Read the First Chapter

Ace Tucker did not want to be crushed under a gaggle of stampeding hippies. Nor did he want to be pummeled by a horde of pissed off bikers. Yet that was his situation, smack dab in the middle of an impending riot at the Altamont Free Concert in the year 1969.

As the Rolling Stones played on stage, a group of feral hippies marched only to be met by a hardened line of drunken Hells Angels leaping from the edge of the stage where they had been perched to meet the advancing invaders. In the middle of both approaching armies, Ace Tucker stood like a referee at one of the craziest-looking sporting contests in the galaxy.

Somehow both camps respected the neutral zone Ace had inadvertently carved out between them and stood their ground glaring at each other as Ace slowly turned in a circle with his arms out. He showed everyone his empty palms and gingerly patted the air as he moved, careful to not make any sudden movements. Both sides glared suspiciously at him, trying to make sense of this lone idiot in the midst of an impending battle. He felt like a slab of meat suddenly thrown into a cage filled with two factions of starving lions.

Ace’s mission was simple: prevent one of the biggest disasters in rock ‘n’ roll history.

“Alright, everyone,” Ace shouted over the blaring rendition music, “let’s all just take one big step back, okay?”

“Forget that, man!” screamed a concert-goer with bloodshot eyes and chattering teeth. The man shivered as if he stood waist-deep in a blizzard yet the air sweltered from the thousands of bodies crammed around them.

This guy is meth’ed out of his mind, Ace thought. He scanned the rest of the hippies. They all showed telltale signs of various party drugs.

Ace said out loud, “I thought hippies were supposed to be all into peace and love and shit?”

A woman with pupils the size of saucers said, “That was before those meatheads cracked Bianca’s skull!” She pointed an accusing finger at the bikers behind Ace.

Ace spun around as the Hells Angels high fived each other and crushed beer cans with their heads. The leather and denim-clad bikers each wielded a sawed-off pool cue or a length of motorcycle chain. Each one looked like they knew how to use them.

Ace smiled at the bikers, holding his hand up, palms out, wide from his body feigning surrender and said, “Hey, guys. What do you say we all put down those toys, huh? They look like they could hurt someone.”

A bearded biker with a pool cue fashioned into a short pike stepped forward. His two front teeth looked as if they had been recently knocked out and replaced with a bloodied gap. A network of nasty scars ran across his face, looking like a fleshy roadmap. They were accented by a fresh gash on his right cheek extending to the corner of his mouth. Blood trickled in and out of his mouth as he smiled. The man reminded Ace of a fatter, more bearded version of the famed and ridiculously over-the-top shock-punk rocker GG Allin. Ace hoped that there would be no classic GG Allin antics in this GG’s arsenal. He had no interest in being pelted with feces or urine.

Biker GG belched loudly and said, “Back off, dude. The Man hired us to be security. And that’s what we’re gonna do. These pipsqueaks wanna rumble? That’s on them, man.”

Ace laughed and said, “What? You guys are the concert security?”

The biker smacked the fat end of his pool cue in his open palm and said, “What’s so funny about that?”

Ace said, “It’s just that you guys don’t strike me as the law and order type. That’s all.”

Biker GG said, “Who said anything about law and order,” then brought the pool cue up to his mouth and bit it in half. Blood gushed out of his mouth as he gnawed on splintering wood. After gnashing it into a pulp, he spat out a bloody wad. The gushy mass sailed through the air and landed mere inches from Ace’s feet.

Another biker stepped forward, swaying as if he stood on a moving train. He held a can of beer in each hand. When he discovered the can in his left hand was empty, he dropped it. Then he brought the other can up to his mouth and bit it almost in half. Beer exploded all over the biker’s face as he slurped up as much as he could before the can ran dry. He casually dropped the eviscerated can and said, “They paid us five hundred bucks in beer to keep everyone away from the stage. And that’s what we’re here to do.”

Ace said, “What? Five hundred bucks in beer? Jeez! In 1969? What is that? Like a hundred thousand gallons of beer?”

A brave male hippie in a tie-dyed shirt and no pants stepped out from the crowd. Luckily the shirt was so long it covered the gent’s nether regions. He pointed an accusing finger at the bikers and shouted, “These ruffians have been drinking all day and picking fights with everyone! And we’ve had enough! It’s time for them to scram!”

Biker GG pointed his broken pool cue at the hippie and said, “What’d you say, boy?”

A skinny woman wearing a flowery dress, a floppy knit hat, and in desperate need of a sandwich jumped forward holding a paper cup with a blue and red circular logo on it. She chucked the cup at the biker, yelling, “He said, scram, meathead!”

Everything got quiet as the music died. The cup seemed to fly in slow motion across the divide right past Ace and splattered on the biker’s leather vest. Ace heard the paper cup hit the ground with a light tink.

The world exploded into chaos and pandemonium.

The bikers charged like a herd of raging rhinos. The hippies skipped and stumbled like it was their first day at kindergarten recess, advancing blindly to meet the berserk bikers. Ace was caught smack dab in the center of it all. He had no time to react or get out of the way. Instinct took over. He covered his head and ducked down, anticipating being pummeled to death from both sides.

Just as the armies were about to clash, a booming voice with a slight southern drawl shouted, “Alright, man! Open her up.”

And everything stopped.

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