Hello. It’s been a while since I have posted anything so I thought that I would post another short story for your reading pleasure. Bring a Brother Home is the third story in my collection titled Tales from the Lost Highway. Leave a comment to let me know what you thing and if you would like to read the entire collection click the link at the bottom of the page. You can read the entire book for free with Kindle Unlimited.
Bring a Brother Home
I backed off the throttle and descended to the ground. My bike changed, from a dazzling steed of light to a 1953 Harley Davidson Pan Head. It looked like it had seen better days. The tires chirped when they touched asphalt. I rode down a lonely desert highway one hundred miles west of, Harlem Springs Arizona. My name is John Brown, but my bros call me Cave Man. I ride with the Road Dogs MC, or at least I did when I was alive, now I wear the halo patch. They came up with the idea for the halo patch at a church meeting in Biker Heaven. The halos are a division of the Road Dogs, only you have to be dead to wear the patch.
Some people might call us angels, but we like to think of ourselves as troubleshooters. Whenever there is trouble in the biker world, they send us. I was traveling alone on this mission; I didn’t expect much trouble, because I came to bring a brother home. A crack of thunder rolled across the night. Lightning flashed in the distance and I felt a raindrop hit my left cheek. The wind felt good to my face and the air held a slight chill. Zipping up my leather jacket, I cranked the throttle and shot down the highway. It felt good to be back. The only thing I missed about being mortal was the feeling of the wind in my face when I rode my scooter. That’s why I always touched down about a hundred miles or so away from where ever I needed to be. It gives me time to put my fist in the throttle and my face in the wind.
I rumbled by an old farmhouse, and a little kid sitting on the front porch looked up. Isn’t it past his bedtime? I thought and shot on down the highway. Backing off on the throttle, I pulled over to the side of the road next to an old oak tree. I heard a branch snap and saw a pair of beady red eyes in the forest. Evil laughter echoed from the woods.
My hand went to the 357 riding in a holster underneath my vest. “Begone, you vile creature, or I’ll send you back to hell where you belong,” I said to the evil fiend, hiding in the woods. I turned my attention back to the tree. The evil laughter stopped.
This old tree had been there for a lot of years. Back in 68, I hit that tree at over one hundred miles an hour and that’s what sent me to Biker Heaven. Up the road, about one hundred yards was a turn-off. A dirt road led back into the hills where the Road Dogs owned a cabin, but that wasn’t where I headed. My mission was in town. I leaned up against the tree, standing in the exact place where I died those long years ago. I pulled a bottle of Jack Daniel’s Old Number Seven from my coat pocket. I took a couple of shots while I leaned against the tree resting my butt. Taking a pack of Lucky Strikes from my pocket, I lit a smoke, breathing in the rich flavorful tobacco. Finished with the cigarette, I took a piss on the tree and climbed into the saddle. The old Pan Head started up on the third kick. I engaged the transmission and took off heading east into the Arizona night.
When I passed the Road Dogs clubhouse, five miles outside of town I noticed a couple of motorcycles setting out front. I didn’t bother pulling in; my mission wasn’t there. Two prospects sat out front in lawn chairs, drinking beer, but neither one of them saw me. One must have heard something because he looked up. By this time I had changed back into my spirit form. I was traveling incognito: invisible to mere mortals. I was only visible to the world when I chose to be. I reached the outskirts of town a few minutes later. A sense of nostalgia passed through me when I passed Honey Suckle Court, the street where I used to live.
Turning left on Main Street I headed down the street. I passed the bank, a hardware store, and the gas station where I used to work. Across the street from the gas station set the town’s graveyard. I noticed the red glow coming off a few sets of demonic eyes peering at me from the darkness. I guess the Devil’s boys are out tonight, I thought. On Baker Street, I turned right. I went through two stoplights and started to pull into the parking lot of, Saint Ann’s hospital, but I stopped short. A band of evil little demons blocked my path. They wore little black filthy robes and they looked like they had bathed in pond scum. I noticed warts covering their faces along with legions of decayed flesh that oozed puss. The repugnant smell of their breath wafted on the wind. The smell reminded me of a skunk that had been lying dead on the road for five days. When they saw me, the evil little shits hissed and raised their claws. They were here to collect souls, and I guess somehow, they knew I was coming.
I pulled forward, and they were on me climbing all over the bike, gouging at my face and one went for my throat. I threw them off, pulled my 357 and my knife. My 357 shot out beams of ultra-blue light. When I hit one of the little SOBs, he disintegrated disappearing from this plane of existence. I slashed with my knife, piercing the brain of another one of the bastards, and then gunned the throttle.
Several motorcycles set parked out front when I parked the Pan Head. It was now invisible like myself. I strolled up to the main entrance of the hospital. Two more of the evil little shits stood blocking the doorway. I pulled my hand back as if I was tossing a softball. A ball of blue lightning shot out of my palm and hit the little fellow in the chest. He exploded into a cloud of smoke. The other one jumped for my throat, but I grabbed him by his grubby little hands and tossed him out into the parking lot. When he hit the ground, he disappeared in a blinding white flash that only I could see.
I sauntered through the glass doors not bothering to open them. A few more of the Devil’s imps lingered in the corridor, but they backed away when they saw me coming. I guess their brothers outside told them to watch out. They have some sort of telepathy thing going on. A group of hardcore bikers sat on a bench leaning up against the wall in the waiting room. They looked devastated. One, a sandy blond-headed young man tried to comfort a middle-aged woman. She clung to him with tears rolling down her cheeks.
“I went in to check on him, and he’d slipped into a coma. Thanks for coming. After I called nine-one-one the only thing I could think of, was to call you. He’d want his brothers around him when the time comes,” the woman said.
“How long did it take the ambulance to get there?” the sandy blond-headed young man said.
“About twenty minutes. Chico, this past year has been terrible. What with the chemo and everything. I don’t know what I’m gonna do without him.”
“Don’t give up hope,” Chico said, a tear rolling down his face. “He could still beat this thing.”
I stepped up to the woman, put my hand on her shoulder, and said, “Be at peace, sister.” Although she neither heard nor saw me, she quit crying. I moved my hand to Chico’s shoulder. He shivered and looked up at me. My eyes widened and I thought at first that he saw me, but then I realized that he just sensed something. A shudder passed through him. “Be at peace, my brother. The bros need you,” I said.
“You know, Regina, ever since the officers voted me in as president of the club Sonny has had my back. If there’s anything, anything at all that you need, let me know,” Chico said.
“You and the rest of the guys have been a Godsend. The Road Dogs motorcycle club was his life. I appreciate everything you guys have done.”
A tall, dark-haired man wearing green hospital scrubs stepped up. Regina and the Road Dogs stood to their feet.
“I’m sorry Mrs. Taylor, but it’s getting close to the end,” the doctor said.
Regina started crying again. “How long does he have?” she asked.
The doctor shrugged. “He could go in a few hours, or he could linger on for a couple of days.”
“Will he come out of the coma before he passes?” Chico asked.
The doctor paused. “He could, but I doubt it.”
“Can we go in and see him?” Regina asked.
“Yes, but let’s make it two at a time and limit the visit to no more than ten minutes. He needs to rest,” the doctor said.
Chico took Regina’s arm and followed the doctor to Sonny’s room. I followed along behind them. The rest of the Road Dogs sat back down to wait their turn for a last, visit with one of their brothers. When I entered the room behind Chico and Regina, Sonny sat up in bed. A scowl crossed his face, though no one but me saw this. It was Sonny’s spirit projecting itself outward, getting ready for the end. I looked over in the corner and saw a dark hooded figure dressed in black. He held a sickle with a long handle and he looked like the Grim Reaper himself. I pulled my vest back and put my hand on the butt of my 357. “Easy partner. This one doesn’t belong to you,” I said. The evil demon peered out of his hood with flaming red eyes, but then nodded and passed through the wall.
“What was that? I saw a flash of something dark in the corner of my eye,” Sonny said.
“Oh, it’s nothing you need to concern yourself with right now,” I said.
“What are you doing here anyway?” Sonny asked.
“I’m here for you, bro. I’m here to bring a brother home. The bros up at Biker Heaven got a big bash waiting for you.”
“What was that? I saw his eyes flicker,” Regina said.
“That happens with comatose patients,” the doctor said.
“I thought I saw his lips moving,” Chico said.
“Even though he’s in a coma, there is still some brain activity.”
“I ain’t ready. Biker Heaven can wait,” Sonny said.
I reached out and took hold of Sonny’s hand. His spirit rose out of his body, he stood beside me and looked down at his emaciated body, now wasted away by cancer.
“Look at you,” I said. “That damned cancer has eaten you up. It’s time to go.”
“But I ain’t ready. Regina needs me. The bros in the club need me. I still have things to do,” Sonny said.
“Regina will be fine and Chico will hold things together in the club. Let’s go,” I said.
“Go? Go where? I don’t want to go anywhere,” Sonny said.
“Look, bro. The doctors will keep your body alive with these damned machines for a few days. I got some things I need to show you. There’s a scooter out front waiting for you. After that, if you want you can get back in your body and try to tough it out, but it’s a lost cause. It’s your time,” I said.
“You brought my scooter?” Sonny said.
“No, not that old rust bucket. I brought your spirit bike; it’s waiting outside.”
“Spirit bike? What’s that?” Sonny asked.
“Imagine your dream bike and then multiply that by ten. You ain’t gonna believe it, bro. Let’s ride.”
Sonny shrugged and said, “Why not?”
When we stepped out the door, Sonny’s appearance changed. His body looked young and healthy. Instead of the hospital gown, he wore jeans, a black t-shirt, and his club vest. We sauntered through the wall and into the lobby. A few of the Devil’s miss guided children lingered in the hallway. One of them lunged at Sonny, but I pulled my 357 and blew its ass away with a beam of bluish-green light.”
“Holy shit! What was that?” Sonny said, jumping back.
“Oh, that’ one of the Devil’s munchkins trying to steal your soul. Forget about it,” I said.
“I want to say goodbye to the bros,” he said, stopping at the group of Road Dogs sitting in the lobby.
“Don’t worry about them. You’ll get your chance to say your goodbyes later,” I said. We crossed the lobby and passed through the glass doors at the entrance without opening them. We stepped out into the parking lot. Sonny’s jaw fell open when he saw his spirit bike parked next to mine. Earlier, when I mentioned the bike to him, sending the thought caused the bike to materialize next to mine. Both bikes were invisible to human eyes. Off in the darkness, I saw several sets of demonic eyes watching us.
“Damn! I ain’t ever seen a bike like that!” Sonny exclaimed.
“Yeah, they’re cool. These bikes don’t leak oil, and you never have to put gas in them. Let’s roll,” I said. I climbed in the saddle and fired up the motor. It put out a throaty growl that sounded like your typical Harley. Sonny climbed on his bike, jumped up, and kicked it over. He gunned the throttle and grinned. “When you put it in gear, pull up on the bars when you give it throttle. Follow me,” I said. I hit the throttle, pulled up on the bars leaning back in the saddle and the bike soared into the sky. Once the bikes left the ground, they turned into their true selves. They radiated light and fire shot out of the tailpipes. Sonny let out a wild whoop and followed me. For a while, he had trouble controlling his bike. He went flying off in a different direction, but he gained control and pulled up next to me. A big grin spread across his face.
“These things are a kick! Where are we going?” Sonny yelled over to me.
“We’re taking a little trip up to Biker Heaven. They gave you a visitor pass,” I said and cranked the throttle shooting up toward the stars.
Passing through the heavens, we continued to climb. The stars surrounded us like a warm blanket. Sonny rode beside me, his eyes wide in awe. Above us, the darkness gave way to a lustrous light. A sense of joy and love radiated down on us. We passed through a cloudbank, I backed off the throttle and we touched down on a long street paved in pure gold. We traveled through a field of emerald green grass. Rugged-looking mountains loomed in the distance. Across the meadow stood a grove of trees that seemed to reach for the heavens. The sky above us was a deep ocean blue and down the road, laid the emerald city shimmering in its glory. The noise coming from the pipes on our scooters seemed louder somehow and almost musical.
Sonny pulled up next to me. “I’ve never seen anything like this. The colors are so vivid.”
“Yeah, it’s something to see the first time,” I said.
“What’s that place up ahead?” Sonny asked.
“That’s the welcome center, but we’re pulling off before we get there. Biker Heaven is on the outskirts.” We motored on down the road for what seemed like about an hour and pulled off into a rough gravel parking lot. A rectangular-shaped cabin, hewn from rough wooden logs set off by itself. A wooden boardwalk fronted the building and a couple of wooden rocking chairs were set out front. It looked like any rustic log cabin you might see on Earth. Motorcycles of every size and description set parked next to the boardwalk. We killed the motors on our scooters and climbed off.1
“That’s it? That little cabin? That’s Biker Heaven?” Sonny asked in shock.
I smiled. “Looks are deceiving.”
Taking Sonny by the arm, I led him across the parking lot and up onto the boardwalk. Loud rock and roll music emanated from the building. The hinges on the log door squeaked when I opened it and we stepped into the barroom. A crowd of well-wishers greeted us when we stepped inside. Sonny stood in the middle of the room with his hands on his hips and his jaw hanging open. He gazed about in wonder. The polished oak bar seemed to go on forever. Masses of bikers lined the bar drinking beer and whiskey while others sat at tables. Looking down the length of the room it seemed as if it went on for miles. Bikers of every description partied hard while women danced topless and naked on the bar.
“What the? How can this place be so big? It looked little on the outside!” Sonny said. He had to shout over the noise.
“I told you that looks can be deceiving. It’s bigger on the inside than on the outside,” I said. A crowd of bikers came up, showing Sonny respect.
“Join the party! We’ve got a cabin out back picked out for you to stay in when you come back! You’ll love it here! It’s on President’s Row!” Little Danny Boy, a former Road Dogs chapter president said. He gave Sonny a big hug and a slap on the back.
“Damn it’s good to see you, man!” Sonny said. He looked around seeing several people that he knew, that had passed over.
After Little Danny Boy went back to the bar, Sonny said, “Little Danny Boy died in Nam.”
“Yeah, I was there,” I said.
“There’s Thumper, Old School, Chops and there’s old Teddy bear. I know half the people here,” Sonny said.
“Yeah, you’ve got lots of friends here,” I said.
“I see some guys from some of the clubs that we don’t get along with here. Why’s that?” Sonny asked.
“Once you cross over, all those old rivalries are no more. We all get along here. There are no rival clubs. We work with some of the other clubs sometimes to try and keep things copasetic on Earth,” I said.
“How long can I stay?” Sonny asked.
“As long as you want! Time is different here! I’ll let you know when we need to head back; don’t worry about that now! Let’s party!”
Sonny mingled with the bros, while I found a seat at the bar next to my pops. Sonny came by, joined us a while later and my pops bought the drinks. Sonny and my pops did some hugging and back-slapping. They went way back.
“This place is unbelievable!” Sonny said his eyes wide in wonder. Up on stage, Elvis Presley, Roy Orbison, and Buddy Holly blasted out an old rock and roll tune. “I can’t believe it! Elvis Presley, Roy Orbison, and Buddy Holly! Talk about some good old rock and roll!”
“Yeah, those old boys can play! They’re on tour right now!” I yelled over the noise.
“I could stay here forever!” Sonny yelled.
Pops laughed. “I went hog wild when I first showed up!”
“If you want to hook up with one of the women there are cabins out back!” I said.
“I can’t! I’m married, but they sure are good-looking!” Sonny said.
“It’s okay! You can if you want! Everything’s okay here and all the women are good-looking!” I yelled. We partied for what seemed like an eternity and then I laid a friendly hand on Sonny’s shoulder. “We’d best ride! You have some unfinished business back at the hospital in Harlem Springs!”
Sonny sighed and we headed for the door.
We touched down on the highway three miles outside of town. Our spirit bikes changed. They went from radiant steeds of light back to old Harley Davidson motorcycles. We motored into town and when we pulled into the hospital parking lot, we turned invisible once more. I fought another battle with the evil little vermin in the black robes. Most of them ran after I threw a ball of blue lightning into their midst.
“Why can’t I do that?” Sonny asked.
“All in due time, bro. You haven’t crossed over yet. You’re still between.”
Sonny and I stepped through the front door, not bothering to open it, and headed down to Sonny’s room. Sonny’s wife Regina and a group of Road Dogs gathered around the bed.
“How much time has passed since we left?” Sonny asked. The humans still in their physical bodies couldn’t hear us.
“It’s been three days. It’s time, Bro,” I said.
Sonny looked down at his emancipated body. “What if I don’t want to?”
I shrugged. “It’s your choice. You have to go back into your body. You can give up the fight, and we’ll move on, or you can keep fighting and last another month or two, but look at your body. You’re not gonna beat this thing.”
Sonny sighed and entered his physical body. Regina kissed his cheek, Chico took his hand and a few of the bros gathered around talking to him. The heart machine beeped and then flat lined. The breathing machine stopped and Sonny’s body died. Regina began to cry and Chico put his arm around her.
“It’s better this way. At least he’s not suffering anymore,” Chico said.
Sonny’s spirit rose out of his body and stood next to me. “What now?”
“Go comfort your wife. She won’t be able to hear you or feel your touch, but in her spirit, she’ll know your there.”
Sonny moved across the room and stood next to Regina on the other side of Chico. He put his arms around her. I moved around touching each one of the Road Dogs gathered around the bed.
“Be at peace, brother,” I said to each one when I touched them. When I got to Chico, I said, “Be strong bro. She’s gonna need you.”
“I don’t know what I’m going to do. I’ve never had to plan a funeral before,” Regina said.
“Don’t worry about that. I’ll handle it for you. You need to go home and get some rest. Tomorrow, I’ll take you over to the funeral home,” Chico said.
The doctor came in and shooed everyone out after Regina and the Road Dogs said their goodbyes. They wheeled Sonny’s body out of the room, covered up with a sheet. Sonny stood in the hallway watching them wheel his remains away.
“Don’t worry about that,” I said.
“What do we do now?” Sonny asked.
“We need to hang around for a while. You’ve got a funeral to go to,” I said.
“You mean I’m gonna attend my, own funeral?” Sonny asked.
“Of course. Everyone does,” I said.
Chico and the bros took Regina home and we followed along behind on our scooters, all though they couldn’t see us. I glanced over my shoulder and saw a few of the little demons in the black robes scampering along behind us. When they arrived at Sonny’s place, the bros parked their scooters on the street. Chico escorted Regina to the front door. Before he stepped inside, Chico glanced out at the street.
“What?” a young prospect asked.
“I don’t know man. I couldn’t see anybody, but it felt like someone was following us. Like right now, I feel eyes on me but no one’s there,” Chico said.
“It’s Sonny passing and all. It’s got you rattled. We’re all in shock right now,” the prospect said.
“Yeah, you’ right,” Chico said and stepped into the house.
“What now?” Sonny asked when we stepped up on the porch.
“Chico and the bros will take care of her for now. They’ll spend the night to be sure she’s okay. Why don’t we sit out here on the porch, have a few beers, and enjoy the evening?”
Sonny sat down on a plastic chair and I sat down next to him.
“Where are we supposed to get the beer?” Sonny asked.
I glanced down and a six-pack of Bud Light set at my feet. “Imagine that,” I said and took one out of the six-pack. I handed it to Sonny and took one for myself. A few of the little demons showed up out front and one of them tried to come into the front yard. “No, you little shit. Back on out of here before I send you back to hell where you belong,” I said pulling my 357. They retreated to the sidewalk and a few of them climbed up on the picket fence. I shot one of them off the fence, sending it back to the pits of hell.
“How’d you do that?” Sonny asked.
“How do you make blue lighting come out of your piece like that and how did you make that beer appear out of thin air?” Sonny asked.
I laughed. “It’s one of the perks you get when you cross over. It takes concentration. You’ll learn.” We killed our first beer, I handed Sonny another and took a bottle of Old Number Seven out of my vest pocket.
Sonny took a pull from his beer and gazed out at the night. “This is the last time I’ll ever sit on my front porch and have a beer,” he said.
“Oh, I don’t know about that. This is the second time I’ve been back to Harlem Springs since I died in sixty-eight. When you get to Biker Heaven you might decide to join the Halos. Then you’ll get to come back once in a while when you’re needed.”
Sonny’s eyes widen. “I remember now. You came back and helped us with the Hell-Raisers that time. I must have blocked that out of my memory somehow.”
“Yeah, those boys were a bad bunch, and their helpers were worse. That was a dangerous time.” Sonny and I sat on the front porch for the rest of the night drinking beer and watching the sunrise in the morning.
We headed back into the house around nine that morning. We passed right through the front door without opening it. People tend to get upset when their front door opens and closes by itself. Chico and the bros sat on the couch, while Regina puttered around in the kitchen making breakfast.
“Regina, you don’t need to fix us anything. We’ll grab a bite to eat in town,” Chico said.
“That’s all right. It gives me something to keep my mind off things. I can’t believe he’s gone,” she said.
“I almost feel like he’s still here with us,” Chico said.
Sonny, sitting on the couch next to him grinned. I laughed.
Regina passed around plates loaded down with scrambled eggs, bacon, and hash browns. Then she passed out cups of coffee.
“That woman always did like to cook,” Sonny said.
“Don’t I know it? I remember those times you invited me and some of the bros over for dinner. I love that woman’s cooking,” I said.
The others engaged in conversation while they ate. They neither heard nor saw Sonny and me.
After everyone finished eating, Regina said, “I don’t know how I’m gonna pay for the funeral. Johnny had a life insurance policy, but I don’t know where it is.”
“You don’t need to worry about that. The club will cover everything,” Chico said.
Sonny jumped to his feet. “I know where that life insurance policy is. It’s in that closet right over there, up, on the top shelf in a shoebox along with some other papers.”
I stood up next to Sonny and gripped his arm. “Here’s your chance to start usin’ some of the powers that you’ll have when you cross over. Open that closet door.” Sonny started to cross the room, but I stopped him. “You can’t do it with your hand like when you were alive. Your hand would pass right through the doorknob. Use your mind. Sometimes it helps if you extend your hand with your palm open.” Sonny extended his hand. “Concentrate.”
“This is hard,” Sonny said.
“Focus,” I said.
Sweat beaded up on Sonny’s forehead, but the door squeaked open. The Road Dogs, sitting on the couch, jumped looking up in shock. Sonny crossed the room to the open door of the closet and extended his hand to the shoebox on the top shelf. The shoebox fell to the floor spilling the papers inside.
Regina let out a started cry and Chico jumped to his feet.
“That almost scared the shit out of me,” Chico said and crossed the room to the spilled papers. He looked through the papers for a few seconds then picked up some of them. “Here are those insurance papers. I told you it felt as if Sonny was still here.” He handed Regina the insurance papers.
Regina looked about the room. “Sonny, if you’re here, I love you and I’m gonna miss you,” she said to the room.
“I’m gonna miss you too darlin’,” Sonny said and a tear tracked down his face.
I put my arm around his shoulders and said, “She’s gonna be fine.”
A half-hour later, Chico rode with Regina in her station wagon. The bros followed along behind them as they headed down to the funeral home. Sonny and I brought up the rear on our spirit bikes. After taking some turns on a few back streets, Chico pulled up in front of the Walker Brothers Funeral Home. The Road dogs parked their scooters behind Regina’s station wagon. Chico climbed out, went around to the passenger side, and helped Regina out of the wagon. They headed up the walkway to the front entrance. The Road Dogs stepped along behind them. Sonny and I brought up the rear. Another gaggle of little demons in their black robes tried to grab Sonny at the door. I tossed a ball of blue lightning in their mist and they scattered. One of them had Sonny by the arm, trying to drag him down to hell. I pulled my knife and stabbed him in the top of his slimy little head. He disappeared with a flash of white light followed by a cloud of black smoke.
“Those little suckers don’t give up, do they?” Sonny asked.
“No, they’ll pester us until we head out to Biker Heaven. Don’t worry, I’ll deal with them.”
Chico and Regina went inside and the bros followed them. The prospect, the last one in the door, slammed it in my face, so Sonny and I passed through.
A tall dark-complexioned man in a black suit stood in the center of the reception area. Several oak coffins were set up against the wall and white shag carpet covered the floor. Chico led Regina over to the man. They conversed in low tones and then the man said, “Let me show you what we have.” He led them over to what had to be the most expensive coffin in the room. “Now this is our super deluxe model. With its gold trim, its gold handles, and its silk lining, you would be doing your husband proud, Mrs. Taylor.”
“Check out this asshole,” I said.
Sonny saw red. “I know. If I was still alive, I’d kick his ass right now.”
“I don’t think gold trim or gold handles are necessary,” Chico said.
“What did you say your name was?” the man asked.
“My bros call me Chico.”
“Well, Mr. Chico. My name is Tom Walker. I own one-third of this funeral home and I’ve been doing this for over twenty years. I’m more qualified than you to make that decision, but why don’t we let the widow decide?” he said.
“I don’t know,” Regina said. A tear tracked down her cheek and a trimmer passed through her.
“I’ll tell you what, Mrs. Taylor. Why don’t we step into my office and I’ll let you check out some of our brochures?” Walker said.
Walker took Regina’s arm and led her away. Chico followed them with a scowl on his face. I noticed his fists ball up at his side. The Road Dogs stepped outside for a smoke. Sonny and I stepped through the wall joining Chico and Regina in the office with Tom Walker. Tom sat behind a large wooden desk while Chico and Regina sat down across from him.
Walker handed Regina a brochure. “I recommend our super deluxe model. If that’s too expensive and you don’t mind something less fashionable, you could go without the deluxe model. It’s two hundred dollars less.”
Chico jumped to his feet. “Mr. Walker. Could I speak with you outside please?”
“I don’t see what-”
“Now, please!” Chico said.
“Excuse me, Mrs. Taylor,” Tom Walker said and stood to his feet. He stepped out of the office and Chico followed him. Sonny and I passed through the wall to watch the show. Out in the hallway, Chico grabbed Tom Walker by the throat and slammed him up against the wall.
“Listen, asshole! She doesn’t need your super deluxe model or your deluxe model. She needs a standard coffin to bury her husband in!”
“I,-but-” A spot of urine appeared at the crotch of Walker’s pants.
“You know, you’re right,” Chico said interrupting him. “Let’s go with the super deluxe model. We’ll take the most expensive service you’ve got. You’re gonna give her that super deluxe coffin at the same price as you would a pine box! As for the services, you’ll give her that for free! You’ll do the whole deal for two thousand dollars. If you don’t the bros and I are gonna come back here tonight and burn this place to the ground! Are we clear?” Chico turned loose of Walker’s throat.
“Yes, perfectly, clear,” Tom Walker said and they stepped back into the office.
I laughed. “I like the new pres. I knew he had the makings the first time we came back and mixed it up with them Hell-Raisers at the Devil’s Punch Bowl.”
Sonny grinned. “Yeah, Chico can be a bit intense when he gets riled. He reminds me of you when you were young.”
I laughed and we passed back through the wall to watch Regina sign the papers. A grin crossed her face when Tom Walker told her the price that he was charging her.
Sonny laughed and said, “That old boy looked like he swallowed a turd.”
“I know. I thought he was going to choke when he told her the price,” I said and let out a giggle. Chico looked up with a weird expression on his face. For a moment, I thought he saw me, but then his eyes dropped back down to the papers Regina was signing. Finished with the papers, Chico took Regina’s arm. He led her out of the office and stormed out of the funeral home as if his tail was on fire.
Three days later, we gathered in the chapel at the funeral home. The minister from the Baptist church, where Regina attended preached his eulogy. Cars filled the parking lot. Motorcycles lined the curb and I saw a few of the little demons out front, but they were afraid to go inside the chapel. The Grim Reaper stood peaking around a corner holding his sickle over his shoulder.
“Damn, the Devil and his boys don’t give up do they? Will we be safe inside?” Sonny asked.
“They won’t step foot in there. It’s holy ground,” I said and we stepped inside. About fifty members of the Road Dogs lined the back three pews. There were several members from other motorcycle clubs there to pay their respects. Friends and family plus people from the church occupied the rest of the chapel. Sonny and I stood unnoticed by the back door watching the proceedings.
Pastor Blackwood from the church stepped up on the platform. Tom Walker, from the funeral home, stayed in the background.
“It tickled me to see all these motorcycles pull up out front,” Blackwood said. “One thing James Taylor, Sonny to his club brothers, liked was riding his motorcycle. Now he’s gonna ride it up in heaven. If Jesus were walking the Earth today, he might ride a Harley.” A loud cheer rose from the back of the room. The preacher continued, preaching a good sermon. When he finished he let others speak sharing their thoughts about Sonny. When they finished, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house.
After the service when the people in the audience filed out, Sonny stood next to Regina. He took one last look at his body before they closed the casket.
“Damn, bro. That doesn’t even look like me,” Sonny said.
“It’s not. It’s a hunk of rotting meat,” I said.
We followed the funeral procession, riding at the back of the pack as they rode over to the graveyard. When we headed out to the gravesite, Sonny and I followed along behind the crowd. A couple of prospects, one from the Road Dogs and another from another club, strolled along in front of us.
“Hey man, this is gonna sound weird, but I was ridin’ at the back of the pack. I kept hearing what sounded like a couple of scooters behind me. I was ridin’ tail-end Charley,” a prospect from another club said.
The Road Dog prospect he was talking to nodded. “Yeah, I almost thought I saw Sonny’s bike parked out front. I did a double-take, but nothing was there. Things like that creep me out, man.”
They had a canopy set up where they were holding the graveside service. Sonny and I followed the crowd when the Grim Reaper stepped out from behind a tree. He tried to lead Sonny away. I pulled my 357, stepped up behind the old boy, and slammed the butt of my gat into the back of his head.
“Ouch!” the Grim Reaper said and let go of Sonny’s arm.
“I told you, this one doesn’t belong to you,” I said and pulled Sonny away.
We headed over to where they were holding the services and stood at the back of the crowd listening to the sermon. Sonny leaned up against a tree and I stood next to him with my arms crossed in front of me. “Well, what’d you think?” I asked.
“I didn’t realize I had so many friends. I almost got choked up there for a moment when the preacher was talking about me.”
I slapped him on the shoulder. “You lived a good life, bro.”
“I hope that Regina will be okay,” Sonny said.
“She’ll be fine. The bros from the club will get her through this. Chico’s adopted her.”
“Yeah, she thinks the world of that kid. His mother died a few years ago,” Sonny said.
We headed back to the scooters and rode back to Sonny’s house, but for once, the Devil’s imps left us alone. People from the church, along with friends and family gathered in the living room. The bikers hung around outside drinking beer. Sonny and I sat on the front porch knocking back a few, while the bros gathered in the yard. I reached my hand through the lid of an ice chest, grabbed two beers, and handed one to Sonny. When the bottles touched my hands, they disappeared.
“How do you do that?” Sonny asked. “I reached into that chest and tried to grab a bottle, but my hand passed right through the bottle. I couldn’t pick it up.”
“It takes concentration. You’ll get it after a while,” I said.
A prospect opened the ice chest a few seconds later. His eyes widened. “Damn. We’re going through a lot of beer. We’ll have to make a run.”
Sonny and I laughed.
The following Saturday, the Road Dogs held a party in Sonny’s honor at the clubhouse. They started at noon, tapping a few kegs of beer. The booze flowed, the music cranked and the bros were ready to party. Regina showed up about two PM, in time for a ceremony inside the bar where they retired Sonny’s colors. They put them in a display case with a few other vests from fallen brothers and put his picture in the book of the dead. Regina only stayed for a couple of hours and then went home.
The old ladies got loose, took off their tops, and danced on the bar. Prospects worked the bar handing out drinks. As the party continued, a few of the bros who couldn’t hold their liquor held a puke fest in the parking lot. A few more passed out, one laying on the floor next to the bar and another on the pool table.
“Watch this?” I said to Sonny, nodding at the prospect’s back tending the bar. “Hey, prospect! Give me a Jack and Coke and bring my bro here a beer!” I yelled above the noise.
“Keep your shirt on!” The prospect said. When he turned around and placed the drinks on the bar a strange look crossed his face. “Okay, who’s the wise-ass? Who ordered these drinks?” No one responded so he headed down the bar to take another order. I grabbed my Jack and Coke and handed Sonny his beer. When my hands touched the glass tumbler, it disappeared. When I handed Sonny his beer, it disappeared when the bottle touched his hand.
“How did you do that?” Sonny asked.
“Make him hear you like that,” Sonny said.
“You have to concentrate and project your voice.”
The women not dancing on the bar-headed over to the stage and put on a wet t-shirt contest. The bros gathered around watching the show. Finished with my Jack and Coke I ordered another. I ordered Sonny another beer while the prospect his back to us. When he turned around and set the drinks on the bar, he looked as if he’d swallowed a prune.
“Whoever ordered these drinks better quit fucking with me,” he said. I waited until he turned back around and we took our drinks.
Sonny laughed. “Why are you messin’ with that kid?”
“Because it’s fun,” I said. I glanced at the bar and noticed a beer setting at the end of the bar that no one was drinking. “You know, they put that beer down there on the bar for you, in your honor. Why don’t you go down there and drink it?”
A grin crossed Sonny’s face. He climbed out of his chair, ambled down the bar, and downed the drink. “How long do you think it’ll take them to realize it’s gone?” I shrugged.
“Okay, who’s the clown that drank Sonny’s beer?” Chico yelled a few minutes later. The bar dropped into silence for a few minutes, but no one copped to the deed.
“Maybe Sonny drank it,” a prospect said.
Chico scowled and then said, “Yeah, maybe he did.” The party resumed.
About six in the evening, I noticed Chico head outside with a couple of the chapter officers. I slapped Sonny on the back and said, “This has been fun, but we need to get on the road. We got another party up in Biker Heaven waitin’ on us.”
Sonny nodded, gave the bar one last look and we headed for the door. Outside Sonny and I climbed onto our spirit bikes and pulled out into the street. A band of the greasy little bastards in the black robes attacked us. I spent a few minutes slashing with my knife and shooting the little SOBs with my 357. One tried to climb on Sonny’s back, but I grabbed him by the back of his hood, threw him to the ground, and stomped him with my boot. The rest took off down the street.
“I won’t miss those little guys,” Sonny said catching his breath.
“They won’t bother us once we hit the road. We’ll do about fifty miles on the highway before we head home. Whenever I get the chance to come back, I like to do a little ridin’. There’s nothing like feeling the wind in your face when you’re in solid form.”
“Yeah, I could go for that,” Sonny said. “But I thought we were spirits?”
Focus when I tell you and you’ll be able to make the change,” I said, “but there’s something we need to do first.”
“What’s that?” Sonny asked.
“We need to let Chico and those two officers see us.”
“How do I do that?” Sonny asked.
“Close your eyes and concentrate. Then open your eyes and let it happen.”
We solidified in the middle of the street. Sonny and I glanced over at Chico and the two chapter officers. A grin spread across Chico’s face and the two officers’ mouths fell open. Sonny and I waved. Chico and the two bros standing next to him waved back, and I dropped the transmission into first gear. Sonny and I headed down the highway and became one with the wind.