The last few months of this journey, I was pretty much constantly in survival mode.
In fact, the whole journey, my entire strange trip… from the time I left Rochester, Minnesota near the end of July 1978 to the day I headed back (somewhere around the end of March or early April of 1979) my nineteen-(soon to be twenty)-year-old self experienced what I am now seeing as a head-on collision with life.
A kind of life anyway, and like the proverbial deer, I was going to get hit in the headlights every time. As long as I stood there. My adult self now can see that even my walking, the walking that was so helpful for me during the worst of it… even that was more like standing there and taking life in the face.
Yes, some of it was wonderful, liberating. I’d never felt so free so why not? Why not stand there and take it in the face?
I’ll tell you why… those last few months in Omaha pretty much sucked all round. Even those few times near the end when I could say I was kinda having fun, it always ended badly. However, it did end. It ended and it was me who made it so.
I don’t know exactly when it happened. I don’t have any memory of the moment I decided to call my Dad and tell him where I was and that I wanted to come home. Come home and start over. Reset my life. I don’t know when I did that but I did.
First I made a few other things end.
Sometime after I reconnected with Allen, after he and the gang had got themselves totally hooked on The Rocky Horror Picture Show, I saw Fred, Maria and the kids again.
I saw them because I was in their part of the neighborhood and decided to just stop by and say hello. Actually, I was right next door. Allen and I were next door getting a bag of weed.
I’d had no idea that for my whole first month in Omaha, that month I’d lived in the apartment with the bloodstain with Fred, Maria and the kids… we were all living next to a group of very VERY dangerous men. I’m sure it was a good thing that at the time, I never saw any of my neighbors… but they had seen me.
“Oh yea… you’re the guy who was living next door with that n!&@r boy and his s$!@k chick. She’s kinda hot, you ever do her?”
I said nothing. My survival mode mind was telling me to not say anything, to never even make eye contact with these men.
They were bikers, Hell’s Angles and they wore their colors in everything they said so I didn’t have to look. No doubt Allen had brought me along so he could show them he had a big guy backing him up, but I don’t think he needed that. They liked “Crazy” Allen and it sounded like at least one of them saw the seventeen-year-old street-punk-gang-leader as a kind of protégé.
From the conversation, I gathered that Allen was looking for more than just a bag of weed. I didn’t know what until later (and I would never know that full story) but it was far more dangerous than just getting a bag of weed. Even that small bit of information was something I had to filter though the way these men talked. The way they talked and the things they said scared the hell outta me so I just sat there, looking at the floor. I spoke only a few times and in as few words as possible, and only when one of them asked me my name and where I was from.
“Yea kid, you shoulda seen that fucker.” The only one of these men to say much at all, tossed Allen his baggie. “Face looked like dog meat after we pistol-whipped him for about a half hour. Woulda shot him but we were too close to home. It was just over on Dodge, he might still be there bleeding in his car. If he ain’t dead. Fucker shoulda never cut me off like that.”
A few of the others chuckled quietly. It sounded as if these men had just recently nearly killed a man for cutting them off in traffic. That may have been exactly what had happened and it may have been the only thing that had happened, but somehow… Allen and this man exchanged more than just this story and a bag of weed. I wouldn’t know what it was really about until a few days later.
It would be a few days after the Alice Cooper concert when I found out quite a bit more as to what had been going on here.
The Alice Cooper concert is a whole other story that I will get into but first…
First I’ll have to tell the one about what happened when I left these dangerous men, told Allen I’d catch up with him later… and I went knocking on Fred and Maria’s door.
I’ll tell that one when this will again have to be…
To be continued…