Redwood Nine: Season 03 Ch. 08byRoyceConnors©
Chapter 8: Pay To Play
The guys had the Caddy put back together and it was hard to tell it was ever damaged. They started it up and backed it out of the bay. The sun shone into the engine compartment and highlighted it well for them to see. No signs of anything mechanical was wrong, so they closed the hood and shut it off.
"There you go guys, almost like new."
Luigi looked it over carefully and agreed it wouldn't bring the slightest attention to it. Tiny flecks of paint were missing around the headlights, but it would only be seen on close inspection.
"We must find a place to stay, preferably not too far from here, so we can respond quickly to anything that should arise. Any place you recommend?"
"Marlene was put up in the Holiday Inn, few miles from here. From what I could tell, it's as good as any place and easy to get around from there. Not far from highway access either, so that would be my choice."
"Holiday Inn it is then. Not that bad a place, we've stayed in them before. Is it far from that restaurant, Giovanni's?"
"Nope, you can almost see it from the hotel. Just a few blocks down."
"Perfect. I must thank you and your people for taking such wonderful care of us, JT. You have been most kind in assisting us and we are grateful for that. Makes our job that much easier. We will be in touch regularly and let you know what's happening, once we are settled in our rooms."
Once again, JT was embarrassed, when Luigi took his face and kissed both cheeks, before hugging him. The other mobsters weren't as forward to the other guys, seeing the thought of the kiss unappealing and shook and hugged instead. Gus looked at the four men and looks were given back. The five shared silent thoughts and memories, looks being played back and forth between them.
"Great seeing you guys again. I only miss the old days when I think of us together. We were a good team."
"The best, Gus. We miss you too and many times, your name is mentioned in passing, when we talk of the good old days. You be good my friend, vivere la vita che ti rende felice." (live the life that makes you happy)
Gus nodded his head and smiled, knowing his life was accepted and would never be questioned again. He and Luigi kissed each others cheeks and hugged strongly, the bond between them shared openly. Gus went to Alphonse, Marco and Dino, sharing kisses and hugs the same with each.
"Dio vi protegga bene i miei fratelli. Io sono sempre con voi." (God be with you my brothers. I am always with you)
JT was amazed to hear such well-spoken Italian coming from Gus. It confirmed his roots instantly and put one more piece of Gus together for him. Little by little, all the questions of the past were being answered. His initial desire to know the man, Jake Harding, had led him into events in his life that astounded him. He found it hard to fathom how a man could live as one person and be another so easily and readily, keeping the past quiet. He looked at everyone before him and wondered how many were like that. How many of the people he held close weren't who he thought they were, but a character they were pretending to be? Tom had divulged a completely different life to him. The commune all held past lives secret. He felt like the only one living one life only.
The gates were opened and the four men in two Cadillac sedans rolled out calmly, heading into Charming and blending in with society. JT found it interesting how appearances were everything to people. It was what they thought you were, based on how you looked and how you dressed, not who you were as a person.
Gus made his farewells and said he'd be waiting for a call if he was needed again, then headed back to Stockton to resume his life in scrap metal. He took the only evidence of the crash with him in the truck, leaving nothing in the shop to be questioned about. The guys closed it up and went inside to talk about the next stage of things to happen. The initial attack had been turned around and now they hoped the Disciples were on the defensive and considering backing down. The losses to their club were adding up and becoming costly in numbers and strength.
What everyone wondered, was how many charters of the Disciples there were in total and how many more might be coming to assist them. The unknowns weighed heavy on minds, as they pondered wave after wave of bikers hell bent on their demise. If the strength of their allies was any indication, it was looking like things were in their favour to come out on top. The one issue that worried them all, would one of them have to pay with their life before it ended?
The sound of a siren going off in short blasts had them rushing outside to the gate. Wayne Unser was standing out of his car so they could see it was him only and then got back in. They opened the gate and let him pull in, taking a look for any other signs of enforcement waiting in the wings. No signs were seen, making it a private meeting and one of good news they hoped.
Everyone went inside and settled in, before Wayne told them why he was there.
"Okay, we all know the score here, right? You guys are in trouble for helping us and we're protecting you. We got San Joa on board and we're doing our best to get this taken care of. What's pissing off the wrong people, are the number of bodies dropping in Stockton and the recent explosions there as well, not to mention the diver out back of here and two Disciples are sitting in a smashed car with three shots to the head each, who do you think I'm looking at? I'm doing my best to keep you guys out of shit, but I know damn well this has something to do with you guys pulling this off. I don't see how, but I know it's you, so who wants to go first and enlighten me on what's happening?"
JT looked at the club and saw the faces say it was up to him to let Unser know something. JT looked at Wayne, standing with as much authority as he could, a demand for an answer to be forthcoming.
"Sit down, Wayne, you'll give yourself a hernia or something, standing like that. I'll try and fill in some blanks for you. Not sure how many, but I'll help you whatever way I can, alright?"
"Something's better than nothing, so let's hear it."
Wayne squished in beside Lenny and Otto, making some room for himself and waited for JT to tell him.
"Yeah, you're right, the shit in Stockton is about us. You're also right that we aren't the ones doing it. Who is doing it? I can't tell you that, but they are friends of a friend and that's all I'll say, okay?"
Wayne nodded he understood.
"These guys, are here to make sure those guys, don't make it to this town and the only way to do that, is stop them from coming here in the first place, that's all they're doing. How they're doing it, is up to them, we have no say in that. They have orders to do what it takes to get these guys to back off and they want them to know they mean business. I'd say they're doing that, don't you?"
"I have no idea if they are, or they aren't. All I know, is I got the chief screaming at me about it all and he don't know shit and wants answers. He knows it ain't you and it's someone else and he don't want shit blowing back on him somehow."
"Wayne, I gave you my word and so did the club. We're staying as low as we can for fuck's sake and haven't left this place for two days now. Other than the fuckers coming here, when they shouldn't have, we haven't caused any trouble. Okay, I'll admit one thing and one thing only. One of us did take the guy on the tower out. Who, I'm not saying and never will. I'll deny ever telling you this, so it's only good for your ears only, okay?"
"That helps solve one issue. Now all I need to do is find someone else to point it to. Nothing else?"
"No, nothing. Couldn't tell you anyway. I swear, we have no idea what they're doing out there, until we hear about it from you, or the other cops. They're independents and like I said, we have no say in it."
"Okay, at least that's something to go on. I'd rather have to spin some shit upstairs, than look like some ass that don't know what the fuck he's doing."
"Wayne, we got your back, Buddy. Told you that, showed you that. Start believing it, we mean it. We know we need each other to stay alive, so we don't want shit landing at your feet either, but come on, Wayne, how is any of this our fault? What do you have, to point the finger at us? Nothing. I'd be happy as pig in shit if I were you. Those guys are doing it quickly and as quietly as they can. Yeah, lotta noise and shit, but no one is getting hurt, only the ones causing it, so where's the problem in it?"
"Both chiefs are seeing it the same way. They told me to back off and let the bikers get what's coming to them. The sheriffs are doing the same. We're only getting involved if it spills into the public. One person gets hurt, JT and the whole county, us included, are coming down hard on everyone, you guys included. We gotta do our jobs, that's what we're paid to do. These guys you got handling it, they don't give a shit about civilians and such."
"You're dead wrong there, Wayne, hold on. These guys are very careful about how they do their thing. They take innocents safety first, before they do anything. They don't want any attention and hurting, or killing an innocent is out of the question."
"Killers with a conscience, great."
"Wayne, rather they not and just hurt anyone they want?"
"You're right, JT, sorry. Just getting a little hard to get a handle on it all. I really hope these guys do what they gotta do fast, so we can get back to normal shit around here. Getting this badge, ain't turning out to be as much of a blessing as I hoped. I'm the one gotta deal with all the shit, so the chief don't have to."
"Wayne, shits going to happen, whether we want it to or not, right? Let's just say these guys are professionals at what they do and are very good at it. How much better can it be than that?"
Wayne realized his situation was better having them involved. What they couldn't do, these hit men were. No one wanted to actually come out and say shoot the fucking lot of them, but minds were focused on that thought. With the information he had, it seemed easier to let things run their course and knew that some crazy things were going to continue happening, until this was over. How much landed in his lap, depended on the unknowns keeping it out of his town.
"Okay, I guess I can't ask for anything else, but at least this let's me get my bearings and at least try to be prepared for some wild shit happening."
"That's all we got, Wayne. We're all in the same boat. I'll help you with whatever I can, but it's obviously not going to be very much."
"Alright, JT, thanks. I'll cook something up to give to the chief and get him off my back. I swear, I'm going to end up a hunchback before I retire."
"Shit, we can call you Quasimodo then. We'll put a bell tower up and you can ring it every hour."
"Yeah, real funny, Lenny."
"Hey, just trying to get you to smile, Buddy. We do care about you, remember?"
"Yeah, I know. I care about you guys too, guess that's why I'm all messed up about things. I hate the thought of one of my friends getting killed, is all."
"Thanks, man. We worry about you too. You're out there every day dealing with it head on. You stand more chance of getting hurt than we do."
Wayne thought on that and realized his own situation better.
"Let's make it soon, okay? I want to enjoy my retirement, if I ever get one, that is." Wayne said goodbye and got back in his car, JT jumped in and rode up with him to the gate. JT opened it and looked about, then waved goodbye to Unser as he pulled out and headed back to the station. With the gate closed, he walked back thinking about the whole thing to himself. He looked at the shop and the yard, remembering the good times working here, not a care in the world. He looked beside him at the clubhouse and thought of all that happened since it became the House of Anarchy. His thoughts weighed in on how much trouble was caused by being who they were and how much was because of others. The loss of status in the commune was hurting the guys, himself included, being separated from their women and friends. That alone was enough to make his heart sink, but more came to mind and made it fall dramatically with the thoughts.
Conclusions were hard to accept for him, that blamed or not, they were paying the price for everything. Not much was adding up to the good anymore, making him question his choices and commitments. Was it all he wanted, or was it anything he wanted? Wanting to have a motorcycle club was the most appealing thing last year, nothing could have made him happier. Not even a year later and he was at a crossroads with himself, as to whether he had wanted the right things, or not.
Piney was getting dressed, while his parents and Mary waited out side. When he said he was ready, they came in and Mary immediately went and straightened out his clothes for him.
"I want my man to look his best."
"You do a good job of that."
They kissed and heard a sigh from Lorelei as they did. They stopped and smiled at her, seeing the happiness in her eyes.
"You all set, son?"
"Yup, ready to go, Pops. Let's get out of here and back home again, where it'll be nice to stop having things shoved in me all day."
They smiled, Stan more so, hearing him say he called it home again. They headed out to the parking lot, the officer right with them the entire time. Stan went and got the car and pulled up to the doors. Everyone got in and they waved goodbye to the officer and began driving away. The trip through town was a treat for Piney, having been tied down for almost three days. No one paid notice to the truck behind them and two men with determined malice on their faces.
Once through town, the road widened to four lanes and the truck moved over to the other one, coming up on Piney's side. As the truck began to close in slowly, pulling along side to avoid notice, guns were readying to be fired. Just as they were in position and had a clear shot on Piney, they were rammed from behind. Stan and the others heard it and looked over in shock.
Piney looked at the driver and passenger and knew who they were.
"Pops, floor it, Now!"
Stan didn't question his son and stepped on the gas pedal, pushing it to the floor. The Biscayne's six cylinder wasn't very powerful for the weight it had and moved ahead slowly. The shooters were trying to jockey for another chance when they were rammed again. Piney strained to look around and saw Wayne Unser coming up again on the rear of the truck. Finally the Chev was ahead of the truck and Unser took as hard a hit as he could at it. The truck went out of control, the back end swerving back and forth wildly. The driver tried slamming on the brakes, but it was their undoing and the truck pitched onto its side and began skidding in a shower of sparks.
Unser put the brakes on and followed the skidding truck until it stopped and then got out with his gun drawn. He slowly made his way around to the top side of the truck and saw the two inside. They were hurting from injuries, but he yelled for them to get out of the truck. They tried to get the door open, but the weight was too hard to budge from the position they were in. Unser told them to cover their eyes and began kicking at the windshield, already smashed from the impact. It broke open and the two crawled out, Unser pushing them to the ground despite their injuries. He cuffed them together and went back to radio in, doing his best to keep his gun trained on them.
He came back and retrieved the guns they had, using his pen in the finger guard to pick them up with. He put them in his car and went back to stand beside the two and keep people away from the scene. The faces of the people were stunned in wonderment and shock, seeing such a horrific chase and crash happen before their eyes. The guns just added to the fear and tension of the situation and Wayne knew the shit JT had mentioned, was going to keep happening like this, until his people resolved it. This was just luck, that he spotted the Winston's driving by and then saw the truck pull out after them. If he didn't, he knew it would be a multiple murder scene he was investigating, not an attempted one.
Stan stopped up the road and looked back, seeing the carnage and knew the danger was over. Piney told him to go back, but his father was hesitant about moving into harm's way. Piney opened the door and walked back as fast as he could. The others yelled for him to come back, but he ignored them and went up to Wayne.
"Fuckers tried to kill me and my family, Wayne."
"I know, good thing I stopped them."
Piney continued looking into Wayne's eyes, holding his attention there, as he struck out with his boot and kicked one in the face. Unser saw the movement, then saw Piney concentrate on the driver and kicked him even harder, snapping the man's head back and the sound of bones breaking. Unser pulled him away as quick as he could, knowing Piney would keep doing it until they were dead.
"Don't do it Piney, they're in custody, so I'm responsible for what happens now. I don't blame you for wanting to put a hurt on them, but I can't let you."
"I don't give a shit, Wayne, those fuckers need to die, badly."
Wayne tried to calm him down, but Piney used his weight and bullied Unser to the side and he went at the driver again, landing at least four good kicks to him, before Wayne wrestled him away. Bystanders came out and helped Wayne deal with Piney, not wanting him hurt, knowing they felt the same way and would want to do that themselves. Piney didn't object to the restraint of friendly hands, as his rage seethed in him. They finally walked him away and back up to where the car was and his distraught family. They stayed with them and offered support, as Unser checked on the condition of his prisoners.
Despite what they might claim as assault, Wayne decided they looked enough like injuries from an accident and would state as such. He glanced up the street to Piney, who was walking with Mary by his one side and his mother on the other and knew he would settle down. He heard the sirens coming and felt the tension level drop enormously. When his officers came to him, he had them take care of the prisoners and direct traffic around the scene. He went up to Piney and his family to talk to them.
"You folks okay? No one hurt I hope?"
"We're okay, Officer Unser, no one's hurt, just a bit shaken up really."
"Yeah, something like this will do that to a person. You folks should go and get Piney off the streets, If these guys are dumb enough to try this, who knows what else they'll do. I'll come and get statements from you later at your place. I don't want you going out right now, not till I know it's safe, okay?"
"Not a problem, we'll be indoors. This is all about those drug pushers, isn't it?"
"Yes it is. I don't know why these guys are so pissed off at the club, but it's gonna stop, one way or another."
"It better and it better not be one of our guys that gets killed in the process. This is bad Officer Unser. We either need more cops on the job making sure these kind of people don't end up here, or people are going to wonder if we should keep Charming police, or not."
Unser thought on Stan's words and knew his position was in jeopardy, along with that of the entire department. It became his issue, his cross to bear, making sure his town and people were safe from harm, despite the trouble originating from elsewhere. The club was fast becoming a solution he would seriously have to consider as a means of deterrent. If no one wanted to mess with them, it made his job easier to do.
The wrecker arrived and hooked up its lines to the truck and began the process of slowly getting it right side up again. The truck bounced and shook, as it hit all four wheels, then the tow driver readied it to be towed away. Slowly, little by little, the scene was going away and going back to normal. It made Unser think on what normal was these days, the way things were changing all the time. Nothing was the same as it was five years ago. The world was shifting, to where, he didn't have a clue. All he knew, was he was going along for the ride, whether he wanted to or not.