You’ve all met me so you know I’m the quintessential grumpy old man. I work hard to portray that image but the real me slips out from time to time. I’ve found it’s getting harder by the day to stay grumpy. I have a woman now – Tammy – and she’s brought light and sunshine to my old world. Not that my old world was all bad. I had my club and club brothers, a job I love and a beautiful home. But things were missing. Important things.
With Tammy came Pippa, my new daughter. With Pippa, came Craig, my grandson. I now have a son-in-law too even though he’s also my brother. Pooh and Pippa aren’t officially married yet but that doesn’t matter in the least. Pippa isn’t actually Tammy’s daughter and yet, she is. Confused yet? Let me explain how all this crazy shit came to be.
I’ve been a member of The Devil’s Angels MC since I was 18 years old. I joined up the day I legally could. Legally according to club rules, not the law. One of the best days of my life.
I was a teenager with a bad attitude and a lot of anger. A cop that became tired of dragging my destructive ass home to an uninvolved single mom, drug me to the club’s auto body shop instead. After a short conversation with Gunner’s dad and Big Petey, I had a job that I hadn’t asked for or wanted. They agreed to keep an eye on me and to keep me out of trouble. Their method of doing this was to work me hard, teach me things my non-existent father never bothered with, and to care about what happened to me. Nobody had ever cared what became of me, and the fact that they did, meant everything to me. I wasn’t much younger than them and they quickly became my older brothers. I listened. I worked harder than anyone else at the shop. I learned skills and found I had a knack for all things with an engine. They were impressed and never hid that fact. I made it my life’s goal to become a member of The Devil’s Angels MC. Before I could make that happen, I needed to get my G.E.D., turn 18 and own a bike. Club rules according to Petey.
I busted out that G.E.D. in no time flat and did it with perfect grades. Buying a bike was a harder step to make happen even though I was paid well. If I kept my pay on me, my mom would steal it. Or one of her many “boyfriends” would. I learned to hide and squirrel my cash away where it couldn’t be found. I still do that to this day with a portion of each paycheck I earn. Strange, yes. But hard lessons learned lead to a lifetime of mistrust.
I turned 18 years old and was devastated instead of being excited. The reason was because I didn’t have all the cash I needed to buy the bike I wanted. I had tried so hard, worked hard and was still several hundred short. That meant, until I had it, I couldn’t become a member of the club.
I showed up for my shift that morning, dragging my feet and being angry at the world. After pulling on my coveralls, Petey hollered for me to get my lazy ass to the front of the shop. Grumbling, stomping my feet, I made my way through the door before coming to a shocked stop. There stood the shop employees, the club members, their kids and their women. A large birthday cake sat on the counter and birthday balloons were floating above the bike I’d been wanting for so long. I had no words.
“You gonna say thanks or just stand there with your mouth open?” asked Petey while grinning huge.
“Happy Birthday, Alfred. That’s the last time you’re going to hear one of us call you by that name, though. Your road name is Trigger since your temper has a hair trigger. Reno came up with that the day you heaved the wrench across the shop, nearly decapitating him. Yeah, that’s the day when we decided you were going to get the chance to get voted in. You’re now a prospect for The Devil’s Angels MC,” Gunner’s dad states with a smile and a pat on the head of his young son. I say young son because even as a child, Gunner was never small.
“I don’t have all the money for the bike yet,” I mumble.
“We know that, Trigger. You’ll give me what you have and we’ll take a portion out of your paychecks until it’s paid off. In the meantime, you’ll be moving to a room at the clubhouse, rent-free of course. Prospecting ain’t easy and we’re not going to be soft on you. You’ll keep working here but when you’re not, you’ll be on duty as a prospect for the club.”
“You’ll be my bitch,” hollers Axel, Petey’s young son.
“I’m nobody’s bitch, kid,” I bark back at the little troublemaker.
I fight a grin as I watch Axel’s bottom lip poke out in a pout. I don’t bother to hide it when Axel’s mom gives him a slap to the back of his blond head.
“Still waiting for a thank you, Prospect,” Freddy says.
“Thank you. Really, everyone, thank you,” I state emphatically.
We eat cake, I open the gifts my new family bought me and I leave that day feeling 10 feet tall and on top of the world. I’ve never looked back since.
I prospected for less than a year before getting patched into the club. That’s an unusually short amount of time but I had proved myself early on. The club wasn’t as clean as it is now and we were involved in a lot of shady things. We were making bank but there was a cost. We lost one brother to a turf battle with another club. Shot down while holding the door of a store open for an elderly woman. Payback for that club was bloody and prolonged. We lost one but they lost several. To this day, that turf’s ours and will remain so. Clean club or not, nobody takes what belongs to The Devil’s Angels.
We’ve had a few brothers get jail and prison sentences over the years. Some short, some not. I earned my club’s respect in several ways but proving my loyalty was never a hardship for me. I volunteered for the riskier, more dangerous assignments because I didn’t have a woman or children expecting me to make it back home. I’ve always felt protective of my club brothers and that was my way of showing it.
I’ve watched the club brats grow up and become men I admire. Both Gunner and Axel are men I give a lot of shit to but would die for any day of the week. Both are loyal to the core. I’ve watched as they’ve become fathers themselves and know that the lessons we’ve taught them over the years are ones they’ll pass on. Their daughters will know nothing but love and support from their club family.
I’ve never wanted a position of power within the club and have refused all that’s been offered. I didn’t want to get tied down to the clubhouse dealing with paperwork and the headaches that come with it. I nominated Gunner for Prez when we lost his parents years back. I seconded the motion for Axel as V.P. when Petey wanted to step down. None of us older guys felt up to the challenge and I’ve backed every decision Gunner’s made about taking the club in a cleaner direction. Not because I agreed with every decision but because he’s the Prez and he’s earned that from me.
Over the years, I’ve had the honor of watching new members join and helped shaped them into the men they are now. No, I didn’t have an Ol’ Lady or kids of my own, but in some ways, I did. Cash, Chubs, Pooh, Vex, and several others came in young and learned fast. Other’s didn’t learn and they were never patched in. That’s the way of a club. You prove your loyalty or you’re gone.
Having my personality, I decided after a few years of living in the clubhouse, it was best if I bought my own home. It’s like having the best of both worlds. I can be at the clubhouse and involved in all that’s happening, or I can go home for some peace and quiet. Petey helped me find my home and in return I offered him a place to live when his wife booted him out. Good riddance to that one. She never appreciated all she had when it was right in front of her. She had a good husband, a funny, outgoing son and lived well. For some people, nothing is ever enough.
I stayed close during that difficult time for Petey and Axel. Petey dealt with things and pulled through better for it. Axel struggled for quite a while. I hated seeing the light in his eyes dimmed by his mom brushing him off as easily as she did her husband. A good woman might divorce her husband but never her child, regardless of his age. After the divorce, Petey moved out of my house and into a rental. Thank God he did, even though I hated seeing him leave, because that simple move brought us Ava. That’s when things got interesting.
I hate to admit it now, but I wasn’t overly fond of Ava when she first hit my radar. Not because of anything she’d done but simply because I didn’t want to see more changes in the club. We’d pulled through some hard times and made changes that didn’t sit well with everyone. I liked how things were now going and wanted a break from daily turmoil. Ava, through no fault of her own, brought a lot of turmoil with her.
It didn’t take long to see how perfect she’d be as Gunner’s Ol’ Lady, though. She fit into the club like she was born to it. As a President’s Ol’ Lady, you have to be made of strong stuff to survive and she has that in spades. She’s sweet, smart, loyal and badass to the bone. After hearing all that she’d been through, I vowed to myself that I’d never allow harm to ever come to her again.
Along with Ava, came her pets and Trudy. The pets can’t really be described except to say that they’ve brought a lot of enjoyment and laughs to the club. How can you not love a pig that’s always smiling, a dog who’s over-protective of those he considers his, a cat that’s hell on wheels when pissed and Mac. Mac’s a Macaw with more attitude than any human I’ve ever met. I love that little feathered pain in the ass but mostly because he gives Axel grief. It’s a love/hate relationship and always fun to watch.
Trudy, Petey’s wife, came into our lives with Ava. Good woman, through and through. Strong, determined, loving and hard-working. I couldn’t have picked someone better for Petey. She takes no shit but dishes up her share of it and has Ava’s back at all times. Trudy and Axel’s bantering is legendary. She’s probably the only female (Ava too on certain days) that Axel truly fears angering and yet does so often. That may change once his daughter Alexia is a teenager, but for now Trudy wears that crown.
Bailey came into the club by knocking Axel off his bike. You can’t make that kind of shit up and I regret it wasn’t caught on video. Bailey’s the club accountant, Axel’s match and the first female I’ve considered a daughter. We share a special bond that I protect at all costs. I may come across as ornery but my heart melts every time she shows at the shop to share lunch with me. She pretends not to notice and I love her a little more each week.
Bailey came to the club with baggage, also. That baggage led us to Bella and I still thank God every night for allowing us the privilege of keeping Bella as ours. I also never forget to thank Him for letting us get to her before worse things happened. Bella has every member of our MC family firmly tucked in her tiny little grasp but her grip on Pooh is the tightest. Their bond’s going to be a life-long thing of beauty.
Then there’s Lucy. Tiny, fearless, and shy, she belongs to Chubs. Or rather, Chubs belongs to Lucy. Either way, they’re perfect together but I know in my soul their ride is going to be a bumpy one. Lucy’s proved her love and devotion already, but I’m worried about what’s to come for them. Worried but watchful. I know something’s up with Chubs, so I make it a point to keep my eyes open and my ear to the ground. I want to be prepared for whatever’s coming his way.
Now on to Pooh. He introduced us to Pippa and Craig, along with Tammy. He got a ready-made family and he’s the perfect man for that. Pippa adopted Craig, a miniature form of Axel, and Pooh claimed both. Craig’s quite the character. The kid hates soap and water like it’s out to kill him. He’s got the mouth of a sailor and big enough gonads to take on Axel. He chose a skunk for his pet and protects his family any way he can. All of this and he’s barely 5 years old. Love that kid six ways to Sunday. Not sure Pippa’s aware of it but Pooh has plans for more kids, born or adopted, he doesn’t care. He may have to wait a while, though, because Pippa’s busy saving women from bad situations. Tammy, Pippa’s foster mom, helps her do that. Everyone needs a helping hand or a safe place to land at some point and they offer both. Love and admiration for them fills my chest on the regular.
I got Tammy, the woman I’ve always wanted but never knew I needed. She’s way too classy for an old biker like me but I’m never letting her go. She’s perfect in every way but especially for me. I’m still not sure why I got her as mine, but I’d gut myself before letting her regret it. As I said before, she’s the light and sunshine of my world now. And while she’s classy, she can straddle a bike with the best of them. No better feeling in the world than feeling her pressed against my back as we spend hours with the wind in our faces on my Harley. With Tammy becoming mine, I gained a daughter, grandson and son-in-law. Guess I got my ready-made family too. Can you see how big my smile is?
Let’s talk about Vex, the pretty boy of the club. Man-whore extraordinaire until Taja yanked him down to earth. It’s still odd for me to enter the clubhouse and not see Vex’s junk or some club girl climbing on him. Odd, but a nice change. I knew when the day came, it would be Vex who fell the hardest. He had the furthest to fall and it’s not been an easy one for him. He’s got his head on straight now because Taja’s not one to allow otherwise. They’ve been to hell and back, but they did it together with the club at their backs. It hurt to watch their struggle after watching how excited they were about the baby. Life can suck sometimes, and Joshua was a harsh reminder of that.
While I like and admire Taja, it’s her little sister that I adore. Tessie’s a young woman after my own heart. She loves anything with an engine and is becoming a damn good mechanic. She reminds me a lot of myself when I was that age. She listens, learns fast, and works harder than anyone else at the shop. And for some damn reason, she can’t drive worth a shit. And that brings us to now, probably the stupidest idea me and Freddy have ever had.
“I can’t believe we agreed to this, Trig. We’re too old for this shit. She’s going to kill us in a fiery explosion and it’ll be our own damn fault,” Freddy moans for about the 4th time.
“At least nobody in the club knows about it. That way, we won’t have to listen to the guys gloat about our senility if we do die. Shit, get ready. Here she comes,” I answer back while swallowing a large lump in my throat.
Tessie was feeling low because of her lack of driving skills. It was killing me watching her mope around the shop. I mentioned it to Freddy and we decided to take one for the team. Freddy claimed Taja and Tessie as his daughters a while back but I’m refusing to let go that easily of Tessie. Because of that, I’m standing here beside him, preparing for death.
We’re at the far side of the club’s property in a small clearing. We chose this spot because no one can see us. Freddy said that was important because he’d rather die than be seen loading his drawers and I completely agree. No need to give the club something to laugh about – that’s why we keep Axel around.
I watch as Tessie strolls through the clearing toward us, smile beaming. Freddy slowly, hand quivering, tosses Tessie the keys to his large, late model car. We thought it would give us the best chance of survival since it’s a boat of a car. While Tessie’s climbing in the driver’s seat, I spot Freddy doing the sign of the cross before he seats himself in the passenger seat. I smirk, quickly do the same, then climb into the backseat. We all buckle up. I even triple check my seatbelt, something I haven’t worn in years.
Ten minutes later ….
“How long is he going to need?” Tessie calmly asks from behind the steering wheel.
“Not sure, Darlin’. Projectile vomiting takes as long as it takes,” I answer in a voice I haven’t had since I was about 11 years old.
“I love that man, but really? He’s being a little prissy, don’t you think? I mean, you’ve been here for my whole lesson and you’re not outside puking. Maybe he just gets motion sickness? You think?” Tessie questions.
“Could be,” I respond after clearing my throat a few times. It didn’t help. I’m still sounding like I’ve been castrated. Pretty sure my balls are lodged somewhere in my chest. Please, God, let them drop back down again.
“You okay, Freddy?” Tessie shouts out the window that no longer exists.
That reminds me to roll my window down and toss out what’s left of the limb that removed said window. It crashed through Tessie’s window, into the backseat and nearly pinned me permanently in place. I note my hands are shaking so I sit on them when I’m done.
“Must have been something I ate, Tessie. Go ahead and practice while I eat a Tums, okay?” Freddy tries to shout back.
I now hate him because I know that rat bastard has bailed and I’m going to die alone.
Another ten minutes later ….
“You’re doing much better, Tessie. I think another lesson or two and you’ll be good to go. Freddy said earlier that he has Tuesday free to work with you again,” I state in a calm voice while throwing that rat bastard under the bus.
“I think you’re right. Today didn’t go perfectly but I do feel a little better about my abilities. And it wasn’t my fault that the gas pedal stuck like it did. But, damn Trigger, we were flying! Literally flying! I’ll let Freddy know I can fix that sticky gas pedal for him this week. Do you think he’s okay?” Tessie asks while removing her seatbelt.
“I’m positive he’s fine. That fallen tree he dove behind is large and didn’t hardly move when we hit it. Can you swim, Tessie?”
“Yeah, but I don’t think the water’s that deep. We can probably wade back to shore. Who knew there’s a pond back here?”
“Um, not me, that’s for damn sure,” I answer mournfully.
I’m calm as can be now that I know the car has stopped moving for the day, possibly forever. I’m pretty sure the car is terminal but I don’t mention that to Tessie. The plus side to ending up in a pond is no fiery crash to contend with and no one can tell I’ve thoroughly pissed myself. I’m counting it as a win/win.
Meanwhile, back at the clubhouse ….
“Hey, Gunner! You know those new security cameras I installed last week? You’re never going to believe what I just watched,” shouts Rex before falling out of his chair, laughing his ass off.