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GOING THE DISTANCE
"MEMOIR PART 2"
Photo by Genghis
SNOW: Finds Sally and the trippy NYC bike scene "endlessly fascinating."
EXCERPT FROM DAVID SNOW'S ARTICLE "XLCH TATTOOS":
"I find Scott's days with Sally and the trippy NYC bike scene endlessly fascinating. I think things were a lot more interesting in the old days. I remember this chick, Barbara Sodickson, who used to drop by the IH offices (circa issue #80) and she had a lot of cool pics of her dad, who was a member of the Aliens MC....There's not a day that goes by that I don't think of NYC. I remember when my first wife Deborah and I rode the Shovel to Jones Beach in '85...."
SAM GERLACH ON FACEBOOK:
"The chick who used to stop by the IH offices was my ex-wife. Her dad, "little Joe" and I are still friends. I used to do some freelance cartooning for the mag. Nice to know that you guys are still around."
A biker recently called my writing boring, and made this complaint: "You've re-written the same 10 articles 500 times." Yet, in order to believe his claim, this biker would've had to read all 500 articles, in addition to meticulously keeping count as to overall quantity and sameness percentage. In his own way, this biker was an extremely dedicated reader, at least with respect to analytical methodology!
In response to this biker's opinion that my articles are boring, here's the sincere advice I gave him: "Boring? Simple, don't read it." It's a big wide world of biker writing out here, and if readers are bored by a certain amount of repetition in my writing, they are free to move on to looking at the reams of party pictures in Outlaw Biker, or the tons of pictures of chopped Hondas and Yamahas in THBC.
However, this biker made a very salient point, a point I can't discount. Whenever a writer mines his experiences to populate his articles over a long span of time with the same names, places, events and opinions from said memories, a part of that sum total of that writing will be repeated. It is inevitable. My contention is, that it doesn't matter.
Let me explain to you why I think that Snow's Iron Horse was so successful. I believe that thinking bikers who treasured reading this iconic magazine, did so because they were avid readers. They didn't concentrate on picture-looking for cheap thrills and the transient satisfaction gotten from visual stimulation. They wanted more, and they got more in the interesting ideas couched in stylish and smart writing in IH.
Avid readers appreciate the art of writing, because the art of writing represents the interesting presentation of ideas. Sure, some of those ideas and themes will be repeated, but they will be presented in new and refreshing ways, as each presentation will (or should) shed a newfound perspective on these ideas, events and opinions. Theoretically, a writer may restrict himself to ten subjects, but he should be able to find 1,000 new ways of examining each, and be able to express himself in a thousand new ways about each.
Most of you will already know of my history as biker. Certainly, David Snow does. But as long as leading intellects in the biker subculture like David Snow find my experiences "endlessly fascinating," I am encouraged to continue mining my memories for fresh writing. Snow is a living testament to the existence of the Thinking Biker among us. These Thinking Bikers (and I count all of you reading this in this category) will always find well-presented writing about the biker subculture fascinating, as I hope that you will find this continuation of my memoir series, interesting and worthwhile to read.
I had just met my first wife recently, and was admittedly taken with her. Her name was Nancie Arnegger, and she was 17 years old. I was 21 at the time. Nancie was an ebullient, strawberry blonde with hair ringlets that fell down to her slender shoulders. She danced at a moment's notice, to the beat of an inner joy that only she could see, hear and palpate that unhesitatingly infected others around her. She carried her own charisma, hard to define but inalterably "there."
We'd met when she approached me in front of Gem Spa at the corner of St. Marks Place and Second Avenue, where I had my Sportster XLCH "Sally The Bitch" parked in a row of gleaming Harleys. She asked me to take her for a ride. After that, we moved closer to becoming a couple. Nancie lived in a commune of more than ten hippies, in a ground floor, one bedroom apartment at 233 East 3rd Street, in the East Village of NYC.
Of necessity, hippie communes of the late '60s would've had to have a charismatic leader, to keep the members compliant and dependent (you can see where I'm going with this).
This particular commune did, and his name was Rene D'Oyen. The building at 233 East 3rd Street between Avenues B and C in "Alphabet City," would be where Nancie and I would eventually live in two apartments (at different times), after we got married. This could only have been accomplished, after I successfully courted my first wife, and persuaded her that life without living in Rene's commune was not only possible, but desirable and necessary. Rene's commune followers were held in a not quite iron grip by Rene, by an emotional-dependency ligature around their young necks. When Nancie moved out of the commune into our own apartment, Nancie suffered a separation anxiety that I was disgusted with.
Rene was an expansive thirty-something year old Puerto Rican who spoke in grand terms, that were emblematic of the communal idealism that existed in the East Village of the '60s. It was a flower child world, where some flower children needed flower parents to lead 'em. To Nancie, Rene was a Flower Father.
Rene preached of "reaching the Third Level" of an amorphous consciousness, and dazzled his adherents with the vernacular of grandiose success in achieving Nirvanic bliss. Given my independent personality, I was immediately suspicious of this. Bikers are notorious for being pragmatic, obsessed only with their Harley having enough gas, and how is she runnin', man? The Voodoo-like tactics of "spritual leaders" leaves us as cold as yesterday's refrigerated leftovers.
Rene was a dark-complected man, whose wife was a kindly, doe-eyed and voluptuous white woman named Jane who was also in her 30s. Rene and Jane acted the roles of surrogate parents, to their younger hippie charges.
Although at first glance, Rene's influence on the hippies in their commune seemed relatively mininal, I bristled at the thinly disguised manipulation of commune members. Rene liked to be in control. That became more apparent to me, as Rene became more hostile at my skepticism about his lifestyle.
During my courtship with Nancie, my reluctance to acquiesce to a worshipful demeanor toward Rene showed. Rene told me, "Scott, you have to stop being so negative." Nancie implored me to not be so resistant to Rene's ideas. My skepticism was clearly resented by Rene, and to a lesser degree, Jane, who was more easy going and less manipulative than her husband. At that time in the East Village (you'll remember this time as merely a year after the "Summer of Love," a time suffused with mystical idealism), there was another "spiritual leader" similar to Rene, but a more prestigious leader named Danny. Danny and his wife were known belovedly among East Village hippies, as "Danny & Patty," as if the conjoining of their singular given names engendered double the star power, that each name deserved by itself. In their celebrity, Danny and Patty enjoyed the name recognition that befit people familiarly referred to by only their first names. Think "Madonna" and "Beyonce," but on a seedier scale. Danny and Patty were dropouts from the Surname Club.
This couple was spoken of reverently among Rene's commune members with hushed tones, as "Danny & Patty." Rarely was Danny spoken of alone. It was always "Danny & Patty," the Twin Figurehead of the Good Ship Spiritual Plane.
"Danny and Patty said this. Danny and Patty believe this is right. Danny and Patty thinks we should do this...."
And so on. Danny was an alchoholic in his late 40s, who presented a messianic countenance to followers. Patty was a pretty, gentle and fragile-appearing brunette, who was considerably younger than Danny. Unlike Jane of "Rene & Jane," Patty didn't adopt a maternal-like role with people. She was just along for the ride with her Svengali-like husband, happy to be a revered partner of the law firm of "Danny & Patty."
Unlike Rene who had a following of hippies in his apartment-based commune, Danny and Patty ruled from afar, overseeing individual fiefdoms like Rene's commune with distant authority. Danny knew that people like Rene perceived him as a mentor in the spiritual and people-leading arts, and acted like a Pope of the East Village. Danny & Patty were spoken of, not with a small amount of subliminal fear underneath the reverence. Danny's temper was legendary in the East Village. Rene worshipped Danny, citing Danny's, "....being on the Third Level...." as arcane proof of his spiritual superiority.
In truth, Danny was mean drunk who blitzed himself into a stupor every day.
A couple of years after I met Danny & Patty, Patty fled Danny and went into hiding from him.
Rene resented my skepticism toward Nancie's unquestioning dedication to his commune, and strategized to introduce me to Danny & Patty, with the expectation that Danny's charisma would bring me around to their Nirvanic point of view. Thusly, the great Danny received my person where he held court in his East Village tenement apartment. Amazingly, what happened with Danny was, that he became so impressed with my bearing for some reason (hey, bikers come off strong, ya know what I mean? Must of been my run-down engineer boots with the unbelted, jangling buckles), that he declared that I was, "Already on the Third Level." When he prolaimed this from his Urban Mount Olympus, Rene was incredulous. I felt that I won an important battle in weaning Nancie off of her emotional dependence on "Rene & Jane." I felt strongly, that Nancie would've been content to spend all of her life following Rene, if she had no other direction. Rene's commune was not Jonestown, but it was an unhealthy environment.
This was an incredible slap in Rene's face! Not only was I an equal to Rene, I was on the skyscraper-high Third Level, on the same astral plane as Danny, his hero, and therefore, on a higher plane than Rene! Everything is relative, man!
Rene somehow found a short in his logic circuits, because he all of a sudden disparaged the very idea that I, this skeptical and uncouth biker with the dirty engineer boots, could be on the vaunted Third level! There must be something wrong! Danny must've been out of his gourd that day when he proclaimed this! It simply.....cannot be. Nancie didn't know what to think. Was her husband-to-be, a celebrated spiritual mensch among mensch? Could Genghis be capable of throwing lightning bolts from his heavenly perch? Oh, probably not. Hey man, you knew all you needed to know about Rene, when you heard him refer to Harleys as "Chopped Pigs." Another tell that revealed Rene's attitude toward bikers was, when he said to me, "We're gonna get you out of those run-down boots yet."
The late 1960s was drenched in drugs. It was the rare young person who did not smoke pot. I was in the majority, using pot mainly to hear music better, to be able to discern different instrument lines of my band, the Grateful Dead. Having a decent stereo system and the Dead playing, man, that was home entertainment that could not be beat. To be able to hear all the instrument lines all at once, recognizing the unfolding tapestry of music that was innovative like jazz, yet unified like classical music---that's how I would describe hearing the Dead's music under "enhanced" circumstances. However, nothing could approach hearing the Dead play live while on LSD. I was a veteran tripper, having taken more than 30 acid trips, and the most memorable acid trips while at concert, were hearing the Dead play at the Fillmore East, and at the Pavillion at the defunct 1964 World's Fair site in Flushing Meadows, New York. A highlight of the Pavillion concert, was being able to hand Jerry Garcia some tabs of Orange Sunshine acid in the parking lot after the concert. It was an amazing phenomenon to have a concert in such an open space structure without a roof to constrain the musical notes, as the music drifted up into the sky unhindered, seeming to take miles to dissipate before gently seeping into the cosmos. To use a cliche, the music became one with the universe, but this platitude fits.
A fact that non-acid users never understood, was that LSD just didn't alter one's perceptions. Acid also enhanced one's sensory perceptions and the way one thought about those perceptions. Acid also made the tripper appreciate the profundity of events and perceptions, that we normally would dismiss as too ordinary to ponder. Was some of the profundity regarding mundane endeavors and events exaggerated in the tripper's mind? For sure, yet it left a lasting impression (lifelong, in some cases) on the tripper. This could be said about a motorcycle ride, which under non-tripping circumstances, would just be another ride on another day, like any day one straddles his Harley and takes off.
In his article "XLCH Tattoos," Snow described one memorable ride as the one he and his first wife Deborah went on, when they rode their Shovel to Jones Beach on Long Island, New York. One of my most memorable (to this day!) rides, was also to Jones Beach.
Nancie and I were in my parents' apartment in Jackson Heights, Queens. We had dropped some acid around 3:00 AM, and an hour or so later when the acid was just taking off, but before we were peaking, we decided to ride my '68 XLCH Sportster "Sally The Bitch" to Jones Beach. We thought it would be cool to see the sunset at the beach. This was a powerful but mellow acid, called "Orange Sunshine." Nancie took one tab, and I took two (for good measure, natch). We went out to the street, where I had Sally parked in front of my parents' Chinese laundry. Sally seemed to know of our intentions, and would not pull her "hard to start" act this night. Thanks Sally, for not acting out....bitch. I turned the Sporty's gas on, made sure that the toggle kill switch I'd mounted on the top motor mount of the left side was in the kill position and lifted the enrichener on Sally's S & S Super B. Before priming Sally, I made sure that the magneto was not hooked to the carb support (the mag swung in for the spark retarded position for kickstarting, and out for the unretarded, riding position. I eliminated the whole factory rigamarole used for this function, and simply hooked a spring attached to the magneto, to the carb support to keep the magneto in the unretarded position ("Occam's Razor:" Do the simple thing first, less is more) and swung the Fairbanks-Morse magneto in, for the spark retarded position for starting.
Then I primed the carb with two kicks and pushed the toggle kill switch (a two dollar item from the local Aid Auto store) into the "live" position, and began my ritual kicking. One gentle push down on the kicker to find top dead center, then reset the kicker at the top of its travel. Then, "Whump!" It only took three "Whumps!" to start Sally's 900 CCs that night. For Sally, this was spectacular. The only time Sally ever started on the first kick, was when her motor was hot.
Just as Sally's motor warmed up, I began to feel that telltale euphoria that signaled the ascent of the acid in my system. LSD trips have several stages. First there's the ascent, leading to euphoria. Then's there's the "peak" when the acid's effects are in full song. Think of this as reaching the redline of the Acid Engine's range. This might last an hour if you're lucky, and here the Acid Engine revs happily along at its 7,000 rpm redline before descending to the last stage: Lessening of the high, and finally exhaustion.
Looked like I was gonna peak out during the ride, man! Wtih Nancie on board and holding on tight to me (I had a cut-down seat with no sissy bar in sight), we took off, the sounds of Sally's exhaust filling the wide cavern that was Northern Boulevard , echoes bouncing off of the walls of my parents building, then rebounding from there to the relatively empty spaces of the Mobil gas station across the street, and finally hooking around the White Castle adjacent from my folks' building. I was able to distinguish the trajectory of the travel of the sounds, from surface to surface, in sequence. That's what acid can do for ya. There's a slow-motion quality to the perception of sounds, that allows one to separate and distinguish one sound from another from a mix of sounds, and hone in on their locations. That's why when listening to music on a stereo on acid, the soundstage becomes so much more well-defined, with each musician occupying a certain place more discernibly, than when one is not tripping. On acid, the placement and presence of each musician on the soundstage, is pinpoint and solid.
Acid, I can tell you from experience, does not hinder one's motor skills or mental awareness when riding, like alchohol or grass does. If anything, acid makes one's senses and motor reactions more acute. On the ride to Jones Beach that morning, the sights and sounds unfolding around us, was indescribably enjoyable (ya hadda be there, man). It was Surround Sound on steroids.
We took a claustrophobically narrow street toward the highway. This was 31st Avenue, which would eventually merge with Astoria Boulevard.
31st Avenue is a horizontally constricted, two-lane road perhaps 20 feet wide between the parked cars on either side, with two-family homes lining the perimeters like silent sentinels during the darkness of the early morning. This road formed a natural aerodynamists' wind tunnel, in which was carried the wind currents from us and our Sportster, in a swirling mass of air and sound behind us. The sounds of Sally's loud pipes reverberated from the houses on either side, in this canyon of encircling pressure. The reverberations of each "BLATT" was palpable on our skin. It was like a secondary tactile communication with my motorcycle.
The audio and tactile sensations from the bouncing sound and the currents of air under the influence of LSD, were phenomenonally euphoric. It was in this transitional phase from the streets to the highway to Jones Beach, that we began to peak out on our trips.
The still darkness before dawn, was silky and comforting. I believe that it was this single ride, that made me love riding in the obscurity of the darkness of the early morning, when street lights and highway lights sparkle in the void. Riding in the early morning has been a lifelong preference, whose birth was given on this ride. This is one of the lasting impressions that LSD left on trippers, that I alluded to.
Cruising at a steady 40 on the streets leading to the highways, and then hittin' the highway and turnin' Sally's wick up to 60 and beyond, gave me a rush that is hard to describe 45 years later. The way that Sally's throbbing motor felt under us, the Beast that Sally the Motorcycle seemed to be transformed into with acid perception, gave a whole new dimension to Sally as a motor vehicle. It seemed that for the first time, I was seeing what Sally really was: A primordial beast of prey, gobbling up yards and miles of blacktop, hungry for the next mile of eating. We took the nearly deserted Cross Island Parkway past the Throgs Neck Bridge, and swooped onto the Long Island Expressway, which seemd like an elongated serpent stretched out to forever. Then the series of highways, the Northern State Parkway and the Meadowbrook State Parkway, gave way to new olfactory clues---smells of sea---that permeated our brains as we drew closer to Jones Beach. It seemed that I was able to identify the salt particles in the air that entered my nostrils.
We were coming down off the peak now. That voluminous feeling one gets in one's head, when it feels like the internal space of one's cranium is miles wide and capable of holding all and revealing all, began to recede. Jones Beach at this time of morning was deserted. The sun had begun to rise and I swung Sally into West End 2, which has always been my favorite field of Jones Beach. Jones Beach is a massive beach, more than ten miles long. Jones Beach was built on Jones Island, which was a low-lying swamp two feet above sea level. The builders dredged Jones Beach's famously fine silvery sand from the adjacent bay bottom, to bring Jones Beach to over 12 feet above sea level. Jones Beach is famous for its art deco architecture, particularly the Italianate-style water tower that bisects Jones Beach at its center, at Field 4. The furthest reaches of Jones Beach at its west borders, are the West End Fields, which consist of West End 1 and West End 2. These were the most natural and the least populated (with beachgoers) of the Jones Beach fields. Unlike the other fields, the West End beaches feature sand dunes with native vegetation. These fields are beautiful in their sheer and unblemished vastness.
West End 2's beach was closed to beachgoers in 2009 due to the fiscal crisis and designated for surfers, fisherman and stargazers only. Not a bad thing, man.
Nancie and I were definitely coming down from the acid. We were both getting tired. It's an interesting phenomenon, to reminesce about the times when we were a couple. Married couples think in a coupled manner. Even though 45 years has passed, it is easy to slip into that "couple-thinking mode" where the two thought as a couple, in sync. Once married, it is never forgotten, like riding a bicycle.
I pulled Sally into West End 2's parking lot, and parked near the curb near the start of the beach. Jones Beach, unlike other New York Beaches, is a very long beach between concrete and the ocean.
I estimate the distance between the start of the sand and the water's edge at West End 2, to be more than a quarter of a mile. It's a long trek for people who want to be near the waves. As Nancie and I sat at the edge of the parking lot, getting more tired by the minute, a state trooper pulled up to us in his cruiser. We were the only people at West End 2, and our solitude and the sight of an offensive-looking motorcycle drew him to us, like a fly to our ointment.
He said, "What are you doing here?" I told him we were admiring the sunset. He looked at Sally whose motor was still ticking as she cooled off and said, "You weren't speeding over there (pointing to the highway), were you?" He clearly was trying to provoke me. Our isolation lent to the feeling of being singled out by the trooper for mind games. I said, "No, officer." He left us alone after that, warning me to "keep it under the limit" on the way out. Is there any doubt that if we parked a station wagon there, that the trooper wouldn't have bugged us?
The motorcycle club scene in NYC was just past its infancy in the '60s. Let me point out that my observations revolve around my personal interaction with and direct knowledge of clubs locally, that is, in New York City. Aside from books like Hunter S. Thompson's book on the Hell's Angels and other related magazine articles, very little was known by me directly about motorcycle clubs outside the scope of NYC in 1968. Little did I know about the Outlaws MC, or the Bandidos MC or the Pagans MC. The Pagans have a Long Island chapter.
At least with the Pagans, I knew one personally, but only because he bravely ventured (without his colors, of course) into heavy Hell's Angel territory to work. Even though the Outlaws MC is the oldest club, having been formed in Illinois in 1935, it just didn't have the notoriety with commensurate media reach to inform my young mind in NYC in the '60s. The Bandidos originated in Texas in 1966, but was too new and young a club to have made a media splash in the late '60s. The only reason I had knowledge of the Pagans in 1968, was because they had a Long Island stronghold, and because of their infamous brawl with the Aliens MC at the New York Coliseum. This brawl was sensational news locally in the East Village where I lived. Of greater consequence for the Aliens, was that their notoriety extended beyond the streets of the Lower East Side of NYC, all the way to Oakland.
This is not to belittle more obscure motorcycle clubs in the NYC area, but I'm listing only two outlaw clubs that figured prominently in the Manhattan area. One was the Ratpack MC, who although based in Brooklyn, did a lot of their hanging around in the East Village. I had a couple of friends in this club.
The other was the Aliens MC, who were based in the East Village. The Aliens, an NYC-based club formed in 1964, was the club with the most notoriety, because of a well-publicized fight that they had with the Pagans. At a motorcycle show at the old New York Coliseum at Columbus Circle, these two clubs got involved in an old fashion barroom-wreckin' brawl, that shuttered the show and caused much damage. The consensus was that the Aliens emerged from the fracas victorious. This was a hot topic of talk on the street in the Lower East Side, because we East Village residents were so familiar with the Aliens, whose clubhouse was on East 3rd Street. I knew one of the Aliens, whose name was Mario.
After the Aliens MC moved into the East Village, turf wars erupted between the club and neighborhood Puerto Ricans. The Puerto Ricans after all, had been in the 'hood for decades. This was their territory. Among some Latin gangs in the East Village, were the Young Lords. Geraldo Rivera was famously their lawyer for awhile. Ironically, some of the Young Lords hung out in my apartment on East 3rd Street. One of them, whose club name was "Chocolate' " (so nicknamed because of his dark complexion) was interested in learning photography from me. The Young Lords' clubhouse was across the street from my house. These kids took to calling me "Chino Hitman" because they believed the stereotype that all asians were expert in the martial arts (this was years before I actually set foot in a dojo).
Because of the national attention that the Aliens MC garnered from their brawl with the Pagans MC at the New York Coliseum, the Aliens caught the atttention of the Hell's Angels in Oakland. The end result was that the HAMC absorbed the whole NYC Aliens MC, with the Aliens patching over as the newly-minted NYC chapter of the Hell's Angels. They showed class at the New York Coliseum, and were rewarded for it by becoming part of the most prestigious outlaw club in America. This made my friend Mario a Hell's Angel.
One day, Mario came up to me in an agitated state. He was practically frothing at the mouth. He said, "The niggers burned my bike! Burned it right down to the ground!" Mario was really referring to the Puerto Ricans. The trashing of Mario's Sportster was in retaliation for the Hell's Angels stomping a Puerto Rican some time before. These skirmishes continued, but eventually died down when the Hell's Angels presence on Third Street became an accepted fixture. Easy come, easy go.
Photo by Genghis
MITCH DIAMOND: At the center of the downfall of an outlaw club.
In the history of the biker subculture in New York City, there are certain pressure points which act as fulcrums, which alter the leverage of history forever. Mitch Diamond was one of them. Mitch became the focus of an event that saw the downfall of the Ratpack MC. Mitch Diamond was my best friend in the East Village in the late '60s. I met Mitch around 1968, even before I moved to the neighborhood. When I began hanging around bikers in The City, I'd see Mitch around on his gold rigid Panhead, and our nodding acquaintance became a solid friendship. Mitch lived in a ground-floor railroad apartment on East Second Street, a block over from the Hell's Angels clubhouse on Third Street. Mitch was on very friendly terms with the Angels, which is the key to why Mitch became the fulcrum point, in this shift in biker subculture history in NYC. In this shift, an entire club paid the price for one member's actions.
Mitch's apartment was an artifactual testament to what a colorful character Mitch was, and how dedicated he was to Harley-Davidsons.
His house was filled with motorcycle parts and snake cages, holding all manner of the slinky serpents. Boas, pythons, you name it, they battled Harley parts for space in Mitch's apartment. One way that Mitch made money from his spacious apartment, was to rent garage space to bikers.
Among those who garaged their bikes at Mitch's was a Ratpack MC member who kept his Harley there.
The Ratpack MC was a multiracial club based in Brooklyn. Arthur "Steppenwolf" Sellers was a member, and a good friend of mine. Arthur is white and rode a rigid Pan. Arthur was an actor by trade, and moved to NYC from Terra Haute, Indiana to pursue his craft. While here, he prospected with and became a full-patched Ratpacker.
The last time I saw Arthur here in New York, his Panhead had been ripped off, and then he moved to California. The last time I heard from Arthur, he'd become a screenwriter. Just out of the blue about 15 years ago, he called me at work. The two biker friends I hung out with the most, were Mitch and Arthur.
Another friend I had in the Ratpack MC was Spade George, who is black. George rode a Shovelhead. You may remember my mentioning both George and Arthur in previous articles in both IH and on my GTD website. George has a motorcycle shop in California now. If you Google "Spade George," you find him and his shop. The last time I saw George was in 1970 when I visited him in Daly City. I've been in touch with him on social media, though.
One day, Nancie and I (there goes that 'ole Couple Think again) got some terrible news. Mitch Diamond had been murdered, and the supposed perp was the Ratpack MC member who was garaging his Harley in Mitch's apartment. I can't remember his name. The Ratpacker fell behind in his garage rent payments to Mitch, and Mitch wouldn't let him have his bike until the guy made good on his debt. Over and over in the ensuing decades since, I've thought about how foolish Mitch had been to not show more flexibility about the money. Things came to a head between the two, and the Ratpack MC member killed Mitch. Butchered him, really. I heard descriptions from the cops about how much blood had been strewn throughout Mitch's elongated apartment. There must have been a struggle of epic proportions, to have spread so much of Mitch's blood over such a wide area.
The Ratpacker who killed Mitch left town, and became a fugitive from justice, not just of the legal kind, but also of the street variety by the Hell's Angels.
So far as I know, he was never caught. The reason for Mitch's killer's flight, probably had more to do with the Hell's Angels going after him than the police. Strong rumors persisted at street level, that the Angels were going to relatiate for Mitch's murder. Not just retaliate against Mitch's killer, but his entire club. Soon thereafter, the Ratpack Motorcycle Club disbanded. This was an important blip in the history of the biker subculture in New York City, for one event surrounding one biker, Mitch Diamond, totally eliminated a club that was only 4 years old---by another club just as young (the Aliens/NYC Hell's Angels were founded in 1964). Later.