All the rage, p.19
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       All the Rage, p.19

           T. M. Frazier
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  Joker nodded. “Yeah, but it’s mostly to keep up with the grandkids. Ever since Sally moved to Georgia, she’s been making sure to upload new pics of the kids every day for me and my old lady. It’s not like I post anything. Pretty sure the FEDS monitor that just like they do everything else we do. Would be a shame to go down the river for a fucking selfie with a semi-auto in the background with scrubbed numbers.”

  I chuckled. “Ain’t that the fucking truth.”

  “Speaking of whores,” Joker said. “If it ain’t the cock sucker on the Internet that’s got your panties all twisted, then who is it? ’Cause way I’m thinking, you’ve got to be pretty bad off to be ignoring your Prez’s calls.”

  “I was ignoring my uncle’s calls,” I corrected him. “Not my Prez’s. And… the rest is complicated.” I sighed. “So fucking complicated.”

  “I came over to check up on you, but I also came over to find out where your head’s at, which I’m guessing is another reason you’ve been ignoring my calls. I’m sorry about your leg. Shit sucks real bad, especially after a special exception was made for you. Nobody else ever got a leave of absence from the club for any reason. But we had faith in you, kid, so that’s why we voted the way we did.” Joker came over and placed a hand on my shoulder. “Still do.”

  “I don’t know where my fucking head’s at,” I admitted.

  Joker’s tone very quickly went from polite to dead serious. “You do know coming back ain’t optional. If hockey’s a dead deal, you’re back and you’re putting on that cut. Simple as that. Frankly, I’m surprised you ain’t got it on already, the way you said they were telling you, you was never gonna put on skates again.” Joker sighed. “You made promises to your brothers when you patched in, and I’m gonna hold you to them, just like I would anyone else,” he said, his words carrying all the warnings that didn’t need repeating. I’d always knew coming back wasn’t optional.

  “It ain’t a matter of coming back. I left the town, not the club. Just because I couldn’t wear a cut around campus didn’t mean I wasn’t a brother anymore, you know that” I said. “I haven’t put my cut back on yet because I feel like if I do, that I’m kissing all the other shit good-bye and I’m not ready to do that yet. Leg’s feeling better, much better. I’ve got to see what this knee’s got left in her and I’ll do it. Soon. But right now I’ve got some other pressing matters.”

  “Like waiting on some whore?” Joker asked.

  “She’s not some whore,” I said between my teeth. If Joker were anyone else, he’d have my fists in his face already. “It’s more than that,” I said, leaning forward and rubbing my temple. I ran my hand over my face and looked up at my uncle, who was waiting for me to elaborate. “I don’t know what you want me to say. She left. I can’t find her. Got people on it, though.” I finished my beer and walked over to the fridge to grab another.

  Joker wandered over to the wall of family pictures my gran had made. Frame after cheap frame of black and white photos, which started at the top of the wall, led down to Polaroid’s and printed pictures, pinned on a corkboard. They were mostly of me. There were a few spots on the wall with yellowed frame outlines from the pictures that used to be there of my parents. I’d torn them all down the second I ended their lives.

  Rocking back on his heels with his hands intertwined behind his back, he inspected the pictures as if he were looking for something. “Ah,” he said, plucking one from high up on the wall. “You see this?” he asked, pushing the wooden, green frame into my hands.

  The picture inside looked as if it were probably from the seventies. Slightly blurry, the color faded. My gran and gramps were on his bike and next to them was another bike with Joker and a woman I didn’t recognize. I’d never seen or bothered to look at this picture before, but that wasn’t anything unusual, there were hundreds, and this one blended in with the pack. “Who’s that?” I asked, pointing to the woman.

  “Well, it’s not my wife,” Joker said with a laugh.

  “Yeah, I got that much, Elton John,” I said, pointing to the white sunglasses he was wearing in the picture. He smacked me on the back of the head.

  Joker hadn’t been faithful to his wife Miriam throughout their marriage. It was nothing that anyone, including Miriam herself, hadn’t known. So why he was showing me some ancient picture of a club whore from forty years ago was beyond me. He leaned back against the counter and crossed his arms over his chest, his feet at the ankles. “Her name was Grace.”

  “And?” I asked, needing him to get to a point and fast.

  “And although she wasn’t the one I married. She was…the one.” Joker raised his beer and took a long pull. “I love my kids with Miriam, don’t get me wrong. But Grace and I had a daughter. Sadie. A kid I never got to raise. A kid I never got to see because I was too stuck up my own ass to see straight. I had a lot going on back in those days and I let all the bullshit become more important than my woman and my kid.” Sadness crossed over his face. “By the time I saw my way clear of the bullshit, it was too late.” He looked to his feet. “Way too fucking late.”

  “Why are you telling me this now?” I asked.

  Joker’s eyes met mine. “ ’Cause son. I’m an old fucking man and I see a young kid like you sitting around like the world is going to come to you. Hockey isn’t going to waltz back through that door and drop to its knees to suck your cock just like the club ain’t. The club also ain’t going to move the fucking armory onto your deck.” Joker paused and tipped his beer to me. “And that girl you’re so hung up on isn’t coming ’round until you decide you’re gonna move hell and earth to go drag the cunt back to where she belongs.”

  “You don’t think I want to go to her and drag her back by her fucking hair?” I said, raising my voice. “I don’t know where she fucking is!”

  “So fucking find her!” Joker said, even louder still.

  “I’m trying! I called Sampson, he’s on it.” I sank back down against the refrigerator.

  “Son, Sampson couldn’t find his cock with a pair of tweezers,” Joker said, waving me off. “I tell you what. If you want I can put in a call to my guy. He can find anyone.” He paused. “Well, he can find anyone except the bitch who burnt down my fucking house.” He snarled at the memory. His house had burnt down a while back while I was away at school. I assumed “the bitch” he was always muttering about was some club whore he’d pissed off one too many times. Joker had also been through his fair share of slashed tires and broken windows.

  I was temporarily on board with the idea until I remembered one very loud blaring fact. “I can’t give him much to go by.” I laughed at the ridiculousness of what I was about to say. “I don’t even know her real name.”

  Joker was unfazed by this fact. “It’s not what you don’t know, kid. It’s what you do know.”

  “Which isn’t much,” I said. How could I know so little about someone but be so certain about them all at the same time?

  “You probably know a lot more than you think you do.” Joker said with a tip of his chin. He finished his beer and tossed it in the trash.

  “I hope you’re right.”

  Joker was about to walk out the back door when I called out, “What’s your guy’s name?”

  “You’ve actually met him before. Years ago, when you were a kid. Which is the only reason I’m even telling you this ’cause it’s a name I like to keep in my pocket for a rainy day.” Joker opened his cut and patted his shirt pocket. “He goes by Smoke.” He finally said, before disappearing from view.

  I’d already assumed Joker was long gone when he leaned his head back in through the open door and added, “The little bitch who burnt down my house, though? That deadly little blonde cunt calls herself Rage.”

  Joker didn’t stick around to see the stunned look on my face.

  He also didn’t stick around to see me throw my empty bottle against the wall, yank my cut off the nail, or tear the cover off my bike.

  Six months had been way too fucking lo
ng. Not only was Rage out there in the world but she was out there with a mark on her head from none other than my own fucking club.

  Joker was right about one thing, though…it was time to find my girl. I was willing to do more than move heaven and earth. I was willing to walk through hell and back.

  CHAPTER TWENTY-FOUR

  Nolan

  Hansen’s Bar used to be a place for the kids on spring break to slum it. Cheap pitchers and beer pong kept the crowds thick with locals in the off-season, and pouring out into the parking lot during the height of it. As the economy turned, so did the bar, which then became the go-to watering hole catering to every MC from Miami to Savannah.

  A giant of a man wearing a blue bandana came tripping out of the bar with a brunette under his arm, knocking me into the sidewall. Immediately, my anger flared. I was about to say something, but he spoke first. “Private party tonight,” he said. That’s when I noticed his colors.

  Bastards.

  I was in the right place.

  He leaned up against a post not three feet from the door, the one holding up the WE ID sign. He lit a cigarette and unzipped his leathers. The brunette snapped down to her knees right there in the cut shell parking lot. He grinned at me while spreading his fingers through her hair, gripping the back of her head and pulling her harshly against him. She yelped and chocked while he laughed, blowing out smoke through his nose. “You can’t go in there,” he said.

  “Oh yeah? Is that so, motherfucker?” I challenged, assessing the asshole up and down the same way I’d assess someone during a game.

  The man, laughed. “Yeah, that’s so. No civilians tonight, kid. You’re gonna have to go get yourself laid somewhere else. Best bet for someone like you is back over the causeway where you came from with the other yuppies.

  I opened my black hoodie exposing my Warriors’ cut. The man’s eyes went wide. It felt good to put it back on after so long. Along with supple worn leather, the thing came with power that surged through my veins and made me want to eat this motherfucker like a cannibal. “You wanna call me a yuppie again, motherfucker?”

  I was about to put the dickhead in his place when Paco, the exact person I’d been looking for, stepped out from the swinging saloon doors with a cigarette dangling from his lips. He was the spitting image of his younger brother Pinto, except Paco wasn’t a familiar like his brother, he was a patched in full-blown member of the Beach Bastard brotherhood.

  “Goon!” Paco shouted, the whites of his eyes bloodshot. He pulled me in for a quick embrace. When he released me, his gaze went from me to the man in the bandana, who I was still staring at, visualizing his quick death.

  “Jailbird, stop glaring at Goon here and enjoy your fucking head,” Paco said, then turned to me. “Goon, get your fucking ass on in here!” He smiled like there wasn’t about to be a brawl and pulled me by the arm, tugging me in through the doors.

  “Paco, you can’t bring him…” Jailbird started, pushing the brunette to the side, who stood and wiped her mouth. He didn’t bother to refasten his leathers, his flaccid dick wobbling around freely as he came toward us. Paco stepped forward too, standing between me and Jailbird. He wasn’t a big man, but Paco had that crazy look in his eyes, the look that said “you don’t know what I’m capable of” that could warn away a fucker twice his size.

  Jailbird must have had a few too many to understand that warning because in no way did he back down.

  “Listen, Jailbird,” Paco said, the playful tone he’d used in his greeting now gone. “I mean it when I say you go back to that woman and mind your own fucking business. Goon here is always welcome. We ain’t at war with the Warriors, not right now anyway. You still got a problem with that when we’re done with our beer, and I’ll come back out here and we can all kill each other till our fucking heart’s content. Got it?”

  Jailbird finally conceded to Paco, mumbling something under his breath as Paco again entered the bar and gestured for me to follow. I flipped off my new friend and shoved him aside as I followed behind.

  “Don’t mind him. He’s new and he’s a dick. Bad combination. Plus, he don’t know you like I do,” Paco said, holding up two fingers to the bartender and then another two. The bartender, a man even older than my gramps had been when he passed, set down two beers and two shots.

  The bar was crowded with bikers and a few half-dressed women. The Bastards MC wasn’t far from Harper’s Ridge and although I saw a few familiar faces in the crowd, the majority of them were unfamiliar to me.

  Paco noticed me looking around. “We’re all here cause we’re going to war. Had to recruit. Go get some men from different chapters.”

  “War with who?” I asked. “I know I’ve been gone a while but I would have heard about a new Warriors beef. Besides, you just said we weren’t at war. Plus, if we were you guys would have slit my throat when I walked through the door.”

  Paco laughed too. “True. But seriously, you haven’t heard?” He leaned up against the bar.

  I shook my head and took a swig of my beer. “I’ve been a bit preoccupied since I got back.”

  “Yeah man, I heard about your hockey shit. Sorry about that. Thought if anyone around here would graduate from white-trash to the big leagues, it would be you.”

  “Thanks,” I said. “I think.”

  “Bear. That’s who we’re going to war with.”

  “No fucking shit,” I said, in disbelief. Chop was the president of the Bastards. Bear was his VP…and Chop’s own son.

  Paco ran his hand over his smooth bald head and downed his beer. “Yeah, man. That’s why we are all here. We gotta regroup. Figure out who we got. It’s a big fucking mess.”

  “Do you want go to war?” I asked.

  Paco leaned close and looked around to make sure no one could hear him when he whispered, “Fuck no, man. But I’m a soldier. Our leader says war, we go to war. You know how this shit works. If you want my opinion, Chop may have the MC at his back but Bear’s got King. I don’t know about you, brother, but that’s one motherfucker I do not want to cross in a dark alley. Or a well lit one. Or any fucking alley.”

  That was an understatement. They didn’t call him King of the Causeway for nothing. King ran more shit through Logan’s Beach than most MCs and he didn’t belong to any of them. He was ruthless and unforgiving and lived up to the fear and the hype the town was always buzzing about.

  Paco stared at his feet and then looked to the bartender and then to the ceiling. “What?” I asked him.

  “Nothing, man,” he said, looking over my head.

  “Yeah, that’s why you won’t look at me.”

  Paco sighed and handed me a shot. “Whiskey first.” We clinked our glasses and downed our shots. The whiskey burning its way down my throat.

  “It’s about your girl,” Paco started, wincing like I was about to hit him. I wasn’t. At least not yet.

  “Funny, I was coming to ask you about her too. Was wondering if you could make some calls for me to your sources on the quiet. Gotta find out where the fuck she is and can’t use Warrior resources cause as it turns out, Joker’s looking for her too but for an entirely different reason.”

  “I don’t think you want to do that, man. If she’s gone it’s best the bitch stay gone.”

  “Paco,” I warned, clutching my beer bottle tighter.

  “Dude, I’m not trying to fucking offend you, or even her.”

  “Then what are you trying to say?” I asked, turning my beer around in circles on the bar.

  “Just that…she’s the fucking devil.”

  I stood up and started to close the space between me and Paco so I could punch the motherfucker in the face. He raised a hand between us. “Dude, I’m trying here, but there’s no easy way to tell you this,” he muttered something about “uppity gringos.” “My brother told me he saw the two of you together at the cafe. She’s a fucking pink demon, dude. A ninja with a fucking ponytail. The one they call Rage.”

  They call me Rage. It’s sh
ort for Regina.

  “What the fuck are you saying exactly?” I asked, needing him to spell it out for me. I knew she burnt down Joker’s house, but I knew there was more. I was hoping to find her and ask her face to face, but since I’d yet to find her, I’d have to settle for a face to face with Paco instead.

  “My brother was too much of a chicken shit to tell you, but he told me when I rode back into town this afternoon. I was coming to see you next, but this war thing’s got us all crazy and distracted. But basically, dude, what I’m saying is that the girl who was playing house with you? She’s the angel of fucking death. A girl who kills motherfuckers like me every fucking day, and she was on your doorstep, which means she’ll probably be back, because more than likely, she’s planning on sending you to hell a lot sooner than you planned on booking a fucking ticket there.”

  I shook my head. “There’s no way.” It’s not that I didn’t think she was capable of killing—it was more that I didn’t think she was capable of killing me.

  “The sooner you admit that someone sent her to take you out, the sooner you can save yourself, man.”

  “My only beefs are minor shit. I don’t have any problems with anyone who might not want me to keep breathing,” I said, trying not to lose my shit right there in the bar. I could deny it all I wanted, believe it or not.

  “Okay, man, I didn’t want to have to tell you this, but fuck it. Pinto said he confronted her when you went to the pisser. He said she didn’t even fucking deny who she was, just took a handful of his fucking nuts and squeezed them so hard that if his girl ever
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