Thu. Apr 25th, 2024

Sally McNeil is one of the greatest athletes of all time. The one and only time I met Sally face-to-face, she was ripped, pumped, shredded and cut—like delicate gourmet cutlets in a white lace body stocking; a female libido composed of pure muscle. Beautiful and smart, the blondest thing I’d ever seen, flexing instinctively and ready to have a good time.  She met me at a David Geffen record party; I don’t remember what the record was or who the band may have been, some by-the-numbers pop act posing as grunge junkies created by the Marketing Dept. But I do remember Sally, every inch of her. We were completing an oral history of her life, days and days before her trial, which unfortunately for criminals everywhere ran nearly concurrently with the infamous murder trial of OJ Simpson, which basically sucked the oxygen out of every other potential headline.  In LA, even murder and violence is glamorous; from the mysterious death of Thomas Ince aboard the yacht of Randolf Hearst in 1924, to the infamous ‘Zoot-suit riots’ of the 1940s; the untimely death of charismatic young stars, to the morbid string of apparently self-inflicted fatalities of a string of popular 60s rock stars–to the near fatal beating of Rodney King; to wastrel serial miscreants from Britney Spears and Paris Hilton to Justin Beiber and Eminem; not a moral paragon among them, yet sold to the public as beautiful, successful and ultimately powerful role-models. Seen in light of the times, Sally McNeil was not a hypocrite.    Reporters wanted to talk to her, waited with bated tape recorders to hear her break down and confess; but that would have been a shallow cliche. Sally insisted on telling the truth, twisted by lawyer-speak into a half-truth, yes, she shot her husband, no—she blew him away, in the most literal sense of the phrase, chunks of the hulking bruiser flying off with the first and then the second blast from a sawed off Remington she kept secured in a locked case so there was never any possibility of an accidental discharge or god forbid a teenager come upon such a deadly accessory. No, Sally was conscious of the violent environment she lived in, like a jungle cat whose first desire is to lie down beside cool water but in the event of danger, or hunger, not a thing alive was safe. A mother would turn into an atomic bomb if she could to protect her children. Well, here’s one mother who did–and the unfortunate soul on the receiving end of Sally’s restoring her and her children’s safety and peace of mind was a fellow who much like his fellow Angelino Simpson thought he could get away with violence against his wife and get patted on the back for being a ‘real man’.  Ray McNeil was on his way to becoming a star like Duane Johnson, or even a Hulk Hogan, an aspiring stand-up comedian and would-be pro wrestler. But anabolic steroids have a way of chewing up one’s mind like bubblegum and blowing big bubbles of boiling anger.  Choking his wife as easily as one would open a window, regularly giving her black eyes that she had to constantly cover with hip wraparound shades. People thought they were the coolest power couple ever–emphasis on power. 
Johnny Noir