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Shifty, who is now 58, dismounts and hobbles bowlegged, his weight swaying from foot to foot as he walks through the front door into the bar.
He embraces Monk and Angell. Shifty sits in a chair at the head of the table and orders a Diet Coke. Because most of the club members are slowing down with age, Shifty is looking for the right kind of future leaders. He says 40 years of partying, brawling and riding choppers will all have been for nothing if he can't teach the next generation of El Forasteros how to carry on the brotherhood of the patch.
"If I don't keep the club going, then my life has been a failure. That's how I look at it," he says. "This is the only thing I've ever done, and I've spent my life doing it. So I've got to make it work."
At 31, John Monk is in his prime, with a blond beard and a braided ponytail. His thick arms are covered in tattoos depicting death, monsters and his allegiance to the one-percenters. He shares the brotherhood with Shifty and the city's 12 other El Forasteros and 14 Galloping Gooses. (The Forasteros gave the Gooses the one-percenter patch, making them brother clubs.) The two clubs share territory and a clubhouse on Guinotte Avenue, surrounded by smokestacks and rail yards in the East Bottoms. The clubhouse walls are covered with photographs, insignia and memorabilia.
There's a photograph of Shifty in his mid-20s, with long brown hair, standing beside a couple of dozen other young Forasteros and Gooses. Now Shifty is a diabetic and has to keep his insulin refrigerated when he gets on his bike for a run.
Shifty says his only regret is that being with El Forasteros caused him to neglect his family -- being a husband and father came second to riding. Now he is looking for men who can balance a family and a job with the tradition of going on runs to loud and secluded parties.
"We allow you to miss a few things for work, but if your work takes up more than half of your time, there's no reason for you really to be in the club," Shifty says.
So far, Monk is successfully balancing the demands of home life and biker life. As he tries to finalize a divorce, Monk has full custody of his 11-year-old daughter, Madison. He's been a tattoo artist since he was 18 and now owns and works at Kingpin Tattooing on Noland Road.
Monk has had trouble with the law his whole life. Born in Seattle and raised in Kansas City, he spent most of his adolescent years north of the river and graduated from Winnetonka High School. After police investigated Kingpin Tattooing in 2001, Monk pleaded guilty to "maintaining a place to distribute marijuana," according to court records, and was sentenced to four years' probation. He says he pleaded guilty to avoid a conspiracy charge.
A couple of years later, police raided his home and found a .45-caliber pistol under his roommate's pillow; Monk had sold his roommate the gun after his own felony conviction. Police didn't charge Monk with being a felon in possession of a firearm, but they arrested him for the various types of ammunition they found in his home. Monk says police confiscated his El Forasteros memorabilia. He was ordered to spend last summer in a halfway house, where he was forbidden from associating with any of the Forasteros.
A few months after his probation ended, Monk drew a disorderly conduct charge. He says he was in the Beaumont Club a couple of months ago to hear Gwar when a man bumped hard into the woman he was with. "I asked him to apologize, and he said, 'Fuck you,'" Monk says. "He tried to hit me, and I busted his ass. I put a Forastero stamp on his head."