Part 1 Bobby’s cheeks puckered to his face where nicotine stained buck teeth protruded prominently on a head that leaned forward and looked like a burden his neck couldn’t quite tolerate. His pale blue eyes seemed to leer into space as he grinned at me while Marlena momentarily distracted the two young deputy sheriffs. Bobby pressed a spent 5.56 shell casing into my mangled hand and spoke in a hushed tone. “I was up there. There’s dried blood all over the place. It looked like a slaughter house.” He beamed with pride as he recounted violating a police crime scene. “The supers not supposed to let anyone up there but I told him Marlena was your sister and we had to pick up some things for you.” His black leather jacket was adorned with Nazi insignias, satanic icons, and bullets suspended from chains. On the left shoulder written in white magic marker was the slogan ‘DEATH BEFORE DISHONER’. We never told him that he had spelled dishonor wrong and I don’t think the rest of his friends could read.
It was hard to imagine anyone following Bobby. But they did. There was about seven or eight of them. Like Bobby they all rode Harleys. A few had been Pagans who defected when the power in the topless bars had shifted into my hands. There was also Tommy a big clean cut Irish kid who was not a biker. Tommy’s passion was hockey. He had been Bobby’s best friend since childhood. Tommy was by far the toughest. He had a right hook that could drop a mule.
Bobby was indispensable to me in maintaining order in the clubs. He was close to six feet tall, in his early twenty’s, and only about a hundred and forty pounds but he had a pair of solid brass balls. I had once seen him draw a bead with my AR15 on a ‘made man’ because Bobby felt the guy had lately been spending too much time talking to Marlena in the clubs. Bobby had every intention of pulling the trigger if I hadn’t stopped him. The man was pulling onto Sunrise Highway and he drove off that night never knowing how close he had come to encountering a fusillade of bullets as he left. Bobby’s father had spent years in Vietnam working for the CIA and he had taught his son all about guns. I had to repress my laughter as I lay there chained and broken in my hospital bed thinking about how Phil and I had labeled Bobby’smotorcycle gang the Cretins. The Cretins motorcycle gang was our answer to the Pagans motorcycle gang who had proceeded and been displaced by me as the mobs muscle in Long Island”s topless bars. The Pagans had their own president whom they always deferred to with the reverence reserved to that office. Bobby was now the president of the Cretins. The president of the Pagans thought he didn’t have to take orders from anyone which is why the Pagans fell from power. Bobby was much smarter. He realized that his only reason for existence was to serve me and I took my orders from Richey Capri. Some people, including Richey’s father, felt that I also took orders from the Devil. Those that knew me better thought I was the Devil. But those that knew me best knew the Devil was just a friend of mine.
Bobby whispered and sneered in the same breath. “The supers really scared. I heard you dumped a thirty round clip in there. I wonder if they found all the bullets. I know they didn’t find all the casings.” I took the casing in my right hand, the one where the caste extended from my elbow to the middle of my fingers. Only three of the fingers were operational. I awkwardly placed it on the table next to me with the tray of half eaten food and overflowing ashtrays. Bobby looked at me quizzically which made him resemble a lab rat investigating its cage. His sparse blond facial hairs could have passed for whiskers. His whispering became conspiratorial “there was an exorcism up there that’s why the supers so scared.” I was thinking to myself that this supers always been too friendly for his own good. When he had put Michelle’s name on the lease with mine without consulting me I had contemplated shooting him for a while. I remembered seeing him before I passed out. He had been on the grounds when I jumped out the second story window but my memories were a confabulation of pain mingled with the lingering aftertaste of cocaine, blood, and sex.
The cops were enchanted with Marlena’s gothic beauty. She was about five foot six and a couple of years older than Bobby. Her raven colored hair was almost as long as Michelle’s, flowing like a river of darkness to her ample ass. Her milk white skin was smooth and unblemished like a child’s. Brick red lipstick accentuated a pearl white smile cultivated by some North Shore dentist, a product of her affluent upbringing. Her eyes were blackened with makeup to match her tight black sweater that fell to the same length as her hair over black tights that were tucked in at the knees to black Italian leather riding boots.
Bobby continued in his conspiring whisper.”The people that own the apartment are Chinese or some shit. The neighbors told me they had these three Buddhist monks up there all decked out in feathers and robes waving magic wands.” I interrupted him “In Moonchild , Crowley said the way of the Tao is the most potent form of Magick.” He looked at me again with his quizzical lab rat face “what were you doing up there? Marlena always said Michelle and you had charged the entire apartment with some kind of sex energy. She got as horny as an ally cat in heat just sitting around that place.” I answered him a bit curtly “Why Bobby? Do you know anything about Crowley besides what people like Janet and I told you when we were drunk?” I suppressed a laugh as I imagined trying to explain Chaldean, Gematria, and Temurah to a guy who adorned himself with the slogan death before dishoner. It’s too bad Janet wasn’t around but Michelle had long since run her off. She was a dancer that had been part of my entourage before Michelle became its queen. Janet was a dedicated Wiccan and she had good reason to be afraid of Michelle.
My mind wandered as Bobby continued. I was thinking of all the nights I had slept with Janet on her big waterbed. I had never had sex with her. She was one of the smartest girls I have ever met. She understood the roots of what we did went back since the days before Egypt and she was well versed in both the Golden Bough and the Golden Dawn. Janet once wanted to do a ritual ‘sky clad’, which is naked, with me and some of her coven. I declined knowing it would not end in copulation because Janet was convinced she was not allowed to have sex with me. I never like to start what I don’t finish so I had to keep my clothes on, especially in bed, because Janet didn’t. She had a lithe muscular body with perfectly proportioned breasts and ass. Her thin platinum blond hair was cut in a Dutch boy haircut that accentuated her androgynous erotic appearance. This was the late eighties when dancers were still paid a minimum of seventeen dollars an hour plus tips. The agency had to be careful who they sent to certain clubs. If the girl was not of the highest quality her car might get burned in the parking lot or the agent could get hassled when he came to get his envelope. At least that was before Phil beat the agent; Savage, almost, to death in front of Richey’s club in Nassau County. Now we were the agency for both Nassau and Suffolk Counties.
Janet and I would spend days scouring lower Manhattan for books and ingredients for incenses and potions. Sometimes we would take Bobby and Marlena in tow, sometimes girls from her coven. Janet was able to make all kinds of concoctions from Kava Kava tea on up to stuff that would produce a mildly hallucinogenic state but nothing close to the effects of an incense Michelle had made after she had accompanied Janet and I for the first time to lower Manhattan. Michelle had a long list that she had gotten from her mother. In order to fill it to her satisfaction she made us take her to every place we knew of in the city, and showed us some we didn’t know. That night I did not go home with Janet. I went home with Michelle and had a different kind of sex, so different that once I had it I could never go back to what most men think is sex. There is reproductive sex between biological organisms which every animal and most humans live their life in pursuit of. Then there is intercourse with the unseen, opening one’s self up to the darkest corridors of erotica. That was the last time I ever saw Janet. She stopped dancing at the clubs after that night.
Bobby straightened his posture and started talking in his customarily mocking tone. “One of your bullets went through a water pipe. The whole first floor was flooded out and had to be evacuated, so much for their leases.” Bobby hated everything that was not wearing either leather or expensive perfume. “What were you shooting at? I hear you just missed that cunt downstairs husband by an inch.” “Yea” I said. “Bartle’s thinks he is going to get attempted murder on that one.” “Did you fuck her?” He asked. He was probably referring to her impromptu topless sun bathing sessions where we had watched her from my kitchen window casually sprawled out on her belly on a lawn chair. Her top was off and her legs spread invitingly with her bikini bottom tight against her glistening crotch. “No” I said. “If I fucked that bitch I would have to package it as payback for the super putting Michelle’s name on the lease. Michelle would find out. She has ways of finding things out that you don’t even want to know about Bobby. Besides I don’t fuck with married woman. See? That turned out to be a really good policy. If I was having sex with her, Bartle’s would actually have a case.”
I grimaced in pain. There is no pain like the throbbing of shattered bone mingled with the acute burning sensation of butchered ligaments. I had smashed the window of my apartment with the still smoking AR15 and thrown it to the ground outside. When I thought about it I decided to get as far away from the scene as possible. The cops were going to come into that apartment and up those stairs shooting regardless of whether they found the gun outside or not. I pulled on a pair of jeans and started to go down the darkened stairway but I saw movement in the shadows and Michelle was taunting me about it waiting on the stairs for me. I went to the broken window and jumped from the second floor. I landed on my feet and felt my right ankle pop. Something else gave in the bottom of my left foot. But I knew if I wanted to live I had to get as far away from the gun as possible. Since I was wearing only jeans they might not shoot if they figured I wasn’t armed.
I started to run and with each step my right ankle became looser till it was flopping around like an untied sneaker. I ran into the super at the next building. He was standing there as if nothing had happened. He ushered me into an unfurnished apartment in back of him and told me to stay in there. When I checked the door I found he had locked it somehow from the outside. Or at least I thought he had. The whole thing smelled like some kind of set up. All the shades were drawn and he had been casually standing outside talking to a madman who just opened up with an assault rifle. I took a running dive through the window. I was certain that apartment would be my coffin if I waited for the cops to come through the door. I ran for the six foot cyclone fence at the end of the property and remember almost clearing it with one leap in spite of my ankle which was now wobbling like a loose shower slipper every time I came down on it. I remember the top of the fence spearing a hole through my ass as I landed on it. Then everything went black. I woke up in the emergency room.
The glass had severed four or five arteries on my arms and torso and many of the ligaments that attach the fingers to the forearm on both arms. My right ankle was so badly compounded that the doctors told me I would never walk again without a cane. The arch in my left foot was also cracked and the doctors told me a cracked arch never heals completely. I had castes on all four of my limbs and over each of the castes was a manacle that was chained to the bed. Apparently law enforcement still considered me to be a very dangerous man, at least what was left of me. I wondered, if I really had to, could I get up out of the bed. Pain is an insidious and creeping thing. It never confronts the warrior during the heat of battle. Pain waits silently in ambush for the quiet moments after. It was now washing over me like some great wave rising up out of a disturbed sea. Every four hours the nurses administered morphine which would envelope me in a warm womb that I was methodically torn from with each tick of the clock. Always before it became intolerable another syringe bearing angel in white appeared to begin the cycle all over again.
My orthopedic surgeon; Dr. Arvan, was a contrite and sadistic yuppie who considered it his civic obligation to keep me in as much pain as possible. I had paid out of my own pocket to have Dr. Levine, who was my family doctor and also a resident at Good Samaritan Hospital where I was being held, increase my dosage of morphine to twice what Arvan had been giving me. It was almost noon and Arvan was due through the door at any moment now fresh from ‘an early nine.’ He would arrive with a flourish of self importance like the leading act in a night club. He would be wearing some outlandish golfing outfit like his pale yellow pants, black and red checkered sweater vest, topped with a matching yellow and black checkered cap. He would talk to me with his customary disapproving distain. I looked at Bobby who was always good for cold cocking whomever I told him to with a pair of brass knuckles he kept in the right pocket of his black leather Cretins jacket. “Hey Bobby” I whispered “you got your brass knuckles?” I imagined Bobby knocking Arvan out right from underneath his checkered cap. The mental image made me smile and grimace at the same time.
Bobby sniffled like a rat trying to locate cheese. “What?” “Never mind” I answered. “Didn’t your daddy ever tell you to never fully load a thirty round clipfor any kind of an M16. That’s why they used twenty round straight clips in Vietnam. Anything more than twenty eight rounds and you’re pretty much guaranteed to jam the fucking thing on the first shot. I always load twenty seven. If you can’t do the job with that just slap in another one. It ain’t like you got to fuck with it by wedging the clips forward like on an AK.” “AK’s can take a full forty round banana clip” he answered smugly. “Yea” I said “and they are strictly spray and pray for anything out further than a hundred yards. They’re never going to find all those bullets anyway. That clip was loaded with hollow points. They shattered on impact. Where did all that blood come from? I don’t remember bleeding till I started going through the windows. In fact Michelle was acting like she was hit and I knew she wasn’t because there was no blood.” He gave me another quizzical look and said “she was covered with blood when she was interviewed on TV. Margret said she can’t understand how anybody could look so hot all covered with blood.” Margret was Richey Capri’s bisexual lover who managed the Rainforest in Nassau County. She had been seduced by Michelle at first sight, most people were.
Marlena had the deputy’s engrossed in conversation. For once it was really like Miami Vice for those guys. Bobby looked over disapprovingly. Bobby was chronically jealous. He had reason to be. On the exterior Marlena was far too much woman for him. That is if you did not know that she was bipolar and given to manic depression and violent outbursts when deprived of her Klonopin, which she sometimes was when I overindulged with her prescription. I watched as the cops eyes took turns wandering from her face to her breasts that strained tauntingly against her sweater when she laughed. Bobby also noticed and had assumed his familiar posture with his hands on his hips glowering from Marlena to the cops who were seated in chairs at the foot of my bed. The rest of the girls at the clubs had given Bobby the nickname ‘watchdog’ and Marlena could no longer dance in the clubs anymore. She had stopped anyway a couple of days before I had assigned her to Bobby. Even her waitressing had gotten ridiculous with him cold cocking a customer a night with those brass knuckles. I had to tell him to stay out of the clubs when she was working. It was better that way for both of them. Without him around she had no problems clearing five hundred dollars a night. With the Pagans gone everybody in the strip club business was making money. Back then Ialways made sure my people got the lions share even if it sometimes meant pointing a loaded forty-four magnum at Richey.
I wasn’t telling Bobby anything. I haven’t told anyone anything until now. In all truth on that Labor Day morning of 1989 Michelle and I were just doing the same thing we had always been doing. We have been here now for over a hundred years. You were just too busy paying homage to us by killing each other to see us. In 1987 shortly after my twenty-eighth birthday a group named Guns & Roses revived a sound that had been dormant for at least a decade. The sound had originally been given to Robert Johnson half a century ago and passed around amongst musicians till it reached its widest distribution toward the end of the Vietnam War. Guns and Roses came from out of nowhere and ended up going nowhere. But for a few years they would be “more popular than Jesus.” The album they released was titled Appetite for Destruction. Immediately after its release that album would provide a sound track for the next two years of my life. “Welcome to the Jungle.”