On a Monday morning around this time in 2016, Chris Brown woke up and sparked a blunt. He had fallen asleep on a bright red sectional sofa in the living room of his $4.35 million mansion in Tarzana, an affluent area of Los Angeles’ San Fernando Valley. It’s where he would pass out most evenings. Lately, says a former employee who was accustomed to scenes like this, Brown had trouble sleeping in his master bedroom upstairs and would instead watch sci-fi movies all through the night. Empty Styrofoam cups littered the table, a sign that Brown -- who hadn’t been taking his medication for the bipolar II condition he had been diagnosed with in 2014 -- had likely also been sipping lean (a mixture of promethazine/codeine syrup and a soft drink), his comedown of choice after a coke or Molly binge. Brown scrolled through Instagram, hunting for clues about the status of his ex, the 28-year-old model Karrueche Tran. Whom was she with last night, and where? Who was commenting on her most recent photos?
A delivery man arrived and began ringing Brown’s doorbell. “Do your f—ing job!” barked Brown at one of his security guards, a hulking man who had been living for the past three-and-a-half years in the home. But the guard, who was off duty, was asleep, and his partner was outside. Like many other nights, the guard had stayed up late to check Brown’s pulse. The bell rang again — this time, it was a construction worker who had been employed at the house all week. Brown paced back and forth. Finally, he lost his temper. “I’m going to show you what it’s like not to work with Chris Brown for two weeks!” he shouted at the guards, kicking them both out of his house.