the summer of 1969, and I was living near Los Angeles, sharing
an apartment with two friends, Charlie and Dave. We had spent
the bulk of the day working on our motorcycles when Dave heard
the phone ringing in our apartment. He ran to get it, and
seemed to be gone a long time.
got back, he was very excited, and said that Roy, an acquaintance
of his, had just gotten a big load of weed in from Mexico,
and he was looking for customers. It was the height of the
'60's, and everyone was either smoking grass or trying it.
My friend Charlie seemed interested, and so we all took off
to try the "fine new weed."
there, we met up with some other bikers. While waiting at
a particularly long stoplight, we told them where we were
going and why. They got very animated, and asked to tag along.
precise moment, a voice spoke in my ear, and said, "Don't
to Charlie and asked why not, and he said, "Why not what?"
I said that he had just said that he didn't want to go to
Roy's, but he denied saying anything. At that moment, the
light changed, and we gunned our engines and drove another
couple of blocks.
six blocks from Roy's place, we stopped for another light.
Suddenly I heard the voice again, this time louder and more
urgent. "DON'T GO!" It was as though someone was standing
right next to me, shouting in my ear. I looked around, but
no one in my motorcycle group had said a word or was paying
the slightest bit of attention to me.
I shouted that I was going to ride to a coffee shop in Santa
Paula, about 15 miles away, where a girl named Ronnie worked.
The others tried to dissuade me, saying that we could get
coffee at Roy's, but I said no. I wanted to go to Ronnie's.
I ended up persuading Charlie and about six others to come
with me. We peeled off from the main group and raced off on
what they thought was a purely impulsive trip.
got home that evening, all our friends were talking about
the terrible tragedy that had taken place at Roy's. Some of
the strangers that we had met up with had been carrying loaded
weapons, and they had claimed that Roy had tried to cheat
them during the buy. Guns were drawn, shots fired, a few people
were dead, and everyone had been arrested and gone to jail
on multiple charges ranging from possession to murder.
few who had gone with me to Santa Paula for coffee had escaped,
and only then because someone or something had warned me.
of cancer because of Agent Orange in Vietnam)
by a friend as Jim related it.