We headed back into the house around nine that morning, passing right through the front door with out opening it. People tend to get upset when their front door opens and closes by itself. Chico and the bros sat on the couch, while Regina puttered around in the kitchen making breakfast.
"Regina, you don't need to fix us anything. We'll grab a bite to eat in town," Chico said.
"That's all right. It gives me something to keep my mind off things. I can't believe he's gone," she said.
"I almost feel like he's still here with us," Chico replied.
Sonny, sitting on the couch next to him grinned. I laughed.
Regina passed around plates loaded down with scrambled eggs, bacon, hash browns and passed out cups of coffee.
"That woman always did like to cook," Sonny said.
"Don't I know it. I remember those times you invited me and some of the bros over for dinner. I love that woman's cooking," I said.
The others engaged in conversation while they ate, neither hearing nor seeing Sonny and I.
After everyone finished eating, Regina said, "I don't know how I'm gonna pay for the funeral. Johnny had a life insurance policy, but I don't know where it is."
"You don't need to worry about that. The club will cover everything," Chico said.
Sonny jumped to his feet. "I know where that life insurance policy is. It's in that closet right over there, up on the top shelf in a shoebox along with some other papers."
I stood up next to Sonny and gripped his arm. "Here's your chance to start usin' some of the powers that you'll have when you cross over. Open that closet door." Sonny started to cross the room, but I stopped him. "You can't do it with your hand like when you were alive. Your hand would just pass right through the doorknob. Use your mind. Sometimes it helps if you extend your hand with your palm open." Sonny extended his hand. "Concentrate."
"This is hard."
"Focus," I said.
Sweat beaded up on Sonny's forehead, but the door squeaked open. The Road Dogs sitting on the couch jumped, looking up in shock. Sonny crossed the room to the open door of the closet and extended his hand to the shoebox on the top shelf. The shoebox fell to the floor spilling the papers inside.
Regina let out a started cry and Chico jumped to his feet.
"That almost scared the shit out of me," Chico said and crossed the room to the spilled papers. He looked through the papers for a few seconds then picked up some of them. "Here's those insurance papers. I told you it felt as if Sonny was still here." He handed Regina the insurance papers.
Regina looked about the room. "Sonny, if you're here, I love you and I'm gonna miss you," she said to the room.
"I'm gonna miss you too, darlin'," Sonny said and a tear tracked down his face.
I put my arm around his shoulders and said, "She's gonna be fine."
A half hour later, Chico rode with Regina in her station wagon and the bros followed along behind them as they headed down to the funeral home. Sonny and I brought up the rear on our spirit bikes. After taking some turns on a few back streets, Chico pulled up in front of the Walker Brothers Funeral Home. The Road Dogs parked their scooters behind Regina's station wagon. Chico climbed out, went around to the passenger side, helped Regina out of the wagon and headed up the walkway to the front entrance. The Road Dogs strutted along behind them. Sonny and I brought up the rear. Another gaggle of little demons in their black robes tried to grab Sonny at the door, but I tossed a ball of blue lightning in their mist and they scattered. One of them had Sonny by the arm, trying to drag him down to hell, but I pulled my knife and stabbed him in the top of his slimy little head. He disappeared with a flash of white light followed by a cloud of black smoke.
"Those little suckers don't give up, do they?" Sonny asked.
"No, they'll pester us until we head out to biker heaven. Don't worry, I'll deal with them."
Chico and Regina went inside and the bros followed them. The prospect, the last one in the door, slammed it in my face, so Sonny and I just passed through the door.
A tall dark-complexioned man in a black suit stood in the center of the reception area. Several oak coffins sat up against the wall and white shag carpet covered the floor. Chico led Regina over to the man. They conversed in low tones and then the man said, "Let me show you what we have." He led them over to what had to be the most expensive coffin in the room. "Now this is our super deluxe model. With its gold trim, its gold handles and its silk lining, you would be doing your husband proud, Mrs. Taylor."
"Check out this asshole," I said.
Sonny saw red. "I know. If I was still alive, I'd kick his ass right now."
"I don't think gold trim, or gold handles are really necessary," Chico said.
"What did you say your name was?"
"My bros call me Chico."
"Well, Mr. Chico. My name is Tom Walker. I own one third of this funeral home and I've been doing this for over twenty years. I think I'm more qualified than you to make that decision. Why don't we let the widow decide?"
"I don't know," Regina replied. A tear tracked down her cheek and a tremor passed through her.
"I'll tell you what, Mrs. Taylor. Why don't we step into my office and I'll let you check out some of our brochures?"
Walker took Regina's arm and led her away. Chico followed them with a scowl on his face. I noticed his fist ball up at his side. The Road Dogs stepped outside for a smoke, but Sonny and I stepped through the wall, joining Chico and Regina in the office with Tom Walker. Tom sat behind a large oak desk while Chico and Regina sat down across from him.
Walker handed Regina a brochure and said, "I highly recommend our super deluxe model, but if that's too expensive and you don't mind something less fashionable, then you could go with our deluxe model. It's two hundred dollars less."
Chico jumped to his feet. "Mr.Walker. Could I speak with you outside please?"
"I don't see what ... "
"Excuse me, Mrs. Taylor," Tom Walker said and stood to his feet. He stepped out of the office and Chico followed him. Sonny and I passed through the wall to watch the show. Out in the hallway, Chico grabbed Tom Walker by the throat and slammed him up against the wall.
"Listen, asshole! She doesn't need your super deluxe model, or your deluxe model. She just needs a standard coffin to burry her husband in!"
"I ... but ..." A spot of urine appeared at the crotch of Walker's pants.
"You know, you're right! Let's go with the super deluxe model, and we'll take the most expensive service you've got, but you're gonna give her that super deluxe coffin at the same price as you would a pine box! As for the services, you'll give her that for free! In fact you'll do the whole deal for two thousand dollars, or the bros and I are gonna come back here tonight and burn this place to the ground! Are we clear?" Chico turned loose of Walker's throat.
"Yes. Perfectly clear," Tom Walker said and they stepped back into the office.
I laughed. "I like the new pres. I knew he had the makin's the first time we came back and we mixed it up with them Hell Raisers at the Devil's Punch Bowl."
Sonny grinned. "Yeah, Chico can be a bit intense when he gets riled. He reminds me of you when you were young."
I just laughed and we passed back through the wall to watch Regina sign the papers. A grin crossed her face when Tom Walker told her the price that he was charging her.
Sonny laughed and said, "That old boy looked like he just swallowed a turd."
"I know. I thought he was going to choke when he told her the price," I said and let out a giggle. Chico looked up with a weird expression on his face and for a moment, I thought he saw me, but then his eyes dropped back down to the papers Regina was signing. Finished with the papers, Chico took Regina's arm, led her out of the office and stormed out of the funeral home like if his tail was on fire.
* * *
Three days later, we gathered in the chapel at the funeral home. The minister from the Baptist church where Regina attended faithfully, and sometimes managed to drag Sonny to, preached his eulogy. Cars filled the parking lot, motorcycles lined the curb and I saw a few of the little demons out front, but they were afraid to go inside the chapel. The Grim Reaper stood peeking around a corner holding his sickle over his shoulder.
"Damn, the Devil and his boys don't give up, do they? Will we be safe inside?" Sonny asked.
"They won't step foot in there. It's holy ground," I said and we sauntered inside. About fifty members of the Road Dogs lined the back three pews and there were several members from other motorcycle clubs there to pay their respects. Friends and family plus people from the church occupied the rest of the chapel. Sonny and I stood unnoticed by the back door, watching the proceedings.
Pastor Blackwood from the church stepped up on the platform. Tom Walker from the funeral home stayed in the background.
"It tickled me to see all these motorcycles pull up out front," Blackwood said. "One thing John Taylor -- Sonny to his club brothers, liked was riding his motorcycle. Now he's gonna ride it up in heaven. I think if Jesus were walking the Earth today, he might ride a Harley." A loud cheer rose up from the back of the room. The preacher continued, preaching a good sermon and then let others speak, sharing their thoughts about Sonny. There wasn't a dry eye in the house.
After the service, and when the people in the audience filed out, Sonny stood next to Regina and took one last look at his body before they closed the casket.
"Damn, bro. That doesn't even look like me," Sonny said.
"It's not. It's just a hunk of rotting meat," I replied.
We followed the funeral procession, riding at the back of the pack as they rode over to the graveyard. When we headed out to the gravesite, Sonny and I followed along behind the crowd. A couple of prospects, one from the Road Dogs and another from another club, swaggered along in front of us.
"Hey man, this is gonna sound weird, but I was ridin' at the back of the pack. I kept hearing what sounded like a couple of scooters behind me, but I was ridin' tail end Charley," the prospect from another club said.
The Road Dog prospect he was talking to nodded. "Yeah, I almost thought I saw Sonny's bike parked out front. I did a double take, but nothing was there. Things like that creep me out, man."
They had a canopy set up where they were holding the graveside service and Sonny and I were following the crowd, when the Grim Reaper stepped out from behind a tree. He tried to lead Sonny away, but I pulled my 45, stepped up behind the old boy and slammed the butt of my gat into the back of his head.
"Ouch!" the Grim Reaper said and let go of Sonny's arm.
"I told you, this one don't belong to you," I said and pulled Sonny away.
We headed over to where they were holding the services and stood at the back of the crowd listening to the sermon. Sonny leaned up against a tree and I stood next to him with my arms crossed in front of me. "Well, what'd you think?" I asked.
"I didn't realize I had so many friends. I almost got choked up there for a moment when the preacher was talking about me."
I slapped him on the shoulder. "You lived a good life, bro."
"I just hope that, Regina will be okay."
"She'll be fine. The bros from the club will get her through this. I think Chico's adopted her."
"Yeah, she thinks the world of that kid. His mother died a few years ago," Sonny said.
We headed back to the scooters and rode back to Sonny's house, but for once, the Devil's imps left us alone. People from the church, along with friends and family, gathered in the living room while the bikers hung around outside drinking beer. Sonny and I sat on the front porch knocking back a few, while the bros gathered in the yard. I reached my hand through the lid of an ice chest, grabbed two beers and handed one to Sonny. When the bottles touched my hands, they turned invisible.
"How do you do that?" Sonny asked. "I reached into that chest and tried to grab a bottle, but my hand just passed right through the bottle. I couldn't pick it up."
"It takes concentration. You'll get it after a while."
A prospect opened the ice chest a few seconds later. His eyes widened. "Damn. We're going through a lot of beer. We might have to make a run."
Sonny and I laughed.
* * *
The following Saturday, the Road Dogs held a party in Sonny's honor at the clubhouse. They started at noon, tapping a few kegs of beer. The booze flowed, the music cranked and the bros were ready to party. Regina showed up about two pm, in time for a ceremony inside the bar where they retired Sonny's colors, put them in a display case with a few other vests from fallen brothers and put his picture in the book of the dead. The Book of the Dead was a photo album where the Road Dogs put pictures of brothers that have passed on. Regina only stayed for a couple of hours and then went home.
The old ladies got loose, took off their tops and danced on the bar. Prospects worked the bar handing out drinks. As the party continued, a few of the bros who couldn't hold their liquor held a puke fest in the parking lot. A few more passed out, one laying on the floor next to the bar and another on the pool table.
"Watch this!" I said to Sonny, nodding at the prospect's back tending the bar. "Hey prospect! Give me a Jack and Coke and bring my bro here a beer!" I yelled above the noise.
"Keep your shirt on!" The prospect said. When he turned around and placed the drinks on the bar a strange look crossed his face. "Okay who's the wise ass? Who order these drinks?" No one responded so he headed down the bar to take another order. I grabbed my Jack and Coke and handed Sonny his beer. When my hands touched the glass tumbler, it disappeared. I handed Sonny his beer and it disappeared when the bottle touched his hand.
"How did you do that?" Sonny asked.
"Make him hear you like that."
"You just have to concentrate and project your voice."
The women not dancing on the bar headed over to the stage and put on a wet tee shirt contest. The bros gathered around watching the show. Finished with my Jack and Coke I ordered another and ordered Sonny another beer while the prospect's back was turned. When he turned around and set the drinks on the bar, he looked as if he'd just swallowed a prune.
"Whoever ordered these drinks better quit fucking with me," he said. I waited until he turned back around and we took our drinks.
Sonny laughed. "Why are you messin' with that kid?"
"Because it's fun," I said. I glanced down the bar and noticed a beer setting at the end of the bar that no one was drinking. "You know, they put that beer down there on the bar for you, in your honor. Why don't you go down there and drink it?"
A grin crossed Sonny's face. He climbed out of his chair, ambled down the bar and downed the drink. "How long do you think it'll take then to realize it's gone?" I just shrugged.
"Okay, who's the clown that drank Sonny's beer?" Chico yelled a few minutes later. The bar dropped into silence for a few minutes, but no one copped to the deed.
"Maybe Sonny drank it," a prospect said.
Chico gave him a scowl and then said, "Yeah, maybe he did." The party resumed.
About six pm I noticed Chico head outside with a couple of the chapter officers. I slapped Sonny on the back and said, "This has been fun, but we need to get on the road. We got another party up in biker heaven waitin' on us."
Sonny nodded, gave the bar one last look and we headed for the door. Outside, Sonny and I climbed on our spirit bikes and pulled out into the street. A band of the greasy little bastards in the black robes attacked us. I spent a few minutes slashing with my knife and shooting the little SOBs with my 45. One tried to climb on Sonny's back, but I grabbed him by the back of his hood, threw him to the ground and stomped him with my boot. The rest took off down the street.
"I won't miss those little guys," Sonny said catching his breath.
"They won't bother us once we hit the road. We'll do about fifty miles on the highway before we head on home. Whenever I get the chance to come back, I always like to do a little ridin.' There's nothing like feeling the wind in your face when you're in solid form."
"Yeah, I could go for that," Sonny said.
"There's something we need to do first."
"What's that?" Sonny asked.
"We need to let Chico and those two officers see us."
"How do I do that?" Sonny asked.
"Close your eyes and concentrate. Then open your eyes and let it happen."
We solidified in the middle of the street. Sonny and I glanced over at Chico and the two chapter officers. Chico's eyes widened and the two officers' jaws dropped. A smile spread across Chico's face. Sonny and I waved; Chico and the two bros standing next to him waved back, and I dropped the transmission into first gear. Sonny and I headed down the highway and put our faces in the wind.
* * *