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Jam and Vibe: Vehemence Of Evil

You can’t fight what you don’t know

by Ujjwal Dey

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The roar of engines echoed through the streets of Austin as the Lone Rat Riders, an infamous motorcycle gang, thundered through the city. They were a tight-knit group of outlaws, feared and respected throughout Texas and Nevada. One percenters, they dabbled in successful criminal activities, including (but not limited to) drug trafficking, extortion, and racketeering. They made a name for themselves as the most brutal and financially influential motorcycle gang in the region.

The Lone Rat Riders led by their charismatic president, Jay "Jammer" Phillips ruled the streets. He was a tall, muscular man with a thick beard and pitch black eyes. He grew up on the streets, working his way up through the ranks of the gang with a combination of brute strength and cunning intelligence. A natural leader, he was respected by his compatriots and even admired by some common city folks he helped out for no damn reason.

Jammer had a keen sense of business, always looking for new ways to make money. Extremely eccentric, he would either brutalize or be benevolent for absolutely no profit nor pleasure. Since rising up the rank, he developed a network of informants throughout Texas and Nevada, who kept him appraised of the latest opportunities for criminal activity. These included ambulance chasing lawyers, 12-hour shift working nurses, ambitious politicians, tax-evading restaurateur businessmen desiring ways to launder cash, etc. He'd decide which ventures to pursue and assign the tasks to his most trusted lieutenants.

It was almost as if Jammer ran a small incorporation, which deluded itself behind the label of “social recreation club."

One of their most lucrative businesses was drug trafficking. America had never been so addicted to substances galore and now it seemed pharmaceutical pills could be replaced by marijuana as well. Hey, there were breakfast brownies made of weed in cafes! Why eat a cow-burger when you can eat “grass?"

The Lone Rat Riders controlled a vast network of dealers and distributors. They managed a steady supply of methamphetamine and cocaine, which they transported in hollow handlebars of their motorcycles. The cash was alternatively stuffed into artistic battery cases, which were custom made like the rest of their motorcycles. Their team of lookouts were homeless panhandlers who would monitor the highways and alert them to any police presence. In return, the entire gamut of enablers were all rewarded with drugs and cash – the seemingly perpetual operation fed itself.

Jammer’s primary crew had developed a reputation for being ruthless when it came to protecting their territory. They had a code of honor, which was basically having the scales of justice forever tilted in their favor. Their biker group was branded a cult or as they might suggest, a legitimate religion…a philosophy they lived by.

You didn’t quit this club. The club just fired you with a Viking funeral. Exploding motorcycles was their retribution. An innovative death sentence, ahead of its time or earlier than exploding electric motorcycles.

The rest of the crew didn’t fear these things because their conditioning and witnessing of daily violence was such that eventual loss of limb or life seemed like a dream—a fairy tale told by enemies. Power does not exist if it’s not enforced and thus the immaterial comes into tangible existence. Then you “see” power, feel it and know it. Their fearsome reputation was not from use of firearms but bizarre deaths that would shock and traumatize the best of ER regulars.

Early in February 2018, Jammer received a tip from one of his informants about a rival gang encroaching on their turf. The gang, called the Desert Hawks, made inroads into the drug trade in Nevada. Jammer was not going to let them take over his territory.

"We can't let these Desert Hawks fly free," one of Jammer’s lieutenants said. "We need to establish the boundary cause they ain't aware of one."

Jammer nodded in agreement, “Let’s show them.” Their core team consisted of seasoned lifelong criminals. Subordinates knew proving their mettle meant performing creative death sentences. All their nemesis met strange deaths, which had to be ultimately ruled accidental deaths, unless some stiff-necked detective wanted to endure and track unsolved cases. 

The Lone Rat Riders plan of attack was always sending out one ‘scout’, followed by the ‘berserker’ and after that the ‘spectator’ who would emerge when the crime scene was already public knowledge.

Desert Hawks expected a conventional rat-pack attack, with most likely point of attack being their headquarters, warehouse and clubhouse. Desert Hawks had teams in shifts patrolling during nightfall and even during daytime when most of the bikers were out riding and getting shit done. They wanted to cover all corners and never rode in a group of less than seven men. Theirs was a conventional setup, only having experience dealing against other conventional one-percenters.

Beck “Vibe” Reeves, the Chief in charge of Desert Hawks was known to be handy with armed and unarmed combat. He trained as an athlete in rifle, wrestling and judo, aspiring to get into a top University. Pipped to be in the Olympics, his entire suburban dream home collapsed with the arrest of his father in a major corporate embezzling case. His mother drowned herself in alcohol and painkillers while his father’s entire assets were seized and auctioned. His father was sentenced to life imprisonment for refusal to co-operate with the cops – basically for not being a “rat!

Vibe hated that word and especially remembered the rat and roach filled motels he bounced around after turning eighteen, hence free from social service custody. The word reminded him of the stench of his past life. 

Business boomed in Nevada for Desert Hawks and they wanted to franchise into more Chapters. Vibe and a pack of eighteen bikers rode South, hoping to draw in young blood, who aspired to work hard to prove themselves. A unique thing about Desert Hawks was that they did come in more than one “color”. They had established chapters among Native Americans, Hispanics and now investigated Black recruits – each having their own legitimate Chapter with membership exclusive to their community.

Vibe would’ve gone into military or a federal agency if life was on the level. He read fiction novels to inspire himself. He once pulled off a heist at government dairy farm office after reading the fiction novel of prolific author James Hadley Chase. At another instance, he used a circus trained rhesus monkey to disable alarms and unlock a jewelery store, after reading the Tin Tin comic about a thieving magpie. Rhesus monkeys are, to some extent, smarter than magpies. Blame it on National Geographic magazine!

 “Bezerker”, who needed to earn his colors, was to ensure Desert Hawks death with destruction. How to make it look like an accident was brainstormed by Jammer’s lieutenants.

Most of the Desert Hawks hung out and lived at their headquarters, where they also stashed their loot. Things were relaxed with their boss away for business. Three strippers knocked on their door and asked if they needed any room service.

Already drunk and assuming the girls had the wrong address by mistake, they played along. Meanwhile, the scout had reported that the girls were in place. The strippers dressed as fire-fighters had hoses they dangled around the necks of the bikers, luring them into senselessness.

Unknown to the girls, the hoses leaked methane – an odorless, colorless flammable gas.

Someone lit a cigarette and the entire room exploded. The fire spread wide as the gas pumped profusely without the knowledge of the girls who were as much dead as their victims. Soon enough the headquarters was lit like a Christmas tree in California forest reserve, visible from various corners of the city. The intensity of the gas and fire ensured the “tools of the trade” burned entirely to ashes. It wasn’t an authentic firefighter hose after all.

The first salvo against Desert Hawks complete. Vibe saw the news on TV. He hesitated against his basic instinct to ride hard home. He was a petty bum compared to what was known about Jammer. Vibe closed his deal in Louisiana ensuring access to world’s fourth largest port in volume shipping, and campaigned for another Chapter in Florida. Vibe had numbers compared to the small tight-knit Lone Rat Riders. 

 The cops couldn’t care less if it was club-retaliation or just an accident. No one from the Desert Hawks suggested to the cops that “Hey, maybe the Lone Rat Riders did it,” while circumstantial evidence suggested faulty props by overambitious strippers and drunk biker-scum set the night on fire.

So it was, embers of hate sown deep into Vibe’s heart. A kindling desire to pick apart the Rats. For now, home was 1800 miles away and buried in warm rubble.
* * * * 

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