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The sun was just peeking over the horizon in a multicolor blaze when he stepped out. He came down the steps, belongings in hand, and saw a high-rise Chevy pickup next to the scoot with its door open, the bottom of its rocker panels almost to his waist and tires on it big enough to fit a John Deere tractor. Three farmer types were gathered around the ’Glide. Walking up behind them, his riding boots made a crunch on the old asphalt chunks and sand that always seem to gather in old lots. The three turned, and one stepped forward. He was stocky with an overhanging gut, had red hair and crossed eyes, and looked like he stayed mean. “Hey fellas… lookee what we got here. This your ride?”
“Well, we don’t cater to bikers much around here. They ain’t nothin’ but trouble.”
“I’m just passing through. Getting some breakfast and I’m out of here.”
Gotcheye slipped up next to him and put his nose about an inch from Harrison’s, “Oh, I don’t think we want you around that long, biker boy,” his voice now a low growl through lips that barely moved, “Maybe you better just head down the road and find somewhere else to have a bite.”
“It’s a free country. You can’t te—” Gotcheye’s beefy fist drove full into his gut, bringing his breath out with a ‘whoof!’ and sending him to his knees.
“Now, you look here boy,” the farmer said into Harrison’s ear as he tried to regain his breathing, “Don’t you ever tell me what I can and can’t do, you hear? I will clean up this parking lot with your little faggot ass… now you get on that hog and you skedaddle outa here.” The three sodbusters piled into their Chevy and whooped and hollered as it peeled out of the lot, hitting the street with a screech and roaring out of sight.
Harrison staggered up and began gathering up his clothes. He slipped them all into the bags and straightened. Now what? If he went into Denny’s and Mo, Larry, and Curly came back, he’d have a problem. But time was wasting, and he wanted to be in Reno by mid-afternoon, so Motel 6 didn’t give his room away for not showing up. Looking down at the bags, he hesitated. Maybe the colors… the sodbusters might think twice about slapping someone around who wore the Children’s colors. Opening the saddlebag, he pulled the jacket out, slipped it on, and walked across the parking lot.
As he was sipping his third cup, the Stooges made another grand entrance, being loud and wanting attention. Immediately, Gotcheye spotted him. “I don’t believe it. Boy, you are way dumber than you look.”
“Look, I’m just finishing my coffee. I don’t want any trouble.”
“That’s all right, Mr. Harley man, you just set back and enjoy your coffee. Tell you what… how about we join you?”
“Like I said, I was just leaving.”
“Oh, well, then you won’t mind if we sit down.” He grabbed Harrison under the arms and threw him on the floor. As he scrambled to his feet, a well-placed work boot planted itself in his upraised derriere and sent him sprawling across the next table, sending glasses and silverware flying, and the full coffeepot became a brown river with shards of glass sparkling like icebergs in its murky depths.
This time he got up slowly, cautiously checking for more boots. The Stooges were harassing the waitress by now, and Harrison stepped in front of her. After that, things got a little weird. His eyes watched in horror from a ringside seat as his hands yanked old Gotcheye up by his shirt and his right fist came across and belted the farmer so hard his feet flew out from under him. The chubby farmer landed in a heap across a booth, shook his head rapidly a few times, and then looked at Harrison like he’d grown a horn in his forehead.
“You gone crazy? You do not want to know what’s coming next, boy!”
As Gotcheye heaved himself up and his buddies stood, a shadow fell across the table, “Leave him be.”
All turned toward the voice, and the busters very quickly relaxed their poses. Harrison turned and was looking at a shirt pocket. His eyes traveled up, finding the end of a silver beard, further up a nose blotched red from too much drink, and further yet, two ice-blue eyes that managed to twinkle and convey menace at the same time. Some of the menace was undoubtedly coming from how high the eyes were in the atmosphere. He was big.
“Corley, we’ve got no quarrel with you, but this young fella just bit off more than he can chew.”
Harrison’s new ally slid past him and stood chest to chest with Gotcheye – chest to face, more accurately. One quiet word – “Git.”
Swallowing once, Gotcheye looked over at Harrison and muttered, “Harley man, you haven’t seen the last of us. Promise you that. Come on, boys.”
As the sullen rowdies departed, the man-giant turned to Harrison and stuck out a hand that looked like it might breathe on its own. “Howdy. Name’s Frank Corley – but everyone calls me Mountain.”
“Harrison Street. Thanks for that. I think I was about to get my butt kicked.”
“Shapin’ up that way. You sure lit Red up though.”
As they sat down, the manager came over, “Gentlemen, I want to thank you personally. That bunch comes in here and causes trouble almost daily. How about a free breakfast?”
“I’ve eaten, but I’ll take one more cup of coffee.”
“Done. If you’re ever back around here, come by… your meal is on me.”
“So,” Mountain asked, “where you headed?”
Harrison had taken a moment to study him while the waitress poured the coffee. About 50, white hair way down over his collar, matching beard to his chest, silver cross earring and a tat that said “Live to Ride, Ride to Live” on his beefy left forearm.
“I’m headed down to the Street Vibrations rally in Reno.”
Nodding then, “Heard that was coming up. Where’d you steal the jacket?”
Harrison wasn’t sure he had heard Mountain right at first. He glanced over and saw the look in Mountain’s eye, the old ticker cranked up about 20 beats, and his hands got clammy fast. “What makes you think I stole it? It’s my jacket.”
Leaning forward, the huge man put both fists on the table. “Those,” he pointed a hot dog-sized finger, “are Lucifer’s Children colors and that’s Duke’s jacket. So, you better start talkin’ and do it fast.”
“Look, I don’t know this Duke guy, except what some guy named Truck told me. He had a bike that I bought from him a week ago. Said he couldn’t ride it anymore, and he threw the jacket in. He did tell me not to wear it, but I –”
“You bought a scoot from Truck?”
“Why… you know him?”
Mountain was out the door by the time “you” was out of his mouth.
As he emerged into the sunlight, Mountain was frozen wide-eyed, his ice-blue orbs fastened on the Shovelhead. “Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. You have Duke’s scoot.”
Wanna take a ride?
“Restless Souls: 3 Dark Fables” is coming soon!