed picture. So I said “Dude, if you want Val’s autograph, take good care of it. It’s a real autograph… don’t throw it away.” He seemed like he didn’t trust me. Six months later I asked what he did with the autographed picture; he said it was hanging on the wall in his den.
I guess he figured it was real, because it was postmarked New Mexico… and it would have been a very elaborate joke to have it relayed through New Mexico.
[EDITOR: While he may have been connected to people involved in these shootings, Spencer has never shot any members, friends, or family of our team while on or off duty, and had he, we can state with confidence that the case would have been quietly settled out of court, with an agreement of silence, for an undisclosed sum of money that may or may not have allowed us to cover the web hosting costs of this blog.]