I’m pushing on with the next volume of the Cerberus series, specifically the fallout from a gangland killing from my opening of ‘A falling of Angels’. Getting a volume out in the public domain always leaves me with the need to do more. My attitude is, “Okay, that’s done. What’s next?”
As I was driving in to work, I was going through some of the ideas for ‘falling’, and have been taking a stroll down a rather shadowy memory lane. Well, not so much lane as dark alley. Drawing on my own brush with motorcycle gang culture, back in the late 70’s and early 80’s. Those three or four years were crazy days, and some of the people I rubbed shoulders with back then still provide me with useful material. Not that I’ll ever name names, times, dates and places.
Loyalties, once given, should not be withdrawn without serious provocation or penalty. That was the core of the code I lived by. Betrayal was considered the worst of crimes against your chosen peer group. The rule is that you don’t grass. Ever. What happens doesn’t get discussed outside your group. Exile or death are the penalties. Omerta rules. That was the zeitgeist, and I got to see it up close and personal, enough to understand it well. Observed in the flesh, without any rose tinting of glasses.
At the time I recall reading Hunter S Thompson’s “Hells Angels”, but the reality was never quite as he made it sound. Not that I ever had much first hand contact with real, full patch chapter members, although I had a nodding acquaintance with a couple. Some days were fun. A hell of a lot of fun. The parties were almost legendary. We got stoned, smoked and drank a lot. We built and rebuilt motorcycles. I got the reputation for being ‘mad’, although no-one would ever explain why. I was a positive pussycat compared to most of my contemporaries. Some of whom would beat up on people for a word out of place. Sometimes for no reason at all, just for the hell of it.
In the end I simply walked away from it and kept on walking, but the fascination of ‘the life’ as we referred to it back then, remains with me. The casual, almost blasé attitude to sex, violence and illicit substances, which I never really shared. The heavy metal music which sometimes still touches an amused nerve. The sheer camaraderie and non-judgmental brotherhood of it all. The two minor gang wars witnessed from the sidelines. Eighteen friends and boon companions dead in five short years to drunk driving, accident, one murder, and two suicides. You might say it got a little rough for a while.
A couple of decades ago I toyed with the idea of writing down my experiences, and planned a memoir with the working title “Black leather, red blood”, but in the end decided not to. Time has degraded my memory of the events, and after thirty plus years I don’t trust memory alone except for the broadest of brushstrokes. Most of my notes got burned or lost, and we all have to move on. Perhaps it’s better this way.