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I knew who George Christie was before I ever laid eyes on him. I'd been a friend of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club in London, England, and his reputation had crossed the water: a hard man, a tough negotiator, a charismatic leader, respected, loved and feared. But I didn't fear him. Why should I? I wasn't in an outlaw club; he was, and had been for 40 years, President of the Hells Angels.
So when I moved to Southern California, an introduction was arranged by the President of the London chapter; then cancelled abruptly. “Why?’ I asked my English friend. ”We don't talk about him any more,'’ He answered. “He's out... Bad.” Which I learned meant no more contact with the club and maybe worse, maybe a lot worse.
By chance, I did meet George, at a local athletic club, where I introduced myself and suggested lunch. You see, I'm a writer, mostly fiction, sometimes non-fiction, and I am always interested in a character, and this sturdy looking guy dressed all in black with a patchwork of ink covering both arms and a face that told a thousand stories sure looked like a character to me.
We met at a local restaurant, an Italian place. Respectfully, and a bit theatrically, I asked him if he preferred the chair with it's back against the wall. Without hesitation, he answered, “yes.” And in that moment I had a real doubt, 'is this where I die? Is this where two guys walk through the door and open fire, and I'm the collateral damage?” Suddenly my Godfather theatrics seemed serious.
What impressed me most about George was his mind, sharp and fast, and we shared the same irony in our humor, a bit of edge, laced with sarcasm. I liked him... Lunch ended, and we were still alive...
I didn't see much of George after that. A few passing hellos in the gym, nothing more. Maybe I'd offended him, been too familiar too soon. I didn't know. Not for almost two years. Then, after a chance meeting at a coffee shop, he told me.
“'I‘ve already had one murder contract on me. I thought maybe you were the second. That maybe you'd been sent... Sometimes it works that way and I had to be sure.”
I was surprised and mildly flattered... Me, a hit man? I don’t think so. I’m a writer. I write about hits and hit men but, so far, have never murdered anyone.
George’s story is riveting. He resigned from the Hells Angels after a 40- year run and all the rides, parties, women, fights and wars that go with being an outlaw. Took off his jacket, folded it up and laid it on the table of the clubhouse, then walked out. “For me, the club, with all its back biting and hypocrisy, had become the people we’d once rebelled against,” He says. “Brotherhood didn’t exist. Not like it used to.”
Shortly afterwards he was convicted on charges of committing arson to interfere with interstate commerce. Whatever he had to do with the firebombing of two tattoo shops in Ventura remains in question but it was not a hands-on job. That's just not George’s style.
He served his time in La Tuna Federal Prison, near the Mexican border; his cellmate was the President of The Bandidos, a club at war with the Hells Angels. “That’s another thing I never understood,” He explains. “How come we were brothers in prison and at war on the streets. It never made sense.”
A year later he stepped off a plane at LAX, stripped of all financial assets, and 'out bad' with his old club. Responsible for a young wife and child. Times were tough and he was broke, but not broken.
Perhaps, the real test of any man or woman, whether outlaw or civilian, is to lose everything. Do we jump off the Cliff or grow new wings and fly. George flew, beyond the prison bars and outlaw wings. Proving that it's not what we are but who we are when the chips are down. His TV series Outlaw Chronicles set viewing records for the History channel while his autobiographical Exile On Front Street, published by Thomas Dunn, soared straight into the Amazon best sellers list, followed quickly by his novel, Marked.
These days, the 'Al Capone Of Ventura,' as one magazine titled him, is a popular speaker at corporations, law enforcement venues (on his own terms), including nationwide police departments, defense attorneys and Homeland Security, to name a few.
In March this year, George Christie will make his stage debut in the one-man show, Outlaw, written and directed by me, Richard La Plante, suspected hit man, author of crime thrillers and collector of characters. Honored to call George Christie a friend.
Marked now available...
MARKED SNEEK PEEK...
A story of lies, loyalty, betrayal, and brotherhood
Sometime in the 1970s.
Early summer in the high desert of the Southwest.
Several hours had passed, and he had used the night landscape to occupy his time. The layers of the sun began revealing themselves as each second passed. It was one of the most beautiful sunrises he had seen in this lifetime, maybe in any lifetime.
The beauty of the desert is an experience that can change a man. The red hues of the rocks and cliffs, sculpted over millions of years. The big barrel cacti take the outline of bodies as the heat waves ripple upwards off their twisted forms.
The elements were starting to affect his body. The coolness of the evening was slipping away, replaced with that unforgiving oven that would bake for the next sixteen hours.
Thoughts swirled in his head. Jack knew a flash flood could change the landscape in one afternoon. What power nature had over Earth and man. But he also knew what power he held. He’d learned that fact after dispatching his first target as a U.S. Marine scout sniper. When this afternoon was over, he would have demonstrated it once again.
Jack was lucky; the layout allowed him to position himself on top of this old barn, so that the glass in the scope would not reflect off the rising sun. The rifle itself was good, but not outstanding. Nothing like a military sniper rifle you can draw from an armory.
In this type of operation, you don’t get that familiar with the gear. That’s because it wasn’t really an operation, it was a murder. You get your tools where you can and, if you’re smart, once they’re used, you get rid of them. As quickly as you can, and you do it yourself.
Jack took satisfaction in the fact that he had built the silencer himself. It was crafted out of tubing, washers, and steel wool, with a threaded spacer on one end to secure it to the barrel. He hung onto that thought and contemplated whether he had become a sociopath—proud that he had created this tool to aid him in destroying another human being.
His mind drifted to his parents, may they rest in peace. How they had insisted on his getting a higher level of education. If they hadn’t made such a fuss, there was a good chance he wouldn’t even know what a sociopath was.
But Jack pushed these ideas out of his head as fast as they entered. He knew the heat could put strange thoughts in a man’s mind, and that gave him some comfort.
"Marked" is my next book. A fictionalized account of my adventures. Here is a synopsis. Available: Preorder special, first 100 get a signed book and classic photo all for $15. Personalized upon request...