An hour later all four college girls were back from their introductory cruises. Terry and Racine were back first. Racine looked positively winded. Terry was saying to her, "Yeah, like I said, a few of the dudes from fuckin' Oakland tried my putt, and they were blown away. They think I'm nuts for putting the fuckin' thing on the street at all. But hey, I wanted fast, and I got what I wanted. I guess I'm just used to the fuckin' thing."
Racine said, "Thanks again for the ride, that was amazing. So why did you want a motorcycle that fast? Aren't, like, Ninjas supposed to be fast? Why didn't you just buy one of those, instead of having all that work done to a Harley?"
"I wanted a real putt, not Jap crap," laughed Terry. "No, I ain't ever gonna have a fuckin' Ninja, or any other crotch rocket. The thing is, San Diego is full of jackoffs on crotch rockets who think they can dust off anyone on a putt. I wanted a putt that would prove the jackoffs wrong. They're dumb motherfuckers, too, you'll see 'em riding wearing nothing but a wife-beater, shorts, and fuckin' flip-flops. Total jock types, you know? But anyway, my fuckin' putt will blow away a Ninja or Ducati, no sweat."
"Hey, can I buy you a beer?" Racine asked sweetly.
"Sure, Barbie, thanks. Gimme a Budweiser."
Racine went to the bar, and returned with a Budweiser and a Corona. Terry thanked her again, then studied the college girl in front of her. She finally said, "Um, look, if I'm outta line here, you can call me a dumb cunt, but.... Are you into me?"
Racine went pink and paused briefly. "Am I that obvious?"
"Yeah. The way you were holding onto my waist was way too friendly, you know? And uh, you keep staring at my fuckin' tits." Terry sighed. "Look, I'm flattered. It's nice someone thinks a biker bitch like me is hot. But sorry Barbie, you just don't have the right equipment. It don't bug me if a chick is into other chicks, but that just ain't me."
"Have you ever tried it?"
"Naw. Getting together with another chick just has no fuckin' appeal to me, never has. My friend and boss Lenny says.... Okay, I guess there was a big fuckin' sex study called the Kinsey Report, right? They figured out that damn fuckin' few people are totally straight, or totally gay. Some people may only fool around with their own gender a few times in their lives, but they do because they want to. Apparently I'm in a really fuckin' small percentage who is just wired totally straight. Like, Becky's my friend, right? She's bi, she's into dudes and chicks at the same time, they both turn her on. Hey, what the fuck, you go, girl. But she knows us getting together has zero fuckin' appeal to me, so it's just a total non-issue."
Sighing again, Terry continued, "Look, who knows, maybe some morning I'm gonna wake up and think, 'Damn, fooling with another chick sounds really fuckin' fun..' The human brain really does work that way. If that happened, I'd go see Becky and Lenny and tell 'em what was on my mind. Like I said, me and Becky are fuckin' tight, and if I did feel that way, I'd wanna get with Becky, just 'cos we got a lotta fuckin' trust, you know? And they'd be cool with it, they're fuckin' awesome people. Lenny would be all, 'Have fun, see you in the morning.' He's a righteous motherfucker, he's helped me in so many fuckin' ways it ain't funny. So I ain't ever gonna say it'll never happen. But the odds are real fuckin' low."
Racine nodded and smiled softly. She said, "Could we exchange phone numbers? I'm not gonna hit on you or anything, but.... You are a really amazing, awesome person. I've never met anyone like you. Yes, I do think you're hot, but that doesn't have to matter, I'd just like to get to be friends with you. Would that be okay?"
Terry smiled back and said, "That's totally cool. Got something to write on? What the fuck, maybe I'll come up here and visit. We'll do some cruising." Racine produced a small notebook and they each scribbled down numbers.
"Better if I visit you. You'd have to get a motel room if you came up here, because I still live in the stupid dorms, even though I'm a senior, because I'm lame."
Looking confused, Terry said, "Uh, you're a fuckin' college student, right? Where are you supposed to live, if not in the dorms?"
Frustrated, Racine answered, "Most people have their shit together well enough by the time they're juniors to have found off-campus housing. I'm at Cal Poly on scholarships, which is great, but they don't give me enough money to pay rent on a room off-campus. I'm taking a full load of credits, so trying to work and go to school would mean probably living on four hours a night sleep. I don't know how other people do it."
"Well, shit, their fuckin' parents are flowing them the ducats. Especially at a fuckin' school like Cal Poly, you gotta have some serious bread to be there."
"Not all of us. Hell, I'm from Whittier. If it weren't for the scholarships and the loans, I'd be going to a community college in LA. Yeah, most everybody else there are coming from upper middle class families, they aren't rich, exactly, but they're pretty damn comfortable. Then you got a small percentage of students like me, who only got in because we worked our asses off in high school, just so we could apply for scholarships and try to eke by for four years. I eat a lot of ramen. A lot of my clothes are from Goodwill. Just being here, and being able to buy a few beers, meant not doing anything fun at all for the last three weeks.
"But when I graduate, I'm gonna be employable, dammit. I'm a business major. Other people have really useless liberal arts majors, and I don't know how they get jobs after they graduate. What the hell is a Russian literature major good for in the real world? To hell with that, I'm gonna use the job placement office and land a decent position in a decent company, and actually have some money. I want to be able to send my parents on a nice vacation, you know? Something more interesting than camping at Big Bear. I'm gonna drive a car that no one else has owned before me. I'm not gonna have to juggle my bills every month, they all just get paid, with no worries."
Terry smiled and gently clapped Racine on the arm. "C'mon, Barbie, lemme buy you a beer."
Racine smirked and said, "I'm not sure you're allowed to be called 'Barbie' when you're a dyke."
"Fuck 'em. Shatter a few fuckin' paradigms."
Donna and Tiffany were the next to return. They came in looking windblown and exhilarated, with huge smiles, and chatting with their respective Hell's Angels. The Angels immediately guided them to the bar for drinks. The four college boys observed this sourly, the two girls hadn't even said hello when they came back in. The two Angels, both from Fresno, were regaling the girls with stories of adventure on the road and in the bars. They all had a couple more beers, then one of the Angels suggested they walk around the block and smoke a joint. That sounded just too killer to Donna and Tiffany. Out they went. The college boys tried to attract their attention, but were ignored.
Helen returned last. She walked into the bar with her arm around Doobie, who had a confident grin on his face. He was actually a decent-looking dude. His hair was fairly short, and his beard was short, carefully trimmed, very stylish. He had a weight bench in his apartment which he actually used, showing some muscle aided him greatly at his job as a bouncer. He'd even availed himself of the shower at another Angel's motel room that morning. Take away his colors, tattoos, and earring, and Doobie would have looked like an upwardly mobile hipster.
Seeing Helen come in, all four college boys yelled her name and waved their arms. Her and Doobie walked over to them, Helen's arm still around Doobie. "So where the hell did you go?" asked one of the boys.
"We rode up to Avila Beach," replied Helen. "Doobie's motorcycle is too awesome, the road from the highway to the beach is really curvy, it was so killer zooming through the curves."
"She's a good passenger," grinned Doobie. "Doesn't squirm, holds on, keeps with the putt on turns. She really dug cruising." He squeezed Helen's shoulders.
All four college boys looked at the two with annoyance and loathing. A hottie like Helen, solid well-to-do Caucasian stock, a student just like them, and she's actually touching one of these savages, one of the criminal bikers. White trash thugs, shiftless, unwashed, possibly diseased. And Helen had a look of challenge in her eyes, as if daring them to say something.
"Where's everybody else?" asked Helen.
One of the boys responded in a grumpy voice, "Donna and Tiffany came back, then left again, we don't know where they went. Racine is hanging around some biker chick over at the pool tables and talking to Becky Page."
"Have you guys gone to meet Becky yet?"
They looked at their shoes. One replied, "She's, like, surrounded by Hell's Angels, plus she's with that one dude, who's her husband, I guess. That dude looks like a total psycho, if we went over and just started trying to talk to Becky Page, he'd probably pull a knife or something."
Doobie smirked and said, "That's Lenny. Yeah, he's Becky's husband. He's good people, a righteous motherfucker, you know? Shit, Lenny is totally used to fans approaching his wife, he ain't gonna bite your heads off, boys. Go and say hi if you want."
"So no clue where Tiffany and Donna are?" Helen asked. "I need to talk to them. I'm gonna go down to San Diego with Doobie for a few days, he's gonna show me around and introduce me to his chapter, we're gonna party. I just need to stop by my place and throw a few things in a backpack. We want to take off before it's too late, and I wanted to let Tiffany and Donna know where I'll be."
The faces of the college boys went to outright shock. One exclaimed, "You're gonna just..... Take off? With this guy? What about classes? You're joking, right?"
The college boy who was hung up on Helen said, "No way, you can't do that. You've known this guy, what, two hours? Are you crazy? No way. You're coming back to campus with us. That's just stupid, ditching classes to go off with some guy you don't know."
With a sharp grin, Doobie said, "Well, we've been getting to know each other. We're no longer strangers." He bent his head and gave Helen a kiss. She reciprocated, and had a big smile when they broke apart. She had the challenge in her eyes when she looked back at the college boys.
Racine and Terry walked back up, on their way to get fresh beers. One of the boys blurted, "Hey Racine, Helen says she's gonna go to San Diego, like, today, with this guy she just met. She says she's gonna be down there for a few days. Tell her how stupid that is."
"What's the big fuckin' deal?" asked Terry. "So I guess she'll miss a few days of classes, right? It's fuckin' college, she can just have a friend take some notes for her."
Racine said, "Helen, give me a phone number of where you'll be. Call me in a couple days, let me know how you're doing. Will your friend give you a ride back up here?"
"Doobie answered, "Yeah. I don't work Thursday, we'll roll on up. And if you'd like, I'll give you my address, so you don't think I'm spiriting Helen away into a life of debauchery."
"I don't know, a bit of debauchery can be quite nice," giggled Helen.
"I can't believe this shit," growled one of the boys.
Tiffany and Donna came in with their escorts from Fresno, smelling lightly of weed, goofy smiles in place. Helen said, "Hey, check it, I'm gonna go to San Diego for a few days. I'm gonna grab some stuff from my room, then me and Doobie are gonna head out. Racine will have the phone number and address of where I'll be. Doobie's gonna show me around San Diego, we're gonna spend some time partying."
"Oh wow," noted Tiffany.
"For real?" inserted Donna.
Helen's non-boyfriend said, "No way. Tell her she can't do this, it's a bullshit idea. She doesn't know this guy, nobody knows anything about him, it's a stupid idea...."
Terry said, "Hey, I know Doobie. He's a fuckin' righteous dude. He'll take care of this chick, he's a gentleman. You got no worries if she's with Doobie."
"We don't know you, either," sneered another college boy. "You're just some biker chick."
The non-boyfriend hissed at Racine, "So is this chick gonna take you away, too? Did you find a butch lez here, and she's gonna cart you off to wherever she's from?"
Terry's small dangerous smile grew on her lips, but she remained silent. Racine said, "Not that it's any of you business, but this is Terry Patton, also known as Terry the Terror. She's from San Diego. And no, she's straight, nothing's gonna happen between us. But Terry is one of the most amazing women I've ever met, she's as cool as Becky Page. In fact, her and Becky are friends, and she's Becky's bodyguard. We're gonna be friends. She says she needs more friends that are girls, and I just think she's awesome."
Keeping her eyes fixed on the non-boyfriend, Terry said, "Actually, this chick Helen and Doobie have kind of a good idea. Hey Barbie, you wanna come visit San Diego? We can ride down with Doobie and Peaches, here. Doobie, you're gonna bring Peaches back up? What day?"
"Thursday," answered Doobie.
"Fuckin' perfect," Terry grinned. "Becky's working Thursday, so my day is clear. We'll all cruise back up here. Barbie and Peaches can show us around their campus."
"Peaches?" asked Helen.
With a leer, Terry said, "Yeah. You just sorta fuckin' look like your name ought to be Peaches." All four girls started giggling.
"I like that," snickered Helen. "Yeah. I'm gonna be Peaches from now on."
"Terry renamed me too," laughed Racine. "Now I'm Barbie. I'll be the only dyke in the world named Barbie, I'll bet."
"So, wanna come to San Diego?" Terry asked Racine. "We'll party, we can hang around with the Dago Angels, or go up to visit Becky, shit like that."
Racine looked at the faces of her friends. Helen looked hopeful, the other girls looked wowed, and the boys looked appalled. With a determined voice, Racine said, "Yes. Thank you, this will be so cool. I'll need to stop by my dorm so I can grab some stuff, but yeah, I want to visit San Diego."
All four college boys went slack-jawed. "Oh my fucking God," one of them commented.
"See, you Dago people got it easy," one of the Fresno Angels laughed. "Do you know how hard it is to talk people into visiting fuckin' Fresno?"
"But you guys will come visit us, right?" said Tiffany. "Donna and I have our own apartments, you can crash with us. You guys totally have to come see us again."
With a crushed look, one of the boys said, "This is just insane. Have all four of you lost your fucking minds? Especially Helen and Racine...."
"Barbie," corrected Racine.
"Peaches," corrected Helen.
"Oh shut up. You're both going to run away to San Diego with total strangers. Not just strangers, but.... these people. Who knows what plans they have for you. You're being totally reckless and impulsive."
Terry considered the boy, and said, "So what the fuck is wrong with being impulsive sometimes? You gotta just fuckin' act on the spur of the moment every now and then, you know? Dive into some shit headfirst, and let the fuckin' chips fall where they may."
"They have responsibilities! The semester started three weeks ago! They have things to do. Maybe you can act like that, but they can't."
Laughing, Terry responded, "Again, why the fuck not? They're in fuckin' college, when else are they gonna have a good chance to be impulsive? So they miss a few fuckin' days of class, big fuckin' whoop. It's not like they're ditching work or abandoning their fuckin' families. Shit, if you don't grab the bull by the balls now, do what the fuck you feel, none of you are ever gonna have another fuckin' opportunity to. You'll have settled into fuckin' careers, started families, all that happy horseshit. Try to bust out a little at that point, you'll just be fucking yourselves, and other people. Fuck it, if you don't do wild shit now, you never will, and you're probably gonna regret it for the rest of your fuckin' lives."
Barbie (Racine) said, "Tiffany, Donna, me and Helen...."
"Peaches," giggled Peaches (Helen).
".... Peaches will give you the phone numbers and addresses of where we'll be. We'll call Wednesday night to say hi, let you know how things are going. Is that cool?"
"That works," the two girls said.
"So that's it, huh?" said a college boy. "You two are going to run away to San Diego with bikers... I guess you two are going to have bikers as house guests in the near future...."
"This coming weekend, I hope," snickered Tiffany.
"Jesus Christ. So you're all going to start hanging around Hell's Angels, of all people. Do you know what these people are like? You wouldn't believe some of the shit I've read about them, they're maniacs, they're violent, they're criminals.... All four of you have decided to be around some of the most dangerous people in the world."
"I'm not H.A.," corrected Terry. "I'm a fuckin' scooter tramp, but I don't hold a patch."
One of the Fresno Angels smirked at the boy who'd spoken and said, "I'll take issue with being called a criminal. We're only as violent as a situation calls for. We do have some adventure in our lives.... and maybe that's why these young ladies seem to be interested in making friends with us dirty Hell's Angels. Everyone needs a little adventure in their lives, and I have a hunch they don't have any. Being around us might make things a little more lively, you know? If nothing else, we'll take them cruising. So tell me kid, what do you do for action? What's your adventure?"
"I can answer that," said Peaches. "Going to keg parties, overestimating how much you can drink, passing out on a lawn, and waking up covered in your own vomit. That's how adventurous we get at Cal Poly." She gazed at the boys, especially at her non-boyfriend. "Guys, Terry's right. You need to act on impulse a bit. You need some risk in your lives. Nothing personal, but you guys are kinda dull and boring. Do you have any idea how dull and boring you're going to be in ten years, if you don't have a bit of adventure now?"
The non-boyfriend actually had some fire in his eyes. "Impulsive, huh? Impulsive? Fine, I'll show you goddamn impulsive...." Then he yelled, "Fucking white trash, fucking biker bitch!"
He stepped towards Terry, raising a fist. He was still drawing his arm back when Terry shot her own fist into his stomach, doubling him over, gasping. Terry stepped next to him and flipped him over her hip, landing him on the floor, face up. She got down and put a knee onto his chest, grabbing his collar.
With her calm dangerous smile, Terry calmly said, "You dumb motherfucker, never raise a hand at me, ever. And I ain't no fuckin' bitch." She hopped to her feet and said, "Two out of three? Fuck it, I'm game."
Both Fresno Angels stood there giggling. Terry the Terror's reputation preceded her, now they'd seen her in action. "Damn woman, you're fuckin' quick," one of them said.
Bekka stepped up next to Terry, her destination of the bar delayed. She said, "Terry sweetie, are you showing off again?" Looking at the non-boyfriend on the floor, she continued, "So, who is he, and what was his mistake?"
"Hey Becky," Terry greeted. "I think what it comes down to is Sparky here is all bent outta shape because he doesn't like who his friends want to hang around with." She gestured at the girls. "Peaches here is gonna ride back to Dago with Doobie, and Barbie's gonna ride with me. They're gonna spend a few days in Dago partying with us, you know? We just gotta stop by Cal Poly so they can grab some shit. Anyway, Sparky doesn't like they're acting in such a fuckin' rash and impulsive manner. No fuckin' clue why he decided to take out his frustrations on me, but he did. Hey, you doing anything tomorrow?"
"No plans, and I'm not on the board to work, why?" Bekka asked.
"I was thinking, maybe you and Lenny can meet me and Doobie and these chicks for lunch. We'll hit the Mongolian barbecue place on College, my fuckin' treat."
"A lovely offer, Terry, thank you. One o'clock sound good?"
"Fuckin' perfect," Terry smiled. "Talk to you in a bit."
The non-boyfriend was still on the floor, glaring up at Terry and Bekka. The other three college boys were gape-mouthed again, staring at Becky Page as she had friendly conversation with the crazy dangerous biker bitch who had just laid out their friend. Becky Page, the sexiest woman in the world, an archetype of grace and sensuality, was friends with.... this woman. And these people. Suddenly Becky Page seemed like a very frightening woman.
A Fresno Angel looked at the non-boyfriend and said, "Hey Sporto, you gonna just lie there all fuckin' day?"
Two of the college boys helped lift their humiliated pal to his feet. Once upright, he addressed Bekka, saying, "You know.... Her?"
"Terry is both my friend and my bodyguard," cooed Bekka. "I've seen her put men both larger and meaner than you on the ground, so don't feel too bad she bested you. I take it you decided to raise your hand to her."
"Her and these.... bikers.... have poisoned my girlfriend against me...."
"I'm not your fucking girlfriend!" yelled Peaches. "I never was!"
".... And telling all these girls they need to take more risks, be more impulsive and shit. These are college students, they're good girls, they shouldn't be listening to people like this. They shouldn't be hanging around them at all."
Barbie made a disparaging noise and said, "And whose idea was it to come here today? 'Yeah, let's go hang out with the Hell's Angels, it'll be so hilarious, it's like a human zoo.' Have any of you guys had a conversation with anyone here today? I mean, actually talk with one of them? I did, and it turns out Terry is a really amazing person. You wouldn't believe the life she's led, it would probably scare the shit out of you, to hear some of the things she's gone through. But she's also really smart, and has good intuition, and is open-minded enough to try and make friends with a Latina lesbian college student from Cal Poly. I'll bet our other girls also got to talking with the Hell's Angels who gave them rides, and found out they're actual people, not animals."
Donna piped up, "The guys we rode with are really cool people. Nash here does metal sculpture. Bomber runs a tow truck service, a nine truck fleet, and Nash works for him. They've been really nice to us, they haven't tried to get all crude. They've got better manners than half they guys at school."
Peaches aimed an intense glare at the non-boyfriend and said, "You know what? I thought Doobie was hot from the moment I saw him. We talked while we were in Avila Beach, he's smart, and he's a good guy. He's had a lot of shit happen in his life, but it didn't turn him into an asshole, like it would have a lot of people. I just like him, period. And I'm gonna give you a news flash. When we get back to his place in San Diego, I'm gonna have my clothes off for him within ninety seconds of getting in the door."
Hearing this, Doobie started laughing. "Well! My night is gonna be more lively than I expected!" He bent and kissed Peaches' neck, everyone but the college boys laughed.
"You girls have all lost your minds," protested one of the boys. "I've read about the sort of shit Hell's Angels do, they're all dangerous. Do you know how they treat women? You're all gonna end up being auctioned off like slaves, they're gonna get you strung out on drugs so you're totally dependent on them, they'll...."
Bekka cut in. "I've read some of the same things. I've also read 'Alice in Wonderland.' Just because something is in print doesn't make it true. I've been around H.A. from all over this weekend, and I've been around the Dago chapter for months. I have yet to be raped, drugged, assaulted, robbed, or even verbally abused. All weekend I've had cops telling me I'm insane for associating with the Angels. Utter horseshit. The cops believe the hype. Apparently so do you, little boy. I didn't, and my life is the richer for it."
Another college boy threw in, "Well.... How do you know they're not just.... waiting?"
"Waiting for...?" Bekka purred.
"To, like, get you alone someplace, where there's no other people or police or anything, then they'll attack you."
Bekka tinkled out a laugh. "They've had plenty of opportunity all weekend. The Angels were camped at Pismo Preserve. The sheriffs and local police never entered the preserve at all, as far as I know. They stayed outside, warning off anyone not in H.A., telling them to not enter. The Angels had plenty of privacy and plenty of opportunity to assault me. Five hundred Hell's Angels versus me, my husband, Terry, and our friend Jane? Not a hope. But nothing like that happened, because the Angels are not a mob of subhuman rapists, they're a bunch of guys who really like Harley Davidsons. If the Angels wanted to torture me, they would have made me listen to one of their in-depth tech conversations, debating gear ratios. I'd have gone comatose with boredom."
"But you always see in the paper where they're getting arrested for different stuff...."
Doobie snorted, "Yeah. Arrested. Not convicted, though. There's hardly an Angel riding with a clean arrest record, and a shitload of us do have convictions. But a fuckin' judge will throw the book at us for possession of two joints. All that spectacular shit you read about, the gang rapes and assaults and generally fucking shit up? Most of the time we don't even get to arraignment before the charges are all dropped, or reduced to something piddly. The fuckin' papers will talk about a massive drug bust involving H.A., when it was one guy with a couple grams of dope in his pocket. I refuse to even read newspapers anymore, because at this point I assume they're lying about everything but the baseball scores."
With a wolf-like grin, Bomber from Fresno said, "You boys seem to hold a very low opinion of our club. If the hour was late and everyone here had been drinking a while, you would probably find more than a few people who would be annoyed with your opinion, and would get.... a bit aggressive, let's say. You're insulting something all of us take a lot of goddamn pride in. This not being a high school debate club, your comments will not be ignored or discounted. The door is behind you, be on the other side of it and moving away rapidly within two minutes."
"Hey! We've gotta..." started one of the boys.
Bekka said, "Boys, the clock is ticking, and they're not kidding."
The non-boyfriend stepped in front of Peaches and said, "Look, let's go, this shit isn't funny anymore. Let's get the hell back to campus, we can pick up some beer on the way there...."
Peaches glared at him and said, "Was I stuttering the other times I've said it? I'm going to San Diego with Doobie. I'll be back Thursday evening, more or less. I'll see you in our Lit class Friday morning."
The non-boyfriend turned to Barbie. Before he could even speak, she said, "No. Just no, don't start. Peaches and I will be coming home at the same time. I'm going to visit San Diego and develop a new friendship. Don't give me that look, either."
Tiffany announced to the other three college boys, "Bomber and Nash are gonna take us out to dinner at the Chinese place a couple blocks down. Then we're gonna hang out some more. They'll give us rides home, they already said they would."
"One minute, fifteen seconds,' said Terry.
One of the other college boys started spazzing out. "You bitches are so stupid! Look who the fuck you want to hang around with! Fucking Hell's Angels, fucking criminals! Watch, you're all gonna ruin your lives, in six months you'll drop out of school because of your new drug habits, you'll have blown everything just to be around a bunch of scumbags with big motorcycles! You dumb bitches, you're gonna end up white trash, just like them, they're probably treat you like concubines, you'll have to put out for any fucking Hell's Angel who tells you to! What the hell is the matter with you?"
The Fresno Angels, Doobie, Terry, and Bekka all glanced at each other. Then they began quietly applauding. When they stopped, Terry said, "Fifty-five seconds, motherfuckers."
Barbie said, "Guys, just go home. We'll see you in class Friday. Go back to campus."
Donna added, "Tiffany and me will probably home by eleven.... But Bomber and Nash are gonna crash at our places tonight, so don't stop by or call, okay?"
"I know I'm not gonna want to be interrupted," Tiffany said in a cunning voice.
There was brief silence, then the non-boyfriend screamed,, "Fuck you! Fuck you! You're all assholes, I hate you!" He turned and stomped out the door. The other three looked at each other, then followed.
There was a vacuum of silence. Finally Bekka said, "You rarely get to witness direct cultural and social conflict in the United States. That was very interesting. So will they be okay?"
Barbie shook her head and said, "It'll be a while before their egos heal. I know what their trip is. The four of us are engaging in social interaction with men who they believe are the lower class. If this was India, bikers would definitely be in the Untouchable caste, you know? That's how the guys view bikers. Bikers are white trash, they have no value to society."
"We try not to," commented Nash, to laughter. "Seriously? I've always just sort of wished the rest of the world would fuck off. I don't feel any connection to 'society,' and I sure as shit don't feel like I owe anyone anything. H.A. are about the only fuckin' people I get along with."
"Yeah, those dudes have serious class issues," said Bomber. "They think if you're not sitting at a desk and wearing a tie to make a living, you're just shit, you're some fucking dumb laborer." He looked over the girls, and asked, "So how come you all gave us the time of day, anyway?"
Lots of glancing back and forth among the girls. Finally Peaches said, "Look, when we first got here, I was scared to death. You and Nash came over and started talking to us, I was expecting you to get all raunchy or grab for our tits or something. Then when Doobie walked up, I was thinking, 'Oh shit, they're starting to group around us, we're gonna get attacked.' But then I realized that, hey, Doobie is talking to me the same way any guy talks to a girl he just met at a party. And then it struck me he actually was confident and relaxed, he wasn't nervous talking to a girl, which was a real nice change of pace. At school, at the off-campus keggers, guys need to get at least four beers in them before they'll even speak to you. You guys were all confident and shit while you talked to us. So I figured, what the hell, I'll talk with this guy. I don't know anything about the Hell's Angels, maybe I can learn something. The longer me and Doobie talked, I realized that he was actually a cool and interesting dude, and he talked about different things than guys at school would. Then, when we went to Avila Beach, we sorta told each other about our lives, we were honest with each other, you know? Guys at school would never open up that easy."
With a crooked grin, Peaches added, "And like I said, I think Doobie is really hot. That helped too."
"She totally nailed it," said Donna. "You guys aren't monsters, you weren't icky with us, and you were way easier to talk to than the guys at college. Okay, you're all a few years older than us, but whatever. It was nice having a guy talk to me who had more interesting things to say than bitching about trouble with his professors, and wasn't staring at my boobs while he talked."
Nash grinned and said, "Well.... I did a little bit of boob-staring. But I tried to be subtle."
Peaches gestured at Barbie and Terry and said, "So, there's nothing going on between you two?"
"No," Barbie replied. "Okay, I first approached Terry because I thought she was hot. She realized I was into her, and called me out on it, but she wasn't offended or bugged. She told me she was flattered, but she's not into girls at all. But we kept talking, and I was blown away by how Terry has lived. She's a bodyguard, she works part time at a porn studio, she rides an insane monster of a motorcycle, she's friends with Becky Page, she used to deal drugs, she's lived around bikers since she was thirteen.... Whoa. I just thought, 'This is someone who has lived the hell out of life so far. I want to get to know her, I want to be her friend.'
"Another thing is, I'm kind of alienated at school. Everybody else is white and come from well-to-do families who give their kids cars as gifts on their sixteenth birthdays. And here I am, a dyke beaner from Whittier who walks everywhere, because I don't have the money for a bus pass. Terry feels sort of disaffected from the world. That's how I've felt all through college, like I don't really belong, and never will. So talking to someone who understands that feeling was really nice."
"I'm a bit surprised about part of your alienation," Bekka said. "Isn't there a gay and lesbian organization on campus?"
Barbie rolled her eyes. "Oh Jesus. There is, but people circulate in and out constantly. It's like, a huge amount of kids get into college, realize their parents aren't around, and decide to explore their sexuality, you know? They've thought about getting together with another girl, or guy, and now that they're hundreds of miles away from home, they can actually try it. So they do, they like it, and declare themselves the most ragingly queer person to ever live. But after about five months they realize, hey, queer sex was a thrill at first, but now they're just not into it. And the opposite sex is really damn appealing. Really, they were just experimenting, and the experiment failed. So they just fade away, and start dating the opposite sex again."
She got an evil smirk on her face. "Tell you what, though. All those freshman girls who decide they're dykes have kept me amused all through school. They want to play. And what they lack in experience, they make up for in enthusiasm. Oh yeah."
All the girls giggled. Tiffany said, "Wow, I just realized, you always seemed to have girlfriends through the fall semester, buy you'd always be single by the end of term in the spring.. And.... Oh my God, they were always freshmen! Holy crap!"
"I'd hoped a couple of them would actually really be dyke, and I could have a steady girlfriend. Especially if it was some rich girl from Marin or Bel Air or something. I won't lie, I loved the idea of a girl like that taking me home to meet her parents. Hey, not only is your daughter a lesbian, she's in love with a Mexican girl from the barrio! Oh boy, a beaner dyke is going to be your house guest all summer, having sex with your little girl every time your back is turned. That would have been delightfully transgressive."
Bekka laughed at this. "That's what a lot of people believe I'm up to. Societal subversion through sex. And I do enjoy the idea, but it's not a real focus for me."
Bekka had been gone for a while. I was wondering what had happened to her, and dammit, I wanted my beer. I left the pool tables to go searching.
Here she is, standing with Terry, Doobie, and a couple of guys from Fresno. And the four college girls I'd seen earlier. Strange, the guys they were with aren't present. I walked up and kissed Bekka on the neck, she returned the favor. "So, what's shakin'?" I asked.
One girl, the one I know as Helen, said, "Us four girls are a disappointment to our guy friends." I realize she has her arm around Doobie's waist. He has a hand planted firmly on her ass.
"Do tell. Let me guess, you threw them over so all of you could get together with Hell's Angels."
Brief silence, then another girl says, "Pretty much, yeah."
I raised my eyebrows. "Okay then. Goodness. I'll take it they weren't happy with this turn of events. I'll also guess none of you were dating seriously."
"None of us were dating at all," said the one named Racine. "They were just friends. I'm a dyke, so I don't count anyway. No, they got all bugged that we were having a better time hanging around the scary bikers than we were with them. And when we told them our plans, they really freaked."
Helen said, "Doobie is taking me to San Diego for a few days, to hang out and party. Terry is taking Rac--- Barbie with her, for the same reason. Us two are being incredibly irresponsible, we're running off with total strangers who are going to sell us on the white slave market or something. Tiffany and Donna are hanging out with Nash and Bomber, who are going to stay at their apartments tonight. We're all hanging out with the big mean bad scary bikers, which means we're going to destroy our lives before the end of the semester. So Doobie, have you chosen which drugs you're going to get me addicted to, so I'll be totally dependent on you?"
"Hell, you already like dope," Doobie grinned. "Oh yeah, that's my fuckin' goal, have some spun out tweaker chick living with me, because I can't get laid any other way. Yeah, that's me."
"I already renamed these two," chuckled Terry. "This one is Barbie, and this one is Peaches."
"You gotta come up with names for us!" said Donna.
Terry rubbed her chin. "Huh. Okay, you, you're Donna, right? Naw, with those jugs, you're Bubbles from now on." Looking at Tiffany, she said, "And shit, girl, you can't seem to stop smiling. You're Cheshire, like the cat." The girls giggled happily. For my knowledge, Terry said, "This one is now Peaches, and I've named this little chick Barbie."
Bomber snickered, "And next weekend, we'll bring a tattoo gun, so we can ink your new names on. Upper right arm, nice and bold."
I rubbed my chin and said, "I have a hunch there was a sense of class war going on while dealing with the college men."
"Yes there was," said Peaches. "And don't refer to those guys as men. They're still boys. Us three, we're with men now. Oh brother. While it was never expressed directly, it was obvious that, okay, not only are we hanging around and having fun with people who are rumored to be violent criminals and rapists, but they're so lower class! They're the sort of people who do things like fix cars and frame houses and drive tow trucks for a living. I'm guessing that not a lot of Hell's Angels read Forbes magazine."
"I think I used one once as a tray, while I rolled a joint," suggested Doobie.
"Of course scooter trash don't read fuckin' Forbes," said Terry. "Too many big words, and no fuckin' centerfolds of naked chicks."
You know...." Barbie started. "I've been thinking. If you three start spending a lot of time with these guys here, you may be in for a bit of culture shock. These guys live really, really different than what you've probably ever seen. Terry, what's the neighborhood where you live like?"
"I live in Ocean Beach," answered Terry. "It ain't no shithole, but it ain't a garden spot either. A ton of tweakers, it's like a tweaker ghetto. Okay, you don't hear gunshots, and there's no gang bangers, but there's still some crime and graffiti and shit, it's right on the beach, but it's still a pretty fuckin' poor neighborhood. I'm used to it though, I feel safe walking around at night."
"Well, of course you do, Terror," said Nash. "You'd feel safe walking around Beirut."
"I'm in Normal Heights," said Doobie. "Older residential neighborhood, pretty sedate, except for along El Cajon Boulevard. Pretty damn middle class, actually."
I said, "Of course there's National City, where the Hi-Lo is. That's pretty much barrio. Anybody ever try to rob the bar?"
"Not while we've been there. Of course, how the Hi-Lo came to be ours is a long story."
Bekka said, "It was a cholo bar, and you guys pretty much invaded. There were fights and confrontations constantly, then the cholos finally gave up."
Doobie frowned at Bekka. "How do you know that?"
"One of the Inana girls is a lowrider homegirl named Rita Vison. She lives in Sherman Heights, so she's up on all the action in that part of town. She was our fluffer for three years, then became a performer. Yeah, she's a homegirl, but she also has a lot of contempt for barrio culture. All her friends were pregnant with their first kid by nineteen, homeboys always getting killed over stupid shit.... She respects her heritage and the culture she grew up in, but she's not hanging with the vatos on Friday or Saturday nights. She listens to 91X, and goes dancing at trendy white clubs. When I mentioned I'd been to the Hi-Lo, she filled me in."
Barbie asked, "So why did your club choose a place in the barrio?"
"Strategy," answered Doobie. It's right off I-5, a couple guys in Dago chapters own businesses around there, plenty of room to park the putts out front, and the local cops have better things to do than worry about us. To a San Diego cop, H.A. might be scumbags, but at least we're white, you know?"
Barbie snapped her fingers and said, "Oh yeah. Nasty City. Also Sherman Heights and Logan Heights are right there, too. In high school, the Surenos, the gang bangers, talked about those places. Those are also Sureno neighborhoods. Just like Whittier, there's no opposing gangs, really, no Nortenos, so they just shoot each other. Live three blocks away? You're not local, so you're a target. Stupid bullshit."
I stared at Barbie and asked, "Out of curiosity, what's your major?"
"Business. I'm gonna be employable when I leave school. I want to make enough money to live comfortable, and also have enough to move my parents to Pasadena or Glendale. They shouldn't get old in the house they have now. The neighborhood isn't a war zone, but it's not very nice, either.
"I was talking about feeling alienated at Cal Poly earlier. I'm a beaner, I'm a dyke, and I'm poor. But shit, at least at Cal Poly, I've never once been woken up by the sound of gunfire. This sounds mean, but fuck a bunch of Whittier Mexicans. Chicano culture, barrio culture, you're in a rut by the time you're fifteen. If you're a guy, you're already in a gang. If you're a girl, you look pretty and visit your boyfriends in the hospital after the most recent turf war. You're always gonna be poor, you're always gonna live in the same neighborhood, and to the rest of the world, you're always gonna be a fucking spic, another beaner. Fuck that. I might feel out of place at Cal Poly, but at least I'm around people who have some goals in their life, people who plan ahead by years, not weeks. I want to be rich, and when I am, I'm living in Bel Air. I don't owe a thing to anyone. Whittier can burn to the ground and I won't care, so long as I get my parents out before it happens."
Bekka frowned and nodded slowly. "I recently met a drug dealer, a fourteen year old black kid, who had the same sort of feelings about his own neighborhood in San Diego. He looked like a standard issue homeboy, but utterly loathed hip-hop, b-boy culture and all its attached baggage. It was very odd, starting at age ten, he began training himself out of sounding 'black' when he spoke. He talks and sounds like a Harvard literature professor. His formal education ended at fifth grade, but he spent enough time in libraries that he's very literate. He wants to get his high school equivalency, go to junior college to learn a trade, and spend the rest of his life living as quiet as possible. This kid doesn't want to be rich, he wants to have a comfortable life, an utterly unremarkable existence. From what he said, he's had enough adventure in his life at this point, and since he's a street dealer, he knows the adventure probably isn't over yet. Really, his biggest dream is to be left alone."
A wave of recognition went over Doobie's face. "Hey..... Is this kid's name Velvet? Works Dog Beach in O.B.? Yeah, talks like he ate David Attenborough for breakfast?"
Both Bekka and Terry said yeah, that's him. "Jesus Christ, that little brother likes to set his sights high. He picks up quarter pounds of weed from me on a regular basis. Always wants to play Twenty Questions about strain and phenotype, shit only the most obsessive weed smoker would give a shit about. He wanted to know if I needed a mule, or if I knew someone who did. I said, 'Little brother, you're fourteen. You can't drive, and you can't use the fuckin' bus to mule product.' I got the impression that he wants to wholesale, he's sick of working at a consumer level. Okay, fine, but he's still a goddamn kid. No matter what he's moving, and how good of quality, nobody's gonna take him seriously."
Bekka stared at the floor and shook her head. "He made me very sad. He's someone who I'd like to.... rescue, somehow. He's a prime candidate for an early immersion in the court system, his life sucks overall, he has no one to turn to.... But he has brains, and self-esteem, and honestly desires a better and honest life for himself. If he's busted, he goes to CYA. Depending on what he's busted for, he may be remanded to big boy prison at eighteen. And then he's lost. His intelligence and drive won't matter, he'll be just another nigger with a felony record. It's a fucking waste."
Terry piped up, "Aw fuck, that reminds me, I saw Drummer on Thursday. He said to thank you again for the bus pass and new jacket. The dude is actually going to AA meetings, he was stone sober when I saw him.... Although he'd only been dry a few days, so he wasn't very fuckin' happy about it. I made him my offer, if he's sober, I'll get a bed and dresser and shit for the spare room, and he's welcome to live with me rent-free. Fuck it, I could use the company, and he'd be off the fuckin' streets. He looked seriously amazed when I told him. He said he needed to dry out fully, get over the shakes and shit, before he'd take me up on my offer. I said, 'Dude, you can detox at my place, you'll be indoors and fuckin' comfortable and shit.' Drummer said naw, he had to kick while he was still on the streets, he had to face the fuckin' demons where he first met them. Okay. Long and short of it is I might have the world's smartest wino as a fuckin' roommate soon."
"Dawn has visited him, right?"
"Yeah. He said she comes down a couple times a week, she brings him food. Like, she'll bring him a deli sandwich or a burrito, but also brings canned stuff, the sorta fuckin' shit that don't need refrigeration but still tastes okay if you eat it straight out of the fuckin' can without heating. Chunky soup, canned pasta, shit like that. So that way he's getting a fuckin' source of calories besides vodka."
"Who is this guy?" asked Barbie.
Chuckling, Terry said, "I'm gonna make sure you meet this motherfucker. He's a local street wino named Drummer. He's been on the streets for fuckin' years in O.B., so far as I know. He's a fixture. The thing is, he's one sharp motherfucker, even if he is a souse. Nothing escapes his notice, he's the fuckin' eyes and ears of the neighborhood. You wanna know what's going on, give Drummer a couple cigarettes and ask what's new. Everybody thinks he's just a dumb-ass wino, but he's totally on the ball."
Peaches said, "I want to meet this man. Uh.... I"m not trying to sound like a spoiled bitch, okay, but I've never spoken with anyone who's homeless. It's an idea I can't even wrap my brain around, literally having no place to go. How does that happen?"
I raised my eyebrows at Bekka, then said, "You want the answer to that question? You want to know what it's like to be both homeless and female? I need to introduce you to a girl named Dawn, also known as Pint Size. She's the live-in girlfriend of a Dago Angel named Fucker, who works for Inana as a stud. She was on the streets for over a year, living in her car. She went through some shit. The biggest problem was her self-esteem and self-respect slowly got eaten away. She honestly felt she was worthless, she was garbage, she was trash. Dawn hated herself when we first met. Becky and I were nice to her, and asked nothing in return, and she couldn't process anyone acting like that. At this point, all right, say a dude buys her a meal or gets her high. To Dawn, that meant he expected a pay-off, in the form of her pussy.
"So me and Bekka find this tiny chick in O.B. who's living in her car and sucking dick to get high. We gave her a job at the studio, let her stay in a living space on the property for free, I got her car fixed, we bought her groceries.... Bekka and I were doing this because it felt like the right thing to do, helping someone escape life on the streets. She wouldn't have to dumpster dive behind pizza places for food anymore. We didn't realize we were scaring the shit out of her. All she could think was, 'Why are these people being so nice to me? What are they after? When does the other shoe drop?' It only made sense to her that if we were treating her well, we expected a pay-off, and a big one. Why would anyone treat street trash well? She was worthless, she thought, so it made no sense for us to treat her well."
Terry cut in, "I knew Pint Size --- Dawn --- from the neighborhood. She was tweaky as shit, she fuckin' pretty much lived on fuckin' dope. She hated sleep, she said being asleep was like being engulfed by hell. Holy fuck. So, she'd do anything she could to keep high. After Lenny and Becky got her set up, she found me and said, 'Hey, I got a job offer for you. You'll suck a little dick at a porn studio, and they pay you well.' Holy fuckin' shit, I was down for that. But once me and Pint Size started working together, I noticed she'd changed, and for the better. When she was still living in her car, she'd say shit in conversation that made it real fuckin' clear that this was a chick who hated herself. Holy fuck, that started to go away, slowly but surely. I guess the big step was when her and Fucker got together as a couple. It had been a long fuckin' time since Pint Size had felt loved, shit, she had forgotten what it felt like. The only feelings she had directed at her when she was on the street was hatred, or disgust, or just fuckin' contempt. Fucker loved her, still does. They're fuckin' tight. Yeah, it's weird. Working in porn is supposed to destroy your fuckin' self-esteem. Dawn got a job in porn, and got her self-esteem back. That's just how shit worked out."
"Wait," said Bubbles. "There's someone named Fucker?"
"Yes, yes there is," I laughed. "Blame H.A. for that. I hired him as a stunt cock at the studio. For various reasons, Dago H.A. drafted him. When they figured out he earned a living by having sex with really hot women, he got named 'Fucker.' by the club. After all, that's what he did all day, he was a fucker. Hopefully you'll meet him while you're down in San Diego, he's a really cool guy."
"The rest of the chapter is sorta jealous of Fucker," grinned Doobie. "Here's this nineteen year old kid who boffs porn stars for a living, he's worked with Becky Page, for Christ sake, and he acts like it's no big thing. He gave the feeling of his job was no more interesting than doing tune-ups on cars or something. We'd ask him how his day had gone, and he'd be all, 'Oh, today was a three-way plus anal with Ella Belle and Gayla Goode, Ella took the money shot to her face, no big deal.' Aw, come on! The little bastard has awesome sex with hot women --- and gets paid for it --- and acts like it's nothing?
"Thanks to Becky, everybody in the chapter sorta wrapped their brains around how porn is actually made, and we realized, holy shit, it really is just a fuckin' job. It's not getting laid, it's just something you do with your body, no more meaning than spinning a wrench. I think a lot of guys would have gotten a little raunchy with Becky when she first showed up if she hadn't explained how shit works in porn. But once she did, it wasn't like, oh wow, I've watched this chick have wild sex. She got it in our heads that she's just a fuckin' actress, that's all, Becky isn't a nympho, she's not a pervert, she just has a talent for a particular kind of acting. Yeah, we all love her movies, and we all think she's hot, but what she does in front of those fuckin' cameras don't have nothing to do with who Becky Page is as a person, you know? Shit, she's awesome, sure, but she's also just good people."
Terry checked her watch, then looked out the window. She said, "Hey Doobie, we better fuckin' saddle up and roll. I don't wanna be having to ride through LA after dark, and we gotta get these two to their respective abodes so they can grab some shit. You lead, I'll follow. Peaches, you're gonna be yelling fuckin' directions into Doobie's ear, telling him where to go. We don't know the area you live in."
Barbie said, "I'm in the dorms, I'm actually on campus. Hel--- Peaches is about three blocks off the main entrance. I'll give you directions once we're on campus, it's not too hard."
"Remember to yell. The exhaust system on my putt is a bit loud."
"There's a fuckin understatement," laughed Nash."
Jane wandered up just in time for brief introductions, an abbreviated explanation of the situation, and a hug from Terry. I asked her how the day had gone. "I'm up $480 right now," she replied. "I've got to start going to the Hi-Lo with you guys more often. I'll make a mint."
"It won't take long before nobody will go up against you, at least not with money on the line," Bekka pointed out. "Who wants to spend twenty dollars to play nine ball against a teenage girl?"
We walked Peaches and Barbie out to the putts. Engines were warmed, and saddles were mounted. Looking at the faces of the girls as they rode away showed they were excited, anticipatory, and nervous as hell. They were doing something totally out of character, they were throwing caution to the wind. They were putting trust in the sort of people they'd always been told were societal filth, savages unfit to walk among civilized men. Everyone involved in their current lives would say this was reckless idiocy, a path to disaster. Dropping everything and running off to San Diego in the company of outlaw bikers, Hell's Angels. How reckless can you get? Will we ever see them again?
Back inside the bar, The two Fresno Angels and the girls were finishing their beers, looking forward to dinner. Bubbles sort of leaned towards me and said, "They'll be okay, right?"
I had to answer honestly. "They're passengers on powerful motorcycles which are being ridden on freeways in Southern California, home to some of the most incompetent drivers on the planet. That right there should be your biggest worry. So far as the company they're keeping, that's not a concern. Doobie is a good guy, he's not going to expose Peaches to any undue risk. Regarding Terry, shit, I know she's going to be overjoyed just to have a female voice in her apartment, one on one. She thinks Barbie is righteous. She wants a friend who is a woman and isn't involved in the adult film industry. No reason to think Barbie can't be that friend. Both of them are in good company."
Tugging me away further, Bubbles said, "I kind of can't believe I have the plans I do for tonight. I'm going to have dinner with a Hell's Angel. Then I'm inviting him back to my apartment. And then, I'm going to make it clear we're gonna be sharing the same bed, you know? I've never done anything like this, ever. A guy who is associated with people that are supposed to be totally ruthless, like, total monsters, is going to be alone with me in my place." Her voice got lower, but she grew a twisted smile. "And I've never been more horny in my life."
I showed her my teeth and said, "Carpe diem, little girl." Then Bekka, Jane, and I headed for the Falcon, to get some dinner and head towards home.