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Wednesday Edition


COURTHOUSE RUN--Part Two

Life for Karl just went to Shit!

By Karl Skanlan with images by Bob T.
8/7/2013


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Continued from chapter one: http://www.bikernet.com/pages/COURTHOUSE_RUNPart_One.aspx



Karl was out. He could scarcely believe it. It seemed that one minute he was certain that he was going to jail, possibly for a long time, and the next minute he was checking his scoot out of the impound yard and rolling out of the station. The bike, amazingly enough, seemed no worse for wear. It appeared to be in the same condition as when he had last seen it. The bike had a multitude of small scratches, dings and scuffs on it. Not from neglect, but from the road, and there was a story behind every mark. Karl knew every inch of the bike, and would’ve known immediately if the bike had been mishandled during transport to the police impound yard. There were no unfamiliar marks. Amazements never cease.

Karl plotted his next move. He wanted to just keep rolling. He wanted to head for the highway and just haul ass. There was no better way to cleanse the soul, and nowhere in the world that he could think clearer than when he was riding. He had been considering leaving the area anyways, as soon as the divorce was final. He lived here for too long, and had been thinking it was time for a change of scenery. Now, with this latest bullshit coming down, he was sure of it. He didn’t have much money, but he didn’t have any real debt either. Of the meager possessions he had, his bike, truck, and tools were the only things that were worth much of anything, and everything he had was paid for. The house was a rental, and he wasn’t currently employed, so there wasn’t much of anything to hold him here. Now, he had some alky-looking cop threatening to put him away, his picture was probably going to be on the dashboard of every cop car in the county, plus he had to avoid a horde of dip-shit patch holders, and his ex-wife might be dead for all he knew. Yes, it was time to get the flock out of town. He twisted the throttle of the big Harley and the bike roared as if agreeing with him, Let’s go!!!

He rode aggressively for a few miles. He roared away from the stoplights. He took some corners so fast that his knees were practically dragging the road, and even pulled a good wheelie coming away from a stop sign. But then, as always, he felt a calmness creep over him. The soothing vibration of the bike, coupled with the warm desert air flowing over his face and hands, brought him back down to earth. He began to think more clearly.

He realized he was lucky to be alive, after all that had happened today, and it felt good to be free. He would play it smart, and maybe he could stay out of trouble for a little while yet. He would go to the house, drink a beer, get some sleep, then get up and go for a ride, so that he could think. That was the plan, and it sounded simple enough. Hopefully, he could figure out how to clean up the loose ends, and peel out of here. He’d just go somewhere, start fresh, and never see Officer Rudolph, the Two Skulls MC, or his ex-wife again. In a few days, maybe he’d have a clean slate. What could go wrong?

***





Little Steve and the Prez sat on round padded stools at the counter, inside of a local Denny’s restaurant. The place was bustling at this time of morning, as usual, with a breakfast crowd of folks every size and shape. The restaurant was less than a mile from the interstate, and was also in close proximity to several main arteries of traffic leading to the large aerospace facilities not far from the city. On a morning like this, there would always be at least a half dozen people waiting to be seated. The waiting area had to be somewhat shielded from the folks who had been seated and were eating, because you didn’t want to have to sit and try to eat while someone’s drooling kids stared at your plate.

The place was a circus.

There was the trucker crowd that came in from the interstate. Some of the truckers were huge, outrageously overweight men (and a few women) who made a living piloting 40-ton metal monsters all across the country delivering goods to warehouses, retail chain stores, and businesses just about anywhere and everywhere.

There was the mom and pop crowd. They were wide-eyed travelers who probably had never been more than 100 miles away from their home town once or twice in their lives. They were the “We know that it’s just a restaurant, but hey, this is a hell of an adventure for us!” crowd.

There was the table of 18th st. gang bangers who had been up all night selling crack on the street corners. They would hang out at the restaurant for an hour or so, looking for a few more prospective buyers before going home to sleep all day.

In the large corner booth were a dozen giggling college cheerleaders who were being bused to a game in the next state, all of them just bustling with cheer and hustle. They would’ve been less apt to bat their heavily mascared eyelashes around so much if they knew that there were currently seven unregistered firearms in the same room with them.

The majority of the customers were regulars. They came in to eat incredibly high fat and cholesterol loaded breakfasts, before heading off to no-labor jobs on computers, in cubicles separated by 5 foot high partitions. They liked the morning energy in the restaurant. People need food, people need to people-watch, people need bottomless cups of coffee, and people need Slams and Moons-over-my-hammy breakfast plates. The place was like an airport. There were nine servers on any given weekday for breakfast, and 15 on a Sunday. It was a good place for out-of-placers to fit right in. It was Little Steve’s favorite restaurant in the world.

“How was the ride brother?” The prez spoke without looking sideways at Little Steve. He had already noticed that Steve was obviously pretty much hanging by a thread. Steve had that haggard, wide-eyed look that screamed “I’ve fallen , but I can’t get up!” He was spun. He had been using too much speed, and he needed to come down. But the prez didn’t want to give him a chance yet. The prez wanted to keep Steve in an unstable mood until this operation was a complete success. There was still business to take care of.

Steve leaned forward over the two “Long Haul Trucker Specials” he had ordered. Several plates of scrambled eggs, sausages, bacon, ham strips, hash browns, toast and coffee sat on the counter before him. He rolled back into town sometime in the early morning hours. After leaving a message on the prez’s machine that he was back, he fell into his bed. He was dead to the world when the phone started ringing at 0600. He didn’t hear the answering machine the first time, or the fifth time. He was practically in a comatose sleep when the Devil and the bearded barbarian shook him awake to tell him that the prez wanted to have a meeting with him. He could’ve, and probably would’ve slept for two straight days otherwise. He felt better, but still wasn’t really in control of his senses. He was ravenous though, and he shoveled the food into his mouth like a starving man.

“Hauled ass.” Steve spoke with mouth half full of scrambled eggs. He washed it down with a half cup of coffee in one swallow. “Got in at two. Fuckin beat.” He was eating so fast that he could only speak in short sentences.

“Did’ja catch the news at all yesterday?” Prez raised his coffee cup to his lips and sipped. He knew that he had to handle Little Steve carefully.

“Fuckin A, huh? So who’s this fruitball they’re trying to pin the shit on?” Steve’s stomach wasn’t doing very well. He belched loudly.

“Well, that’s what we wished we knew. A couple of the guys have seen him around, but he’s an independent.” Prez paused for a second, and turned his head slightly towards Little Steve. “Listen Bro, you talked to Alyssa lately?”

Little Steve stopped chewing for an instant, glanced at the prez, and began chewing again, albeit a slower. “Not since I been back.”

The prez knew that as violent and unpredictable as Steve was, he also had a soft spot, and that soft spot currently was Alyssa.

“Here’s what we know. Her daddy put out the word yesterday to jack up any bikers seen in the area. They nailed this fucker, and then released him last night.” The prez rehearsed his next question. ”Any chance you might coerce her to give daddy a call and see if she can find something out?”

Little Steve thought for a moment. “Yeah. She’ll do it. She’ll do whatever I say.”



***





Detective Frank Deangelo was not having a good day. He hadn’t left the station until almost midnight the night before, and was back at his desk by 0500. The loss of the government building was a catastrophe. The whole world seemed to be screaming for answers, and the police department, so far, had nothing. There was a lot of pressure on Frank. He groaned when the phone rang, seemingly for the thousandth time that morning. He croaked into the phone. “Frank Deangelo”

“Hello Daddy. This is Alyssa.”

Frank felt a surge of relief. He was glad to hear from his daughter. At least it wasn’t another VIP, some Very Important Prick who wanted to know what he was doing about the current situation.

“Hello Lissy.” He hadn’t called her that in years. It was the pet name he called her when she was growing up.

“How’re you holding up Frank?” Alyssa couldn’t resist calling him by his first name, and not “Daddy.” She knew how he hated that, but it made her feel like she had some control.

Frank grimaced and shook his head. There was no way he was going to sit here and deal with this little bitch today. “Well, it’s been a little crazy around here Alyssa, as you might expect. What’s on your mind girl?”

“Daddy, why did you tell me to stay away from Steve, and the rest of my friends? That guy on TV, the one who bombed the government building, he’s not even one of them. Anyways, you have the guy in jail, don’t you? He can’t bother me.” Alyssa tried to sound whiney. It wasn’t difficult for her, it was a skill that came to her naturally.

“Alyssa, listen. That guy you saw on TV didn’t blow up the government building. He has nothing to do with why I want you to stay away from your…friends. Your friends are not who you think.” Frank really didn’t have time for this. He rubbed his forehead.

“I know who my friends are Frank, and they are nice to me. They are nothing like the guy you have in jail there.” Alyssa was not having much luck controlling herself. She hated talking to her father. It always ruined her mood. She had faked an illness and had left work for the day when Little Steve called her. They met at her apartment and gone straight to the bedroom for an intense, but quick, bout of sex. Now she just wanted to relax and be with Steve, not sitting here listening to her father’s lecture.

“Alyssa, goddammit, listen to me. That guy is not in jail here, or anywhere. He’s a non-issue, and anyways he’s working for m…. just forget about him. You need to just do what I say for Christ sakes. There are things that you don’t know, and God willing you will never find out, about your friends. They are going down, Alyssa. Don’t let them take you with them.” Frank had a sudden nagging feeling that he had let something slip...

“All right, all right, father. I guess I just thought that there was something more to it. I’ll let you go back to whatever it was you were doing.” Alyssa was dancing inside. She knew what she had heard. Little Steve was going to love this one.

“OK Honey. I’ve got a lot of work to do. I’ll talk to you later.” Frank clicked off.

“Bye” Alyssa said, and hung up the phone, smiling. Much later…..Daddy. She thought.

Frank sat wondering for a moment if he had said too much. He couldn’t believe that his own daughter could actually be fishing for information. She was only 22, and she was a girl, so there was no way the Skulls would let her in on any club business. Frank knew that women were not allowed in the Club, and women were never trusted with any knowledge of club business. That was one of the first rules of the TSMC. Keep your mouth shut about club business to the outside world, including wives and girlfriends, or suffer the consequences. Still, his cops intuition made him wonder why she had seemed a little too interested in that schmuck from yesterday……. Frank pulled open his top, right desk drawer and withdrew his bottle, because it just helped keep him in a good frame of mind

Alyssa turned to Little Steve who gazed at her questioningly.

“He’s a snitch.” She said, smiling. She expected Steve to smile and reach for her. Her smile turned to a pout when Little Steve reached for his pants, a look that could kill on his face.



***



Karl sat back in his chair, his senses had gone completely numb. He called his ex-wife’s cell phone and received no answer, so he decided to call her attorney’s office. A sobbing receptionist informed him that yes, the pair had indeed been at the government building when the bomb exploded. Both their vehicles were in the parking lot, and they were expected to be among the dead, pending identification of DNA and dental records. Some of the victims had been literally blown to pieces, and couldn’t, as of yet, be identified.

He sat for a minute with his head in his hands. He felt a sudden wave of remorse for his ex-wife. He hadn’t seen her or had any contact with her for almost two months. The last time they had seen each other it had been bad. The last thing he remembered was the slam of her car door and the squeal of tires as she screamed out the car window, “FUCK YOU, YOU FUCKING ASSHOLE! I HOPE YOU GET AIDS!” It had been 10:30 PM on a Tuesday night. In some neighborhoods, the commotion might’ve brought the police, but around here it was nothing out of the ordinary.

Now, faced with the realization that she was gone forever, he was stunned. He was suddenly aware of his own mortality. Karl certainly understood the concept that people died. One of the reasons that he had learned to control his partying was because too many of his friends had been dying at relatively young ages. After attending almost a dozen funerals by the time he was 40 years old, Karl realized that the human body is far from indestructible. It was a machine, a vehicle that needed to be maintained and tuned in order to function, not wholly unlike a motorcycle. He lost friends and acquaintances to heart disease, cancers, diabetes, and a few to drug overdose. He knew several people who died in vehicle accidents, usually attributable to intoxicated riding/driving. Most of the funerals he attended could have been prevented, but Carla’s death was just a fluke, wrong place, at the wrong time. Karl could do nothing but stare at the wall for a long time.

Last night Karl turned the corner onto his street, half expecting to see Carla’s beat up Monte Carlo sitting out in front of the house. He wondered if she might think that he blew up the government building in order to get out of paying alimony. She could dream up some crazy shit. She would want to confront him, and get into a screaming match in the street.

But the street was empty, and the house was dark. It had seemed like a long time since he rode out of the driveway on his way to the courthouse just that morning. He’d parked the FXR in the usual spot, gone into the kitchen for a beer, and flicked on the TV. He sat unbelieving, watching the news as it replayed scenes of the devastation at the government building. When the picture of himself being led into the police station flashed on the screen, he stopped breathing for a second, then shook his head. Jesus, what a day. He thought. Finally, he went to bed, after checking to make sure that the 45 ACP pistol on the nightstand was loaded.

This morning he had awoke early. He slept fitfully, and when he first felt morning consciousness begin to creep in, he couldn’t organize his thoughts. Usually, he could think the best during that time of day. But it still seemed like he just couldn’t fully grasp what was going on. He realized he needed to find out what had happened to Carla. That would have to be his first mission. So he’d made the calls, and now he knew. He felt disoriented. He didn’t know what to do next.

Finally he stood and slowly walked to the kitchen door that went to the garage. He entered the garage and looked around at his shabby belongings. He didn’t have much. Certainly not much that was worth any money. A large metal workbench he inherited from a buddy who was currently serving a long stretch in a federal prison, sat against one wall. Next to the workbench was his roll-around toolbox, which was full of very well used tools. The opposite side of the garage was where he exercised. His workout area looked like a medieval torture chamber. He welded some odd racks of metal tubing together. All the bars, weights, and racks were old and beat-up. The weight bench, and the punching bag looked like hell, with duct tape holding the padding together. Nothing was painted or polished, but it all served its particular purpose very well. He liked the way the sprawling equipment looked. It had a very anti-health-club appearance.

There were a bunch of motorcycle parts hanging from the walls, and a few sitting on shelves. Some of them were in good shape, but most were just junk. But it was good junk, the kind of stuff Karl couldn’t bring himself to throw away. Someone might need that one good piston one day, or that used ignition module, or that old coil cover. He was damned if he would throw that shit away.

He sat down on the weight bench and looked at the big Harley. The bike was a part of him. It helped him think, and gave him strength. It calmed him, yet it was his main source of excitement. It had always been that way for Karl. He was the purest form of a biker. A biker is all that he had ever wanted to be, and he had always been a biker. He was a biker long before it had become a fad. If something broke on the bike, Karl would not rest until it was fixed, everything else took a second seat. He wasn’t comfortable unless the bike was ready to be ridden, anywhere, at any time. Anyone who knew Karl, knew that if you saw him somewhere, his bike was likely parked nearby. For a cowboy to be complete, he needs his horse. For a biker to be complete, he needs his bike. Karl looked to the bike for inspiration.

Karl knew that he needed to ride. He decided that he would get his shit together this morning, pack a few things on the bike and just go. He would ride until he could figure things out. Then he would return for his few meager belongings, load up the truck and move to Beverly… Hills, that is swimming pools, and movie stars. Or at least some-goddamn-where, away from the desert, away from the Two Skulls MC, away from this shitty little neighborhood, in this shitty town, with its shitty cops, and all of its shitty memories.

He stood up and went back into the kitchen, where he made up a hearty breakfast of eggs, some left over hamburger, and toast. He turned on the TV while he ate. The news was all about the explosion at the government building, but there seemed to be no more mention of Karl himself. Evidently the press must have found out that he had been released, so he wasn’t news worthy anymore. That didn’t hurt his feeling at all.

No one had claimed responsibility for the explosion yet.

Karl finished up his breakfast and checked to make sure that the bills (at least the ones that counted) were paid up. He took a shower and put on some fresh blue jeans. They were fresh but not necessarily clean. All the jeans he ever owned were usually dirt and oil stained beyond the washer’s ability to make them ever look clean again. He put a toothbrush, some toothpaste, deodorant, a razor, and a bar of soap in a large freezer baggie. He pulled his musty old sleeping bag, and a lightweight camping tent from the closet. He picked up his pistol from the nightstand and pulled on his worn leather coat. He was ready to go anywhere, he was ready for anything.

Back in the garage Karl strapped the tent and sleeping bag onto the rear fender with bungee cords. He put the other items in a set of custom leather saddlebags that hung on either side of the rear wheel. Checking his trip-meter, he realized that the first stop would be for gas. He locked up the house, fired up the bike, and headed out. He still felt somewhat disoriented, but he knew that some wind and some miles would put everything back into perspective.

If his head had been clearer, he might have noticed the late model black Chevy pick up that followed at a safe distance as he headed for the nearest gas station.



***


The Skulls were going to kill Karl. No one really put all the pieces together, but it didn’t matter at this point. They only knew this guy was getting credit for their operation, and then he turns out to be an informant for the cops. They were going to kill him in a public place, as soon as possible, and they wanted to leave no doubt that it was the Two Skulls MC who were responsible. Little Steve wanted desperately to take care of it personally.

Three men sat in the black pick-up truck. One of the men flipped open a cell phone. “Hey. He’s on the move. Looks like he’s packed for traveling……….. Well, he’s got some fuckin shit strapped on the back of the scoot. What’s the deal with Little Steve?”

The man paused, listening with his ear to the phone, and watched as Karl turned into a gas station and pulled up to the pumps. “Yeah, actually we don’t even need to do that. He just pulled in for gas. The Mobil on Thompson St. He ain’t goin no-where. We got it.”

Karl pulled up to the pumps and dismounted the bike. He was anxious to fill the tank with premium, and hit the highway. When a black pick-up pulled up to the other side of the pumps, he could feel the hairs on the back of his neck stand up. Three men got out of the truck. He thought he recognized one of them, but he couldn’t recall ever having seen other two. All three wore Two Skulls MC colors. The men strolled around the pumps to Karl’s side and casually surrounded him and the bike. For a moment no one spoke.

Karl’s face was expressionless. He had examined his options. He could attempt to ignore the men and go on about getting gas, but that would mean either paying with a credit card at the pumps, or going inside to pre-pay. He didn’t want to have his wallet hanging by the chain in case he had a chance to haul ass out of there, and there was no way he would leave his bike out here with these fuckers while he went inside. There was nothing to do but wait for them to make a play, so he just stood there.

The man that Karl recognized as one of the old school members of the Skulls and he spoke first. “You going somewhere Amigo?”

“Not right at the moment.” Karl knew that his best bet was to just speak very casually, as if they were all old friends. But deep down, he knew that there was no way that this was going to end well. The men all had hard looks on their faces. Karl could tell that they were operating under orders.

“We know someone who wants to talk to you, puta. I think you should stick around for a few minutes until he gets here.” The man took a step closer to Karl.

Karl knew that he had precious few seconds to think of something. As soon as the Skulls realized that Karl understood their intentions, they would expect him to act, and then Karl would lose any chance of having the element of surprise.

“Well….sure. I guess I could do that. Let me put some gas in the old girl here while we’re waiting.” Karl spoke as if he hadn’t heard the other man call him a puta. He hoped that they would think he didn’t know what the word meant. It was the Spanish word for whore, but it meant a lot more than that, in this day and age. It was a scathing word of disrespect. Sort of a combination of “bitch”, “punk”, “pussy”, and “asshole”, all rolled into one.

He reached for the gas nozzle as if to begin fueling his bike. As soon as the nozzle was free of the hanger, he grabbed it with both hands and swung it as hard as he could at the man on his right, catching him squarely in the temple. He didn’t wait to see whether it knocked the man down, but instead he spun around and caught the man who had been on his left in mid-leap. He jammed the nozzle into the man’s midsection and pushed with everything he had. The man crumpled, holding his gut.

His last assailant hesitated because the FXR was between the two of them. Now he swung at Karl with a large, double-edged knife in his hand. Karl felt the knife blade catch at the collar of his coat, and he threw his arm up to ward off the blow. He got lucky as the man got tangled up on the motorcycle and fell forward. Karl grabbed the man by the head and twisted it violently to the side. There was a sickeningly audible crack and he went limp. Karl glanced at the man he hit first with the fuel nozzle. He was lying behind the bike, and seemed to be unconscious, or dead. He wasn’t moving, and a pool of blood was growing next to his head. The last man, the one he had jabbed with the nozzle, was the one who had spoken to Karl. He was attempting to get to his feet, and he had a gun in his hand. Karl kicked him in the face, as if he were going for the championship game winning field goal. His steel-toed boot caught the man directly in the face and the man came fully two feet off the ground, and then crumpled onto his back and lay unmoving. The entire conflict took about eight seconds or so, about the same as a rodeo bull ride.

Karl bent forward and looked at his shoulder in the rear view mirror of the bike. The knife had cut through his coat and shirt, and sliced the skin over his collarbone. He knew that he would feel that one later on, but it didn’t look all that serious. He stood up and looked around.

“That’ll wake you up in the mournin, bouy.” He muttered in his best Braveheart-Scottish accent. He pulled the Skull with the twisted head off the FXR and unceremoniously tossed his limp body to the side.

By this time, several people who had been getting fuel at the other pumps were hurriedly getting back into their vehicles. Several others had exited the gas station mini-mart and were standing with mouths agape. One of them flipped open a cell phone, and Karl knew that it was time to exit, stage left. He hopped on the bike and it came to life with a sound not unlike that of an angry buffalo. Karl glanced up at the surveillance cameras and cursed silently. No chance at anonymity here. He looked straight into the camera and raised his fist, with middle finger extended, in front of his face. He then turned and roared out of the station.

Looks like I’m leaving town for good after all. He thought grimly.

Moments later Little Steve arrived at the station in his huge Ford F350 dually king cab pickup truck. He expected to arrive and find that his club brothers had the pain-in-his-ass loner cornered and unable to leave. The plan was, Steve would provoke the man, and then beat him to death. He planned to plant a gun on the man afterwards and claim that he had merely defended himself. The press would pick up on the incident, since Karl had been the prime suspect in the government building bombing just yesterday. Then the Two Skulls MC would finally be connected with the bombing and anyone who mattered would be able to connect the dots and realize what had gone down. That was the plan. It wasn’t a great plan, but it was a start.

He stopped and stared unbelieving when he saw the three club members lying on the concrete, with a small crowd of onlookers gathered around. He jumped from the truck and ran to his club brother who had been kicked in the face. The man was attempting to get to his feet, but both of his eyes were beginning to swell shut and his equilibrium was way off. He could do no more than get to his knees and then he would crumple back to the ground. Steve ran to his side. “What the fuck happened?” he whispered urgently into the brother’s ear.

“Lil Schteve?” The man slurred. He was barely conscious.

“Yes. Little Steve. What the fuck went down here?” Steve glared at the small group of gaping onlookers, they all suddenly found somewhere else to direct their gaze.

“Fushin shill a ma fusha, Schteve…..fush……..” The man tried to roll over on his side.

Steve could hear sirens. The place was about to be over run by cops any second. “Which way did he go?”

The injured man looked at Little Steve with eyes that were barely slits, they would be completely swollen shut in a minute or two. With a huge effort, he partially sat up and pointed in the direction that Karl had ridden from the station.

Little Steve stood and surveyed the scene. He hesitated for one moment, scarcely able to believe that three of his club brothers were lying on the ground. He could also barely contain his rage. Little Steve knew that he was going to kill the man that did this, and he was going to kill him with his bare hands. He jumped into the truck and slammed the gas pedal to the floor. The growing crowd of onlookers watched as the pickup sideswiped a parked car on the way out of the gas station, and then raced off in the direction that the club member had pointed.


***



Detective Frank Deangelo didn’t know what to think. When he heard the call come over the radio that some bikers, including some members of the Two Skulls MC, were fighting at a Mobil station on Thompson St., he jumped into a car and raced to the location. Several other police cruisers were already at the scene. Upon arrival, he found three injured members of the Two Skulls MC. Two of them were barely alive. One had a very serious blunt force head injury. He was unconscious and almost comatose. One had a severely broken neck and had no feeling at all in his extremities. The last individual had multiple contusions and was going to need some reconstructive facial surgery, or he was going to end up looking like the elephant man. Someone had beaten the proverbial shit out of these guys.

Frank interviewed several witnesses and they all told the same story: Some guy on a motorcycle had pulled in for gas. The three patch holders had exited the truck and had an exchange with the biker. All at once they were fighting and then the biker roared away. Then a monster of a man pulled up and had an exchange with one of the Skulls, and then he too raced away from the gas station.

Frank listened as he questioned a fourth witness who recounted the same story. She was a Hispanic woman in her mid 20s, dressed in a dark blue shirt made of some sort of stretch fabric, blue jean shorts, and flip flops. She held a small boy on her hip, who appeared to be unfazed and perfectly content to sit quietly and suck his thumb while taking in all the commotion.

Frank squinted through his slightly bloodshot eyes at her and asked, “And the guy on the motorcycle was NOT wearing patches on his back? You are sure that is correct?”

“Si, I am sure. No patches. He was a grande hombre. But not as grande as the vato who came in the big truck, That one, HE had patches on his back, like the others.” She spoke as if the incident had not rattled her at all. A lifetime of watching TV violence had warped her sense of reality. As if any second she could just click off the screen and go get a soda.

“Thank you Ma’am. We’ll contact you if we need anything more. Have a nice day.” Frank attempted to muster a smile for the baby boy on the woman’s hip, it came off more like a twisted grimace. The child frowned slightly and looked away, still sucking his thumb.

Frank turned and strolled into the mini mart section of the station. He approached the counter and flipped open his leather badge wallet. “I need to see the surveillance tapes for those cameras.” He pointed out at the pumps where emergency personnel were just closing the rear doors of the second of two ambulances.

A heavyset woman sat on a stool, chewing gum unconcernedly. “Boss is on the way.”

Ten minutes later Frank sat in a small office in the rear of the station, peering at a small TV monitor as the owner of the Mobil station rewound a videotape cassette to the time when the altercation began. The detective’s eyes widened when Karl rode into the station, and he leaned forward to stare into the screen when he recognized the biker.

Son of a bitch! I should have known.. he thought to himself. He watched as the altercation unfolded and let go with a low whistle as the fight took place. Jesus, he thought, I wonder what this guy is like when he’s REALLY pissed.

Frank also recognized the same TSMC club member Karl had. He was an older member of the club who had a long criminal record, and had done several stretches in prison. When Little Steve appeared on the screen, Frank felt his heart skip a beat. He remembered his conversation with Alyssa only an hour ago, and felt sick to his stomach. Could she actually be involved in this thing? He refused to believe it.

As he watched the boyfriend of his little girl disappear from view, he sat and tried to remember exactly what had been said during the conversation. Frank suddenly felt very tired. This thing was turning out to be his worst nightmare. No one else at the station knew about his daughter’s connection to the Skulls, and he wanted to keep it that way. Once the Two Skulls MC were no more, then no one would ever have to know anything about it. But if she was involved in more than just the girlfriend capacity, then she would have to go down with them. What a mess. Frank shook his head and sighed. He had forgotten about the owner of the station who was standing just behind him, and when the man suddenly spoke.

“Damn, I wouldn’t want to mess with that guy.” The man reached to shut off the machine when the police began to appear on the screen. “Do you want to see it again?”

“No. But I’ll need that tape. And I appreciate your cooperation.” Frank arose and walked back out to the front of the mini mart. He was trying to piece the new developments together in his mind.

Now Frank felt sure that Karl had some sort of connection to the Two Skulls MC. Still, nothing seemed to fit together very well. After a year-long investigation into the activities of the TSMC, and numerous arrests and interrogations, Frank thought that he had a good feel for the kind of person that the Two Skulls MC attracted. It seemed to Frank that Karl was not that kind of guy. Sure, the man was no angel, and he had proved that he could be incredibly violent, but he seemed to be more of a loner, the kind of guy that didn’t fight back until he was cornered. That was not the MO of the Two Skulls MC.

Frank wished that the videotape had recorded sound, he would like to know what was said at the gas pumps before the fight. It had looked like Karl had a sleeping bag or something strapped to his bike. Was he trying to leave town? Why had the Skulls approached him in the first place? There were a lot of questions here, and Frank wanted answers.

Frank decided that he would not wait to see if Karl would actually call him, as per their agreement. Considering the gesture Karl made into the camera before he left the station, Frank assumed that the man hadn’t planned on the encounter with the Skulls, and probably wouldn’t go out of his way to look him up. No, the detective would put out an all points bulletin on the biker, and have him brought back to the station. And this time, he would not let the man walk until he had the whole story.

One way or the other, Karl Skanlan was in deep shit with the cops. 

“And all three of them were laid the fuck out? Are you shittin me?” Prez was having a hard time understanding Little Steve. It sounded like Steve was pretty worked up, and was trying to drive and talk at the same time.

“Fuck no, I ain’t shittin you. It must’ve been more than one guy. I’ve been all over the place and I can’t find the fucker. We need to form up a posse.” Little Steve scanned the street as he drove, side to side, looking for the man he believed he had seen around once or twice before.

“Oh, hell yeah. The man is definitely going to go down now… Don’t worry brother, I’ll have every fucking soldier mobilized within the hour. This guy needs to go down as soon as possible. It’s time to take care of business.” The Prez clicked off the connection with Little Steve and immediately rang a stored number.

“We have a fucking priority one target. Everybody needs to mobilize and find a guy named Karl Skanlan. He’s on a black FXR. Six two or three, two twenty or so. The whole fucking club, everybody….find him and call me or Little Steve when you have him. And tell everyone that the dude might be armed and is probably tweaking to the hilt. Don’t be fuckin gentle with his ass, take him the fuck down. It needs to happen now, understand?….all right.” The Prez put the phone away and stood staring out the window for a moment. He was confused. It seemed that one minute he gets information telling him that this guy is a snitch, and then the next minute he hears that the guy fucked up three Skulls in a gas station? That shit doesn’t go together…..What the fuck is going on here? It didn’t matter at this point. No one fucks with the Skulls and lives to talk shit about it.

One way or the other, Karl Skanlan was in deep shit with the Two Skulls MC.




***
 

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Reader Comments


Good story keep it going!

Byrd
Clay, NY
Friday, August 09, 2013
Editor Response Will do. Watch for the next episode shortly.
--Bandit

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