Expect No Mercy Excerpt

November 27, 2019

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Expect No Mercy Excerpt

This is a story about deluded mythmakers; clueless judges; morally bankrupt prosecutors; bad lawyers; daydream believers; and crooked cops. This is a story about police propaganda and gutless reporting.
This is a story about outlaws in America, particularly motorcycle outlaws, at the moment when the America that once was – the America of revolutionaries, moonshiners, pioneers, runaways, backyard inventers, shade tree mechanics, humble heroes, tailfins and great novelists; that America; the America that never lost a war – gasps, thins, grows blind, wraps itself up in its blanket and wanes.

This is a story about justice.

Most court houses feature a representation of the Greek Titan Thetis on their façades or maybe on their roofs, like the wonderful, old, limestone courthouse in Waco, Texas. Thetis holds a sword in one hand and a set of scales in the other. She is blindfolded to symbolize her impartiality. She presides over a contest of stories from which only one story may emerge as the truth.

What these statues never show is the prosecutors who sit laughing on the scales. Prosecutors hide evidence. They encourage witnesses to lie. Sometimes they pay them to lie. They prance and gesticulate like snake oil salesmen. There may be some ethical prosecutors as there may be unicorns.

Prosecutors have every advantage. When they lie and withhold evidence there is generally, for all practical purposes, not a thing defense attorneys can do about it. There are laws against prosecutorial misconduct but they are toothless. Courtrooms are work places. They are hypothetically open to the public but they are usually empty. The same prosecutors, defenders and judges see each other day after day. Defense attorneys are the bottom dogs. Their job is to make sure defendants get a fair trial before they get sent off to prison. And the only reporters who may notice this are the ones who cover courts. And they don’t get paid to make trouble. They get paid to rewrite the press releases the prosecutors give them and clean up the prosecutors’ quotes.

What citizens, the general public, know about court cases gets filtered through important newspapers and various television and internet media. Very few of those reporters get paid to tell the dreary and often mind numbing truth. They get paid to tell stories; not necessarily the story the prosecutors want them to tell but good stories. Stories that make you want to pick up the paper or open the magazine. Stories that get ratings. Stories that make you want to click your mouse and read more.

Of course, reporters at important news outlets like CNN or CBS, and who cover the sorts of stories I write, compete with each other for the best, most ratings-worthy stories. They develop and jealously guard sources. And their sources are almost always prosecutors and cops. And, if they don’t write what the prosecutors and cops tell them to write they can go find some new sources.

The one story about motorcycle outlaws that everybody loves to read – a story many journalists have written because it is a snap to write – is the one Hunter S. Thompson – or actually his editor, James H. Silberman – invented. They called it The Strange and Terrible Saga of the Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs.

Thompson started his book in 1965, just as America was starting to send Army divisions into Vietnam. “$6,000 guarantee against royalties for a paperback on Cycle gangs,” he wrote his friend Paul Semonin. Thompson was impoverished. It was probably his biggest payday until that moment in his life. He was also scared of bikers. “The awful shadow of the book – not even begun as yet – hangs on me like a pending shitrain,” he wrote. But it was six grand. He observed the Bay Area Hells Angels for a year. He was, to use the precise term, a “hang around.” He was never, to use the precise term again, “a brother.” Thompson saw his new, colorful companions as characters in an Erskine Caldwell novel. He was so impoverished he couldn’t afford to buy the Angels the beer he had promised them. He almost fit in. He must have seen his dreams of literary success slipping away.

The way he escaped was by calling one of the club brothers a “punk” one night. They beat him. He exaggerated the beating and just like that he became Gonzo Super Freak. Just like that, more than a half century ago, there was nothing more to say about outlaw motorcycle clubs because Hunter Thompson had already explained it all. Just like that it became folly to write anything about “the Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs” because look what happened to the intrepid Hunter Thompson. And that dude was crazy!

Thompson made his way in the world through the rest of his life as a drug addled and drunken satirist. He became a beloved character in a comic strip called Doonesbury. His words gave readers the vicarious experience of talking back to power.

Unfortunately, satire hasn’t really been able to keep up with the events of the last 50 years so his other books, The Curse of Longo, an awful novel named The Rum Diary, Generation of Swine, three books that share the title Fear and Loathing, and others have not had the ongoing impact of Hell’s Angels: The Strange and Terrible Saga of the Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs. Thompson’s first book gave and still gives readers the vicarious experience of being a motorcycle outlaw. It still so resonates that the impression the book left behind continues to have a greater impact than what Thompson and Silberman actually said.

Everybody knows the delicious highlights – the raids on defenseless hamlets; the defiance of convention and law; the unabashed devotion to lawlessness; the horrible growling as the packs of motorcycles approach; the disheveled brutes who take what they want; the wrecked bars; streets become rivers of beer bottles; the frightened and humiliated cops; the maid debauched on a pool table; her savagely beaten boyfriend begging for mercy for himself. Abandoning her. And she loves it. And she loves it. You can see it in your mind’s eye can’t you? She loves it. She will never be the same.

Afterward, one of the thugs hands her his calling card. A beat poet sings their praises. A beat novelist feeds them psychotropic drugs which makes them all psychopaths “What are you rebelling against, Johnny,” a black and white girl asks a black and white outlaw. “Whadda ya got,” Marlon Brando replies. They kill a nice boy with a gun at a rock concert. They corrupt America with drugs. “He’s a rebel and he’ll never ever be any good.” They bully everybody. Don’t make eye contact with them. They are the mafia on wheels.

See how easy that bullshit is to write? Everybody knows the story of the menace on motorcycles.

So it has become the foundation of every news account you have ever read about motorcycle outlaws.
It is such a perfectly delicious story that it never needs to be revised. All it needs is a new name for Billy Jack every time it is told. Its roots are in America’s id. It is the same now as it was just yesterday, in 1965 – a mere lifetime ago. Ask any prosecutor with some bikers to convict.

This is a story, I despair, for cynics and iconoclasts.

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18 Responses to “Expect No Mercy Excerpt”

  1. oldskewl Says:

    Kenny 1%er hit the nail on the head. “Next time it could be one of us”.

    Congrats on the new book Rebel. ordering it just in time for Christmas.

  2. Kenny 1%er Says:

    Ordered the book, I hope every club member reads it. Because next time it will be them. All they need is a jabbers. Thanks Rebel Merry Christmas.

  3. Phuquehed Says:

    Damn! More good reading I’m going to miss for who-knows-how-long. Took over three years to get just one of Rebel’s books, heh. Meh.

    I hope you had a good Thanksgiving Rebel, same to the rest of the regular crew. I got lucky as hell and didn’t have to have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and a bowl of ramen noodles…the owners of the trailer park I live in invited me over for Thanksgiving supper. I *wish* I’d eaten more, but I was too embarrassed to do so, so I only had one little plate of stuff. Still, it was a billion times better than the alternative and had good conversation to boot!

  4. BigV Says:

    Rebel: Nice to see this is on the market.

  5. BigV Says:

    I spoke once with the guy who formerly owned the property that Thompson lived on, and the property beside it.

    Thompson was delivered a Ducati- I want to say 916- but it was a Ducati and Cycle World was going to pay him.

    He hadn’t seen a paycheck in a while and he’d been down in the Keys for half decade living on Jimmy Buffet’s place going through money like a drunken sailor.

    So he takes the contract. Writes some bullshit.

    Never rides the bike. Gets back to Cycle World. A guy who worked at Cycle World looked at the Odo. Oh shit. So he puts some miles on the bike.

    Too scared to get on the Duc. Somebody else puts on the miles. People rave that it is his best work in years.

    Story of his Hunter’s life: sells one image about a bike(bikers), somebody else takes the weight.

  6. Trebor Says:

    Timeline on the book release?Christmas is coming up.A dozen books to make great gifts to some of my Brothers who were involved.

  7. xplor Says:

    We need to find out ” Who will police the police ”
    Do you have any ideas ?

    With checks and balances, each of the three branches of
    government can limit the powers of the others.
    This way, no one branch becomes too powerful.
    Each branch “checks” the power of the other branches to make
    sure that the power is balanced between them.

  8. Austin Says:

    @FF re:**”It never once occurred to me that he was bullshitting. I’m glad I made it through. Many of my peers, didn’t.”

    Tonight, I am warm & dry, and so is everyone I really care about.
    Was just at a friend’s discussing this ** exact thought… in the modern context.
    We remembered our many fallen friends, killed a few bottles and I realized – at this point I just assume EVERYONE is completely full of BS.

    Except Rebel. Rebel knows what’s up. Looking forward to a few more days of good reading weather now.

  9. Anonymouse Says:

    Let’s see, I’m full of turkey, kids just left, got a hot cup of tea and I’m under a warm blanket starting to read my freshly downloaded copy of Expect No Mercy. It doesn’t get much better. Happy Thanksgiving.

  10. Holding Ace's Says:

    Perfect timing Rebel. It makes a difference. Hope you’re at the circus next week.

    HAPPY THANKSGIVING.

  11. Gandalf Says:

    LOL SH. :) I once ate a “chocolate” candy my Uber driver gave me on the way to the Airport. I knew the guy. It was ugly… By the time I hit security I was peeking. Some guy asked me if I was OK and I lost my boarding pass at the terminal. “…Ya never know what your going to get.” Hope everyone is great this Holiday.

  12. Paladin Says:

    Shovelhead says:

    “Sometimes being an Outlaw is just about eating a good cookie, nothing more, nothing less.”

    In the end, that’s what life’s really all about.

    Long May You Ride,

    Paladin

  13. Pancho Villa Says:

    @Shovelhead, that last line was golden. I needed that today and I definitely have a “cookie” with my name on it in my stash. Thank you for those words. Rebel please never stop writing.

  14. Shovelhead Says:

    Gandalf,
    Same to you, hope it’s warmer where you are.

    Wife made some “special” peanut butter cookies. Had one last night. She told me to eat just a quarter of one because she didn’t know how strong they’d be. Of course I didn’t listen and ate the whole cookie. Yes, I would pay!

    About two hours later, the only part of my body I could move was my eye balls, I analyzed everything in the room, figured out the meaning of life, Saw the wallpaper move around like waves at the ocean and I’m pretty sure I was visited by Timothy Leary.
    Wife just laughed at me…told you not to eat so much.
    After about 4 hours being able to move my arms and legs again, I crawled off the easy chair and made my way to bed.
    Feel good today though, great nights sleep. Now where are those Cookies.

    Sometimes being an Outlaw is just about eating a good cookie, nothing more, nothing less.

  15. FF Says:

    I think Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas was worse. My 14 year old mind took it as a challenge to do all the drugs he talked about doing in that book. It never once occurred to me that he was bullshitting. I’m glad I made it through. Many of my peers, didn’t.

    Happy thanksgiving, Rebel. Fuck you Corky.

  16. Gandalf Says:

    Happy Thanksgiving.

  17. Woodstock Says:

    I abandoned any expectation of a positive outcome the day I put the patch on. Thanks for putting our reality so eloquently.

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