Redwood Nine: Season 02 Ch. 11byRoyceConnors©
Ch.11 All Together Now
The old Harley came off the back of the pick up slowly, as the guys eased it down. The flat tires made it near impossible to move properly, as four of them pushed it into the bay and set it on the stand.
"Well, there it is Wally. How do you like her?"
Wally walked around the old bike, checking out the need for a great amount of work to be done. Despite the numerous hours it would take to tear down and recondition it, he was smiling, imagining it finished and riding with the others. While he ran his hands over the '40 Knucklehead, the others were unloading something far less impressive, but equally as desirable. It only took two of them to get it off the pick up and wheel it into the bay beside the Harley.
The difference in appearance was like night and day between the old Harley and the Honda 250.
"Damn, is this thing ever tiny, compared to our bikes. It's like a fucking bicycle with a motor."
"Yeah Lenny, not much to it, is there? But you know, it's all we need to get Wayne riding and move him up to a bigger bike."
"Yeah, guess you're right. I could have rode this when I was nine."
Wally was sitting on his bike, getting a feel for it, going through the controls and sizing up the weight of it. Piney had his toolbox open and started undoing screws, taking off parts and putting them in a pile. Several others, including Wally, went and got tools and did the same.
JT removed the spark plugs and cleaned them up, then re-gapped them, before screwing them back in. He checked the oil and saw how black it was.
"I really wish people would remember that the oil needs changing more than once."
He showed the guys the tarry blackness on the dipstick and saw like reactions to it. He brought the pan over and drained it, disappointed in what he saw. While it drained, he went in and ordered a new oil filter and a couple of other parts, to bring the Honda back to a riding condition. He put the plugs back in and filled it with oil, checking the level and then put a gallon of fresh gas in the tank.
Everyone watched, as JT primed the kick start and hardly used any effort to kick it. The engine coughed and sputtered, sending cheers up it would run. He kicked it again and it almost started. JT got off and used a screwdriver to tweak the carburetor screws and adjusted the settings. He tossed the screwdriver to Otto and kicked the starter once more, bringing the small engine racing to life. JT gave the throttle several twists and cleared out the accumulated carbon, sending some black smoke out the exhaust pipe. The guys complained about it, making JT laugh, as he backed it out of the bay. He started riding it slowly, checking how everything worked and found the controls confusing, being different than his bike.
"Shit, man, the controls are different on this thing. It's four up on this, instead of four down."
JT kept riding, testing the brakes and clutch, as well as the shocks, then let it go down the lane as fast as he could, braking hard at the end. He turned it around and revved it up, popping the clutch and doing a wheelie for thirty feet and let it back down again. The guys started hooting and hollering and no sooner was JT off of it and they were all wanting to try it out. One by one, they rode the little Honda and had more fun than they imagined. Chico was the one who impressed them and rode down the lane doing a wheelie and turned around and went back up, before letting it down and coming back, stopping with a fishtail skid.
"Fuck, Chico, how the hell did you learn to ride like that?"
"It's easy man. Just have to know how to balance a bike right, you know? I just get the front end up, make sure it's up high enough, use the gas to steady it out and keep my balance. Easy, man."
Lenny got on and started it up riding down to the gate and turned around. He revved it up and popped the clutch like Chico had done, but didn't back off fast enough and ended up on his back, with the bike laying on its side, still running. He got up and kicked the bike and picked it up. He rode back and got off, looking at his skinned elbow and back.
"Oh, nice road rash, Lenny. That's gonna sting. Want a little iodine to keep it clean?"
"Fuck you, Otto. If you're so good, you show us how to do it."
Lenny held his elbow and watched, as Otto got on and rode down to the end and turned around. He revved it up and popped the clutch, doing a wheelie and feathered the gas like Chico had said and brought the bike down the lane and dropped it down and stopped.
"Fucking breeze, Lenny. You're just a shitty rider, let's face it."
Lenny went after Otto, who ran around the compound with Lenny trying to run after him, but his scrapes hurt too much to catch him. Lenny heard the laughter from everyone and knew he had no sway for his failure.
"Fuck it. Who needs to do the stupid things anyway. That don't make you a better rider, not dropping your bike, or hitting anything does."
"I'll agree with you on that, Lenny."
"You still suck at doing wheelies though."
Lenny was going to say something back, but smiled and laughed it off, as he held his elbow and back.
"Yeah, I suck, so what?"
JT got on the little bike and took off doing a wheelie and rode it almost to the gate and stopped. He popped another one and kept it up all the way back, smiling happily. He stopped and shut it off and put it on the stand.
"I think Wayne is going to enjoy learning how to ride on this thing. If he can't ride that, there's no hope for him and he should just stick to bicycles and cages."
"No kidding, that thing is a cinch to ride, JT."
"When you going to tell him?"
"I was thinking of making more of a party out of it."
"What do you mean, a party?"
"Something like this, Piney. Say we have a bit of a bash, have the gang all here, some beer, Wayne doesn't mind the dope and we have a barbeque. Get the music playing and let Wayne have a fun day with us. He'll get to see we're just a fun bunch of guys, do things like everyone else and puts him on our side more. We teach him and everyone else how to ride and everyone sees why we like riding so much."
The looks of astonishment on their faces, let JT know they hadn't come anywhere near thinking along those lines. He caught the look on Clay's face, seeing the anger looming just under the surface. He wondered why he was feeling that way and then saw Clay look at him and knew it was about him, that he was feeling that way. He thought of why and all he came up with is envy and jealousy. He couldn't see why he would feel like that, not after all he had received and his future taken care of. He had a little laugh to himself, that it might be his lack of confidence in doing a wheelie.
"Now that, sounds like a good reason to have a party."
"Sure does, Keith, although I could party every day."
"Tom, if you wake up, it's a good reason to party."
"Yeah, sounds about right, Otto."
Laughter rang out, but JT wondered if maybe he did party too much.
"Okay, you guys finish taking Wally's bike apart and get it cleaned up and ready to put back together. Make a list of what it needs and order the parts from East Bay. Maybe by tomorrow sometime, Wally gets to take his first ride and his first ride with the club. I have to go get Mar and Moon said it was okay to bring her out there. Remember what I said, don't encourage her to be all sexual and let the girls get her head straightened out first."
"Shit, JT. I'm ready to drop my drawers in a second if she asks me."
"Lenny, you're a fucking slut, dude. You'll fuck anything that even smiles at you."
"Hey, if she's got a nice wet pussy for me, what, I'm supposed to say no?"
"Well, not unless Lorraine has just as much chance to do the same."
"Shit, man, you know how to spoil a good thing, don't you?"
"So does Lorraine and she's fucking awesome, man."
Lenny looked at Clay and then had to remember commune rules, calming down his rage quickly.
"Yeah, don't abuse the privilege."
"Sure, Lenny. As long as she says yes. I can cum down throat as much as I like."
Lenny didn't care about rules, the club, or his brothers and went at Clay, grabbing his hair and laying punch after punch into his face. Clay was unable to fend off the barrage, as his face was split open by the boney knuckles pounding him. The guys stopped his punches and pulled him off Clay, preventing him from anymore punishment. Clay went down, holding his face, as the blood dripped from open wounds.
"You fucking say anything like that again, brother, or not, I'll bust your fucking head and no one going to stop me the next time."
Lenny's fury was in full rage, the guys straining to hold him back. JT stood and looked at both of them, seeing moments of Clay that might have caused the furor between him and Jake. Disrespecting women was one thing, but disrespecting someone's woman was far worse. He wondered if Clay had said something about Marlene and ironically, it was Marlene who came to Clay's rescue. Sides of Clay kept popping out at odd times and some of the things were a little disturbing at times. He thought back to the time they got their guns and went practise shooting. No one had any problem with shooting signs and inanimate objects, but Clay took great delight in shooting as many birds in a flock as he could, before they were out of distance. He said it was good practise in hitting a fast moving target. If he could hit a bird, a guy would be easy as pie.
JT grabbed Lenny and walked him to the clubhouse with authority in his hold of him and the calm in his voice.
"Let it go, brother, let it go. I didn't like what he said either. I'll have a talk with him, once his head stops ringing and let him know that kind of disrespect will not be tolerated, if he wants to get patched in after his tour."
"He better remember it has to be unanimous, or he doesn't get in. No fucking way am I riding with a fucking asshole in the club. I'll kick the fucker off his piece of Brit shit when we're on the highway and go back and run him over myself a couple of times. No one talks about Lorraine like that. You'd kick his ass too, if it was Suzy he said that about and you know it."
JT went into the clubhouse and let Lenny go, leading him to the couch beside his favourite chair. JT reached behind him to the fridge and took out two beers and handed one to Lenny.
"Roll a joint and have a beer. Just chill out, man and stay cool."
"Yeah, fuck him, I don't need that shit. Straighten his ass out, JT, or I will."
"I'll talk to him, Lenny, I promise. Now, don't you roll one of those elbow macaroni things again, or I'll make you do it again. I showed you how to make it even, so just take your time and smooth it out so it's all level. Yeah, that's it. Now, tuck it in and start rolling it up. Not so hard, think of it as a really long nipple you're rolling."
Lenny chuckled at that and the tension flew out the window, as Lenny rolled the joint up and licked it. He held it up to JT for his approval. JT took it and looked at it.
"Much better, buddy., much better. Just gotta ease up on how tightly you roll it and just let it catch and let the action do its thing."
"We smoking, or yapping?"
"Light it up already. All I give a shit about, is if it lights, smokes down to the roach and it doesn't run down the side or shit."
"Ah, but it's all in the patience of the moment, as you savour the delights of your efforts."
"Fuck, they need to give you one of those stupid names, like they have."
JT inhaled the smoke and let it out, then did it again and passed it to Lenny.
"What's so stupid about their names? I think they're cool."
Lenny sneezed his toke out, trying not to laugh at JT. Once he got himself under control, he tried again.
"Cool? Fucking Moon Child, Star Rider, Phoenix are cool? And what? Phoenix doesn't get a last name, or first name or something? Just Phoenix?"
"Yeah, it's like Cher. She doesn't have a last name."
"Sure she does. It's fucking Cher Bono. She's married to Sonny right, so she has his last name."
"No, Cher is her stage name. Whatever her real name is, that's got Bono after it, not her acting name. She's just Cher, period."
"So, those are still stupid names they have. And the girls, Poppy? Flower, Spirit, Golden and now they call Annie, Azure. Come on, dude, that's fucked up."
"Can't be saying that man, honestly, think about it. The only reason you're Lenny, Leonard, whatever, is because your mom and dad decided that name. What if you got to chose your name instead, what would you call yourself?"
"Zeus, man. Fucking God of Olympus and chuck lightning bolts at your ass."
"See, that's a name you feel suits who you feel you are. Nothing wrong with that, right? So, they chose somewhat more peaceful and loving names, man, see where I'm getting at?"
"Yeah, guess you're right. You know, as smart as I'm supposed to be, you still have a way of teaching me shit."
"Just life shit, Lenny. School shit is one thing, life shit is another. I don't ever remember Mrs. Clayborne teaching us anything about what we've been through lately. Comes as a complete shock to my ass, you know? Like, did I miss this class, or something?"
"Shit, I remember her. She was a pretty decent teacher. Didn't get all bent out of shape because you weren't sitting up straight and just let you relax and learn. I actually think she helped me enjoy learning. I wasn't all that thrilled going to school, until then. She helped me understand how to figure it all out, what I was actually there for to do."
"Yeah, she did the same for me, more or less. I hated school, but I understood about learning shit and why it was important and not just goof off in class. Remember in 'Nam, all those packages I'd get and they were books and papers that I read. It wasn't fucking Huckleberry Finn shit I was reading, it was finding out about people who saw life differently and saw how they viewed it all. I told you I was hiking out near the Nevada border, back about ten years ago now, I guess and came across that writing on the wall by Emma Goldman, right?"
"Yeah, when you came over that day and told me about starting the club."
"Yeah, well those words had a huge impact on me. I understood them so clearly and what each word meant. I wanted to live my life like that and not like they want us to be, 'Stand up straight, touch your head, yes sir.' and repeat until fully conditioned."
"Yeah, that about sums it up right."
"So when we came back and found the place in a total shit storm of bullshit, I figured we had just as much chance as anyone at doing something good for people. I mean, think about it, what's wrong with how we do things, really?"
"We kill, the government kills. We steal, the government steals. We settle arguments, they settle arguments. So there's no difference in what they do and what we do, except, we don't demand taxes out of it. Who's sounds better so far? Who's system is fairer overall? Really, we're a bunch of good guys with a penchant for making the right people pay the tab for our well being."
"When you say it like that, who can argue with it?"
"Exactly. We just live by our own rules and do our own thing and we all try to get along peacefully. Look at the race riots over the last few years and how the government handles it. We just met a bunch of black guys and we had some problems at the start, just like they did and look how we resolved our differences? We're all making money and to boot, we got some brothers that are willing to look after our asses in a jam. Let's see if the assholes in government can do that? Get out of their fucking offices and go face to face with some black dudes and talk it out. Never going to happen, Lenny, never. Fuckers just like to sit there in that fucking place and make decisions and they don't give a shit what it does to people. I swear man, somebody's going to get pissed off enough and do something about it."
"What do you mean?"
"Like blow the fucking place up. Shit, dude, they got no problems blowing presidents and other big leaders away, what's going to stop them from taking the White House out, or Congress, or whatever? Nothing."
They were getting deep into the discussion, when the door opened and Clay came in, the bruising and swelling well under way. The bleeding had stopped, but the remains were still present down his chin and face, his shirt splattered with it. He walked up to Lenny's side and gave a sigh before he spoke.
"I'm sorry, man. That was wrong of me to say that about your old lady like that. She's a really great gal and I'm sorry I didn't respect her, like I should have."
Before either Lenny or JT could speak, Clay turned and started walking away again. They let him get to the door, before they called him and stopped him. He turned and looked at them, and they could see the knowledge of getting his patch, was riding on his apology.
"Come here, Clay."
Clay walked with his head bowed, not looking at them as he walked over. JT started remembering things that Art had said about him and wanted to play them out, if he could pick them up himself.
"You know what you said was wrong. You came in here and apologized to Lenny for it. Why?"
Clay was unsure of what JT meant by it.
"What do you mean why? I don't get it?"
"What made you come in here and say that to him?"
"I said something bad, I thought about it and I was wrong and needed to apologize to him."
"So you did it because you care about your brother and know you disrespected him?"
"What about me and the rest of the club? Don't we deserve an apology too?"
Clay tried to think of why he needed to make that apology and couldn't think of one.
"We're a brotherhood, Clay. What you do to one of us, you do to all of us. It could just as easily have been Poppy, or Azure, or even Suzy. Now doing that, I'd have beat your face in too. I don't blame Lenny a bit for rearranging your face like that. Be thankful that's it and nothing more permanent in nature, like kick your balls in, you know? Think of how punches you got and imagine them as kicks to the balls, not a pretty picture, is it? So really, you got off lightly, when you think about it?"
"No, I guess not. Sorry JT, sorry again Lenny. I'll go over and tell the other guys too."
"Clay, learn one word foremost and learn it well. Respect."
"Got it, JT."
Clay turned and walked out slumped shouldered in defeat, the door closing and leaving them alone once more.
"You think he wasn't sincere, or something, JT?"
"Yeah, I think he's truly sorry for pissing you off, but it's why he said sorry, that I was trying to figure out."
"I don't get you either, with why."
"It's something Art told me, before, when we were at Jake's. He told me how Clay will use anything to his advantage to get what he wants. He told me how he played off his parents to get sympathy. I thought that was kind of low of him for doing that. I wonder how many times his grandfather has really been at death's door and how much was bullshit, you know? He could be doing whatever when he's gone out of our sight. We don't know, we just trust him at his word."
"Well, I got a call from his grandmother once and she said Clay should come home right away, so it can't all be bullshit, but yeah, how many times are for real and how many aren't?"
"My point exactly. I think back to Jake having problems with him and what they were about. He doesn't have much respect for things, no matter what it is. Women in general, orders, nature, for fuck's sake. Remember the birds he shot that day? I thought he was a bit of a sick fuck, after doing that, even though I could understand the reasoning of it, it was the way he said it and the look on his face."