Hells Angels and an evening at the Axe & Cleaver - Baltimore Post-ExaminerBaltimore Post-Examiner

Hells Angels and an evening at the Axe & Cleaver

This is a true story about my time as a teenager in the UK.

Remind me never to wear a miniskirt in a pub full of Hells Angels ever again.

I’d only gone because I thought I loved him.  I was in awe of him really – bad boy The Bad Boy.  From Doncaster, with a long ponytail, an earring and tattoos.  He’d let the tyres down on my father’s car and consequently wasn’t allowed in my parent’s house.  Totally unfair of them, I thought.  God, they just didn’t understand me.

So, naturally, I lied; I told them I was staying at Becky’s house and had exited the house in moderately sensible clothes, which I promptly removed, once I had escaped down the road.

And there I stood, in the smoky haze of the pub entrance, rock music blaring, in my low-cut top, a min mini-skirt, knee length boots, desperately trying to shift my wide-eyed stare into a seen-it-all-before-I-am-cool-look-but-don’t-touch air of aloofness.

Looking back now, I really had not got a clue.

I ordered a beer, with well-known, much respected The Bad Boy by my side.  “She’s my bit of posh,” he said and I smiled at the hairy hulk with a ring through his nose, who snorted with what I presume was admiration.

I was fascinated and excited by the scene.  I sat at the bar, not quite sure what to do with my legs – any angle seemed to invite a stream of gazes in my direction.  I slurped on my beer, tossed back my hair and lit another fag with a shaky hand.

There were about twelve of them, all dressed in a mixture of burnt out denim and grazed leathers.  Their hair was long and wild and their arms resembled the Bayeux Tapestry.  They laughed with each other, smoked roll ups and snorted long lines of coke from the bar tables.  A couple of them were playing pool – I noticed the large wad of cash on the side of the pool table and stared at it and them until a pair of piercing blue eyes met mine.  I turned my head away and down to the floor and then looked up again.  He was still staring at me.

The Bad Boy had his nose glued to the table and didn’t notice this hairy hulk walk up to me.  He jabbed me in the stomach with the chalk end of his pool cue. “So you’re his bit of posh,” he said, his eyes staring straight through me.

I nodded.

It was entirely impossible for me to speak to him.  My throat was dry and I could not take my eyes off his cheek, where lay two tattooed tear drops.

He pointed at his cheek.  “Do you know how come I got these?” he asked.  This time I shook my head, but attempted a smile too.  “Because I killed two, that’s why,” He said, with a smile.

I swallowed.  He laughed.  A crowd had begun to gather.  The Bad Boy looked up from across the pub and gave me the thumbs up.  Asshole.

They were a terrifying bunch.  They smelt of dust and dirt and they all had incredibly grimy fingernails, that’s what I remember noticing.  They proceeded to make jokes about me and a few even took turns to sit next and me and put their arms round me.  I froze, as did my smile.  Then there came a point, in all my naivety and desperation to grow up, that I realized that sitting in a smoky, back street pub, in the outskirts of Trowbridge, surrounded by a group of  mean and very stoned Hells Angels was not the place I really should be.

I sat there, my head spinning, the music pounding in my ears.  I was bursting for the loo.  They began to become pre-occupied with themselves, so I slipped from the bar stool and headed off to the toilets.  I sat for a while, pondering what to do.

After a time I marched out, pulled up The Bad Boy by his ponytail and crept out into the darkness.

Having stopped shaking, I started the car, only to have the living daylights scared out of me by a knock on the window.  The police.  They spoke to me for a while.  I had only had one beer.  I was clear to go.  I drove with determination, dropping off The Bad Boy and his coke-infested head before going home to the safety of my bed.

I lay awake for a long time that night, and for many after.

Repulsion, fascination, disgust and excitement, I thought.

And still do.


About the author

Claire Bolden

Claire Bolden McGill is a British expat who lived in Maryland for three years and moved back to the UK in August 2015. Claire wrote about her life as a British expat on the East Coast and now works in travel and hospitality PR in the UK. She still finds time to blog about her repatriation and the reverse culture shock that ensued - and she still hasn't finished that novel, but she's working on it. You can contact Claire via twitter on @clairebmcgill or via her blog From America to England. Contact the author.
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