Authors: Yolanda Olson
I think everyone secretly liked it, to be honest. No one ever complained about it when it was time to vote someone out of a position, but the chair was always the hardest vote, because no one ever really wanted it. But something told me that Dallas did and I wasn’t sure why.
Pardon must have felt my eyes on him because he looked up at me and waved me over.
“Not you; just him,” he said to Dallas who had fallen into step beside me.
We exchanged a glance, to which Dallas shrugged his shoulders and went into the meeting room.
“Sit down, son,” he said, pulling out the chair next to him.
I obediently sat down where he had indicated. He waved the vice president away and sighed. I watched him run a hand back through his short graying hair before he looked at me again.
“This vote isn’t going to go the way anyone wants it too. I don’t plan on stepping down; I’ve got too much shit left to do here. There will be a havoc vote and
it’s unanimous, I want it to be you that does it.”
“It won’t come down to that,” I assured him, giving his back a friendly pat. “I won’t vote that way and neither will Dallas.”
“You don’t seem to understand, Swing. If I can’t keep the chair, then I want the havoc vote to go through. And I want
to take care seeing it done,” he replied quietly.
I stared at him. I didn’t know how else to make him understand that we wouldn’t vote that way no matter how much he wanted it. I wouldn’t be able to live with myself knowing that I had killed Pardon.
Wait a minute.
“Dallas is going to be the new club president. He wants it, I can tell. Only the new president can put the last one down if a havoc vote goes through,” I reminded him.
“We’ll see about that,” he said as he got to his feet and walked purposefully into the meeting room.
wenty minutes later, everyone that was supposed to be in the room, finally was. I was sitting next to Dallas, and Pardon was at the head of the table gripping the gavel tightly in his hand. He was looking around the room waiting for silence, which he knew he would get without having to ask for it. Pardon was definitely the most respected president we had so far.
“You all know why we’re here today,” he started, setting the gavel down. “I’ve got a few things to say about that before we get started with the vote.”
Dallas cleared his throat and sat back in his chair expectantly. I leaned forward and clasped my hands on the table. I don’t know why, but I had a bad feeling about what Pardon would have to say.
“I know that we’re here because I have to step down; I’ve ‘aged out.’ Well, I think that’s bullshit. I’ve never felt better or stronger about leading this charter. I think that even though the rules are there for a reason, they’re more like a byline, and this one needs to be done away with. I’m not giving up the chair.”
Pardon held up a hand to quiet Dallas as he continued. “So, we all know what that means. If you’re all still hellbent on having a new president, then let me know so I can leave the room and you can have your havoc vote.”
“Aren’t you jumping the gun on that vote, Pop?” Dallas asked.
“No. That’s the only way to get me out of this chair,” he replied firmly.
“Alright, then I vote no,” Dallas said stubbornly.
“I’m with Dallas,” I agreed quietly.
“No one is going to say yes to that,” Ash, the vice president, chimed in. “If you’re going to be a stubborn old man, then we can vote on how much longer to give you, but that’s as far as it goes.”
Pardon nodded in agreement. “Just give me a year. One more year as the president of this charter and I’ll have all of my affairs in order.”
The entire table said “yes” in unison and I felt like the weight of the world had been lifted off my shoulders. Pardon asking me to take him out wouldn’t have been easy or painless. I liked wet-work; guns were too quick for me, so when the club wanted someone to suffer, that’s where I would step in and take over.
Before Pardon had a chance to pound the gavel on the table, a loud commotion interrupted our meeting. I turned around in my chair and glanced through the blinds in the room and saw Ricki, Dallas’ mother and Pardon’s old lady, run toward the front door.
“What the hell?” Dallas asked, getting to is feet.
“Pardon!” Ricki called out.
We emptied out of the room and walked quickly toward Ricki to see what the problem was, when I noticed she was holding a small young woman in her arms. From what I could see she had long black hair, alabaster colored skin, and had cuts and bruises on her hands which were firmly gripping Ricki’s arms.
“What happened?” Pardon asked, crouching down next to Ricki.
“I don’t know. She hasn’t said anything yet,” she replied, stroking the woman’s hair. That was the thing I liked most about Ricki. She was tough as fucking nails, but she would be the first one to mother someone that needed it.
“Are you okay?” Dallas asked, crouching down on the other side of his mother. He put a hand on the girl’s shoulder causing her to recoil further into Ricki’s arms.
“Ah shit, honey. Did someone hurt you?” Ricki asked, understanding filling her voice.
I’d like to think of myself as kind of a tough guy. I walk the walk and I talk the talk, but when that woman looked up into my eyes, something about the way she held my gaze kind of scared me.
I couldn’t figure out why so I decided to shake the feeling away. I stood there while Ricki helped her off the ground and watched as Dallas and Pardon flanked her on the way to the nearest chair.
I stayed where I was and glanced out the broken down door. She had run clean through the heavy wooden structure somehow and a cool breeze was coming in. With one last glance toward them, I walked outside and looked up at the dark night sky, blanketed in stars and a bright white moon.
One thing Dad instilled in me when I was going through my rebel youth phase, was that almost any and every great man that has fallen in history has been due to a woman. He even gave examples: Samson and Delilah, David and Bathsheba, Starkweather and Fugate. He always told me that if I wasn’t careful a woman would take me down because I was destined to be a great man. Hell, if that were true, then I kind of hoped I’d find the Mallory to my Mickey; or at least my teenager self did.
But now, as a grown man in my mid twenties, I didn’t want to deal with the stress and confinements of a relationship, so I usually just screwed around with the club skanks who didn’t have an old man when I wanted to get off. It was more than enough to hold me over.
Reaching into my jeans pocket, I pull out a pack of half full cigarettes and light one. For some reason, a saying crossed my mind.
(Insert here) will be the death of me.
I never did have anything to insert at the beginning of that sentence, because I was usually death. Glancing over my shoulder into the club and looking at that terrified girl that had come crashing in on one of the most important nights of the club sent a shiver through me.
For some reason, I understood that saying now. I understood why that was going through my head. If my gut feeling was right, I think what would be the death of me was sitting in an old office chair, leaning on Ricki’s shoulder.
Not if I can fucking help it.
hree weeks later, I was sitting at home when my phone rang. It was Dallas, but I decided not to answer. It was my day off so to speak, and I wanted to relax today and not deal with any club shit today if that’s why he was calling.
I never got that girl’s name or found out what happened to her, and it had been bothering me lately. Of course, the easy thing to do would be to just ask Ricki, but I wasn’t sure that I cared.
Ignoring Dallas wouldn’t land me on anybody’s good side, but after that last
I had to take care of, I definitely needed a little time to myself. I had lost it for some reason in the middle of my work and I was worried that it was becoming too much for me.
I did like it; that was a give in. I appreciated that they trusted me enough to do the hard jobs for them, but that last one ...
I never did find out what he did that warranted me taking him out, but Pardon had asked it to be especially brutal and I obliged. You didn’t say no to the club president and you didn’t ask questions past the information you were given.
I took a deep breath and decided not to think about it when there was a knock on the front door. With a sigh, I got to my feet and walked over and pulled it open.
“Where have you been, brother? I’ve been trying to get ahold of you,” Dallas said, raising an eyebrow.
“Decompressing,” I replied, stepping back to let him in.
“Shit in general. Anyway, what’s up?” I asked, leading him into the living room and sitting down on my couch.
“Pardon’s been looking for you. Says he needs to talk to you about something important,” he said, sitting down on the love seat and leaning back. “Want me to tell him that I couldn’t find you?”
“No. He’ll chop both of our balls off,” I said thoughtfully.
We were both silent so I decided to turn the television on to get some kind of noise. I hated silence; it always fucked me up on the inside. Unfortunately there was nothing good on, so I turned it off and tossed the remote control onto the space next to me.
“Can I ask you something?” Dallas asked.
“What did Pardon want to talk to you about? That night of the vote?”
“Nothing important,” I replied, rubbing the back of my neck.
“You’re lying, Swing. You always do that when you’re lying,” he pointed out with a laugh.
“It’s not important,” I insisted.
Dallas leaned forward and looked at me. I hated when he stared at me. To be honest, I hated when
stared at me, but him in particular because he always thought he could break me with that look.
“Is that the only reason you came over? To tell me that Pardon is looking for me and to ask me what he talked to me about?” I asked in exasperation.
He didn’t answer right away; he was still using his mind control stare to try to get me to talk, but I refused to give in.
“Yeah, I guess so,” he finally said, leaning back against the couch again.
“I’ll come by the clubhouse later and talk to Pardon, alright?”
Dallas nodded and got to his feet.
About damn time.
I watched him from where I was sitting as he walked to the front door. He put his hand on the doorknob and hesitated.
“Are you sure everything is okay, Swing?” he asked.
“Just fine,” I replied with a nod.
With a slight shake of his head, Dallas left. I reached for the remote and turned the television back on, attempting to lose myself in the barrage of commercials that were on. Anything to not have to think about what kind of shit Pardon was going to give me for being unreachable as long as I had been.
After Dallas roared away on his Harley, I heard the mailman outside fussing with the mailbox. I rarely checked the mail so I knew he hated coming here. I waited until he left before I went outside to grab it. It had been the traditional two weeks I would wait before emptying my box and most of it would probably go into the garbage anyway.
I got up and peeked through the blinds, waiting til he disappeared down the street, before I went out my front door and grabbed the stack of letters and circulars that were waiting for me.
Once I was inside again, I went back to the couch and grabbed a cigarette from the pack that was sitting on the coffee table. Dropping the stack next to it, I reached for my lighter and lit it, before I started to thumb through the mail. As I suspected, most of it was garbage with the occasional bill here and there.
I was bunching all the junk mail together to take it to the trash can when I saw an envelope that caught my attention. It fell out of one of the circulars and landed on the table, the word
scrawled on the front.
It was a rare thing that anyone called me by my given name and an even rarer thing to see handwriting I didn’t recognize. Balancing the cigarette between my teeth, I picked up the envelope, turned it over, and ripped it open. Inside was folded piece of paper, which I opened and looked at.
I KNOW WHAT YOU DID.
With a chuckle, I crumpled up the letter and walked toward the trash can with the rest of the junk mail. If someone was aiming to scare or threaten me, they’d have to be a little more specific. I did a
of bad things.
n hour after the sun went down, I was pulling into the parking lot of the pawnshop. I called earlier and found out that’s where Pardon was going to be, so going in to the clubhouse to see the rest of the guys wasn’t going to be a necessity.
I actually appreciated that. I don’t think Pardon realized he was actually doing me a solid, by not having me go into the clubhouse and sit through an interrogation. Though I already knew he was going to put me through one himself.
After parking my bike, I walked toward the pawnshop door and pushed it open. Pardon was behind the counter sitting on a chair, and talking to Dallas.
I rolled my eyes but kept pace as I approached the counter.
“Hey man,” I said to Pardon and nodding at Dallas in acknowledgment of his presence.
“Where ya been hiding yourself?” Pardon asked, getting to his feet. He gave me a brief hug once I was behind the counter with him and Dallas clapped me on the shoulder.
“Taking some time for myself,” I replied honestly, with a shrug.
“What brought that on?” Pardon asked.
I shook my head and fixed my knit cap to sit more comfortably. “I don’t know. I didn’t tell you guys, but I lost it on that last one. I can usually hold it together and make the point I’m supposed to before I kill them, but
“Lost it how?” Dallas asked, crossing his arms over his chest.
“I can’t explain it. It was just a frenzy that came out of nowhere. Anyway, that’s why I’ve been sticking to myself lately,” I explained quietly.