By Jay Logan
Chapter One: Setting Sun
The roar of the three motorcycles down the empty highway in the vast desert landscape scared the animals that inhabited it. The sun was slowly sinking behind the mountains with just enough daylight for no head lights to be on, and the temperature dipped down with the setting sun. The usual hot desert wind that was rough and windy died down as well, making it easier to ride since the three riders were not being sand blasted along their journey.
The highway they rode on was a dangerous one. Most people tried to avoid it, but for them it wasn’t about avoiding anything it was about remembering everything. They also didn’t ride just to ride, but it was for the now deceased fourth member of their group Marcus Thomas.
Each person brought something to the group that the others always enjoyed and even picked on them for it. Marcus was the fast talker, and he could get them out of any situation they found themselves in. Unfortunately because of his fast talking he also put them into a lot of trouble back in the day. His nickname out of the whole group was silver tongue, and everyone loved the stories he would tell at a bonfire or at a party. It was sad to think of how he died. Marcus moved to Boston where he became caught up in the Mafia, and one day they found out he was taking some of the profit for himself. Of course they wouldn’t have seen this as a big deal for one of the lower peddlers, and they would have warned him. But because Marcus had climbed the ladders so fast, and had a way of influence he was one of the leading peddlers. He was taking thousands of dollars and putting into a bank account back in his home of Arizona. Since the Mafia had no real connections in Arizona to freeze the bank account, and they knew what Marcus was doing the only logical thing to do was kill him to stop him from taking money. As the group rode with Marcus on their mind they could feel his presence.
Patrick O’Brian rode out in front of the group as they roared through the Saguaro park of Tucson Arizona on the rugged mountain side. His 47’ Harley Pan Head the only thing audible besides the wind in his ears. He was the shortest in the group only five foot eight inches and, his thick brown hair was blown back from the high speed winds and his face a cold hard statue with red Oakley sunglasses covering his eyes. He hadn’t shaved in three days leaving a rough start of a beard on his face. The loss of Marcus really hit Patrick even though he would never show it. He felt a turmoil inside him with the bloody thought of revenge in his heart. His green Celtic cross tattoo shined brightly on his right forearm from the setting sun. His left arm had a complete sleeve tattoo on it with a western theme. He had grown up on a farm out in Western Kansas and his motto that he always used was; “Hard work is dirty work.”
Patrick was a battle hard military veteran with extensive military training. Years overseas hardened his heart from a lot of things, but losing a friend even in war hurt him constantly. Patrick puffed slowly on the cigar he had in his mouth, and took in the tobacco flavor of a sweet apple. He had picked up smoking cigars as a Special Forces Operative in the military. Patrick never told anyone about his battles in the war, and the only thing he would do is tell them what he accomplished from which mission. Never did he go into detail of the bloodshed he caused or the families he ruined, nor did he talk of the way people died around him. He always upheld his buddies in the military with high regard, for he knew that they had been through just as much as him. One of Patrick’s specialties was being a medic. Before he went into the military he completed his training as an EMT which gave him an edge on being a medic. It also helped him cope with seeing dead bodies, and gave him the courage to work people that needed his help. Patrick veered slowly to the right as he looked back in his mirror. He could see the closest person he had ever had in his life. His best friend since high school rode behind him, and his name was Joseph Claphan.
Joseph’s face was normally smiling whenever he was controlling something with a motor on it. Not today though the loss of Marcus made his face contort of sadness. Joseph’s dark brown eyes watched the road as tears swelled up in them. He was Native American with skin a light shade of red and a strong jaw that looked like it was made of steel. Joseph was also a bigger man he stood close to six foot two, and weighed close to two hundred- twenty pounds. He wasn’t really the muscular kind of man, but he was still large and someone you wouldn’t want to walk into in a dark alleyway. His main goal in life even when he was in high school was to work on cars. Every waking minute he worked, ate, and even breathed about cars. He was a one of a kind when it came to four wheels and an engine. Joseph didn’t have any military experience, and the only thing he really had was his associates in college for technical work like cars. He was a simple man and even though he is no battle hardened veteran he was a pretty good shot with a gun. Joseph and Patrick were inseparable throughout high school. They even lived together for a while in Patrick’s parent’s house. Nothing ever came between them, not money, not love or any girl, and if they fought it never lasted for more than five minutes before one of them offered the other a beer. The only thing that ever separated them was when Patrick joined the army, and Joseph moved back to help his parents out. Joseph pulled back more on his accelerator the old school bobber bike sped up as he caught up to Patrick. Joseph looked in the mirrors and saw his tattoos that he loved. The one on his left arm was a Native chief with one of the most colorful headdresses on his head. The amount of color in the tattoo was astonishing, but it suited him really well. The other tattoo was an old school wolf howling, it was a grey scale tattoo with light shading.
The group rode on as the passed over a large hill and into a canyon inside the mountain. The bikes roared all around them as the sound bounced off the wall. The golden reddish glow shined brightly over the rock face. The last of the group looked around enjoying the sound of the motorcycles. His name was Cameron Macalester.
Cameron enjoyed motorcycles much like how Joseph did cars. They were always talking something about engines, and they always argued which were better two wheels or four. Cameron was the Chameleon in the group. When he was younger and in high school he unfortunately was mixed up with the bad crowd. He did a lot of drugs, and he partied when he could. Cameron was a dropout from high school, but once he started hanging out with Joseph and Patrick he turned his life around. He accomplished getting his G.E.D, and even went to college for motorcycles. He did tattooing on the side which is how Joseph got his tattoos. Cameron wasn’t a big man, but being the diehard biker that he was gave him a large intimidation factor. He was balding on the top of his head which he was self conscious about, so he shaved his head to keep from it being noticeable. The group always joked with him about it because he had a big bushy beard. They would always tell him that’s where all of his hair was going was to his beard. He was the skinniest out of them and because he was so pasty white they called him “Skelly” or “Skeletor”. Cameron wasn’t much for books, but what he lacked for with that he made up for in street smarts.
The group finally reached the place they were riding too. It was a small park up in the mountains that had only one gazebo, and it was the last place Marcus had been with them. As Patrick and Joseph turned their bikes off Cameron revved his 57’ chopper one last time. As he got off his chopper he took off his jacket showing his intricate tattoos from his neck down to his finger tips.
The three of them walked up to the gazebo. The hard dirt beneath their boots crunched softly as they walked in silence. Patrick reached for his lucky Zippo in his pocket and lit a Camel Turkish gold cigarette taking a long drag off of it. The smoke expelled from his nose as he was the first to reach the gazebo followed by Joseph and Cameron.
They sat in silence for a long time neither of them knew what to say. They all felt the stinging pain of losing Marcus equally and there was no real way to comfort each other because the one doing the comforting was in just as much pain. Patrick puffed on his cigarette again blew the smoke out finally speaking.
“Is this really what our world is coming to? When someone is killed, but no one will do a damn thing about? I can’t believe the cops are just sitting on their **** while Marcus’s family and friends suffer. It’s a bunch of ****, and I can’t stand it.” He through his finished cigarette and threw it on the ground stepping on it with his cowboy boot as he looked out to the setting sun.
“I know man and the people that didn’t aren’t even being hassled by them. I guarantee if someone that was in normal standings with the police department did it they would have been in cuffs by now.” Joseph said as he sat down on a bench and put his hands on his thighs. They were shaking from being so upset about the situation.
Cameron nodded in agreement as he pulled out a pocket knife and carved into the wood. He spelled out Marcus in small deep lines to keep his name preserved for as long as the wood would hold up. He sighed and finally spoke.
“If the Mafia was in on it there is no way that local P.D would go after them. They probably have more than a handful of them in their pockets along with the special agents that would have been on the job.”
Patrick slowly stood up as he leaned against one of the beams of the gazebo. His sea green eyes fixed on the setting sun as his thoughts ran through his head. Slowly he closed his eyes knowing he was about to ask something stupid from his friends.
“I can’t let them get away with this.” He said turning to face Joseph and Cameron.
“I know I want to just go take them down right now if that was ever possible.” Joseph said as he looked up at Patrick.
“Yeah an eye for an eye and life for a life it’s simple as that.” Cameron said as he gave Patrick his attention.
There was a long moment of silence between the three. The dry desert wind blew into the conversation as if it was trying to say something about the situation to. Patrick smiled a small smile as he looked at his friends.
“Oh hell I know that look all too well.” Joseph said as he stood up getting excited for the plan Patrick had.
“Let’s hear it already.”Cameron said as he put his sunglasses on.
Patrick reached into his pocket as he lit another cigarette and took a long drag from it. He put his lucky four leaf clover Zippo back in his pocket, and flicked the ashes as he spoke.
“We can take them down. I know how we can get the money, to help fund us to do it. We have all the training we really need because it’s not like we would be going up a military force. I know we would be badly outnumbered, and we could all very well die. But I didn’t go get shot at in a war zone for people like this to run my country, and I will not stand for someone taking my friends life if I can do something about it. So I’m going to sell my bar and my house, and I’m going to move near Boston and find the bastards that did it. If I need extra money Marcus gave me his bank account information I know he was loaded with this account.” He paused for a second as he took another drag from his cigarette.
“The only problem is I can’t do it by myself I need the closets people I can trust, and unfortunately for you guys it’s you two. I need your special skills in cars, bikes, street smarts. I mean I need it all you are the only ones I can really trust for this.”
The wind picked up as Patrick finished the dust pelted the three but they didn’t care. Joseph smiled as he looked at Cameron. They both nodded, and at the same time they said “Were in.”
Cameron then spoke “We are going to need some of the best gear we can get. I’ll use my connections for the bikes and I’ll see if there is anything for sell up in near Boston for us to be able to move to.”
“I’ll get the cars we need and the other tools and garage requirements for the place. Not to mention some under the table jobs.” Said Joseph as he lit a cigarette for himself and blew the smoke out.
“I’ll take care of the land finding Cameron. I want it to be hidden and for us to have enough land to have the shops. Not to mention the guns and military grade gear we will need.”
They all smiled as each had a cigarette in a mouth and a hand in the circle with one final chant they each said “For Marcus” and raised them up. The three of them had no family except for each other, and as common rule goes you mess with one person you mess with the whole family. This was not a family you wanted to mess with, but neither was the Mafia and they all knew that. But they all had nothing to lose except for each other, and they figured if one was lost then the others would be soon after too. It was a closing with a new chapter ahead as the sun finally set in the Arizona mountains. The purples and reds filled the sky almost looking like God had hand painted it himself. The howl from the coyotes echoed around them as the desert night life started to come out. The three of them left to prepare for the biggest war of their life with no intentions of returning. They had every ambition to make sure no one would die like this again though. Along with the love of Marcus and the willingness for the revenge they wanted to reek in the name of him.