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June 17, 2024

The Devil's Punch Bowl

By David H. Donaghe

Lightning flashed, thunder rolled, and I materialized on a lonely desert highway, along with six of my bros. Our scooters faded from their majestic dazzling colors and chrome, to ordinary, older looking Harley Davidson motorcycles as we touched down on the highway. My name is John Brown, but my bros call me Cave Man. Back in sixty-eight, I rode with the Old Dogs, but the world went through a change and I wound up hitting an oak tree at one-hundred and ten miles per; that sent me to Biker Heaven, along with my bro, Old School. Now we ride with a band of troubleshooters and wear the halo patch. Whenever there's trouble in the biker world and the bros need a little help from the other side, they send us. Some people might call us angels, but don't get confused. We're not Hell's Angels; we ride for the other side.

It felt good to be mortal once more and feel the wind in my face, even though it was only temporary. We rolled down the highway with Little Danny Boy, our road captain, leading the pack. Hector, Hondo, Iron Man, Thumper and Old School formed up behind Little Danny Boy riding in staggered formation with me riding Tail Gunner at the rear. We rolled around a bend, one-hundred-fifty miles out from Harlem Springs, Arizona, under a full moon on a warm summer night when Little Danny Boy pulled over to the side of the road next to a battered old oak tree. He parked his scooter, swaggered over to the tree and the rest of us pulled over behind him. Old School and I sauntered up next to Little Danny Boy and I felt a cold chill run down my spine.

"You remember this place?" Little Danny Boy asked, but I just shrugged, pulling a bottle of Old Number Seven from my vest pocket and downing a shot. A cold wind caused a chill to run down my spine, so I zipped up my leather jacket.

"How could I forget? This is where I died," I said and then Old School and I knelt down to examine the tree.

"Look, you can still see the scars. There's a dent where my head smashed against the trunk," Old School said.

"Are we going to stop at the cabin?" I asked, but Little Danny boy shook his head.

"No. They're back in town now. It's been thirty-two years. The worlds moved on. Things are back to normal now. The government finally got a handle on the flesh eaters in the late eighties. The ones we'll be fighting now will be much harder to kill than those zombie sons of bitches."

"What about Teddy Bear and Chops? I thought maybe they'd want in on this deal," I asked.

"They'll come if we need them. Even your pops said something about joining us if things get hairy," Little Danny Boy replied and that brought a smile to my face.

"It'll feel good to ride with the old man again," I said. "I only see him at church. The rest of the time he's busy going hog wild in biker heaven."

Little Danny Boy swaggered over to his old Pan Head and said, "Let's ride. There's a storm coming, and it's coming straight from hell. If we don't do something, the Road Dogs won't stand a chance." We fired up the scooters, pulled onto the highway and rolled on through the night toward Harlem Springs.

* * *

On another lonely desert highway, this one near the outskirts of Tortilla Flats, a desolate town on the California side of the Arizona border, Joker and Cowboy, members of the local Road Dogs chapter, had their fist in the throttle heading toward town. A full moon looked down from above, a cool breeze tickled their face and Cowboy felt a chill shoot down his spine when he heard a rumble of motorcycles coming up behind them. Glancing in his rear view mirror, Cowboy's eyes widened when he saw the headlights of over thirty motorcycles coming up on their tail at a high rate of speed. It looked as if they had a pickup truck traveling behind the pack as a chase vehicle.

Behind the motorcycle riders, unseen by human eye, an evil horde of demonic entities riding on vile creatures from hell thundered forward just above the ground. The leader, riding a two-headed beast that looked somewhat like a cross between a rhinoceros and an elephant, wore a golden spiked helmet and carried a flaming sword forged in the pits of hell. The evil beast snorted fire and let out an evil hiss and they thundered down the road following their human disciples. When they passed by a ranch house sitting off the road, the man of the house woke up in a cold sweat feeling an urgent to pray and fell to his knees at his bedside. Down the hallway, his six-year-old daughter screamed in the night in the thrall of a nightmare, and outside their German shepherd dog howled, cowering in his doghouse.

Thunder cracked and lightning pierced the night when the leader of the evil host blew his horn. On the ground, the Hell Raisers, the motorcycle gang in pursuit of Cowboy and Joker, pulled up next to them. Their leader, known as Hell Boy, lowered a double-barreled sawed off shotgun and let go with both barrels blowing Cowboy out of the saddle. Cowboy's bike swerved sideways and then high sided and tumbled down the road. Joker locked up his brakes and went down near the centerline; when he stopped sliding, coming to rest on his back, Hell Boy parked his custom chopper on the side of the road and swaggered over to where Joker lay.

"Please. Mercy," Joker pleaded raising a bloody hand.

Hell boy laughed and then said, "Sorry. I'm fresh out." The rest of the pack parked their motorcycles on the edge of the road. Grim Reaper, their Road Captain swaggered up to Hell Boy.

"You want me to do it?" the Grim Reaper asked, shaking a one-gallon gas can.

"No. This one's mine."

"Please no. Just shoot me, man," Joker said, trying to stand on his busted leg.

Hell Boy laughed, kicked him back to the pavement, poured gasoline over Joker's body and then smiled.

"I'll see ya in hell," he said, pulling a Zippo from his pants pocket. Making flame, he set off the gasoline and while Joker screamed in agony, Hell Boy whistled a tune and ambled over to Cowboy's body. After pouring gasoline over Cowboy's remains, he lit him up and then turned to his club brothers. "That's two. We'll hit their clubhouse in Tortilla Flats and then head east."

"We might need a little help with those old boys," the Grim Reaper said.

"Our bros from up north are supposed to meet us across the boarder at Parker. When we hit those peckerwoods in Harlem Springs, we'll be over a hundred strong. Let's ride."

While the Hell Raisers roared down the highway, the moon reflected off the black and white patches on their backs, revealing the Hell Raiser Rocker, along with the patch depicting the evil-looking skeletal demon riding a chrome horse. The stench of burning flesh wafted on the wind and behind them, unseen to the human eye, the leader of the demonic crew let out a war cry, urging on his fiends from hell, and collected two more souls.

The Hell Raisers hit the Road Dog clubhouse in Tortilla Flats hard and fast. They rolled up on the Thunder Dome, the combination bar and clubhouse, and gunned down the two prospects guarding the bikes outside in the gravel parking lot. When the bros inside the clubhouse heard gunfire, they rushed outside, straight into a wall of automatic weapons fire. The survivors of the initial onslaught retreated into the clubhouse and returned fire after busting out a few windows at the front of the building.

Hell Boy motioned to the Grim Reaper and said, "Send half the boys to the rear to make sure they don't come out the back. Send Bone Crusher to get a crowbar to bar the front doors. Get the gas cans." Dodging bullets coming from the clubhouse, Grim Reaper ran forward with the crowbar and Bone Crusher followed along behind carrying two five-gallon gas cans. While Grim Reaper barred the front door, Bone Crusher poured gasoline all over the front boardwalk and the front of the building. The tempo of the gunfire increased when the Road Dogs trapped inside the building realized what was happening. Ignoring the gunfire, Hell Boy swaggered up to the boardwalk with a cocky grin on his face. He pulled his Zippo from his pocket, lighted a cigarette, and then tossed the burning lighter onto the boardwalk. The Thunder Dome burst into flames, but Hell Boy just laughed. Ignoring the blood-curdling screams of the bikers trapped inside the burning clubhouse, he turned to his motorcycle.

"We'll leave five guys here. I'll call some of our chapters up north and have them send some guys down. Have the guys we leave here find another bar to establish our presence. Maybe that place on the other side of town we saw coming in here. Within a month, we'll own this town," Hell Boy said to his Road Captain. While Grim Reaper picked out the five guys to stay behind, the rest fired up their motorcycles and headed for the Arizona border. Behind them, hovering above the ground, the leader of the demonic swarm opened up a ceramic urn. Moonlight flashed off the jewels and diamonds embedded in the urn while he collected the souls.

* * *

We rolled into Harlem Springs at six in the morning and stopped in at the diner. Being mortal again required food and rest, so after breakfast we holed up in a motel to get some sleep, and then rolled out to the High Noon Saloon about 6 pm that evening. The High Noon Saloon was a bar five miles outside of town run by the Road Dogs motorcycle club. They used the back room off the bar to have club meetings, which most bikers called going to church. The combination bar and clubhouse had another large room with beds, showers and a card table for brothers who needed a place to stay. Down in the basement, they kept supplies such as extra food, booze, guns, ammo and anything else they thought they might need.

Pulling up next to the boardwalk, we parked the bikes in the gravel parking lot and swaggered up on the boardwalk. The two prospects guarding the motorcycles out front gave us the once over. The Road Dogs ran an open clubhouse, meaning that anyone could come and drink at the bar, as long as they behaved, but if they caused trouble, the bros would toss them out on their ears. It was mostly club members that evening and the party was in full swing. The large speakers behind the bar blasted a ZZ Top track and two young ladies danced on top of the bar topless. They looked like hang-arounds, not old ladies, and a wooly bear of a man danced with another, big breasted blonde on the dance floor while several people sat at tables through out the barroom, and bikers lined the bar.

We stood in the center of the bar room, taking in the scene; all eyes turned to us, acknowledging our presence, and then the bar's patrons went about their business.

"There's a lot of new faces here," Little Danny Boy said.

"What do you expect? It's been over thirty years. The world's moved on," I said and then noticed a familiar face sitting at the bar. His hair had gone gray, his beard, had turned white and his face looked more weather beaten, but I would recognize Sonny anywhere. "There's Sonny," I said, a smile crossing my face. I ambled over to the bar while Little Danny Boy and the rest of our crew found a table. John Taylor was the president of the chapter and my best friend when I bought the farm back in sixty-eight, but everyone called him Sonny. Elbowing my way between Sonny and a young Road Dog with curly blond hair, I pulled a copper coin, about the size of a silver dollar, out of my vest pocket. Engraved on one side of the coin was our club emblem and the words Road Dogs and on the other side of the coin was my name: Cave man. I slapped the coin down on the bar.

"I'm calling the coin," I said. It was a tradition that when someone called the coin, the club member unable to produce his coin bought the next round of beer. All eyes at the bar turned to me and Sonny's eyes widened.

"What chapter are you from, brother? I think I've seen your face somewhere, but I don't remember," the young curly blond headed biker said.

"I'm from this chapter. The name's Cave Man," I said and then turned the coin over showing my name engraved on the back. Sonny's eyes widened and his jaw dropped.

"I knew Cave Man. You look a lot like him, or like he did before he died back in sixty-eight. Where'd you get that coin?" Sonny asked.

"You gave it to me, Sonny. At the ceremony when you patched me in."

"I'll be right back," the young blond headed biker said and then disappeared into a back room.

"Who's the young blood?" I asked.

"That's our president. We call him Chico."

"Why aren't you still president?" I asked. Sonny pulled a pack of smokes from his vest pocket and lit one up.

"I ran my course. It was time for the young folks to take over." Chico came back carrying a leather bound book and his face looked ashen.

"He's in the book," Chico whispered to Sonny. "I knew I'd seen his face somewhere. So are those dudes sitting over at that table with that halo patch on the back of their vests. They're all in the book of the dead," Chico said and handed the book to Sonny. The book of the dead was a leather bound photo album with picture of all our fallen brothers, and you had to be dead, to be in the book.

"So if you're Cave Man, prove it. Show me the tat we gave you the day you patched in," Sonny said, so I pulled up my shirt and showed him my tattoo.

"Anybody can get a tat. Tell me the last thing you said to me the day you died. Tell me how you went out."

I sighed and then said, "The very last thing I said to you was that after we died for you guys to have a party for Old School and me. Then I said good bye to that young girl Cynthia, I climbed on the bike, I looked at Old School and said, 'Let's ride'."

"Old School. Is he here too?" Sonny asked.

"He's right there at that table."

"Who's Old School?" Chico asked.

"He was before your time. Little Danny Boy was president before me. He died in Vietnam."

"How'd you guys go out?"

"Me and Old School both got bit by zombies. We plowed into that old oak tree down the road from the dirt road leading back to the cabin. We hit the tree at over one-hundred miles an hour."

"Is he telling us true?" Chico asked.

"I know it sounds crazy, but yeah he is. He's Cave Man. It happed just like he said," Sonny replied.

"So what's with these halo patches?" Chico asked.

"I'll let Little Danny Boy tell you about that, I said and then motioned for him and the bros from the other side to come over. They swaggered up to the bar and a few nervous hellos came from the Road Dogs lining the bar. It's not every day that a band of bikers come back from the dead and swagger into a bar. "Meet Chico. He's the new president. He wants to know about the halo patch," I said and then Chico and Little Danny Boy shook hands.

"He don't feel like no ghost," Chico said and then let out a nervous laugh.

"The halos are a group of trouble shooters. We're an auxiliary branch of the Road Dogs," Little Danny Boy replied.

"Why ain't we heard of them?" Chico asked.

"Because you have to be dead to sign up. We started the group in a church meeting in biker heaven," Little Danny Boy said and you could have heard a pin drop or maybe a fly fart.

"Are you guys like angels?" Chico asked.

"Sort of, but not quite. They gave us certain powers that we can use while we're here to accomplish our mission," Little Danny Boy said.

"Why are you here? Why'd you come back?" Sonny asked.

"Because there's a storm coming and they're called the Hell Raisers. They all ready wiped out the chapter in Tortilla Flats. They burned their clubhouse to the ground and they're coming here next. This is the mother chapter. If this chapter falls, the Road Dogs fall." Chico frantically pulled something out of his pocket and put it up to his ear. It reminded me of Captain Kirk's communicator on Star Trek.

"What's that?" I asked.

"It's called a cell phone. It's a telephone, but there's no wires," Sonny said. Chico held a brief conversation over the phone, his eyes widened, he cut the connection and put the phone in his pocket.

"He's telling the truth. They hit the clubhouse in Tortilla Flats last night and burned everyone alive that was inside," Chico said.

"Why would the powers that be in Biker Heaven, if there is such a place, care about a biker war going on here on Earth?" Sonny asked.

"Because there's more to it than just a couple of bike clubs going to war. It's a war over souls and they have help. Someone unleashed the Devil's imps, but we'll deal with them. You know, Harlem Springs used to be a nice place to live for the citizens as well as for us," Little Danny Boy said.

"It still is. We keep the drug dealers and scum out. Oh, there's a few people who sell weed, but they don't cause trouble," Chico said.

"If the Hell Raisers take over, that will change. They'll bring in crystal meth, heroin, you name it. This town will be in a world of shit."

"What are we supposed to do? How much time do we have?" Chico asked.

"We'll get into that, but first I called the coin. Produce your coins, brothers," I said. Everyone lining the bar produced their coins, so I had to buy the next round. "Make mine a Jack and Coke," I said to the prospect working the bar and then I put my coin back in my pocket.

"So how much time do we have?" Chico asked. Little Danny Boy shrugged, the prospect passed out the drinks and I took a drink from my Jack and Coke.

"Maybe a day or two. We need to be ready," Little Danny Boy replied.

A couple of bros started a pool game, the prospect turned down the music and we put our heads together to talk.

"We've got enough arms and ammunition to hold off a small army," Sonny said.

"That won't work," I said and then shook my head. "They'd just burn this place to the ground with you inside. That's what they did in California. We need to lure them away. We need to trap them in an ambush somewhere."

"Yeah, but where?" Chico asked. A memory flashed through my brain, penetrating the Jack Daniel's fog. That's another thing I'll have to get used to again, I thought: hangovers.

"What about that place east of here where we used to party at, back in the day? I think we called it the Devil's Punch Bowl," I said.

"It's still there. The dirt road going in is a little rough, but it's still there. The lake's dried up though," Sonny said and Little Danny Boy grinned.

"That's perfect. This will all go down at the Devil's Punch Bowl. This is what we'll do," Little Danny Boy said while I sat back drinking my Jack and Coke and listened.

* * *

The Hell Raisers gathered in Parker, Arizona; for two days, they partied and planned their attack while their brothers rode in from the north and north east. Others came up from Mexico, converging on the small desert town on the bank of the Colorado River. It seemed as if a dark cloud hung over the city -- the animals howled at night, the ministers in the local churches felt an unexpected urgency and called special prayer meetings. What the mortals of Parker Arizona could somehow sense, but not see, was the evil demonic horde gathering over the landscape.

The Hell Raisers kept a low profile, not wanting to draw too much attention from the local law enforcement, but even so, the police had their hands full with the local criminal element, and by the time they rolled out on a Wednesday evening, they were over two hundred strong. They took Interstate 10 east to Apache Junction and then headed east on Highway 60. From Highway 60, they headed south on Highway 177 across one of the more desolate sections of Arizona toward Harlem Springs. The night wore on, a full moon rose into the sky, and when the Hell Raisers rolled into the parking lot of the High Noon Saloon they ran right into a wall of lead.

* * *

When the Hell Raisers pulled into the parking lot, the Road Dogs opened up on them from concealed positions. One group of Road Dogs fired from a clump of trees on the edge of the parking lot while another group opened up from fortified positions using several parked cars and trucks lining the other side of the parking lot, and the bulk of the Road dogs fired at them from the clubhouse itself. Muzzle flashes lit up the night and the initial onslaught cut down a third of the Hell Raisers and put the rest of the outlaw bikers in a state of disarray.

"Regroup! Back to the highway!" Hell Boy yelled, trying to rally his forces.

With their enemy in a state of confusion, Chico gave the order to abandon the clubhouse. The group of Road Dogs firing from the tree line ran to their motorcycles, as did the ones firing at the Hell Raisers from behind the parked vehicles. The Road Dogs firing from the clubhouse fired a few more rounds, giving their brothers a chance to get away before they made their escape. On the highway, three hundred yards up the road from where Hell Boy struggled to regroup the Hell Raisers, the Road Dogs formed up with Chico and Little Danny Boy at the head of the pack.

"We need someone to stall them for a few minutes while we get away, and I don't mean those old boys on scooters. I mean their help," Little Danny Boy said.

Chico gave him a confused look, and said, "What help?"

"Never mind. I'll handle it," I said.

"We'll meet you at the Punch Bowl," Little Danny Boy replied.

"I'll stay with Cave Man," Old School said. Chico and Little Danny Boy nodded and then the Road Dogs roared down the highway. We sat parked in the middle of the highway facing west watching Hell Raisers form up, and above them, clouds covered the sky and the demonic forces gathered.

"Just like old times, huh?" Old School said.

"Yeah. We died together the last time, so we might as well fight this evil vermin together too. Road Dogs to the end," I said and took a bottle of Jack from my vest pocket, took a pull and handed the bottle to Old school; he took a drink and handed the bottle back to me.

"That's right. Road Dogs in life, Road Dogs in death," Old School said.

The Hell Raisers roared down the road toward us, and above them, hovering over the ground, the leader of the demonic crew blew his horn and followed. Breathing in the smell of brimstone, I held up my hand and blue lightning fired from my fingertips. In the sky above the road, the blue light flashed, engulfing the imps from hell. The impact sent them flying in all directions, and their leader pointed his sword, sending a bolt of fire onto the road. Sparks flew into the air; Old School brought his hand over his shoulder as if tossing a softball and sent a ball of fire down the road at the approaching riders. Tires squealed, ten bikes went down and metal scraped against asphalt.

"That ... should hold them for a little while," I said to Old School feeling breathless from the loss of energy.

"Yeah ... Let's get out of here. That one took a lot out of me," Old School replied. We whirled around, our bikes changing into radiant steeds of light and chrome, and headed east flying above the highway.

"These motor scooters sure are cool," I said to Old School, but he just nodded and a big grin crossed his face.

* * *

We came in low flying over the Devil's Punch Bowl and touched ground facing north. When we landed on the dry lakebed, our scooters changed, the radiance fading, and they turned back into older worn out Harley Davidson motorcycles. I saw something shimmer in the air next to me and three more motorcycles and their riders appeared out of thin air, and once they solidified, I recognized Chops, Teddy Bear and my father, George Taylor. He looked more alive and vibrant than he ever did in life.

My pops gave me a cocky grin and said, "You didn't think I was going to let you have all the fun?"

I let out a barrel laugh, handed him the bottle of Jack and said, "No Pops, I didn't figure you would." Little Danny Boy and the rest of the halo crew nodded at the new arrivals while a line of Road Dogs, sitting on their motorcycles behind us, watched the dirt road leading into the small valley. The rest of the bros wearing the halo patch pulled their scooters up next to us and Chico came up to where I sat talking to my pops.

"If I wouldn't have seen that with mine own eyes, I wouldn't have believed it. What kind of scoots are those anyway? I've never seen a motorcycle that can fly," Chico said.

"They're spirit bikes. You get them when you cross over," I said and grinned.

"Yeah. Whatever. I've got some bros hiding in that big clump of rocks to our left, and another group up on that embankment to our right. When these sons of bitches cross the lake bed, we'll get them in a cross fire," Chico said.

"You guys will have to deal with the ones on the ground. We'll take care of their demonic friends," Little Danny Boy said.

"Yeah, don't worry about what you see in the sky above you, it'll be like the fourth of July," I said.

"I still can't believe this angel and demon shit," Chico replied.

"Just worry about those assholes when they come across the lake bed. We'll take care of the rest," I replied.

"Yeah, right," Chico said and then strode back to join the bros lining up behind us. I took the bottle of Old Number Seven from my pops, tossed back a shot and then handed it to Old School. He took a shot, handed the bottle back to me, I handed it to Little Danny Boy, who killed the rest of the bottle and tossed it to the ground. I saw lights coming down the dirt road approaching the lakebed and above the ground; I saw what looked like a dark cloud covering the valley.

"It's a good thing you only have to die once," I said to Little Danny Boy.

"Yeah, but when them lightning bolts hit, it almost makes you feel like you're gonna die."

"You know what they said before we left. If we take too many hits and lose our energy, we'll vanish from this plane of existence and wind up back home."

"I know, but we can't let these evil SOBs win. Let's do this thing," Little Danny Boy said, giving us a nod. I looked up, watching the Hell Raisers coming across the lakebed and then looked above them seeing the evil imps from Hell. Gunning the throttle on my Pan Head, I let out the clutch and we took flight. Light radiated from the scooter and fire belched from its tailpipe as it changed and we gained altitude advancing on the demonic horde. Old School and Iron Man rode to my left; Little Danny Boy and Thumper rode to my right, and my pops, along with Chops and Teddy Bear, brought up the rear.

We slammed into the dark cloud of the Devil's imps at full speed causing explosions of lustrous light while below us the Road Dogs opened up on the Hell Raisers. Muzzle flashes blossomed below, and lightning bolts and balls of blue light filled the sky when we collided with the demonic hoard with such force that the impact sent us, along with the demons and their evil steeds, spinning across the valley. Cranking my throttle, I spun around, and hovered over the valley slashing with my blade and firing my .357 at the evil vermin when they flew by. Lightning bolts shot out the barrel of my .357 every time I fired it, and blue fire shot from the blade of my knife. An evil looking two-headed demon came at me; I sliced my blade through his skull and he exploded into a cloud of dust. Old School took a lightning bolt in the chest that sent him skidding across the sky.

My pops slammed into an evil creature trying to crawl on my back and knocked him to the ground, where the vile creature exploded.

"I sent that one back to hell where he belongs," Pops said and then laughed.

We fought the fiends of hell above the ground, while our brothers dealt with the Hell Raisers on the lakebed. Teddy Bear took a ball of red light to the chest, and dissipated, fading from this plane of existence; Thumper caught a lightning bolt in the center of his forehead and exploded into nothingness. Iron Man went down in flames and disintegrated when three evil demons stabbed him with their spears, but then the battle turned, both on the ground and above it. In the dry lakebed, the Road Dogs had the Hell Raisers in a deadly crossfire cutting them down with a rain of lead.

In the air above them, the imps from hell flew in disarray, fleeing over the hillside to the north, heading back to the pits of hell, from which they came. Noticing their leader on his two-headed beast, I gunned the throttle and caught up with him. Diving through the air, I slammed into him, grabbed the silver canister and drove my blade through the top of his golden helmet; he disappeared in a blinding flash of light. My old Pan Head, now my spirit bike, came to me, I climbed into the saddle and we floated back down to the ground.

The battle won, the Road Dogs gathered around five figures sitting on their knees in the middle of the lakebed. Hell Boy, and five other Hell Raisers, beat up and bloody, looked into the hard face of Chico, president of the Road Dogs. Several more Road Dogs gathered around them with guns to their heads.

"I ought to just kill you all, but we're not gonna," Chico said.

"What are we gonna do with them?" Sonny asked.

"Cut off their patches, and then let's brand them," Chico said. He glanced at a prospect and said, "Build a fire." A half hour later, with the sky turning purple in the east, the five remaining Hell Raisers rode away; with the back of their vest bare and the letters RD branded on their biceps, they left in shame. A loud cheer rose up from the lakebed and several Road Dogs shouted curses urging the remnants of the Hell Raisers on.

"We're not done yet. There's one more thing we need to do," I said to Chico.

"What's that?"

"We need to set the captives free," I said, climbing off my scooter. I opened the silver canister. We stood back in awe, watching soul after soul ascend heading to their heavenly reward.

"If I wouldn't have seen that, I wouldn't believe it," Chico said watching what looked like blue streaks of light shoot up into the sky.

"I guess we're done here," I said to Little Danny Boy, but he just shrugged.

"No, we'll give it a couple more days and then head home."

We climbed back onto our scooters, headed to the highway and those of us with the halo patch took up the rear following the Road Dogs back to Harlem Springs. We partied hard at the clubhouse for the next three days, but all good things come to an end, and we needed to get back. Gathering out by the road on a Saturday evening, we did some backslapping and the entire Harlem Springs chapter was there to see us off.

"I'm gonna miss you Bro," Sonny said, giving me a hug, and then passed me a bottle of Jack, so I took a pull.

"We'll see each other again," I said.

"Thanks for your help," Chico said.

I put my arm around the young man's shoulder and said, "You're gonna make a good president. You'll take the Road Dogs to new heights, in fact from what I hear, the folks upstairs think you'll be the best one yet. Just keep the faith. Road Dogs forever, Bro."

"Let's mount up!" Little Danny Boy yelled. We formed up on the road and my pops pulled up next to me on his old Knuckle Head.

"It'll feel good to ride next to you for a while. It's been a long time," my pops said.

"I know. I talked Little Danny Boy into letting us do about a hundred miles or so before we head home," I replied.

"Yeah, biker heaven can wait for a while. I want to feel the wind in my face, but when we get back home, I'll buy the first round," Pops said. Little Danny Boy fired up his scooter and we did the same; I took a bottle of Old Number Seven from my vest, took a pull from the bottle and handed it to my pops. He took a swallow, handed it back and I tucked it back into my vest pocket. Little Danny Boy pulled away, the pack followed, but for a moment my pops and I just sat there. He looked at me; a big grin crossed his face and he said, "I'll beat you to the top of the hill." With that, he smoked his tires and peeled out, burning rubber down the highway. I laughed, gunned the throttle, and spun my tires, taking off after him.

Article © David H. Donaghe. All rights reserved.
Published on 2010-07-05
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