Tuesday, August 26, 2008

I love these guys

Tattooed Bikers, a dog's best friend

As the men reached the Major Deegan Expressway, Des took a call about strays found on 141st Street in Manhattan, writing the details in neat script on his pad. Soft-spoken and gray-haired, Des held a gym bag on his lap. When the call ended, he looked over his notes, then unzipped the bag to produce a tiny kitten, which had been sleeping on a newspaper.

“What the——!” said Batso. “He’s got a cat back here! Why you got a cat with you, Desi?”

The kitten clambered over Des’s leather wristband and gnawed at his spiked silver ring. With one finger, Des stroked the pale underside of its neck. He had been carrying the cat everywhere for a week and a half.

“This little guy has to eat every few hours,” he said, “He’s a he, but I keep calling him a she.”

Speeding across the Triborough Bridge into Queens, the S.U.V. pulled into the parking lot of a McDonald’s on Queens Boulevard in Elmhurst. There, Big Ant, also known as Anthony Missano, was waiting, reclining on his Harley, along with Mike Tattoo on a 1959 Honda.

Big Ant, “a little guy,” as the others describe him, is a little more than 6 feet tall and around 320 pounds. He was wearing a sleeveless T-shirt and sunglasses with small orange lenses. The tattoo of a red lightning bolt sliced down his enormous arm.

Other members of the squad arrived, among them Johnny O (John Orlandini), a former bodyguard who once waded waist deep into a pond near a sewage pipe to rescue a duck; and Biagi, who is to dogs what Des is to cats: a psychic force.

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