Friday, August 5, 2016

Angels (Part 1)

     Despite the fact that we're in San Diego, Roach is wearing two jackets.  He has on his leather, and on top of that a denim vest.  Roach is damn proud of that vest.  Over the left breast is a white patch with blue lettering that reads "Fucker."  On the back is a largish patch.  The image is a skull, or death's head, with long ornate wings coming off of it.  Curving above it are the words "Hells Angels," and below, "San Diego." 
Roach removes both jackets as one piece and puts them on a hanger in the sound stage.  The patches are new, and he does not want them to get creased or wrinkled.  That's how proud he is of that vest.  Stripping down, he leaves the rest of his clothes in a pile on the floor.

Angels (Part 2)

     I was cooling it in my office, waiting for Bekka to come down so we could go to lunch, when Roach drifted in.  He was wearing his leather and his colors, and pulling off a pair of riding gloves.  He still had a vague odor of engine grease, accumulated at his morning gig, stripping hot cars in National City.  He slid one the task chairs away from the wall and up next to my desk, kicking the door closed.  Throwing his leather and colors over the arm of the sofa, he asked, "Hey Lenny, wanna smoke a bowl?  I need a pipe.  I got shit that came out of the lab this morning, and it's rocket fuel.  Not quite as clean as yours, but it's got the same kick.  A good batch."

Angels (Part 3)

     Mutt called me the next afternoon.  He had two guys who could use the work, Peewee and Cisco.  Both were in good shape, would follow instructions well, were Becky Page fans, and were currently between jobs of any kind.  No legal grind, and no hustles going on.  They needed the money.  The Hell's Angels would not let a member go hungry or lose their apartment, but it was generally expected that members would be self-sufficient.  Both Peewee and Cisco had long-term girlfriends who worked, so they weren't at risk of becoming homeless, but the lack of income was definitely putting a cramp in their style.  Hell's Angels should not be recycling aluminum cans to get pocket money.

Angels (Part 4)

     That night we met Terry at the Gun Range on Balboa.  This would be her first introduction to the safe handling and operation of handguns.  While guns are hardly rare around outlaws, their use seemed to be reserved for the boys only, nobody had ever invited Terry out to the desert to go shooting.  I wasn't worried about her having a pistol, Terry was far more intelligent than she let on.  Like her kindness and feminine side, she kept her wits hidden from the outside world, only displaying them around those she trusted.

Angels (Part 5)

     Bekka and I stuck around for another forty-five minutes.  Our first signing was the next day, and we wanted our rest.  With our departure, the Angels decided to move up to the front of the stage, so they could shove dollar bills in garters.  I noticed that they drank steadily, but slowly.  They also stuck with watery, low-powered beer like Budweiser and Coors Light.  No spirits.  They would also occasionally get up and avail themselves of the bowls of chips and pretzels sitting on the bar.  Thinking about it, this made sense to me.  Not only were they drinking off their turf, when they left they would have to ride motorcycles on urban freeways at night.  Doing so with a good buzz was a bad idea.

Angels (Part 6)

Once again, on Sunday Bekka and I were early at the mansion.  We wanted to make sure Angel was moving around, and to check the BBS for any gossip about Friday's signing.  We walked in and went to the office, to find Angel already occupying my desk, staring at the screen of the Macintosh.  He was reading a post on the BBS with rapt fascination.  Looking up, Angel gave a crooked grin.  He looked tired.

Angels (Part 7)

     Several days later we're down at the Hi-Lo in National City again.  We have switched from our previous location at the bar to a booth near the pinball machine and a pool table.  Roach, Bekka and I are knocking back burritos along with our draft beer.  Roach is happy and proud tonight, he won a bet with Small Steve.  Roach claimed he could perform in two loops in a day, and still do well in both.... Including the money shot.   Steve said no way: while yeah, at nineteen Roach would recover to perform just fine during lunch hour, the human body did not produce semen fast enough to have a decent money shot four hours later.  Roach told Steve that it was worth $300 to settle, and Steve accepted.  That afternoon, what was going to be a three way turned into a two-on-two, Roach working with Pill.

Angels (Part 8)

     So that's how me and Bekka started hanging around the San Diego Hell's Angels.  We started going down about once or twice a week, whether or not Roach was going to be there or not.  He was getting pressure from Dawn to spend more time at home, and love won out, he did.  We never really agreed on who would be the "designated driver," just one of us agreeing to nurse Miller, stay away from the scotch or Jack Daniels.  We were relaxed around there.  The Angels were relaxed around us, to them, we were just Good People, friends who hung around.  Bekka would still pose with Angels and their bikes for photos, but once all the local members got their pictures taken, that only happened when members from visiting chapters stopped by.  "Man, you ain't gonna believe who we're friends with...."

Angels (Part 9)

     "Hey, look over there," said Bekka, pointing down the bowling alley.
     I looked.  There were four guys wearing H.A. colors at one of the lanes.  Closer inspection revealed them to be Cisco, Peewee, Fatso, and Hinge.  There were four girls at the lane next to them, all obvious biker babes, although I didn't recognize any of them.  No surprise there, Roach and I were considered anomalies because we brought our women with us to the bar.  I glanced at Terry.  She looked a bit disappointed, as basic math indicated there were no single Angels.  Jane looked happy.  She would be, Fatso was there.  She liked the rail-thin, slightly older Angel for his relaxed, friendly demeanor, his brains, and his lack of lechery.  We walked in that direction.

Angels (Part 10)

     Three weeks later, the reviews for "Succubus" came out.

Angels (Part 11)

     Being the energetic girl she was, Terry decided to leap right in to the amateur target competitions at the Gun Range.  She immediately began disturbing people: five foot six of foul-mouthed scooter tramp on a Harley, carrying a Colt under one arm, and went through her first two competitions firing with one of the Gun Range's rental pieces.  Not only a rental gun, but a Beretta 92.  Compared to what the other target shooters used, Terry may as well have been firing a bazooka.

Angels (Part 12)

     On the Monday of the fifth week after the release of "Succubus," Angel called me to let me know how well Small Steve and I had kept to budget.  Roughly, we had spent just under $4.5 million on production.  Our budget max was $6 million.  As per our agreement, Steve and I would be splitting the amount saved under that $6 million cap.  The end result was we were each getting $750,000 bonuses.

Angels (Part 13)

     The next morning Crystal and I collected Hank and drove down into the valley.  We stopped in a diner in Marysville for breakfast, then headed for the dealership.  Over breakfast, we discussed the decision by Hank and Crystal to hold onto their own cars, if that was all right.  It was pure hillbilly logic: both the Subaru and the Maverick ran, and you don't get rid of vehicles that run, even if they've been replaced with something better.  You hold onto them, just in case.  I told them that was fine, they owed me nothing for the "extra" cost (neither had considered tax or DMV fees when pricing cars), I was just happy to get them into something newer and reliable.

Angels (Part 14)

     I returned to a quiet studio.  Loops were being made, video was being edited, performers were happy, everyone was paid, there was nothing to worry about.  Spike and Goose were working out on their jobs.  I put my feet up and concentrated on my job.  No sweat.
     It was a Tuesday when the gunfire broke out.  Somebody knew our schedule.  Checks were made available at nine a.m. on Tuesdays, but most performers didn't pick them up until lunch, whether they were working or not.  There was a line stringing out of my office, everyone, cast and crew, wanting to get their money for the week.  I'd ordered pizza in, it was a tradition, get your check and a little bit of lunch while you're there.  Nothing big.  Just business.

Angels (Part 15)

     Bekka and I cut out to help improve Goose's reading situation.  Working on the premise that he would not be big into Danielle Steele or James Patterson (or People) we skipped the gift shop and headed to a liquor store we knew that had one hell of a news stand.  We picked up copies of Iron Horse, Outlaw Biker, Cycle World, Car & Driver, Road & Track, Esquire, and Penthouse.  Debate was had about whether to get him a copy of Hustler or Gallery, but we decided those would wreak havoc on his already low blood pressure.