The first time I meet Frank was in the late 1960’s and I wasn’t sure what to make of him. He was wearing a motorcycle gang vest, on which he had hung a beer bottle opener. His other clothing were jeans and bad- ass looking black motorcycle boots I asked him why he had a bottle opener hanging on his vest and he explained to me that it was his weapon in case he needed a weapon in a hurry he could just grab the opener in a split second.
The night I meet him there were three of us in Jimmy’s bedroom sitting in the dark except for light coming from Jimmy’s large tropical fish tank. We set around and shared joints which we passed back and forth throughout the evening. This became a regular event over time often with one or two others people joining us in the ritual.
I learned later that at the time I meet Frank he was still living at home with his parents, which included his domineering father who was a retired policeman who liked to flash his gun about. It became clear to me that Frank was dominated by his dad father and I came to realize that his motorcycle gang getup was an attempt to act tough even though it turned out that he was actually a pretty sweat guy who wouldn’t hurt a fly.
The first event that led me to this change in how I saw Frank was one late afternoon at Jimmy’s new apartment. As I walked in to the apartment Jimmy was offering up a teenage girl for anyone who wanted to have sex with her. The girl was just barely conscious lying in Jimmy’s bed. She was stoned on alcohol and Seconal sleeping pills which we called stumbles. Frank immediately jumped up and stood at the entry to the bedroom and said loudly and clearly that no one was going to hurt that girl. I was impressed by his quick action in baring the door and making it clear that he was fully ready to do whatever needed to be done to protect the girl. And that ended that.
Eventually Frank got married and had a daughter of his own. He still went about with his motorcycle gang outfit on and seemed always to have a new chopper but otherwise he had become truly domesticated and a loving husband and great dad.
Frank continued wearing of the motorcycle clothing unfortunately wound up leading to deadly trouble. The trouble happen one evening when Frank went out to a bar dressed in his full colors and after a few beers began to brag about him being a member of a particularly violent motorcycle gang who was headquartered in Venice California not far from where the bar was located.
He didn’t know that the gang he was claiming to belong to had members of that very gang in the bar at the time he was talking about being a member. Nor did he know that the gang was particularly pissed-off at the time as some other non-gang folks had been posing as member of the gang while selling inferior drugs in the Venice area which was bringing additional heat on the actual gang members as well as hurting their reputation as providers of high quality drugs.
Long story short Frank was found dead the next morning, his body floating in the Venice canals and it still hurts.