Proud of their new infamy, the outlaw bikers started adding "one-percenter" patches to their jackets.
A man called Tiny wore the diamond-shaped piece of cloth on the back of his denim jacket when he arrived in the sleepy town of Sioux City, Iowa, in 1962. A gift from his brothers in California, the Satan's Slaves patch was a license to assemble his own fellowship of degenerates, a secret society that would have all of middle America in which to toss around its muscle.
Tiny would give the Midwest the mark of El Forasteros, an outlaw motorcycle club that started its engines in Kansas City 40 years ago this summer.
About a dozen true one-percenter clubs remain, including the Hell's Angels, the Bandidos, the Outlaws and, in Kansas City, El Forasteros and the Galloping Gooses.
In the early days, the Kansas City club members would party for three solid days in the "caves" under an Interstate 435 overpass, recalls Jim "Moose" Foley, a 61-year-old original member of the Des Moines, Iowa, chapter who frequently rides through Kansas City.
"They were all good times, just getting crazy and drinking and having fun with each other.... If somebody fell asleep, you messed with them -- anything from pissing on them to lighting them on fire."
Long ago, the leader of the Kansas City El Forasteros chapter, John Sheaffer -- everyone calls him Shifty -- earned his reputation as one of the most feared and respected men among the country's one-percenter clubs. Shifty has worn the patch since 1967, when he was 20.
He bears other marks of the Forastero life as well: a partly chewed-off ear and the layer of skin shaved off his upper chest to repair it. He was in Minneapolis visiting the Forasteros in 1968 when a member of a street gang bumped into him at a bar. The men in this gang were known for filing their teeth into points. Shifty's Forasteros drinking companion threatened to beat the man when he didn't apologize. "The guy said, 'Oh, yeah?' Then he bent over and bit my ear off," Shifty recalls.
Shifty's girlfriend ran to the car and grabbed a .22-caliber handgun. "We fought for a long time, and I finally ended up shooting him four times," Shifty says. The man caught slugs in one hip, one shoulder and his throat. "I didn't have much choice. He said he was going to kill me, and he'd already bit my ear off. The cops said it was my lucky day, because he didn't press charges."
Later, though, Shifty would spend seven and a half years in prison for possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine. ("Actually, I was transporting it," he says.)
A sharp tooth earring dangles from Shifty's good ear when he arrives at Antoinette's Restaurant & Lounge on a quiet stretch of residential homes off North Brighton Avenue one cloudy evening in early May.
Drinking Budweisers at a table, El Forasteros member John Monk and Galloping Goose John Angell stand to greet him.