City Liberty South Florida Outlaws
Chapter Eighteen: The underground… Libert City and Outlaws
“Hey, where you from?” The question came in a soft, liquid drawl.
“The city!” He replied.
“THE CITY, man. New York!”
“Wach ya doing in Miami?”
“Looking. My folks died and I left.”
“So, your family is in the ground?”
“Yea, I didn’t want to stay in the orphans home!”
His family were deceased… again, he made them deceased. Four weeks of living under a bridge eating coconuts and thinking of how he arrived occasioned the pain of memory–a desire to “find a new family” cropped up once again. With his thoughts diving deeper and deeper into his “new” world, it would be a long time until he discovered the truth that would truly set him free. But, someone was working on him… assisting him…. making sure guilt remained imbedded deep within his mind. But, as I have stated time after time… it would be on shaky legs that he would stand, gazing at that great, portal of light, reaching out with his hands, his mind, his heart, his soul, touching HIM with his love, asking for HIS forgiveness…. until then, life would continue to teach through hardship!
The group of kids gathered round an old oak tree were fascinated by his accounts of adventure. He had become the “cause de celebrity” on his own, telling tales of New York, Alabama, Georgia and beyond. He was accepted immediately…
“Are you hungry? My mom will probably welcome you to dinner…”
Her name was Diane: her father a black sanitation worker; her mom a white motel maid. She had seven brothers and sisters–and her grandmother–living in the five rooms that made up the interior of an apartment in a housing projects. During the day–when her folks were at work–he sometimes slept in the living room, most others under a bridge in the woods bordering a canal several blocks west of Biscaine Blvd. Nights were spent roaming the streets or hanging out at a bowling alley on 79Th St.–which was close to the pastel green and pink buildings of the housing projects.
Harry, the projects were a group of one story buildings which spread out for fifteen blocks square. More in tune with a duplex rather than a town house, they were inhabited by poor folk of all nationality and race: black, white, and Latin peoples whom seemed to get along together in their shared misery. Bordered by 79Th St. to the South, I-95 to the West, 1St. Avenue to the East, and 95Th St. to the North, it was a world close to the bustling glamour of the motels and seasonal fruit and sundries businesses which lined Biscaine Blvd.–yet another world completely!
Poverty ruled the inhabitants: no great Ficus, Oaks, nor Royal Palms filled the landscape… just yellow, weedy-scrub grass and disease-tinged black olives struggling in competition for precious resources amongst the dusty, faded, vermin infested buildings. Even the air had a unique composition which altered the immediate sky-line; one could walk twenty blocks and feel as if they were leaving another dimension… or planet–let alone country! Violence, hunger, boredom, lack of love and attention, struggles at simple survival, and continuance altered the very norms of this independent society. The rules of life changed once one entered this forbidden zone: police–politicians–law and order–society–right–wrong–rules–regulations–father–mother were words which carried an alien significance to all but those whom abided by the “code of proverty”. Gravity, pain, love, crime, consequences, actions, fault were all words based on reactions verses any hard facts of a Webster’s Dictionary. For those embroiled in day to day, heated conflict with the emotional and physical poverty of their lives, reality became but a dream of perceived fictional accountings based on television commercials; full of happy, hamburger full children–riding in new cars–with loving moms and dads–upon pot hole free roads–to big houses in the country! NOT!!! Imitation or limitation at all costs! Yes, we were promised… LOOK! CAN YOU NOT SEE!
The American dream! For all…
But why, they asked, did so many wind up with nothing? How many truly made it… and at what cost? So, they tried and failed by the droves and did soon bequest their lives, their feelings, their experiences, their twisted by poverty facts on theirs and those…
And Joe? Well, you know Harry, he fit right in!
Within two weeks, Joe had two new items to add to his list of accomplishments: A job landscaping and a professional tattoo…
Diane’s grandfather ran a tattoo booth in an arcade and carnival on 79th St. It remained open the entire tourist season. One night, they journeyed there and before he knew it, Walla!, he had her name tattooed on his biceps within a ribbon held in the mouth of a bird.
“Now I can pass for eighteen!” He thought as he viewed this “art work”.
You see, Harry, one of the worse things an individual could do is get a tattoo, but Joe’s life on the roads and streets required him to figure a way to “look older” then he was. For, every time he was stopped by the police and pulled out his fake ID, he would worry about passing…
“So, is it ‘Mike Clark’? Where did you say you lived.”
“Honest, officer, I live in the projects with… “
“It says here your eighteen? You don’t look…”
Flexing his tattooed muscles, standing as tall as his five foot two inch height would allow…. “If you don’t believe me then take me in and…”
“Just get the heck out of here and don’t let him catch you out this late again…”
“Thank you sir”, snatching his ID and racing to the safety of the projects.
The projects offered all sorts of safety. The police only came by when there was an explicit reason to… and even then, they were quick to leave! Kids were always “hanging” to all hours of the night. Once in the safety of it’s borders, he did not worry…
Everything was proceeding along fine: he was proud earning fifty dollars a week “planting sod”! He had moved in with Diane’s family. He was happily contributing a portion of his earnings to the household. He was having fun as a man of respect! Until the night of the bikers…
Diane and he were on their way to the bowling alley. Diane’s heritage, plainly visible in her dark, creamy brown skin and curly, long and loose hair, had caused three fist fights since he had met her. It seemed there was always someone whom would overtly use racism to make her cry… out popped the fists! Though she was fantastic at hiding her feelings… Joe could see her pain–especially when covert racism reared it’s head in purported secrecy. He recognized her beauty and innocence for what they were: GENUINE!–they did not…
“They” were the group of hard nose bikers who happened to chance by on their way to the Tattoo Man: South Florida Outlaws–Mean–Large–Ugly–Loud–Racial–Antagonists.
“VAROOM, CHUG-A-CHUG-A-CHUG-CHUG!”, went their bikes as they approached the brightly lit Bowling Alley.
“What have we got here? A SPIC and A NIGGER!” Spouted an ugly, over-weight monster as he dismounted.
Well, let me tell you Harry, this “man” of respect never could keep his mouth shut! He was with a girl… RIGHT? They had belittled her…RIGHT? He could not back down… He had to open his trap and like his father, allow a Louisiana Bull Frog to jump and slime the Beast whom stood before him like a brick house…
“YO, WHO DO YOU THINK YOUR TALKING TO! YOU CALL MY GIRL A NAME AGAIN AND I’LL…”
“You’ll what!? KICK MY BUTT? Hey, YO…” He exclaimed, calling his entire group to the attention of something big which was going to happen… something they would enjoy!
By this time Joe new he was in the worst trouble he could ever be in. He could not think of what to do…
“So your brave, Huh?”
“Listen, man. I faced worst than you…. I have battled with the mob in NY. I ripped off the GODFATHER himself. You don’t frighten me. You will have to kill me before you defeat me. This young lady has nothing to do with this situation. Why don’t you jerks go and terrorize someone your own size… or are you just a bunch of faggots?”
The group became totally still, all eyes staring at this profound 13 year old individual whom stood all of five foot-two and spoke as if he were eight foot tall. Joe was definitely in a bind as he awaited the outcome of this situation. Let me remind you Harry, this is truth… these are the actual events as they unfolded. Can you imagine?
Harry, let me emphasize the horror of thoughts which were moving in Joe’s mind at a zillion miles an hour on that road in front of the 79th St. Bowling Lanes: ‘Buried alive; Drawn and quartered between four rumbling motorcycles; Dragged down the road behind one of the larger “HOGS”… or, at the very least, grabbed and castrated.
He was desperately looking at all avenues of escape…. there were none. Not with Diane hanging tearfully upon his arm. Just at the moment the group seemed ready to pounce upon him, a voice, loud and in command, roared above the approaching storm: THUNDER preceded the lightning!
“YO! ANIMAL. YOU HEARD ME!! ANIMAL!”
He discovered the name for the beast… it fit him to a tee!
“Yea, Boss.” Animal answered, his demeanor changing.
“This kid thinks he is bad! I got an idea…”
This “IDEA” told him immediately that something was to follow; something he would not necessarily be happy to oblige with…
“Let the punk show he’s a man by performing a task of endeaver!” The cheers went up and he was grabbed and lofted above the crowd….
Now, a task of endeavor seemed the Knightly course of action–not that he had any great success with Knightly duels before. But, the idea of a joust or a dual! You know… like the swashbuckler movies of Errol Flynn! Yes, this seemed to be what they were talking about, he thought. And then…
“Listen, the place is busy, SEE…”
In front of The Castaway Hotel on 169th St on Miami Beach, with it’s colorful decor straight out of the Orient, they stood out like a pack of barbarians at the Chinese Wall: The entire group, parked, bikes rumbling and revving, leather groaning, bandannas flowing like war banners in the salty air. And, across the street, a motorcycle rental store. It’s neon lights announcing “RENT A YAMAHA 125 TILL TWELVE MIDNIGHT FOR ONLY $15.00”, crowded with tourists…
“You are going to go over there and steal that bike: The red one in the front.”
It was not a question, it was an order. But, with Diane safely at home and he about to be released with only a “minor” situation blocking his way, he decided the best course of action was to rid himself of this “situation”..
“How do I get a key?”
“A key?” The response was immediate: everyone began laughing loudly.
“Your the wise guy from NY whom defeats Godfathers and loud mouths Outlaws… What do you need a key for? Just flip the switch on the top like this”–showing him the approximate area the ignition would be–“Then rip these wires out”– showing him a group of wires–“Then connect the green and red, and touch them with the yellow one! then kick start it like this… You got that?”
“Sure, I got it…”
Viewing the bike as he tries to determine whom are operators and whom are tourists he reaches over and snaps the ignition; twisting the wires together….
“Oh, how about tha red one?” …a tourist interrupts. “I like the blue one.” They depart.
He is ready to jump aboard… “Can I help you?”
The guy was standing noe four feet away and Joe knew if he came any closer he would see the wires…”I’m just looking, my parents are staying at the Hotel across the street.” He pointed towards the Castaways…. not realizing he is pointing directly at the Outlaws!
“Look, he got caught! AND HE IS POINTING AT US!”
“Lets get out of here!” VAROOM!…. SCREECH!… VAROOM!…
The bikes careen down the road.
Joe is so frightened he fails to recognize the racket for what it was and, as the individual looks over towards the Hotel, he jumps onboard, twists the starter wires and VAROOM–well, OK… Winnie!—and “winnieeeeeeeeessssss” down the road!
The rendezvous was to be at Wolfies Restaurant on Miami Beach, Joe was to park the bike and wait two hours before showing up.
Happy to get his “endeavor” over, Joe arrived a little after ten PM. Wolfies was packed full of bikers–more than had previously been at the Castaways. As he rib-rib-a-ribed into the parking lot, he recognized one of the guys whom were in the original group. When the guy saw him he lit into the restaurant like a rat seeking escape from a cat.
Joe un-twisted the wires, popped the kick stand down, and ventured towards the front door; he was immediately surrounded by twenty bikers…
“It’s a set-up”, some one whispered… “he could be wired.”
“Wants to pin it on us.” Another hushed voice joined in.
“What is a kid doing on a renta-bike? It’s to late for a little punk to be riding on the beach?” One of them said as he patted him down.
“What the heck are you talking about?” Joe finally asked.
“We don’t like kids hanging down here!” Another interrupted as if to keep Joe from saying another word.
“Oh man, you guys are stupid…” Joe began, having figured what was going on.
“Who you calling stupid…” someone exclaimed as a hand shot out and slapped his face.
Joe’s reaction was immediate, he lunged for him and was immediately wrestled to the ground. .
That’s when some girl, viewing the situation, called the Boss out.
“So, you managed to succeed!” He exclaimed as he handed a bottle of Jack Daniel to him.
Remembering the incident at the hunting camp in Georgia, Joe refused the bottle. Well, Harry: YOU DON’T REFUSE AN OFFER TO DRINK WITH THE LEADER OF THE SOUTH FLORIDA OUTLAWS…
He awoke in a club house in Hallendale Beach, Florida. He was soused and hung over at the same time. It seemed that after he refused, they grabbed and forced the liquor down… three pints worth…
It was weird Harry, but, for the next month, he became a sort of “mascot” for the gang. They crowned him with a black French beret, placed him on the “black” 125, and he zoomed all over South Florida along side those blasting, heavy throated Harleys. They journeyed up and down the highways, “terrorized” Hollywood Beach every Friday and Saturday night,. and scrapped it out on several occasions– just like the Marlin Brando movie!
Had he found a friend and father figure in The Animal?
By the end of the month, reality soon looked expensive.
Though Joe was having the time of his life, he had grown tired making excuses for not excepting the drugs, sex, and offers to participate in some sort of larceny at every turn, stop, and go! When the order came down he was to get his colors, his very own colors, he put aside those feelings and jumped for the chance!
All bikers who recieved their colors had rode with, participated in, and were part of the acts of the group for a particular time. They had proved their “colors” by their deeds, often demonstrating they could be trusted through a specific act. Now, for Joe, due to his age, his special act was to assist in the delivery of some “speed” for distribution to the Outlaws Orlando Chapter.
Drug dealing was the groups main income, and being that Joe’s youth afforded some protection and camouflage, he was the one selected to carry the dope! Up until this point it had been a game; a game most youth would not even dream of, but a game non the less. It had been fun–no one to tell him what to do–freedom to roam and explore–riding a motorcycle all over the place–attention from fifty “father figures”! But, the facts of this experience had to be leveled with the facts of his vast knowledge of the streets: he was soon recognizing how similar these “father figures” were with “the tough guys” whom he had hung with in NY; the wise guys his father hung with before his demise; the drug dealers whom swarmed 117th street in Spanish Harlem… when the chips went down, you went down…
His first run went by with out a hitch. With the fake ID and registration for the stolen bike the Animal had secured deep in his pocket, and a “straight looking couple” riding along side him, he could have been the teenager with his family on vacation: the alibi! , They zoomed off and returned in two days. Joe was paid one “C” note and an induction ceremony was immediately organized.
The induction for the older guys was pretty intense; Joe had not attended one but the word was preached to him for the week prior to his trip. But, in the end, and to Joe’s pleasure, it was decided he would go through a less severe ritual.
Fifty members, wearing leather jackets and holding all sorts of weapons, lined up in two rows, twelve to a side. Joe put on two heavy leather jackets and a helmet that covered his face–one of the special considerations afforded him–took the fifth of Jack from Animal’s outstretched, hairy arm, downed the contents in a straight guzzle (he was only able to complete this portion because much of it ran down his face) and ran the gauntlet!
Joe ran through twenty-four men with blows raining upon his person from the many objects they whipped into the three foot corridor. He had been warned not to fall down–the last guy whom had fallen wound up in the hospital!–he forced himself to stay as erect as he could as he scurried through, bumping from one side to the other. He was well through the “line” when, as he neared the second from the last duo, one guy, a fellow whom was given the “honor of the line” even though he was still on probation and had yet to achieve full membership, stepped up and delivered a blow from a chain so severe, Joe was knocked to his knees, his helmet cracked in two…
Both sides of the line came to sudden halt and The Animal, his hulking, beastly figure rushing to assist the Mascot with heart, was suddenly held in check by ten members. The rules were the rules: blows were permitted as long as a recruit was “within the line”, but, no one save Mr. Probation would continue to lay a single strike.
As Mr. Probation continued to shower heavy blows, Joe rose on all fours and was crawling to the end of the line. Though Mr. Probationer was in his rights to continue “the line”, the cheering had stopped and all participants were standing one step off the line in giving honor to Joe for completing the line: As the last of Joe’s body, his booted right foot, broke the line in the sand, Mr. Probation raised his hand for a final blow…
Joe had cleared the line, he had made it despite the blow to the head and the ensuing shots, yet Mr. Probationer, oblivious to the fact the group had drawn back and halted the cheering, was poised to deliver another blow!
Eyes bloodshot, all thoughts wrapped up in his own excitement and pleasure, absorbed in the act of delivering submission, Mr. Probation’s arm, chain standing as straight as a two-by-four, began it’s powerful, rapid decent…
That’s when they released the Animal…
Flying through the thick sand, The Animal hit Mr. Probationer with such force, he flew like a rag doll fifteen feet and right into the surf. Then, for violating the code of the line, the entire group, including those probationers whom were not afforded the privilege of the line, surrounded him and, by the time they were through, stuck him in a hospital for three months…
Though stunned and sore, the helmet ultimately protected Joe. He had survived the line and was rewarded with a three day party: sporting a sleeveless motorcycle jacket with the colors of the Outlaws stitched to it’s back!
“How do I escape?” He said to himself as he sat along the midnight surf, a sliver of moon providing just a glint of light reflecting off the warm surf that gently stroked the sandy beach. “If I leave with out delivering the “merchandise” I’m liable for retribution. I could not stay in South Florida!”
Three weeks after his induction, Joe learned of the violence that had been adjudicated on the guy whom broke the rules. He also became privy to some of the other ventures and retributions which were being pronounced on various turn-coats, business men whom owed money, dealers whom were slow in paying.. and so on. The message was clear: this is what can happen to you now that you are official!
When he was informed he would be delivering dope two times a week to Orlando and Jacksonville, he realized he was now another tool to be used. Any previous violence or crime he may have perpetrated in the past was thus done for survival, not as a career or way of life! He had tasted the fruits of peace and happiness and had enjoyed it tremendously! These men were no more or less than gangsters on motorcycles whom were as loyal as their own pleasure and hides safety allowed: which when threatened, either by innuendo, rumor or paranoia, resulted in death or disfigurement!
The weight of his situation played heavy upon his heart. Events of his life thus far were of sudden intervention. Right or wrong, they just evolved from whatever was delivered. His life had become a rush of events; a dash from here to there–never knowing when he would die! You know how death is, it comes and goes without any hesitation. Like all of the others in his ancestral line, he led his life thinking his time could be up at any moment. In fact, he would think of his future birthdays in tens and wonder if he would be alive that decade… or maybe…
Joe was lost in thought, when suddenly, with an eerie, silent, bump in the night, someone fell over him and tumbled to the side. In the darkness, he could barely see the person. He had silently tripped over Joe — without a sound of foot steps or noise. Joe had scarcely seen the quick, silent movement of the gun, before it’s cold and smooth bored blackness was thrust into face… for more go to house of cards…………….