This story is by Michael Vorsaa Solander and was part of our 2016 Winter Writing Contest. You can find all the Winter Writing Contest stories here.
It was getting late again as I pulled my Harley into the driveway and killed the engine. I just knew Moira would be pissed because we were going to her mother’s birthday tomorrow, and sunrise was only a few hours away. We both knew that too little sleep meant I would be cranky the next day.
I pulled the motorcycle into the garage. Here I removed my vest, boots and all the accessories that made me Jake the Biker. When I walked into the house, I was Lionel the Husband and Father again. Every time I did that, I felt, I removed something powerful from myself. That I became less of a man. Tired after a long day I climbed the stairs and into bed beside Moira.
“Jesus Christ, Lionel. You smell like oil and beer. Go take a shower if you want to sleep in this bed”, was her warm welcome. “Of course, Honey” was my weak reply. As I went to the bathroom I thought to myself that she was lucky it wasn’t Jake she had talked to like that. He would probably have answered with a fist.
But I took my shower, nodded at the stranger in the mirror and climbed into bed again. I laid myself against her back and told her that I loved her because that’s what married people are supposed to do. I closed my eyes and wished I were somewhere else. When sleep finally came my thoughts went back to the day I had taken the assignment that would make me act the role of Jake.
It had been a dusty, warm day at the precinct. Chief Larkin had called me into his crowded office. Serious looking people with dark glasses and ties stood by the window, stone faces revealing nothing. Larkin sweated more than usual as he motioned me to sit in the chair across from his desk.
“These gentlemen are here to offer you a unique chance, Lionel,” Larkin had said. And unique it was. They asked me to go undercover to infiltrate a local MC, the Hell Patrol. The Patrol was a rough crowd, causing trouble wherever they went. On top of that, they were suspected of dealing illegal firearms and drugs. It was risky and dangerous and would steal away most of my time with my family. So I took it. Took it as a getaway and a change – a plunge into unknown territory.
That night I dreamt of Jake and the Hell Patrol and how I set this house straight and got the respect I deserved.
Morning came way too soon. After only a few hours of sleep, it was time to start the Saturday routine. Make breakfast, eat breakfast, clean up after breakfast. Drive the kids to soccer. Go to the store for groceries. Get home and unpack. Pick up the kids from soccer. Then lunch and after that, we went to Moira’s mother’s birthday. Dull as always with their boring friends. They went on and on about how fancy their cars were or how much money they spent on useless accessories. Later in the evening, I had retreated to a more peaceful part of the house with a bottle of Moira’s dad’s fancy Scotch. I washed it down with Coke to kill the bad taste. A guy named Reardon decided to join me. Apparently, he shared my opinion about the rest of the people at the party. We had a few laughs and he showed me a picture on his phone.
“Would you believe my stupid wife spend $10,000 on this piece of crap painting?” I thought it looked like a dick with a funny hat. “Beautiful,” I said. “I hope she’s worth it.” Reardon laughed and punched my shoulder. “You’re funny guy, Lionel.” We finished the bottle together and the evening turned out an unexpected success. Sunday morning I woke up with a heavy hangover. Jakes phone was ringing.
“What?” I growled as I answered. “Well, good morning to you too, you son of a bitch. It’s Gary. Get your ass to the clubhouse. We got business to attend to.” “Sure, Gary. I’ll be right there”, I answered. Gary was the Vice President of the Hell Patrol. When he called, something was up. This is it, I thought. Today is the day they are going to make me earn my place in their inner circle. “I got work,” I said to Moira as I almost ran from the room. She only answered with a scowl. In the garage, I put on my gear and as I kicked the cycle into action it was Jake the Biker that sped out into the street and down the sleepy Sunday morning road.
When I reached the clubhouse, the whole gang was there. I rushed inside and was greeted with pads on my back and “good to see you, Jake!”. It felt like home. Gary hoisted himself up on the bar in the corner so everyone could see him.
“Listen up, boys. As you all know money has been tight this last year even though we have pushed more Meth and sold more guns than ever. I have done some digging and it turns out that a friend of ours – a guy we trust – has screwed us over.” Angry outbursts were heard all over the clubhouse. Gary waited until he had the full attention of everybody again. “It seems that our so-called friend, who has helped us laundry some of our cash, wasn’t satisfied with what we paid him. So, he has been taking a little extra for himself. About 250K to be exact”. This time the outburst from the gathering of bikers was even louder. “So, a few of us is going to pay that bastard a visit. What do you say, Jake? Is it time you earned those colors?” The crowd cheered and slapped me some more on the back. I knew that this day would turn out a violent one. But right now, I didn’t care. I had been chosen to retaliate on behalf of the club – and I was honored and proud.
Half an hour later Gary and I were riding to the upper part of Boise. The houses got bigger the longer we drove. The cars in the driveways got bigger and shinier too. No dusty trucks here. We pulled into a driveway of a big two-story brick house and killed the engines. As we approached the house, a middle-aged man opened the front door and looked at us with a puzzled look on his face. “Holy fuck” shot through my mind. It was Reardon. The guy with the dick-painting from Moira’s mother’s party. I quickly averted my eyes and bowed my head so he shouldn’t recognize me.
“Hi there Gary. I wasn’t expecting you until Tuesday. What’s up, friend?” When Gary and I reached the door, I looked up and Reardon looked at me. For a second nothing happened. Then I saw his eyes widen and his mouth started forming the words his mind had already produced. I acted quickly and punched him hard in the face. He stumbled backward mumbling “what the Hell? What the Hell?” while he held his broken jaw with his right hand. Gary and I quickly moved inside and closed the door. Before Reardon could utter another word, I punched him again, splitting his eyebrow, spraying blood. I rained clenched fists down on his face and body fast and hard. I had tunnel vision as I hit him again and again. I hated him. I hated him for being a rich prick. I hated him for stealing from the club. I hated him because I liked him and he forced me to do this. But most of all I hated him because he could break my relationship with the Patrol. He knew I owned a police badge. Gary put a hand on my shoulder and stopped me from hitting Reardon. I hadn’t even noticed that he had stopped resisting. He lay before me, a bloody lump of flesh. Barely recognizable. I knew what I had to do. He couldn’t live. If he did he would ruin my life. I lifted his limp body from the ground and placed my arm in front of his throat and started twisting his neck. A loud gurgling, burping sound escaped him just before his neck snapped.
Gary stood smiling in front of me and pointed at a painting on the wall. I looked up and chuckled. “What do you think it looks like?” I asked him. “Like your dick, only smaller and wearing a hat” he answered and laughed. We left the house and the body and the painting. That day Lionel disappeared and was never seen again.