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Saturday Edition

Bruno is Coming, Chapter II

Hang On for the Final Chapter

By K. Randall "Bandit" Ball with Jon Towle Illustrations

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Bruno rode his performance Sportster hard along the Angeles Crest Highway daring sport bike guys to race him. He pushed himself to the brink of losing it over sheer cliffs or slamming into unforgiving rock walls. He refueled in Wrightwood a sleepy little mountain town just elevated enough to support pine trees.

He ate a greasy dinner in a dive café sporting stools made from hubcaps and tuck-and-roll booths. He stared at his chipped ceramic cup and pondered his life. He didn’t like what raced through his mind. The big question was what the hell was he going to do now? He kept riding and thinking.

While in the service he studied martial arts and close- quarters combat. Fit, young and agile, he trained, lifted weights and took care of himself. But after his girl left him while he was out of the country, he lost hope. He gained weight, started smoking and let himself go. His only joy was his hot rod Sportster, which he tuned, maintained and worked to increase the horsepower with cams and enhanced the handling with performance shocks, the best tires and tunable forks. Perhaps riddled with a death wish, he kept pushing the motorcycle and himself, as if one wrong move and all his troubles would be toast.

A couple of days passed and Diego called. “What gives?”

“I don’t know what to do, bro?” Bruno said.

“The girl is cool, we like her,” Diego said. “But we can’t keep her forever. Are you still living in your shop?”

“Yep,” Bruno said. “I need to work this week and I’ll get you some funds. Let’s meet at the long Beach Swap Meet this weekend.”

“Work on a plan,” Diego said and hung up.

The emotional pressure grew. He didn’t have a plan for himself, let alone Sheila and her child to be. He worked hard all week in one of the last remaining machine shops on signal hill and questioned every aspect of his life. Friday, he got paid and cashed his check.

Sunday, he crawled out of the cot he made and slept on, scrambled to make coffee and hit the road to the swap meet at the crack of dawn. He wanted to arrive while the vendors set up their booths and Diego was a regular, hauling motorcycle parts from the desert to sell in the city.

Bruno parked his glistening Sportster. It looked as good as it ran all metallic and chrome. He wandered through the swap buzzing in concert, like a hive of bees, brothers and sisters unloading their vehicles and arranging their wares in enticing forms.

Diego unloaded his rusting red ’55 Chevy truck set up a tent, and a long plastic fold-up table, while his wife, Maria, as cute as a shiny brass button covered the table with a black velvet cloth. She arranged hand-tooled leather wallets made by her desert connection. Sheila helped out, anyway she could, setting up folding chairs and getting coffee for the crew. She made little cheesy quesadillas to supply them with energy as the sun filled the morning air and they sensed a blistering day on the coast coming.

Bruno approached their designated spot. Diego always had the same corner location on the massive asphalt lot, marked with dusty chalk. “Que paso, amigo,” Bruno said to Diego who looked up from his ongoing task. Then Bruno’s green eyes connected with Sheila’s. Something magnetic passed between the two and she grabbed the table edge and pulled herself to her feet.

Bruno hurried to her side and they embraced and held tight for a long moment. He felt a connection he hadn’t felt in several years. He slipped Diego a wad of cash.

“Is there hope,” Sheila whispered in Bruno’s ear and kissed his cheek.

Bruno stared down at the warming asphalt at his feet and crushed a cigarette butt. It spoke to him of his life and he struggled to raise his eyes to meet hers. Her dark eyes were full of hope, sincerity and love for her growing child.

“If it isn’t Puto and the whore,” Pablo said and pushed Bruno away from the girl. He had his two soldiers at his side while he sported his full club regalia, including leather etched gauntlets running up his massive forearms with chromed buttons emblazed in the trim. His leather vest with fringe was tied in the center over his exposed chest. His hair was especially frizzed from the ride and his mustache looked like daggers pointing out from the corners of his mouth. He snarled in true outlaw form.

Bruno corrected himself. “Do you have the grand?” He asked directly.

Pablo snatched the laced leather riding crop hanging from his right hand and slashed it across Bruno’s face. “I told you muthafucker. We are not paying you shit.” He made a gesture to his lieutenants and they grabbed Bruno’s arms. Other members approached and beat Bruno unmercifully until his bloody bod lay on the pavement being boot-kicked and beat with bats.

Pablo took this as an opportunity to demonstrate the club’s street power to the locals. They punched and whipped Bruno, picked him up and shoved him to the front gate and then threw him out. “Comancheros Forever,” they shouted intimidating the crowd. Outside the gate Bruno reached from the sticky blood-spattered asphalt to the chain-link fence with a bloody hand sporting a freshly broken finger and tugged himself to his knees flipping off the club with his other index finger. “You motherfuckers owe me a grand,” he shouted.

He fell to the pavement, his face scattered with swelling bruises and lacerations.

The white Comanchero prez and another group of members approached Diego’s booth. He sneered at Sheila. “You shouldn’t have come around,” He leered at her and Diego approached.

“Keep your asshole buddy away from my club,” the prez said and spit on the warm asphalt. He nodded to one of his gang. The member stepped forward and drove a baseball bat into Diego’s gut. Diego folded in pain and dropped to his knees. His wife Maria ran to his side.

She helped Diego to his feet. Diego had a rough past, but his Latino heritage didn’t offer him bulk or size. Skinny as a rail he stood and his eyes lifted until he stared at the club prez, with dark eyes to the prez’s baby blue irises. “Why, are you afraid?” He said and ground he teeth. Another bat smacked him in the shoulder. Severe pain sliced through his body as he grabbed a tent corner post to catch his fall.

Maria grabbed him and pulled him away, “That’s enough, Diego.”

The members moved away pushing and barking at onlookers and threatening them with metal bats.

Bruno laid on the asphalt bleeding with a broken finger, bloody nose and a cracked rib. A stout Pilipino man knelt beside him and shoved a card in his flannel pocket. “You need to come to my dojo,” Sifu said and looked him over.

Later, in the afternoon Pablo returned to Diego’s booth. His thugs surrounded the area and picked at products and motorcycle parts in an intimidating manner. Pablo stepped around members and stood twisting one of his long black, mustache tenacles while sneering at Sheila. He grabbed one of Diego’s cards. “We’re coming for all of you.”

Three days later still bruised and bandaged, Bruno pulled up to an industrial building in Torrance not far from the LA airport to Sifu’s dojo. He struggled through a two-hour workout, but two days later he returned. “Come every Saturday.” Sifu said.

He gradually healed, worked hard and took cash to Diego every two weeks. He quit messing with his bike and riding like a bat-outta-hell through the hills. He expanded his living quarters in his shop, framed walls and drywalled a new bedroom. He hit the local antique store and Good Will locations for a queen-sized bed and a crib. Suddenly the redheaded loner had a mission.

He never missed Saturday at the dojo. While at work watching a spinning lathe in the machine shop, he question everything about his life. Terrified, he wasn’t sure what to do or how make it work. Sometimes he gazed at his Sportster longingly and just wanted to climb aboard and ride. As he painted the new rooms in his shop with his helper, he doubted his abilities to be a spouse or a dad. Something inside of him just wanted to escape, but something in her gaze gave him hope.

Friday night after being paid and cashing his check he rode east on the Santa Monica freeway, splitting lanes toward the desert. At the dusty, grimy intersection of the 10 and the 15 heading toward Vegas resided a massive truck stop and he rolled off the freeway to refuel his just over 2-gallon tank.

He pulled up to the pumps and kicked his chromed kickstand out and leaned his bike against the metal post. He started to refuel as he heard more bikes blasting into the lot as massive as two football fields of asphalt lined with idling 18-wheelers.

As they peeled into the lot, they were followed by a racing orange muscle-car, a Plymouth from the ‘70s. It sported massive slicks and the driver enjoyed the open space, burning-out and spinning in circles. The riders, three of them rode dangerously close to Bruno as they slid up to the adjacent pump. There were two Comanchero brothers and a prospect. One of them recognized Bruno. Pablo’s brother parked his chopper and drew his aluminum bat from a leather sheath strapped to his front forks.

“Puta,” he shouted and ordered his prospect to fill their bikes. The two patch-holders approached Bruno as he pulled the nozzle from his tank and replaced it in the pump.

“Pablo’s going to love this,” Ricky said and drew back for a swing.

Bruno replaced his gas cap and looked at his tank. No one fucks with a biker’s ride he thought to himself. “Did you bring the grand?” Bruno asked as his eyes lifted to meet the gaze of the oncoming outlaw. He quickly moved around his Sporty to confront moderate sized club member in all leather, his vest flapping in the desert wind the bat above his shoulder while he charged.

The other outlaw pulled a long straight blade from his black, stitched leather sheath and sliced it through the air. Bruno scarred shitless, learned from the martial arts master. It was time to test the lessons. He didn’t back down but ran at the man whose eyes widen and suddenly he questioned his motives, but that didn’t stop him. Committed he gripped the bat with two leather glove adorned fists and his grip increased as his engineer boots slammed against the pavement.

Bruno ran at the outlaw and drove his left hand against the man’s fists stopping the swing. As instructed, he let his hand slide out along the shank of the light metal bat until he reached four inches from the end, where he controlled the leverage. As he twisted the bat down, breaking the biker’s grip he drove his right webbed hand into the outlaw’s throat.

He took the shiny bat away from the Comanchero, spun 180 degrees with the bat cocked and hit a home run with the knife from the other punk’s leather grasp. As instructed, Bruno then held the bat in two hands, one at one end and one at the other as he punched the knife wielding biker with one end and smacked the chocking outlaw with the other.

The prospect refueling the bikes didn’t know whether to shit or go blind. He filled the brothers choppers first and started to move toward filling his Softail fatbob tanks, when he witnessed the two patch-holders losing the fight. He thought better, replaced the nozzle in the pump, jumped on his bike, tossed his prospect patch onto a member’s seat and peeled out.

The brother driving the muscle-car, spinning a burnout in the parking lot saw Bruno kneecap one of the outlaws with the bat. “Next time bring cash,” Bruno spat, stood and approached the other Comanchero who scrambled backwards on the grimy, oil-soaked, asphalt sporting a busted jaw. The pain excruciating, he didn’t want to have anything to do with the mad redhead and the metal bat.

The muscle-car driver packed a weapon and yanked the long barreled .357 magnum out from under the bucket seat, but he was between a rock and a hard place, and he knew everything was bad. The trunk was loaded with bags of Fentanyl tablets and cops would surely be on their way. He had two brothers injured and the madman with the bat was coming.

Bruno approached the rumbling bright orange hotrod with Crager mag wheels. Fast Fred behind the wheel wearing his patch, his hands sweating, one on the slick laminated wooden steering wheel with chromed spokes to the center and the other on the stainless steel revolver.

“I’ll bet you have a big problem on your hands,” Bruno said the bat still in front of him like a warrior’s bumper, while he held each end firmly.

Fast Fred stared at Bruno and pulled the weapon back inside. “I’ve got to get the fuck outta here,” he muttered.

“Go,” Bruno said intent on the location of the weapon. “The cops will come and take care of your brothers better than you can. I won’t touch them again.”

“The prez is going to be pissed,” Fred said and shifted the car into first.

“He’s pissed all of the time. At least you got away with the shit,” Bruno smiled. “Tell him, if he paid me, this wouldn’t have happened.”

Bruno rode hard into the desert, while watching the city fade and the desert night come alive with stars. He didn’t care about cops or tickets, he just wanted to see his girl.

He slid up in front of Diego’s pad and Sheila ran into the desert sand to greet him. They hugged long and hard, holding on desperately for what could be, might be, and might not.

Diego came outside and Bruno gave him the funds. “My pad is almost finished,” he said holding tight to the girl, almost six months pregnant. “Can you guys go somewhere else for a few days?”

“I’m not going anywhere,” Diego said. “Nobody knows where I live. We’ll be fine.”

“I don’t have a good feeling,” Bruno said. “I need to get back to my pad. They’ll be coming for me.”

Bruno kissed Sheila deeply. “It won’t be long now and we’ll be together.” He straddled his trusty Sportster and peeled through the sand and dust to the highway winding back to the Interstate and home two hours away.

Scared to death, he split lanes, dodged trucks and congested traffic back into the city. The club would have sources and intel. He had nothing. They had numbers and contacts, and he was a loner. They threatened, bribed, cajoled and beat on humble folks. Bruno had no one to talk to, except a Hispanic mud man and painter, illegal who helped out. He didn’t speak English, terrified that he might be deported any day.

He happened to be Bruno’s weak link. Long Beach drug gangs knew where all the illegals lived and extorted from them to stay silent about their whereabouts. The Comancheros drilled their drug connections for info and resources. Saturday little skinny Emilio didn’t show up for work.

Saturday night a van full of club members slid up in front of Bruno’s tin shop building crawled out of the van each holding a booze bottle full of gasoline with a rag fuse stuck in the end. Simultaneously, they lite their fuses and threw the bottles at the base of the building where the wooden frame was exposed.

The building burst into flames. Inside smoke and heat intensified and the fire spread to anything that would ignite from rags to trash cans and then oil. Lacking air to breathe Bruno woke as his new walls and insulation caught fire. He jumped out of bed like a startled roach running for cover. He crawled and grabbed a painter’s mask, then his clothes and finally his Sportster. He threw open the roll-up shop door and pushed this motorcycle outside just as more of the interior and a spare gas can exploded. Everything he had suddenly gone, he straddled his Sportster and peeled out.

As fire trucks approached, lights flashed and sirens blared, Bruno rode out of Long Beach.

Later that night four Comancheros and a van pulled up in front of Diego’s desert pad. Pablo climbed out of the van and indicted to his members where to position themselves. He strode under the shingled eves, warm at 2:00 in the morning and pounded on the door. Diego yanked the door open. “What the fuck,” Diego said.

“We came for the girl,” Pablo snarled, “or else.”

“Or else what?” Diego said

“Or else this,” Pablo said and even in the dark his long bowie-styled knife glinted in the moonlight as Pablo jammed it into Diego’s gut. The man stumbled back and fell to the floor. Maria ran to his side and cupped her hand over the bleeding wound.

Pablo indicated for his two lieutenants to enter the house and snatch the pregnant girl, who was in a night gown and barely able to grab an Indian blanket off the velvet couch she slept on. The brothers dragged her quickly out to the van and shoved her in the side door. Pablo spit on the concrete floor as Diego and Maria huddled, clutching one another. “That piece of shit puta knows where to find us,” Pablo said. “He better come with more than a grand if he wants to see the bitch alive again.” He turned and stormed out of the door. In less than five minutes the Comancheros came, accomplished their mission and hit the road.

The next morning Bruno woke-up leaning against the stucco Dojo exterior wall in Torrance, the sun warming his engineer boots. Two other bikes rolled into the parking lot. One was Sifu’s raked old-school chopper, all metallic with Chinese dragons, in gold-leaf inlaid on the tank and another stretched by Jesse James FXR with an extended glide and everything was performance and black except for a touch of pinstriping.

Bruno slipped his cell phone into a leather vest pocked quietly. Maria had called from the hospital.

“What’s up with you,” Sifu said.

“I’m done,” Bruno pulled his knees up and buried his face between them. “They’ve destroyed and taken all I had left.”

“Looks like he needs a special workout,” Sifu’s buddy, Mark approached. A big, sorta tall white guy with a straight-guys haircut and just a mustache. He extended his tough calloused hand to Bruno. “Get up. Looks like we’ve got shit to do today.”

They worked out hard in close-quarters combat and weapons training. Bruno smelled of smoke. The discussion was as intense as the workout. After training, Mark took Bruno into Sifu’s office. While Sifu showed Bruno his private stash of weapons including several Browning and Glock pistols, Mark stepped out of the office and retired to the computer and phone behind the Dojo counter.

I have a class to teach,” Sifu said and took Bruno into his private quarters behind his office. “You need some rest.” The room contained a comfortable bed, no windows and a statue of Buddha on a makeshift shrine with a fountain of trickling water surrounding it and running over polished stones. He turned on some calming oriental music. “Lay down and close your eyes. When you get up, feel free to take a shower.” Sifu closed the door. He held the face of wisdom and wars, pock-marked, tan and thoughtful.

Three hours later Bruno stepped out of the shower. When he returned to the meditation room, he looked at the glowing Buddha as if the master spoke to him. He turned to the bed to see his pants carefully laid out on the bed. His smoke stained t-shirt was gone and replaced with thick black sweatshirt. The front was gold silk screened with a Chinese dragon and crossed swords. Also, a black leather thong necklace rested on the chest of the sweatshirt. It sported a highly detailed brass Dragon with a sparkling emerald in its eye and next to his pants was an engraved leather knife sheath. The same dragon and crossed swords was carefully engraved into the thick hide and into the shiny black lacquered knife handle. The Damascus blade was shaped in Japanese fashion and sharp as a razor.

Bruno dressed quickly, walked through Sifu’s office and passed the Dojo where Sifu taught another class of kids learning the basics. He stopped and bowed to the master with clasped hands. Sifu acknowledge him with his feet snapped together followed by a slight bow with his hands clasped and a knowing gaze.

As he walked toward the glass door entrance Mark stopped him. “You’ll need this.” He handed Bruno a small black tiny book. “This has all the intel you’ll need.”

Bruno opened the book to find only three pages of info. The first said, “Dinner at 6:00, and the address to a restaurant near the Irvine Industrial complex. “He can’t reach his phone,” was noted.

Bruno looked at his battered watch and tapped the cracked glass screen. His eyes were deep green, but clear and bright. It was closing on 5:00. He needed to ride.

He looked like a new man as he straddled his glistening Sportster and fired it to life. For the first time his black vest, with the new shiny brass dragon pin looked organized and almost military with the logo on the sweatshirt. His red hair and the emerald green pinstriped scallops on his tank matched the emerald green in the dragons’ eyes. He felt the weight of the Glock in his gun pocked and two additional 8-round clips in the other.

He rode like a warrior against the setting sun into the dregs of the city’s industrial complex to find Pablo’s regular coffee shop on the edge of the seedy district. He watched his time closely and approached from west as six Comancheros and Pablo rolled in from the east. Bruno sat side saddle on his clicking and cooling motorcycle as the brothers pulled into the parking lot and slid to a stop in front of the Crescent Wrench Café, wrapped in galvanized tin and adorned with old equipment and tools.

Startled, they snapped their kickstands down and grabbed at their weapons. Bruno stood, raised the sparkling Glock and took out Pablo’s two favorite lieutenants. The men screamed and fell against their choppers knocking them over, one caught fire. Another member lifted his weapon, thought better, threw it on the ground and road away. Bruno aimed carefully and took out his rear tire tossing the rider to the pavement. He got up and attempted to run. Bruno blew out a kneecap.

The fire fight was on and other members tried to return fire to no avail. Bruno wasted every last member, until Pablo stood alone his hands out to his side. “I don’t have a pistol,” Pablo said stepping back.

“Terrific,” Bruno said and holstered the Glock after replacing the empty clip. “You like knives, right.”

For the first time Pablo wasn’t absolutely sure of himself. But once Bruno holstered his 9mm, that snarky smirk returned to his face. Bruno was a smaller and less fit man. But now, like his opponent he held the appearance and stance of a warrior and as he yanked the Asian blade from his sheath. Pablo recognized a different situation.

Bruno approached and Pablo glanced around as if one of his members would come to his aid. He yanked his Bowie knife and the two men clashed. Pablo swung his knife violently and erratically, but Bruno moved with the attacks only slicing when the opportunity was sure. He cut Pablo’s massive forearm first, then sliced his flexing bicep.

Pablo suddenly lost the use of his left arm as his right hand with the knife drove at Bruno stomach. Bruno easily maneuvered the arm away from his target and sliced Pablo’s forearm wide open like he would slice a turkey leg. Pablo dropped his blade and Bruno stepped closer and slit the tendons at the bottom of his bulging muscle. The arm lost function as the bicep curled uselessly to his shoulder and he screamed, both arms dysfunctional.

Bruno stepped even closer. “A Billy badass who picks on women, huh?” He slid his knife between Pablo’s muscular legs and Pablo’s eye’s widened. “You’ll never see that broad again or your grand,” Pablo sneered but his dark eyes indicated fear and Bruno’s razor sharp knife cut through Pablo’s denims and cut his femoral artery deeply.

“We’ll see about that,” Bruno said, wiped the knife on Pablo’s pants and watched him collapse in a pool of spewing blood on the oil-stained asphalt. “Got a meeting with the president’s wife.”

“Wait,” Pablo began to plead as he bled out on the pavement and Bruno rode away.

Bruno knew the cops would be all over the café in minutes. He needed to distance himself quickly and his Sportster did the job. Some ten miles away he skidded into an old paint shop, surrounded with a galvanized tin fence for privacy. Mark waited with the prez’s wife, Tammy. She didn’t appear to be a biker broad. She lacked the rough exterior, more like a slick South Bay real estate sales agent or Victoria Secret model.

Bruno slid to a stop and Tammy ran to his side, “Bruno.” His ex who ran off when he served overseas wrapped her arms around him and hugged him close.

“What the hell,” Bruno said conflicted. “Wouldn’t you know it.”

“It’s not like that,” Tammy stammered. “I was lonely.”

“It doesn’t matter,” Bruno said. “Let’s go.”

Bruno revved his faithful Sportster. “Get on.” He looked at Mark and nodded. “Are we cool?”

“Yes,” Mark said and the tall man strode to his stretched chopper, pulled a set of short bolt-cutters out of saddlebags and gave them to Bruno, who stuffed them in his vest. Mark tossed his leg over the custom tooled seat as the sun rapidly set in the west.

They both blasted out of the parking lot in the same direction, for a couple of miles then split. Another half mile and Bruno pulled into an empty slab building parking lot, stopped and lit a cigarette.

“You smoke?” Tammy asked her baby blue-eyed gaze searching Bruno’s features for clues to his thoughts.

“Last one,” Bruno said, puffed on the cigarette and tossed the pack in the bushes lining the parking area. He attempted to relax.

“What’s going to happen?” Tammy asked while remaining in the saddle. At 5’6” she was still hot although disheveled from the ride.

Bruno looked at her as if his entire life was dropped into a blender. He knew at this moment he could ride away with Tammy and maybe, but maybe wasn’t good enough. Her appearance didn’t answer the myriad of questions swirling through his brain cavities. He’d killed men and wasn’t done. Maybe more would die.

“Let’s roll,” Bruno said and kicked his leg over his custom Le Pera seat.

“But baby, can’t we talk?” Tammy whispered in his ear as they pulled into the street and sliced deeper into the industrial complex toward the Comanchero’s clubhouse surrounded by 6-foot chain-link fence.

He parked the Sportster a block away. Dark as they made their way to the back of the clubhouse compound, Bruno listened intently. The center of the industrial park on a weekend was quiet, except for Born to Be Wild blaring from the clubhouse speakers. He watched everything that moved. The tin shop was open. Lights and activity ensued inside. The back of the clapboard house was quiet and dark with a three-step landing leading to the back screen door. Worn and tattered the door latch was unhinged and the wooded framed door swung open slightly then shut with a clang.

Bruno didn’t like the disruption. He wasn’t exactly sure what the hell he planned to do. He knew his mission remained to free Sheila, but he had no idea how to do it. He studied the number of bikes in the lot and vehicles. He figured there must be a dozen or more members around. Freeing the bolt cutters, he moved to the darkest most hidden corner of the lot and cut at the chain link, one link at a time until he could push Tammy through the mesh and himself.

He moved along the fence toward the front of the clapboard house and the broad porch. He positioned himself across from the corner of the house. He could see into the shop, the front of the house clearly and the side, in case someone came around from the back. A floodlight glowed from above the shop door. Another from the shingled roof of the house lite up the bikes parked in two rows out front.

Bruno pulled the Glock out of his gun pocket housing a full clip, his last one and fired a round into the air. Suddenly members emerged from the house and the shop armed.

One member, a tall skinny kid saw Bruno and the woman and ran back inside hollering, “It’s him, and your wife.”

The prez, Erick Stratton came out onto the porch abruptly, followed by two members. “What the fuck?”

“You owe me a grand,” Bruno said, “and where’s the girl?” The fact that he stood slightly behind Tammy and was holding the shiny recently fired Glock held the troops at bay.

“Pablo’s dead,” Bruno said, “and so are his soldiers. What are you going to do now, Punk!”

“Fuck you!” the prez said and looked around at his troops armed and ready. “You don’t have a chance here. You should have known not to come back.”

“It’s just you and me,” Bruno spat and shoved Tammy away from him exposing himself. She stumbled and grabbed the highbars of a chopper to steady her, but she didn't run to the porch. She stepped back, as if to separate herself from the prez. Bruno’s red hair flashed in the dim light, his vest flapped in the evening breeze and the brothers could make out the almost uniform flare of his golden dragons attire. “Mano y Mano muthafucker.”

Bruno holstered his 9mm and threw his vest open to reveal the slick Japanese knife sheath. “How about knives like Pablo?” Bruno spat, “or just a grand and the girl.”

The president eyes widened with fear, he stepped back from his power position at the edge of the wooden porch. His hollow fight was gone.

Sheila pushed open the tattered, front, screen door followed by the skinny messenger member who raised his hands high in mock surrender. The six-months pregnant, Hispanic sweetheart, still in her nightgown and wrapped in a colorful Mexican blanket stepped down off the porch landing gingerly.

Bruno ran forward to help her and a Comanchero standing outside the shop door jacked the slide on his pump shotgun. Just as quickly another distant shot rang out, and the rifle was knocked from his grasp. The brothers in unison looked around to find the location of the shooter. They couldn’t.

Bruno continued quickly to Sheila’s side and helped her from the last step. “Can you ride?”

She looked up at him as she moved into his arms. “I can do anything with you,” She said and Bruno led her away, but as he reached the corner of the aging clapboard building, he turned to Erick still on the porch looking frail. “You still owe me a grand.” Bruno said. “Don’t make me come back here.”

The prez glanced around at the other members and as if looking for back-up but none came. Members put their weapons away, relaxed and waited.

The skinny brother on the porch dropped his hands and reached into his pockets. He pulled out a wad of cash and ran off the porch. Another brother met him as the bottom step with a C-note, other brothers came forward with cash and before Bruno could reach the hole in the industrial fence the thin Comanchero approached with a serious wad of cash. “For the baby,” He muttered, bowed slightly and held the chain-link aside for their departure.

Bruno looked him in the eyes. “Comancheros forever,” he said, “Just get a new prez.”

Read this book quick, before it's too late!
Read this book quick, before it's too late!

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