Authors: Jesse Johnson
1663 Liberty Drive
Bloomington, IN 47403
This is a work of fiction. All of the characters, names, incidents, organizations, and dialogue in this novel are either the products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.
© 2014 Jesse Johnson. All rights reserved.
No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted by any means without the written permission of the author.
Published by AuthorHouse 11/07/2014
ISBN: 978-1-4969-3435-2 (sc)
ISBN: 978-1-4969-6303-1 (e)
Any people depicted in stock imagery provided by Thinkstock are models,
and such images are being used for illustrative purposes only.
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Because of the dynamic nature of the Internet, any web addresses or links contained in this book may have changed since publication and may no longer be valid. The views expressed in this work are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher, and the publisher hereby disclaims any responsibility for them.
Into the club
In the late 60’s Ned Mosley, Thomas Scotch, Luke, and Elijah Harting started the Devil’s Bandits. Ned was from New York, Thomas from Louisiana, and the Harting brothers from California. They had all come together dealing cocaine and riding motorcycles. Each of them were members of different clubs that were always trying to work together to expand business. Try as they may, they had a lot of rivalry and members who didn’t agree with trying to work together.
They were the original four who started the Devil’s Bandits. Not everyone in their clubs were interested in the merge and many fell out. Between the men who stayed the Devil’s Bandits started with a merry band of 13 men. Ned Mosley and his son, Rick Mosley. Thomas Scotch and two members of his previous club, Frank, and Angel Costello (both deceased), Elijah Harting (deceased) and his son Micah, Luke Harting and his sons Elijah Harting, Jr. and Drake Harting (deceased), Jack Toll, Felix Rodriguez, and Sonjay Fisher. The Bandits immediately expanded, starting chapters in different parts of the US: New York, Nevada, Louisiana, Texas, and Florida. It was necessary for business to have friends in lots of well-populated places, with their fingers deep in the community.
Odin’s father was part of the New Orleans chapter. In his later years, he was caught disgracing the club, something Odin never talked about. Odin despised his father for the things he’d done. His father’s gruesome death wasn’t even on the list of most fucked up things Odin had seen in his then 19 years of living. For helping make right what his father had done, Odin had gained the respect of the senior members of the New Orleans chapter, and he was promoted to junior member, gaining him a seat at the table.
But nothing Louisiana had to offer could keep him there and he took the opportunity to join the Santa Monica, California chapter. A few good words from his senior members and brothers back home, and he was an easy vote in. Cole’s father, Micah Harting took him in. Micah was one of three people in the club who knew exactly where Odin came from and what his real backstory was. Micah had taken Odin under his wing and still to this day called him son, as he did his nephews, Damien and Nathan. Odin was like a brother to Nathan, Damien, and especially close to Micah’s son Cole, with whom he shared many things in common.
Before the club makes any decisions, it’s put to a vote. Depending on the matter, it can be voted on exclusively by the senior members, or by both senior and junior members. When patching in a prospect or promoting a member from junior to senior, all of the members get a vote.
Cole had been voted in as a junior member the same day as Odin was voted into the Santa Monica chapter. Ironically, Jaime was also up for the vote of junior member that day, although his vote had lost. A lot of the older members felt he hadn’t quite earned his stripes. His vote came around again three months later and Odin voted in his favor, tipping the scales enough that he was patched in as a junior member, and earned a seat at the head table. Odin’s loyal vote is what had made him and Jaime friends. The way Odin saw it, Jaime’s old man was a senior member, and it was only a matter of time before Jaime was patched in anyway. Odin figured he might as well try to gain an ally by casting his vote in favor.
Although all of the Bandits ride in the same club, there is often controversy over votes and decisions made. While functioning as a whole, there are easily two alliances inside the club. One side being Luke Harting and his living descendants, as well as Odin and a couple other junior members. The other side is Rick Mosley and Sonjay “Fish” Fisher, Jaime, and other junior members. When a vote came to the table that not everyone agreed on, everyone knew who be voting with whom.
I am fighting tears as I throw things into my purple suitcase. My hands are shaking, I’m so angry. Jaime has shut himself in the bathroom, and I know he’s getting high in there. I am so sick of fighting with him all the time. I can’t believe he wants me to do this. How did we get here?
Jamie says it’s not safe for him to run with me, now that he is out on bail. I know he is right, I just wish he’d never put me in this position. I am so angry with him for beating up Tommy Harrison. God knows Tommy deserved it after what he did to Jaime’s sister, Erica. Since Erica is my friend, I’m glad that she is staying with us right now. Someone needed to put a good size dent in Tommy’s face, but why did it have to be Jaime? Jaime knew that Tommy was a rat and would go to the cops. Of course, it doesn’t help that Jaime was traveling around town with cocaine when the cops picked him up. That’s probably what upsets me the most. Now he’s looking at felony assault charges and a felony possession charge.
My blood boils as I think about this again and again. I zip up my suitcase and heave it toward the door. It hits the floor with a loud thud. In the bathroom, Jaime retaliates by throwing something against the wall. I hear it crash as it hits the floor. He can be such an asshole, although really, I’m not acting any better. Jaime has been bringing out the worst in me lately. I just don’t know how to deal with his level of ridiculousness other than to be ridiculous right back at him.
We have been fighting all week about me going out of town. He’s arranged for Odin to ride with me. I have no idea why he’s chosen Odin. Experienced traveler, I guess. Or maybe Odin owes Jaime a favor. I can’t imagine Odin needs the money. I hear he has a huge house in the hills and I know he owns a few nice vehicles.
My temper is still steaming when I leave our room, slam the door, and go into the kitchen. I rip a reusable bag from a drawer and pack it with snacks.
Jaime storms out from down the hall. He too clatters around the kitchen, slamming doors and making a scene as he pours himself a glass of milk. When he slams the fridge, magnets come crashing down. A few months ago, I would have picked them up, but today, I just leave them where they lie and continue with my end of the destruction.
Back in the bedroom, I pack a backpack with more personal items, then I add it to the pile by the door. I take a quick shower then climb into bed. Jaime never joins me, and I lie awake for hours, too upset to sleep.
In the morning, I have plenty of time to get ready. I put on makeup and then have a cup of coffee. I see that Jaime is sprawled out on the couch with a thin blanket. He used to sleep in the guest room when we would fight, but now that Erica and her kids are staying here, he’s had to make do with the couch. I hope it’s uncomfortable.
Grabbing my keys off the hanger by the door I leave, slamming the door behind me as hard as I can manage. I can hear the double pane windows buzz.
I toss my suitcase and backpack into the passenger seat and climb into the driver seat. I am nervous, and furious, as I drive to the club house.
“Hey,” says Odin when I pull up to the front door. It’s weird to see him without his Bandit’s vest on.
“Hey.” My voice is awkward.
This is a great way to start
I’m so nervous about running with him. Though I have known him a few years now, I’ve never been alone in a room with him before, and I don’t know much about him. What are we going to talk about the whole way? Is it just going to be one long awkwardly grueling silence? I cringe inwardly.
Odin loads all the decoy bags and the hot bags into my car strategically. By the time him and all the bags are in, my Mustang is as stuffed as a Thanksgiving turkey. Odin has to maneuver himself into what’s left of the passenger seat.
“Ready for this?” he asks, as if I have never done this before.
“As I will ever be.” I sigh and pull out of the back parking lot onto the main road. I need to remember that although I’m pissed as hell about this whole situation, it’s not Odin’s fault and really, I owe him one. Without him I would be out of a job right now. I can’t take my frustration out on him.
“You do this often?” he asks.
“I haven’t kept count, but I’d say this is probably close to my thirtieth trip.” They have all sort of become a blur at this point, except for a few especially memorable trips.
“No kidding,” he says, and there’s a hint of relief in his voice.
“Think I was some sort of amateur?”
He shrugs, then he pulls his phone out and messes with it the rest of the way to the car dealership. I want to start up a new conversation, anything but silence, but I have no idea what to say. It’s exactly what I was afraid of.
When we get to the dealership I park in customer parking.
“I’ll get us a car,” I say before I head inside.
Geoff, a close friend of the club, is behind the desk. The Devil’s Bandits have cashed in enough favors with the owner of the dealership that he’s agreed to rent out cars to the Bandits off the books. The cars are paid for privately and no real names are taken. The cars have dealer insurance on them, making them fully legal to drive, but if anything happens to the cars, we are fully responsible for the cost. There are lots of perks to being in a motorcycle crew like the Devil’s Bandits. Even being married to one has its advantages.
Geoff is the attendant who handled all the club member rentals. “What kind of automobile would you like to rent today Mrs. Mosley?” Geoff knew Jaime and I well and always called me by Jaime’s last name, as many people did after we got married, but on my driver’s license it still read Delilah Marie Winter. Not Mosley. I was too busy at the time to take care of the name change.
Originally I planned on a small sedan, preferably in white, as it’s been proven that white is a low profile color, opposed to bright colors. Taking into account that Odin had to ride comfortably to Texas and back with me, I was going to need to something with more legroom. I wonder how tall Odin is exactly. It’s hard to say for sure, since he tends to always hunch over.
I browse through the pictures on the poster board displaying the different size and economy rental cars. I had always preferred high economy, although Jaime, knowing full well who footed the bill if a car got totaled, usually chose mid-class. Kia Optima, Honda Accord, Ford Focus, and usually older models. None of these would accommodate all of our bags and the behemoth named Odin I’m traveling with. I decide on the silver Cadillac SRX Crossover. It’s more of an SUV, but it’s got plenty of legroom, and a good enough fuel rating. I have always wanted to drive the country in a Caddy. Fuck Jaime and his rules! That’s the kind of mood I am in today.
“Nice!” exclaims Geoff at my choice.
“Yes, I think I’ll travel in style!” I say as he prints a disclosure I sign the name Heidi Sue Beck. I have no idea who came up with that name, we all use an alias like that to sign, just so the owner knows who is responsible. Heidi Sue Beck was Jaime’s alias, and now it’s mine.
Geoff hands me the key ring. “Want me to help you load your things?” he asks eagerly.
“We can manage,” I smile, heading out the door.
Odin’s leaning up against the Mustang where I left him. I toss him the keys to my car and gesture for him to pull her around to the lot and follow me. I get a jump start toward the lot and start looking for the number on the key chain. 59. The cars are parked in rows of 20, and the Caddy is at the very end of row three.
Odin stops my car right behind me, as I walk up to the back of the Caddy and hit the fob to open the trunk. It pops with a very welcoming “Wirk wirk” and the headlights flash. I’m already feeling a little better about this run. Odin says nothing about my choice in car. For all he knows I always travel like this. He begins heaving the decoy bags onto the ground, carefully loading the hot bags underneath the back seating. Decoys go in the trunk and on the top of the hot bags on the floorboards. Even the hot bags have decoy clothes and blankets packed in around them. Our personal bags go on top of the seats, where they are easiest to get to. I know the precise way to pack loaded cars, and Odin and I work quite gracefully doing such. Either way if we get pulled over by a K9 unit, we’re fucked.
“I prefer driving in the daytime,” I tell Odin, really hoping there isn’t going to be any conflict. I can drive nights, but it’s harder to stay awake.
“Sounds good. I’ll park your car in the garage,” he says, making his way the driver side of the mustang.
“Meet you at the bottom.” I nod to him. I gracefully flow into the driver seat of the Caddy.
She smells like new car and her leather seats are cushy and cool. I turn the key in the ignition and she purrs to life. I carefully pull out of the parking spot and head around to the entrance of the garage. I hesitate to put any music on, since I have no idea what Odin prefers.
Odin walks down the ramp of the garage toward me. All I can see of him out the window is from above his knees to right under his chest. He is fit!
my married half demands of me, and I look straight ahead. Odin ducks into the car, which he’d probably have to do even if I’d rented a monster truck. I pull out of the lot and head for the freeway.
“My CD case is in that backpack.” I gesture to the bag I’ve placed just behind our seats. He pulls out the black case and starts flipping through the CDs.
“Black Label Society, Iron Maiden, The Misfits, ACDC, Journey, Pantera. There’s a good mix of music here,” he notes.
I shrug. Usually I’m more talkative, but I tend to blubber and get awkward when I feel the need to make someone like me. If Odin and I are going to make this whole situation work, we’re going to need to like each other.
I glance over at him noticing his perfectly square jaw, and his ocean blue eyes.
Eyes on the road Lila,
I remind myself. I can totally see what Erica’s big crush is about. She’s had the hots for Odin since I’ve known her. I wonder if he has any idea she’s into him. Erica says he never has a girlfriend. I wonder why? He’s certainly seems like he’d pick up chicks easily.
Odin has chosen a Rob Zombie CD and I’m more than relieved when he strikes up conversation with me.
“How long have you and Jaime been together now?” he asks.
Odin wasn’t around when Jaime and I first started dating. I met him just a few months before Jaime and I got married. Although, I heard stories about him from Jaime and Erica.
“Four years, married almost two.”
“What brought y’all together?” he asks.
Did he just say y’all? I wonder where he’s originally from.
“Well, I had just broken up with my high school boyfriend.”
Ryan. I hadn’t thought about him in a while.
“I was freshly 18, graduated from high school, and I was looking for freedom, and parties, and fun! Things you don’t really get in a serious relationship. Then I found Jaime, and he was the best party of my life,” I say, smiling as I think of the memory.
“Where did you guys meet?” he asks.
It’s kind of a sore subject to think about at the moment, but I’m glad there is conversation. “I was living with Kelli. Do you know Kelli? The girl who is dating Cody?”
“Crank’s old lady?”
“Yea. Kelli was living with her sister who had a really nice condo,” I say. “I had been working as a caregiver for an elderly gentleman and he died shortly after I moved in with Kelli. I was on Craigslist looking for a new client and there was an ad, posted by Jaime. He was looking for someone to take care of his Grandpa. I sent in my résumé and Jaime’s dad Rick, called me back and interviewed me. I had been there just about a month, when I actually met Jaime.”
“Huh, I had no idea you used to take care of Jaime’s grandfather,” Odin says.
Though he sounds genuinely interested, I decide not to go on any further. It’s not really something I feel like getting into detail at length. But the SUV is quiet, other than the general noise of traffic as we make our way toward Arizona. In the silence, my mind trespasses into the memory of Jaime and me when we first got together…
* * *
“You must be the help.” These were the first words Jaime said to me. I was holding a basket full of soiled linens heading for the laundry room.
“Lila.” I introduced myself without letting go of the basket to shake his hand.
“Can I take these for you?”
I wasn’t about to hand him a basket full of soiled sheets. “I got it,” I said as I squeezed my way past him in the hall way, hoping he didn’t think the smell was me.
He was a total badass. Black hair, gauged ears, tattoo sleeves. He was everything my mother warned me about. He smiled at me as I passed by him. His green eyes pierced right through me. He kept flirting with me, hanging around until my shift was over. I was stoked when he asked me if I had plans for the night.
“No,” I said, trying to hide how excited I was.
“Wanna go out for a drink?” he asked.
I was embarrassed to tell him I wasn’t old enough to go to the bar. “Uh, I’m only 19,” I admitted shyly.
“It’s all good, I can get you in,” he said confidently. It was so hot!
“Okay! I just need to run home first.”
He took my address and my number, and picked me up from Kelli’s about an hour later. His lifted, black Dodge Ram was brand new. Not a ding or a smudge in its shine. I was more than impressed. I climbed in, and he took me to the Watermark! I remember thinking he must know people, if he can get me in here. We went in through the back, skipping over the line of people waiting to get in out front, and headed for the rooftop bar. I was glad I had changed into a little black dress with cobalt blue lace print hugging the sides. Jaime was wearing nice jeans and a tight black T with a classed up leather jacket. We took a seat right at the bar. Inside, I was panicky, thinking if I get carded I’m fucked! But the bartender regarded Jaime as a friend.
“What do you want?” Jaime asked me.
I don’t know my alcohol, I’m 19
, I thought. “Uh, screwdriver,” I said, wondering if that’s even what I think it was.