Hell and the Hell’s Angels

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August 31st 2013  |  1  |  Category: Drama , True Stories  |  Author:  |  1089 views


“My Husband was pissed at the Hell’s Angels. They told us we could ride with them from the Lower East Side down to Tijuana, Mexico.” She had close-cropped, mostly grey hair, weary eyes, a denim jacket, and an artist’s face.
“We rode behind them. We weren’t in the gang but those pussies put their bikes in a truck and didn’t ride them down to Mexico like they told us they would. Yeah, we followed a truck-load full of the Hell’s Angels motorcycles all the way form New York to Tijuana.” She shook her head in disgust.
“That was forty years ago. Once we got down there, they all got drunk and started fights and made a riot in Tijuana and half of them got locked up in Mexican jails. It was really fucked-up; but that was a long time ago.”
Her name was Kathleen and she was buying a newspaper at Clippers’ News in the center of Port Jefferson. It was about 7:00 PM, with a cool salty breeze blowing in off the Long Island Sound in March, people hustling along the sidewalk outside of the small shop situated in the crossroads of the small sea-side port village. The tiniest hint of Spring was abuzz.
A lot of bikers come to Port Jefferson on the weekends, so I brought a miniature Harley that I keep perched on top of my refrigerator for Cliff to display in his store. I told him that if people liked it and wanted to buy them, I could tell him where he could import them from Vietnam. I had been there, Vietnam, and knew where I could order more. He grabbed it and put it on a shelf under the magazines.

Kathleen, the ex-biker, who used to live on East 6th Street in New York near the headquarters of the Hell’s Angels back in the 60s said goodbye, and I followed her outside onto the side walk and shook her hand. She had a firm grip. I let go first.

No sooner than I’d said goodbye to her, another customer entered Clipper’s World of Bizarre Humanity. Cliff knew her and politely asked how she was doing. She unashamedly answered, “Depressed,” and said she had been alone in her apartment all day except for a visit to her psychologist. She kept talking without pause as Cliff and I listened, said that her grandmother always told her that she was going to burn in Hell when she was a little girl. Now that she was 50, she was still consumed by the things her grandmother had told her when she was a little girl. She then asked us if we knew about the Book of Revelations in the Bible, and Cliff and I looked at each other bewildered, so she dropped that. Cliff just responded, “That’s fucked up. You just have to stop thinking about that bullshit stuff.” I said, “Yeah, just let all that old bad thinking go and move on.”
She put her hand out and shook mine, another powerful grip, and I smiled and said it was nice to meet her. Cliff went inside, deeper into the rear of his narrow, well-stocked store. Wendy stepped inside to buy something. I continued to move outside as I heard Cliff call out, “See ya tomorrow, Mike.” My mind spun about all the things I had just heard, so quick and weird. I knew I’ll be back there again, for certain.

Michael Domino


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