Born to Be Wild Chapter 1

Born to Be Wild Chapter 1

December 12, 1971

Bobby Nauss was having sex with his girlfriend at two-thirty in the morning. The sex-act was taking place in Folcroft, Pennsylvania, a tiny suburban borough of some 10,000 inhabitants, a mixture of both blue-collar and white-collar workers. Folcroft was located two miles outside the Philadelphia city limits.

It’s important to note that the year 1971, in pop culture, was part of the Age of Aquarius ─ the Psychedelic Age.

The 1950s was the decade of “I Like Ike.”

Dwight David Eisenhower, the thirty-fourth President of the United States, served in that capacity from 1953-1961. It was a period of soda fountains, milkshakes, drive-in movies, Elvis Presley, and domestic tranquility. Kids grew up watching I Love Lucy, Ozzie and Harriet, and Leave It to Beaver. At sock-hops, teenagers jitterbugged to 45 RPM records and made out in parked cars.

Then came the 1960s . . .

Lee Harvey Oswald assassinated JFK in Dallas. That single event precipitated a flow of innuendo, theory, and speculation that would continue to this day ─ and beyond. Jack Ruby shot Oswald in a Dallas police station and hatched the Conspiracy Theory. LBJ inherited the Oval Office, created the Warren Commission, and introduced Arlen Specter and his magic-bullet theory. The Zapruder film made you scratch your head, and the Grassy Knoll became legendary.

Spurred on by Martin Luther King, integrationists marched throughout the South, sat-in at lunch counters, went to the bathroom in rest rooms marked WHITE ONLY, and Rosa Parks resisted bus segregation by riding in a front seat. Afros sprouted, riots flared, and inner cities burned from Los Angeles, to Chicago, to Detroit, to Philadelphia, to Newark, New Jersey.

The Beatles invaded the U.S. and in the words of John Lennon “became more popular than Jesus.” Through their lyrics, Lennon and Paul McCartney shared their newly gained philosophies about mind expansion with their worshipping masses. Not coincidentally, drug use and abuse soared throughout the country during the Beatles rise in popularity.

Flower children bloomed, hippies flashed peace signs and donned love beads, and teenagers were running away from home in droves to join communes. A generation of teenagers started smoking pot, copping ludes, popping speed, dropping acid, shooting dope, huffing glue, and doing their own thing with banana peels and mushrooms.

Peaceniks burned draft cards, draft dodgers crossed the Canadian border to avoid the military, and National Guardsmen gunned down protesting college students at Kent State. Halfway around the world, medics kept shipping brave American patriots home in body bags.

“Broadway Joe” Namath signed with the New York Jets for the unheard of sum of $400,000.

On Broadway, actors and actresses stripped off their costumes and paraded around the stage totally nude in productions of Hair and Oh, Calcutta.

At public demonstrations, liberated women burned their bras, and from those lace and whalebone ashes sprung the sexual revolution. Coupling those liberated women with the development of birth-control pills initiated a wild spree of free sex, daisy chains, wife-swapping, and sport-fucking.

Into this arena, some of our fighting men started returning home from Vietnam, many of them bringing back exotic Southeast-Asian strains of gonorrhea. Despite 5,000,000-millimeter doses of penicillin, penises kept dripping, and a VD epidemic spread among the heterosexual population. While at the same time, gays were coming out of closets from Greenwich Village to the Castro district in San Francisco, and syphilis was running rampant in the homosexual communities.

Monogamous relationships bottomed out, divorce skyrocketed, religion lost its appeal, and the American family started to disintegrate.

Sirhan Sirhan shot Bobby Kennedy near the rear exit of the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, and James Earl Ray sniped Martin Luther King on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis.

Neil Armstrong walked on the moon.

Woodstock happened.

G. P. Putnam’s Sons published The Godfather by Mario Puzo.

And outlaw motorcycle gangs began forming from coast to coast.

As the 1970s began, an epidemic of criminal activity would directly and indirectly escalate as the gangs became more and more organized, more and more popular, more and more powerful, more and more evil.

This cavalcade through the decades brings us right back to December 12, 1971, to when Bobby Nauss was having sex with his girlfriend in the wee hours of the morning.

By 3:30 a.m. on the night in question, the sex-act was over and Bobby Nauss, with beads of perspiration dotting his forehead, was standing outside a friend’s door. Knocking on the door so loudly it sounded like a matter of life and death.

Bobby Nauss was five months shy of his twentieth birthday, a skinny kid with a boyish face who hadn’t begun to fill out yet. He was five-eight and weighed a slim 128 pounds.

Sound asleep inside the apartment was one of his best friends. The friend’s name was Bill Standen, but people who knew him called him Stanley.

Standen, twenty-one and an eighth-grade dropout, worked for a company that manufactured doors, preparing the doors for the installation of hardware. Standen stood six inches taller than Nauss but was every bit as skinny.

Nauss’s knocking not only succeeded in awakening Standen, but it also roused Standen’s wife in the process, and that irked her.

“Not again,” she said to her husband.

“Relax,” Standen said, trying to soothe her distress. “Nuthin’s wrong. Just go back to sleep.”

Standen rolled out of bed, walked down the hall, and entered the kitchen. He crossed the room to the back door, pulled the curtain aside, and peered through the window. Standen saw Nauss standing outside and opened the door to allow his friend to enter.

“Stanley,” Nauss blurted out, almost out of breath, and obviously driven. “I want to show you something.”

“Can’t it wait till morning?” Standen complained, hoping to get rid of Nauss and crawl back into bed.

“No, you gotta come now,” Nauss told him, and the way Nauss said it, Standen knew he meant it.

“Okay.”

“Out back in the garage,” Nauss specified.

“Okay, I’ll be right out.”

Standen and his wife lived in an apartment at 1564 Chester Pike.

The pike was the main drag through town and two buildings stood end-to-end on the west side of the pike. One of the buildings stood four stories tall, the other two stories.

During business hours, a red-white-and-blue-striped pole revolved five feet above the sidewalk. The pole invited regular customers into a shop where barbers still cut hair, rather than styling it. Where barbers strummed straight razors on thick leather straps before trimming off the hot shaving foam that softened the sideburns and stubble from around customers’ ears and behind their necks.

Next door to the barber shop, a buxom, leotard-clad proprietress taught tap, jazz, and ballet to enthusiastic pre-teens and adolescents in a large room with a hardwood floor, surrounded on three sides by walls of mirrors and ballet bars.

Further up the block, a drug store and a hardware store dispensed their goods.

There were a dozen apartments above those storefronts. But aside from the mailman and the paperboy, not many people in town knew any of the families who lived in the apartments, or paid much attention to their comings and goings.

The pike bustled with traffic during the day, but it died at night. Forsaken during the midnight hours by car dealers, gas stations, and a day-care center that surrounded the two buildings.

A narrow driveway between the two buildings led from the pike to a secluded garage another forty feet behind the apartments. That’s where Bobby Nauss was waiting for Bill Standen to meet him.

Standen got dressed and went outside.

The night was mild for December, and moonless. As Standen walked through the darkness he wondered what could possibly be so urgent that it couldn’t wait until morning.

When Standen reached the garage, he opened the squeaky door and entered. It was pitch-black inside and smelled from stagnant oil that seeped into the dirt floor over the years and found a permanent home in the musty soil.

There were no sounds or movements in the darkness.

A tiny flame appeared overhead.

Standen looked up and saw Nauss standing at the edge of the loft above, holding a candle. The flickering glimmer of candlelight highlighted Nauss’s face in an eerie spectrum of blacks and yellows.

“Up here,” Nauss called down. “Come on up.”

The stairway leading to the loft was retractable. Standen tugged on a rope and pulled it down. Then he climbed the steps slowly, each stair creaking as he shifted his weight from one tread to the next. By the time Standen reached the top step, his eyes adjusted to the darkness.

Nauss and Standen were now standing a few feet apart, and the candle was the only source of illumination.

“Stanley,” Nauss said calmly, “come and take a look at what I done here.”

As Nauss was talking, he started taking a few steps away from Standen, moving across the loft, further into the shadows. Then Nauss stopped abruptly and raised the candle so Standen could see what he was talking about.

Standen saw a nude woman hanging by a rope from the rafters. A noose around her neck. Her lifeless head drooping over her chest, her neck tilted at a grotesque angle. Long billows of golden hair were hanging downward and her skin was as white as a sheet. Her jaw was slack and slobber was drooling out of her mouth. Her toes were dangling two feet above the wooden floorboards.

“I killed her,” Nauss said with a touch of triumph in his voice. “I hung her. Now she won’t bother me anymore.”

The sight of the hanging body not only startled Standen, but it also frightened him.

“I’m gettin’ the hell outta here,” Standen told his friend.

Standen’s reaction displeased Nauss. It was the opposite of what he expected.

“I want you out of here,” Nauss shouted. “Get the fuck outta my sight.”

Standen raced down the stairs and walked back through the moonless night to his apartment.

But Nauss just stood there, holding the candle, and staring at the hanging body. Grinning at his accomplishment like Leonardo da Vinci must have stared at the Mona Lisa.

I’d like to buy it now. Please show me my options.