Ever feel like kicking someone in the ass just for the hell of it? It comes from that sinking feeling in your stomach, like when you get stopped by the cops for weaving just two a blocks from your house. You almost have it made and then... Old Lady Chance rears her head and you become a slave of circumstances. That's how this whole thing started.
   I was taking a few days off to visit some folks up in Reno. My bike was down for its annual winter overhaul, but old friend Neil McNeil of AMEN let me take his machine. It was a 75 Honda chop, very clean with a trick paint job. It didn't give quite the same feeling as a hawg, but then I learned as a child that you can't always get what you want.
   Anyway there I was, puttin' along Highway 14 outside of Lancaster, California. It was a beautiful winter day, clear skies with her purple mountains majesty striking you in the face. I was really looking forward to getting out of the smog pit known as the Greater Los Angeles Basin.
   Came up behind a camper. The coach was rockin' so I didn't bother knockin' and pulled out to pass. Bum trip.  As I took my angle I knew I was going down. The chain had neatly wrapped itself around my rear wheel. I pulled over into the center divider; the bike was going there anyway. I managed to get off in one in one piece. I turned away from that Honda and took a piss.
   Two hours later I was hanging around Larry Lilley's Honda shop sipping a beer and wondering why in the hell I ever started this mess. The chain had gone into the transmission case so there was no chance of getting back on that scooter. A phone call to my partner Regis, and he agreed to ride out and pick up this broken-down honkey. By the time the Romper arrived I was well into my seventh or eighth beer at Vicky's Bar, next door to Lilley's. We had to wait for Neil's ace, Nicky, to come pick up the bike."Screw it, I'll have a Harvey Wallbanger." Regis is a Kalua man. By the time Nicky arrived we were ready for bear. Regis had come up on a BMW test bike he "borrowed" from the boys at Big Bike. We decided to put it to a real test. Las Vegas here we come.
   Night riding through the high desert on the back of a squirrel. Needed comfort for my bones. We stopped for gas in Mojave, I bought some more liquor. Back on the road, a little comfort under my belt. Christ it's cold, but I can feel it getting better. Regis pulled over to take a leak. I was just pulling out the bottle for the umpteenth time when Smoky drives up. "Do you need any help?" comes the antiseptic amplified drone. Regis comes out of the bushes and smiles. "I guess not."
   By the time we hit Barstow it's midnight. The orange and white neon sign at the Motel 6 looks like home. Time to crash.
When you're hanging, waking up in a Motel 6 is just about the worst feeling in the world. The sun shines in your face right through the flimsy drapes. Then your head starts to sweat. Your throat feels like dried mud and you get a case of cotton mouth that just won't quit. When you finally muster up the strength to go to the bathroom, your stomach churns as if it were full of peyote buttons. Finally, after gagging down two emperin, you stagger back to bed and lay flat on your back, staring nauseously at the textured ceiling, feeling just like a dried-out piece of shit.
   The Romper bounced out of his bed in a sickening good humor. Las Vegas here we come. After a couple of hours on the road, Regis wants to eat. We stop at the best looking coffee shop in Baker, California, and I swallow some limp eggs and potatoes swimming in grease. It was terrible, left me tooting all day.
   Another hour and we hit state line. Slot machines, free misinformation, and gas. We share a smoke with some bikers and it's time to move on. Speeding down the long incline into Vegas. We're impatient, pushing the squirrel to about 85. Suddenly there it is, popping up out of the desert like a misplaced cauliflower. Fun City, Baby you are there.
   For a lonely biker with no idea of what's going to happen next, Las Vegas gives a horrible first impression. The people seem like robots, motivated, operated and constipated by the almighty dollar. Money talks in Vegas and its voice is so captivating that you have to jingle the change in your pocket just to remind yourself you're alive. You get blank stares from the broke, hostile glances from the help, and nothing from the rich. The poor slobs look so pitiful hovering around the blackjack tables, faces grim, hands perspiring, dropping their bucks into the greedy, money-hungry mouth of the maledictory monster known as Las Vegas.
   About mid-afternoon we started cruising bike shops in search of a friendly face. When we hit Cecil's Custom Cycle, located behind the Sawdust Saloon, we knew we had made our connection. For the first time since we hit Vegas we saw bikes. Lots of them. Sleek black Harleys, it was enough to make you homesick.
   Now Cecil must be a relation of Calvin Coolidge. He listens to you, glancing down over his long bushy beard, nodding his head every now and again, but he hardly ever says anything. As is usually the case with quiet people, Cecil's actions speak louder than words, and almost every chopper builder in southern Nevada owes something to his expertise.
   As Cecil tired quickly of our rapping, he turned us on to his neighbor, a biker named Don. Don was in the company of many good people. Among them Jeff, Lil, Danette and Wizard come quickly to mind. Introductions being dispensed with, we found that these bikers actually read our book. What a revelation! We knew we'd be gettin' down soon.
   As we boogied down the strip, things started happening. Apparently Don liked to give the taxi drivers a thrill and it didn't take much for him to see the potential in this situation. Engines thumping, he reached over behind Baba and pulled up Danette's blouse exposing a pert, pink nipple to the warm afternoon sun. By the time we hit the Palace, the mood was right for some serious picture shooting. Although she never said so, Lil must have heard the call of the wild emanating from the fountains frothy waters, as she quickly shed her top much to the delight of all concerned.
   "Sonofabitch! Who called the cops?"
   Seems like one universal truth in this country of ours is that the youth of America ain't allowed to have fun in public. It's all right for a middle aged businessman to maintain a drunken stupor inside the casino as long as he has money to lose, but to have a little innocent fun on the outside is strictly taboo. The minute you put a biker with a beard on the strip, it's open season for police brutality.
The cops moved in fast. Seems like they wanted a piece of the action. Too bad Lil had put her top back on, they all had to frisk her. Fun and games over, they went after the guys. Two of them held down Don while their partners seemed to be making a hair transplant experiment. As one pulled on his hair, forcing the back of his head onto his shoulders, the other pig pulled on his beard, forcing his mouth open in a search for weapons. What they expected to find is not quite certain, but it all seemed to be in the line of duty. After the rest of us had been sufficiently humiliated, the cops got together to add up the score, Alas this is Vegas and the house always wins. After some deliberation found what they thought probable cause to bust Don and Jeff and to impound their bikes. What an incredible hassle.
   Back at the shop everyone was pretty upset. It had only been a few weeks since the cops had busted up an ABATE meeting, with six arrested and all cameras smashed. (Regis's fingers turned white around his Pentax when he heard that one.) The girls went off to cash their paychecks for bail money while the necessary phone calls were made. The mood was bitter, silent anger and frustration manifesting itself in such actions as smashing helmets on the ground and kicking at the shop dog. Friends of the incarcerated pair began showing up to offer their assistance. At least the brotherhood was still alive and well. And Regis and I were determined to stay with this story.
   We went to the Clark County Jail with Stroker, a partner of Don and Jeff's who had stopped by the shop with his lady to "see what was happening," and Davy Johnson, a biker artist of exceptional talent whose work is considered by many to be superior to Dave Mann's. Standing in front of the Bail office across the street from the jail on a cold Nevada night, seems like I've been here before. Don and Jeff are finally released about 10:30; they hurry off to reclaim their bikes. The rest of us pile into Stroker's car and we're off. Almost, the car doesn't have reverse so he has to get out and push.
   By the time everything was straightened out it was midnight."I'm starved," blurts out the Romper in the midst of an intestinal spasm. Suddenly everyone realizes how long it's been since they've eaten. So we're off to a Pizza Hut, with a new addition, an ex-biker named Tiny whom Jeff had met in the joint. Tiny, it seems, was popped for attempted assault when he stuck out his massive finger at an officer of the law. Oh well , six pizzas (Tiny ate three) and four six-packs later we were invited back to Stroker's house to party. Some party, all they did was gamble; must have had something to do with the location. About four in the morning we all found a little corner and passed out.
   Regis was an early riser. Out of a corner of my sleep-filled eyes I saw him quietly pull on his pants and his boots, being extra careful not to rouse any of the sleeping bodies around him. A little bored with just sitting, he decided to go outside for a breath of fresh, morning air. On tiptoe he moved slowly down the hall toward the front door. Quiet as a mouse. Too bad he didn't realize there was an alarm on the door. BAAAAAAAAAAAAMMM. "Don't shoot, it's only me!"
   Later that morning we were back at Don's shop. He looked fresh and chipper, none the worse for his stint in the hole the night before. As more and more bikers began dropping by it became obvious that we should all ride somewhere, preferably off the strip. Don suggested Sunset Park and by noon we were on our way. The park was relatively pretty, tall trees and lime-green grass. They opened a special section for us and we spent the next few hours working, taking pictures and talking to people. With so many bikes around, the urge to ride was infectious. A run to the bar in Sloan was organized. "God damn I wish I had a bike up."
   Riding up the strip on the squirrel, Regis was hungry again. The words"all you can eat" caught his attention and brought forth a quick regurgitation of "did you see that?" "let's try it," and "what can you lose for $2.85,". Little did I know how much when we entered. I guess I should have realized something was afoot when they demanded the $2.85 up front, before you could even see any food. The Romper had his wallet out in a flash and so I followed like a calf being led to slaughter. The food was placed over to the side behind an evil looking wooden partition. Once given a plate, you're on your own. First came the bean salads, five of them, each one looking more insipid than the last. I looked around desperately for the common potato or macaroni variety, but they were nowhere to be seen. Oh well, man does not live by salad alone.
   I sauntered down toward the entrees. Garbage by any other name is still garbage. First came the Italian fare. Wine may age nicely but spaghetti does not. I groaned, realizing that the beans I had passed by earlier had somehow viciously made their way into the sauce. Next came the fried chicken. TV dinner rejects, cluck, cluck, cluck, this stuff sucks. Finally I ended up face to face with an Ethiopian in a white hat wielding a long knife. He looked at my empty plate and started carving. I must admit I never asked him what he was serving me, but the pink meat was attached to a rib bone so I automatically assumed it was roast beef. Wrong! One bite told me I was eating pork, ham roll of the lowest variety. I turned to Regis who was well into his second helping, bean spaghetti dangling lasciviously from his beard. Oh mama, can this really be the end, to be stuck inside a smorgasbord that's serving beans again.
   Much later that night I found myself swallowing some brandy in front of the Coasters. "Charlie Brown, he's a clown," "Yakitty Yak,don't talk back." "Poison Ivy" I yelled at the stage. Surprisingly enough the group obliged and gave me a case. Yes, this is fun city, even for bikers, but you have to pay to play. "Little Egypt came out struttin' wearing nothin' but a button and a bow-wowo." Someone ought to tell that broad that she can't do her thing in front of Caesar's Palace. Hey, has anyone seen a girl with a cowboy tattooed on her spine saying Phoenix Arizona 1949?

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