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Sunday Edition


The Sundance Meeting

by K.Randall Ball with illustrations by Atomic Bob and images from Sam Burns

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Three brothers rode into Sundance, Wyoming on their way to Sturgis in late July, hell bent to make their 20th run to the Badlands. The small town, population just over a grand, was a mere 52 flying miles from the Rally. They rode long and hard for almost 400 miles, and this could be the final watering hole stop before the last blast on interstate 90 into Sturgis, South Dakota. Sundance located in the bare open plains of Wyoming was named after the Sun Dance ceremony practiced by several American Indian tribes.

They whipped their choppers in front of a small, wooden shingle, hole-in-the-wall bar across from the empty town square. The sun began to drift slowly in the West, as the brothers dismounted and stretched. They had no notion of what they might encounter inside the tiny saloon. Land-locked it at no place to grow.

Two brothers hailed from SoCal, but one was originally from New Zealand, Markus and the other from Germany, Karl. The final crew member hailed from Phoenix, once a leader in the Dirty Dozen MC, Bryan. Markus, the blondish tall, fit, New Zealander was once an Olympian sharp-shooter and security expert. The skinny German Chiropractor had wavy black hair and blue eyes. The intelligent one was thin and agile, not a fighter. He knocked the women over. Seasoned bikers, each one had over 20 years building and riding choppers, running the streets, dodging the Man, and enjoying the freedom to ride.

This turned into a special year for all three, one didn’t know it yet. Karl suffered severe anxiety over most of the elements he left behind in Los Angeles from his struggling business to his recent marriage. Bryan’s criminal past could bite him in the ass and Markus dodged immigration for years. He questioned his next move, but for now they were brothers on their annual pilgrimage to the Badlands.

Jennifer and Dr. Karl.
Jennifer and Dr. Karl.

They entered the dim, old saloon and met dark wooden walls and a ceiling scattered with dollar bills thumbtacked to the low, sagging panes. The three suddenly encountered the two most beautiful women in Wyoming, sisters. Jennifer, the taller, older sister with radiant blue eyes and flowing brown hair smiled a shimmering grin that would melt an iron heart. The Doctor immediately took to her. She didn’t look like a girl who was meant to be behind a bar in a dusty cowboy/biker saloon.

The good doctor leaned immediately on the old bar, while the other two sat just a couple of feet away around a small wooden table against the old barn wood paneled wall. Willie Nelson sounded out from the jukebox, “To all the girls I loved before.”

Her sister Randi was shorter but looked fit as if she that was her intention. Her eyes were brown and warm and her darker, and straight hair was tied in a ponytail revealing the curve of her soft neck and her muscular traps. She immediately took to the badass looking, black straight-haired brother with big arms, a man cut to the bone. While wiping down the thick, marred oak table with a clean white terrycloth towel she touched his forearm as if to judge his size and strength.

“You’re not messing around,” Randi said and smiled, a broad, sincere grin.

“Never have, never will,” Bryan said. His eyes darted as if on alert and quickly sized her up. She was just 5’5” and Bryan 5’8”.

“What can I get you guys?” Randi asked while keeping an eye on Bryan. She trained constantly, rock climbed, hike trails and rode mountain bikes.

“I’ll have Crown Royal on the rocks,” Bryan said.

“I’ll take a Jack on the rocks,” Markus barked at 6’2” and very fit. He came to the states as a marksman Olympian and never returned. His life was spent challenging himself in everything physical form from close quarters combat to rock climbing. His recent challenge was archery. Within a year he became a national champion.

Dr. Karl moved along the bar following Jennifer and ordered a Heineken which came chilled and frosty.

“Are you guys headed to the rally?” Jennifer asked.

“That’s our intention,” Dr. Karl said eyeing her rare natural beauty.

“Have you been here before?” Jennifer inquired.

“This is our 20th year,” Karl said.

“Tell me about your friends,” Jennifer continued. She was obviously searching.

Karl gave her the rundown about the gyms Bryan owned and his Scottsdale Bar and Markus’s multiple exploits.

“Do you like Wyoming?” Jennifer said and her inquisition became more direct.

“We all love it,” The good doctor said, “What gives?”

“I’m sorry,” Jennifer said. “I don’t mean to ask so many questions.” She moved down the empty bar.

The Doctor followed her along the slick heavy wooden top. It contained cigarette burns, knife marks and numerous dings dating back 50 years. “Is this all you do?”

“Not hardly,” Jennifer said. “I graduated from college three years ago.”

“What was your major,” The good doctor said, “And why are you here.”

“Computer Science with a minor in Criminology,” Jennifer said and frowned. “This is my mom’s place. She’s ill.

“So?” the doctor questioned. “What’s next?”

“I’m sorta lost,” Jennifer looked directly at Karl’s gray blue eyes searching. “I have some history here. My grandfather was sheriff and hunted horse thieves. I don’t like the current sheriff. I’m just trying to run my mom’s bar and help folks in the area.”

“How do you mean?” the Doctor quizzed, intrigued.

“For instance,” Jennifer’s demeanor brightened. “I got a call today. Someone bagged a car and used it as collateral to take a Chopper for a test ride, never to return.” She yanked a laptop from under the bar and started to type. “I immediately launched photos and notices all over social media. Haven’t heard anything yet. The owner is a young field worker with a new wife and baby. This motorcycle is his second love, but he must sell it. We’ve got to get it back.”

“Has someone scoured the area?” the doctor said. “We could quickly. You gotta map? Best hit it before dark.”

Jennifer glowed and nodded. “Let me have your cell phone numbers in case something surfaces.”

“I’ll give you all three,” the doctor said and summoned his brothers.

Jennifer laid out a tiny 8 by 10 wrinkled map of Sundance on the slick bar top and pointed out the various areas of the small town straddling interstate 90.

“Here’s sorta the bad part of town where a couple of meth heads were busted recently. Over here is the industrial complex. The three brothers carved up the map and made way to their bikes.

“What do you think?” The good doctor asked the others.

Bryan looked at Markus with a knowing stare. The Doctor liked the girls and always fell. Bryan could fuck the smaller sister and leave. Markus looked at the mountains in the distance and thought about training and hunting. “What?” Markus said. “We better move.”

The doctor straddled a café customized black and white Sportster with a 19-inch front wheel and a 19-inch rear. It was loaded with a tank bag and a bedroll for the rally.

Markus jumped on his stretched FXR and fired it to life. It was long, black with some pinstriping and performance modifications.

Bryan, short and stocky moved to his fully customized and lowered bagger, painted flashy metallic orange graphics with a gloss black base and stroked polished and chromed engine. They entered the main street of town and peeled off in three different directions.

This was going to be a breeze compared to searching the congested streets of Los Angeles, or even the sprawling Phoenix region. But the sun was quickly drifting and visibility in an unknown town would become an issue.

Bryan hung a right and rolled near the lowbrow west end of town. He encountered many nasty Arizona areas in the club. He knew the drill, the signs, the gutless and the badass. His bike would possibly stick out like a sore thumb as he meandered, his loud pipes sounded like a freight train in an alley.

The homes were small and spread out. Many were old, like coal miners’ cottages of wooden slats and small windows. The roofs were tar shingle, but hail storms broke and tore the soft material to the wood underneath leaving the home looking like it encountered bomb shrapnel. Many lodgings were motorhomes or trailer park kits, some single, others doublewide. Cars scattered the yards, some in disrepair, others rusting in the summer sun.

Some of the homes had garages, others none and all the vehicles, rusting trucks, hail dinged compacts and bicycles remained in the yards. The afternoon was hot, but very few folks remained outside. He heard the buzz of window air-conditioners.

Bryan searched every lot, home, trailer and garage for a sign, while his bagger rumbled along the roads like an angry, barking patrol dog.

Markus leaned to the left on main and headed east into the more industrial end of town where vast lots of used equipment were scattered in the weeds, large and small metal industrial buildings were adorned with shinning and some dilapidated company signs. This was a tougher area to search. Many of the roads and rutted drives were gravel and hard to navigate on a stretched FXR with a 180-rear and a 21-inch front tire.

Not afraid of anything Markus pulled into a lot containing several oil pumping units, to the terror of the area’s environmentalists. He saw an older gent heading toward a company pickup. “Excuse me sir,” Markus said.

“My name is Ron,” the narrow 6-foot gentleman in the Cowboy hat said and smiled. His shirt was crisp and plaid, tucked into denims and fastened with an elaborate leather belt and a recently polished, engraved, silver, western belt buckle. “How can I help you.”

“A friend had his motorcycle stolen earlier today,”
Markus said. “We are looking for bike shops or shady characters.”

“In Sundance?” Ron said extending his hand.

“Yes,” Markus said shaking his hand. “I’m not from here. We’re just helping the sisters at the Dime Horseshoe try to help out a local rider.”

“Those girls are the best,” Ron said. “The law around here isn’t on the ball. Did she tell you her granddad was the sheriff at one time?”?
“She told one of my partners,” Markus said. “The best time to find a stolen motorcycle is shortly after is happens, before it’s torn down or hauled away from the area.”

“You want to park your bike and I could show you around in my pickup,” Ron said.

“Don’t mean to take up your valuable time,” Markus said.

“I was about to head home,” Ron said. “Let’s go. There’s not much to see, don’t know of any bike shops, except one back in town. But let’s cruise around. Park you bike over there behind that back-hoe.”

Markus looked over at the sun drifting dangerously close to the hills in the distance. Ron backed up and aimed his pickup at the gate and Markus climbed in.

“We can cover this area in less than 20 minutes,” Ron said. He could see the concern in Markus’s eyes.

“Appreciate it,” Markus said. “He couldn’t get too far.” Markus had the confidence of a pool player who knew he couldn’t miss the next shot, or the next.

Ron rolled down the shared lane and pointed at the sparce lodgings and buildings. “That’s a cattle ranch, nothing there. Up the road a spell is a machine shop. I work with that crew every week. I think the younger one has a dirt bike.”

The good doctor rode his agile Sportster up and down the inner portion of town. The houses were well-cared-for and close together. Many lots contained small, single car garages and neatly landscaped yards, although there were a few depressed looking homes with cracked paint, chipped walls, and rusting hulks in their yards.

After each loop he encountered Main Street and a handful of historic shops, mixed with buildings built or refurbished in the ‘50s with art deco styling, and a couple of franchise tilt-up buildings looking out of place like the O’Reilly’s Auto Parts, but that was the only modern franchise joint in town. Most were antique shops, thrift stores, cafes, and a hair salon and a barber shop. One city block was devoted to municipal buildings with the post office on the corner built in the ‘40s just as WWII ended and guys needed jobs.

Karl weaved through a couple more blocks unsuccessfully until he reached the edge of town and saw Jake’s Custom Cycles. He needed a break and pulled up out front. Just two other chops were parked at the curb and both sported 1%er logos. Chris new a lot of 1%ers, but he also knew the code of the west for these guys.

He walked into the shop and up to the dusty counter. He recognized a shop that wasn’t bustling. The counters were empty and dusty, and just a few parts and containers of oil lined the shelves. He stepped around the counter and into the service area in the back, where he witnessed a bike, a Panhead chopper on the lift and a couple of guys seemingly dismantling it.

“What the fuck do you want?” One big, fat clubber leaned against a workbench in the shop scattered with tools and parts. The place was a mess as Chris ignored the question and reviewed the rest of the shop and the old linoleum lunch table in the corner. It was grimy with ashtrays, empty beer bottles, but center stage was chunk of busted mirror and a razor blade sitting center stage with a couple of un-snorted lines of coke or meth waiting.

“Sorry to bother you guys but I’m looking for a stolen motorcycle,” the doctor said and checked for weapons and a way out.

“We don’t know about any stolen motorcycles,” The big member said, but he was visibly shaken. He didn’t know who the hell Chris was or what might possibly be behind him, but the code dictated that he stayed tough.

“I think you should leave,” the other member stood. He was scrawny and angular with a long, strange goatee and dark hair pulled in a ponytail. The other guy working on the bike must have been Jake and he looked scared to the bone. Chris looked at the two standing club members and looked around the room once more. He was also disturbed by the situation.

“I’m taking off,” the doctor said and put his hands on each flap of his vest as if he was the marshal of the town. “But I’m not leaving Sundance until we return the stolen motorcycle.” He immediately stepped quickly into the showroom and outside to his waiting Sportster. No one followed, and Dr. Karl blasted back in the direction of the Dime Horseshoe Saloon. “What the fuck did I get myself into? He thought, running the bullshit through his mind.

Bryan cruised the down-and-out neighborhood thoroughly, but his flashy dresser stuck out like a sore thumb. The sun began to set, and his options declined. He turned carefully onto a gravel road, and it pissed him off. A persnickety sort, he didn’t like sand or gravel near his polished ride. He slowed and remembered riding to Sturgis a few years back with a brother, Bandit. Whipping through the mountains of Colorado, he needed to take a piss.

He pulled off the Highway, parked his bike on the gravel embankment and strolled into the shrubbery. Bandit also rolled off the highway onto the loose gravel but didn’t like it and positioned himself for the best access back onto the asphalt highway. Just as Bryan zipped up and turned toward his bike, it settled, slipped and fell over. Bandit could feel the snarling anger and knew a few minor scratches would mean another $5,000 paint job. Bryan never forgot that incident.

Bryan rolled down the gravel road looking for a turn that would take him back onto pavement. He saw something up ahead, another trailer park living situation with cheap aluminum siding and bent eves from the last hail storm. There were a half dozen pickups parked in the yard in no organized fashion. They were mostly small inexpensive used pickups and a couple of rusting older pickup from the ‘70s.

As he drew closer, he saw the owners sitting on milk crates in front of the open separate tin building garage out back. It was a bunch of young guys watching something going on in the garage, but when they heard the performance bagger and spotted Bryan heading their way they bolted. Six guys ran for six pickups.

Within 30 seconds gravel and dirt flew from the tires of six shitty, worn out trucks. Bryan tried to stay calm, but the pandemonium exploded and he didn’t know which direction they might flee. One truck nearly hit him as the scared shitless driver spun a 180 and peeled passed Bryan toward the asphalt lane behind him.

Bryan’s concern was mostly for his costly paint job and flashy chrome. He would have killed that guy for dinging his paint. Another old midsize stained white Toyota truck came at him. Pitted with rust and dented by hail, the petrified young guy gripping the wheel almost lost control trying to navigate the narrow base gravel lane shared by Bryan’s custom bagger.

He watched intently trying to sort out what the hell was going on, how to find his way away from the action and back to a safe asphalt street. Trucks came his direction, some peeled down an even narrower alleyway behind the neighboring mobile home and two headed directly away from Bryan. The dust turned into a fog, and he couldn’t make out much but ducked, held tight to his bars and kept rolling. He knew better than to roll toward the edge of the road, while attempting to turn around.

He passed the shop but couldn't lose focus on the road to try to see what the hell all the commotion was all about. The lights were still on, but someone was desperately trying to shut the industrial roll-up door. Bryan tried to note anything about the location, the tin sign on the outside of the building, the color of the modular home or the junk in the yard.

He rode directly at the cloud of dust while trying to follow the ruts in the road. Just another short block and the dust started to clear as he came to a rugged junction where he could turn right onto an asphalt road, but the junction was peppered with nasty potholes. His bike bounced and lurched in the rugged terrain, but he managed the 90 degree and the road smoothed. He wanted to pull over and access the damaged to his pristine machine.

He sighed relieved as the air cleared, and he figured out where the hell he was, but he knew where he was headed, back to the bar and another Crown Royal on the rocks. Bryan as tough as nails, wasn’t easily startled or jarred from any eyeball-to-eyeball confrontation, but that encounter shook him. What the fuck?

Markus, the lucky one at the other end of town in the industrial side sat comfortably inside the cab of Ron, the cowboy’s truck as they traversed the 50-acre parcel devoted to industry from ranching supplies to oil well equipment, farming equipment, welding shops and machine shops. Ron pointed at corrugated steel building as they rumbled down an oiled base road. “That’s where the locals take their deer, elk, mountain goats to have them dressed, bled and prepped. He’s the best butcher in town,” Ron said.

He passed another prefab built home surrounded by lush trees. Behind it and off to the side was another bolt up tin shop with a large roll-up door and an office door to the right. Over the rusting and well-used white roll-up door was a sign for Denny’s Welding. Sparks were still flying outside in the yard as a leather clad welder was intent on his bead, welding a truck chassis.

“That’s Tim,” Ron said. “He took over the business from his dad. He’s been welding and fabricating since he was a kid.”

“Good to know,” Markus said as they rolled on past a small area café and headed deeper into the region of steel, tires, shipping containers and heavy equipment. “Can we swing around the back of the café?”

“Sure,” Ron said and drove his company truck around back. There were a couple of old compacts, a café van and a tattered Ford Ranger. Markus studied it for any signs of hauling bikes. They pulled out of the gravel parking lot and kept rolling.

Ranches were next to machine shops, separated by acres of open land. They passed an obviously new facility. “They built that metal building manufacturing shop just last year,” Ron said. “They can form all the parts for a new building in a week. Pour a foundation and in two weeks, you can have a state-of-the-art industrial building.”

Markus nodded and kept looking. The sun began to set, and he was burning daylight. They drove deeper into the area and Ron pointed out each facility and told of the history, uses and folks. As they rolled farther from town the land use spread. There were more cattle ranches and hay bale fields. They came to a massive spread scattered with cattle and a long tree-lined lane to a beautiful two-story wooden home surrounded by several large barns and equipment sheds.

“That’s the Reynold’s family spread,” Ron said. “They supply beef and milk all over the region. I think they also make cheese.”

“What are those small buildings behind the barn?” Markus asked. He grew up on a New Zealand farm. That’s where he was taught how to use weapons for killing animals.

“That’s where the hired hands are housed in small cottages or you might call them apartments, usually one bedroom,” Ron said.

“Can we drive over there and swing around them,” Markus said.

“Sure,” Ron said. “I know old man Reynolds and his son who runs the place now.” They turned right on the road as dusk settled over the lush pine strewn Bear lodge mountains in the distance. The cottonwood trees lining the lane to the home were carefully trimmed and the pristine road well kept.

The large clapboard home showed no signs of age, and the gardens were manicured. Flowers bloomed everywhere and Markus’s cell blinked. “We found something,” the good doctor wrote in the text. “Get back here.”

Markus didn’t mention it to Ron as he drove passed the carefully maintain barn into an open space, separating the barn smells from the living quarters. “I’ve never been back here,” Ron said. They came across two rows of small, built-together clapboard cottages, each one separated by a small single car garage. The cottages, four on each side faced one another with white picked fence lined steps to the small porches and wooden front doors, all painted to match the ranch scheme.

“Stop,” Markus said abruptly. He studied each unit for any informative signs. “Hang here for a minute.”

Markus climbed out of the truck and didn’t walk down the lane between the cottages. He walked past them and around back the outside line of dwellings. He studied the grounds. There were no doors out the back, just windows. He studied the mowed field grass for tracks as he listened intently for conversation, while checking the condition of every window. All of them seemed intact and unhampered with.

He moved to the end of the four-unit structure and turned left and walked to the center between the two lines of units. He studied the lawn and steps to each unit and the garage doors. Then he moved behind the first line and walked along the back. At the far end was a tampered-with window. He looked up and spotted the sun drifting over the mountains in the distance. Then he heard a scream and shouting.

He moved around to the front of the unit. It didn’t contain a solid road between the two rows of units, but two concrete strips to save money and grass in the center. The garages were used mostly for storage, not trucks. Only small compacts could maneuver the grounds to the single car garages.

Markus moved out front and studied the ground to the garage and discovered a recent narrow track to the single car garage. He knelt at the corner of the building and considered his options. He didn’t like them. This guy was a no-good thief to steal a car then use it to bag a chopper. He could break in and startle the couple and try to find out what the fuck was happening.

He texted back to Dr. Karl. “I’ll be right there.” He heard another scream and jumped. Up the stairs he ran and kicked in the door. In the living room on a tattered couch and surrounding chairs sat five dirty young Hispanic girls huddling together. He didn’t hesitate but bolted across the small room to the bedroom and threw open the door.

A big guy turned from his rape scene and pulled a pistol. Markus moved closer while raising his hands in a defense mode. Less than two feet from the assailant, the large semi-auto pistol was right in Markus’s face. He looked into the glaring shit-brown eyes of the rapist and searched for clues. How bad was this bastard? Would he end Markus’s life forever? He didn’t like what he saw.

Markus tilted his head slightly to the right, away from the semi-auto and moved his open palm-back to the left against the barrel. In less than a NY second, he turned his palm, so it was against the barrel and grabbed it twisting it out of this guy’s hand and hitting him in the neck with his right hand. The bastard gasped.

The girl on the bed reached for her clothes to cover herself and ran for the other room. Markus stepped into an attack stance. “Pull up your pants.”

The big, thick man in a plaid work shirt looked up at Markus, and Markus hit him hard enough to crack his jaw and dislodge a tooth. “Don’t look at me, pull up your pants.”

This time the man did as he was told, and Markus shoved him toward the front door. “Hablan English?” Markus said to the girls, and one said, “Yes.”

“Are there others like him?” Markus said.

“No,” the young girl said. “They just brought us across the border and dropped us here. We’ve been here two days with nothing to eat. He comes and attacks and threatens us.”

“Is there hot water?” Markus said.

“Yes,” the senorita said. “I believe so.”

“Clean up and I will send someone with food and supplies,” Markus said. “If they don’t use my name, Markus, fight back. And don’t lose my knife.”

He cut her ties and gave her his handy Beretta sharp as-a-razor folding knife to cut the tie-wraps free from their ankles and wrists.

“You can’t do that,” the big bastard said as Markus shoved him outside the front door. “I paid for them.”

Markus didn’t reply but shoved him toward the pickup. He had snatched a couple of large tie-wraps off the cottage deck. He fastened the big guy’s wrists together behind his back, opened the tailgate and shoved him into the steel bed. Ron jumped out of his truck to help.

“Do you know this guy?” Markus asked.

“No,” Ron said. “He doesn’t look familiar.”

Markus stared at Ron’s eyes looking for uncertain clues. “That unit is full of young Hispanic girls,” Markus said and pulled another tie-wrap tight around white-boy’s ankles.

“That hurts,” he said, and Markus wanted to put a round in one of his knees. He shoved the barrel of the gun against his left knee.

“I’ll show you hurt,” he said and turned to Ron. “Do you have a wife or daughters who can bring some food and clean clothes to six girls?”

“Sure do,” Ron said and made a call.

“One more favor,” Markus said.

“Anything,” Ron said looking at the gun.

“Can you take me and my new friend back to the bar?” Markus said and ejected the clip from the semi-auto, ejected the round in the chamber, shoved the gun in his waist band and replace the round in the clip. Something told him he might need this cannon in Sundance.

They hauled ass back to downtown and the Dime Horseshoe bar. His two brothers waited anxiously out front.

“This is Ron,” Markus said exiting the truck. He gave me a tour of the Sundance Industrial Park. And this is my new buddy.” He indicated the guy tied up in the bed, uncomfortable from the rough, two-mile ride back to town.

Jennifer and Randi came outside. Jennifer looked at the farm fed catch in the truck and pulled his head back by his sandy mop of hair. “Jennifer,” he said, and she dropped his head again to the metal truck bed.

“Let’s go back inside,” Jennifer said. “I have some information.”

“What's with the guy in the truck?” Karl asked.

“Something about human trafficking,” Markus said. “Ron’s family is helping the girls.”

“We need to move fast,” Jennifer said.

“We’ve been moving fast, ever since we arrived for a quiet drink,” Bryan said in a gruff tone.

Jennifer looked at Karl with baby-help-me eyes and then at Ron.

“Let’s see what she has to say,” Ron said coming to her aid. “I’ve known these girls and their mom forever.”

“Quick,” Markus said. “What gives.”

“In less than an hour you guys have solved several problems in this town, except one,” Jennifer said. “I made a call about Jake’s shop. He’s always in a jam, this time with the wrong guys. He owes the club some funds. I think I solved that one.”

“Thanks Karl said, “I didn’t like that situation.”

Jennifer touched the doctor’s arm and the gaze between them was strong and forgiving.

“Okay,” Bryan said. “What’s next.”

“The guys on your side of town were huddled around Joey’s garage,” Jennifer continued. “He makes white lightening. The sheriff is underhanded and religious. He’s always trying to bust those guys. He rides an old dresser that belonged to my dad. You spooked them. Those guys will move their operation to another location sometime tonight.”

“What about your friend in the back of Ron’s pickup?” Markus said. “Could he know something about the missing bike? How do you know him?”

“Get him into the back room,” Jennifer said. His name is Kevin and he’s been in the bar and may have a connection to the new sheriff.”

Markus and Bryan pulled the bruised and beaten Kevin out of Ron’s Pickup. “I’m going to check on my wife and the girls,” Ron said and closed the tailgate with a bang.

“Let me give you my cell number,” Markus said.

“I’ve got the number here,” Ron said. “You be careful.” He extended his hand and Markus took it. There was pure sincerity in his gaze and handshake.

“I gave my knife to one of the girls,” Markus said.

“I’ll take care of it,” Ron said and got into his truck.

Jennifer opened the employees-only door, where their office was set up with two small old metal military desks and a couple of old steel file cabinets. It contained just two metal chairs from the ‘50s and Markus and Bryan shoved Kevin into the chair.

Jennifer stepped up and raised Kevin’s chin and he grimaced in pain. His jaw was severely bruised, but he still was a nasty sort and Markus studied him carefully.

“Here’s the deal, Kevin, we have an issue and need your help,” Jennifer started. “I suspect you stole that motorcycle to pay for those girls.”

Markus watched Kevin’s facial features closely for any sign, from knowing, to fear, to cockiness. Kevin looked in his direction in the dark room but wouldn’t make eye contact. Bryan stared at him like a hungry cat ready to pounce.

“Stealing the car and using it was a smart move,” Markus said.

Kevin smirked, “I couldn’t get close to the motorcycle without some collateral.” He knew his investment in the girls was gone. What did he have to lose?

Jennifer jumped at the new information. “That chopper means a lot to that family. They don’t want to sell it, but his wife is going to have a baby, and he was going to let it go, so they could make a down payment on their first home.”

“I know,” Kevin said and smirked some.

Bryan didn’t like that and lurched. Jennifer blocked his path. “Hold it,” she said and turned to Kevin. “Can we get it back?”

“Maybe,” Kevin said and swallowed. Bryan the ex-outlaw scared him. “But those pricks won’t like me much. Is there something you can do?”

“Yeah, bury you quietly in a shallow grave,” Bryan said and turned from the scene pissed off. “We don’t have time for this bullshit.”

“Listen,” Kevin said. “I’m fucked anyway you look at it. I need to get safely out of Sundance.”

“We can get you out of town,” Jennifer said. “But what about the bike? Where are they staying and when will they leave? If they get wind of the girls in safe hands, they will bolt.”

“You got to promise to get me out of here,” Kevin begged.

“We will,” Jennifer said. She had a commanding presence, and the good Doctor studied her features and mannerisms intrigued. He could tell her mind was spinning. “Give it up, so we can make a plan.”

“They are staying in a trailer park on the edge of town,” Kevin blithered wanting to get the info off his jagged mind. “They have it on a small motorcycle trailer connected to their motorhome. It’s right out in the open.”

“When,” Jennifer demanded.

“I don’t know,” Kevin stammered. “They don’t like to stick around.”

“What about the cops,” Dr. Karl said. “Couldn’t they just go out and handle it?”

“Yep, but if they do the bike will end up in impound forever,” Jennifer said. “It will be picked to pieces before we will ever see it again.”

“Figure it out,” Markus said. “Bryan and I will ride out there right now and let you know if it's still there. Hold him until you hear from us.”

Markus and Bryan jammed out to their bikes as the sun dipped over the Continental Divide and disappeared. “This better be good,” Markus shouted out to Bryan as they peeled away from the curb and hung a left on main heading toward Interstate 90 freeway, a mile past the eastern edge of town. Pipes blaring, they peeled over the over-pass and spotted the trailer park next to the frontage road. It consisted of a few scatter trees, gravel roads, sewage and electrical outlets positioned next to school bus sized patches of bare land.

During Rally season, the area was packed with trailers and motorhomes of various sizes. Too many included trailers containing motorcycles. Fortunately, they had a visual of the baby blue paint job with silver flames. They jammed up and down wide rows of trailers until they spotted a faded tan non-distinct motor home with two guys loading lawn chairs in one of the lower storage compartments. The motor was running.

They stopped just up the lane and Markus texted the license plate of the motorhome. “I’ve lost my patients with this bullshit,” Bryan said and hit his throttle. “Hang back in case it all goes wrong.”

Bryan jammed forward and slid to a stop alongside the motorhome. “Hey, do you know that motorcycle is stolen?”

Two guys turned to face him. They were shabby and half-drunk white guys, but they looked tough.

“We don’t know anything about that,” the taller of the two said and looked at his partner. His mind had to be swimming with options. “We’re leaving.”

“You don’t want to leave with that wanted poster on the trailer following you,” Bryan said. “We know you didn’t steal it. Just unload it and take off.”

The other guy looked at his partner and spit on the grassy ground. He rubbed the stubble on his rough face. “Motherfucker,” he said.

Just then Markus pulled up, slid to a stop, dismounted and pulled a 9mm from inside his vest. But he didn’t say a word. The situation was suddenly tense, like the world around them disappeared. Everything in life centered on the next move.

“We are not here to cause you any issues,” Markus said calmly. “Just to take that chopper back to its owner. We know the situation. Your customer is gone and won’t be back. You have a lot more at stake than just this bike and you know it. You can be on your way in a matter of minutes.”

He watched the two guys closely for any wrong move. “How about we just unhook the trailer? One of them asked.

Bryan seethed. He wanted one of them to fuck up. Markus also wanted more retribution than just the bike, but he suspected it was coming. One item off the check list at a time.

Markus and Bryan watched as the two thugs unhooked the trailer safety chains from the back of the motorhome. They made no moves to assist.

One guy pivoted the trailer jack and rotated the lever to lower it to a level position. Markus could read his whirling thoughts about what was happening and his options. He was sorta like Bryan, looking for an excuse to jump, pull a gun or run.

These guys had it tough. Human trafficking was a major offence in Wyoming, plus rape of underage girls would get them sent away for decades, maybe the rest of their lives. On the other hand, these guys were violent outlaws of the worst sort. Considering jail times wasn’t generally in the cards. They fucked up and worried about the consequences later.

Bryan wished for such a conclusion. He also came from the streets and had the gunshot wound scars to prove it. When it came to angry, nasty sonsabitches, he was ready.

Markus reached for his cell phone and called Jennifer. “Send the bike owner with a pickup that can pull a trailer.” He quickly hung up.

In five minutes, a midsize Ford Ranger approach and unexpectantly Randi jumped out of the cab and approached Bryan. She slipped her arm around his and pulled him close. She read him like a dime store novel. The tension in his taut muscles radiated like a blast furnace against a pile of snow. He relaxed. “How about another Crown Royal on the rocks?” she said pulling his big beefy arm against her ample breasts and kissing his cheek. “Maybe you can spend the night after the rally.”

“Speaking of the Rally,” Markus said. “We’re burnin’ daylight. Let’s ride.”

The thugs sneered and got into their motorhome and lumbered toward the gate. The brothers hooked the trailer to the Ranger and mounted their bikes and rolled back into town to pick up the good Doctor.

When they pulled up in front of Dime Horse shoe it was dark, but they could make out two forms wrapped around one another on the sidewalk under a cast iron street light. “I told the girls we would help them find stolen motorcycles whenever we can,” Dr. Karl said.

Bryan kissed Randi deeply, “I’ll definitely be back to find whatever you’ve got.” He slapped her perfect bubble butt and the three brothers rolled toward the freeway and another rally week. Randi and Jennifer stood on the curb and waved, then looked at one another knowingly. The Chopper Chronicles team was formed.

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Reader Comments

Everything in life centered on the next move.

Koz Mraz
Sedona, AZ
Tuesday, December 21, 2021
Editor Response Yep, watch your back.

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