Hello. I thought I would let everyone know what’s going on with my writing. DON’T BUST THE PIGGY BANK: HOW TO PUBLISH AN eBook is now available on pre-order at amazon.com. You can order it on Amazon for only ninety-nine cents until its release date which is July 29th. Check out the description below:
Don’t Bust the Piggy Bank: How to Publish an eBook is a common sense guide to self-publishing. You can write your novel, edit it, design a cover and publish it, all without spending a lot of money. I wrote this book for the beginning author who is on a tight budget. This is not a get-rich-quick book. In this book, I reveal the things that I have learned along the way. I discuss how to write a damned good book, how to edit it how to publish and how to market it without busting the piggy bank. I also reveal my writing and editing process. I discuss the pros and cons of traditional publishing versus self-publishing. This is a basic guide for the beginning writer who is on a tight budget and doesn’t want to bust the piggy bank
Also, I am in the final editing stage of my new science fiction novel, Tribes. I have completed the rough draft of the fourth book in my science fiction series, the Space Corps Chronicles title the Galactic War. I am almost finished with the rough draft of Mendoza’s Revenge which is the fifth book in my Mike McDonald Action Adventure Saga. I am sorry that I haven’t posted in a while, but I have been busy writing. Below is a short story for your reading pleasure entitled Pops. It is among the stories published in Tales From the Lost Highway.
One of the things about being dead is that you have a lot of time on your hands. Back in 1968, after the zombie plague broke out, I was working at old Bud Hodgkin’s service station. The undead filth came pouring out of the graveyard across the street. They stumbled into the station. They smashed the front window and poured into the mechanic’s bay and I had to fight my way to the backroom to get my 357. In the process, one of the SOBs bit me. I managed to escape by busting out a back window and jumping down to the alleyway. I ran around to the front of the station, jumped on the old Pan Head, and burned rubber.
On the way out of town, I ran into Cynthia, a young high school girl that lived down the street and I gave her a ride. We headed out to the Road Dogs clubhouse, and I hooked up with my bros in the club. We figured to either hold out there at the clubhouse or head to Sonny’s Cabin. Sonny, our chapter president at the time had an old cabin about one hundred and fifty miles down the highway. We used the place to party once and a while. The undead SOBs attacked the clubhouse, so we bailed out and headed to the cabin. We helped the bros get to safety. Old School and I, another one of the bros that got bit by a zombie, decided to let the road take us and die like bikers. We hit an old oak tree at over one hundred miles per hour and that’s how I wound up here in Biker Heaven.
When I first got here, I partied for what seemed like an eternity. Up here in Biker Heaven, all the women are loose as well as good-looking. The booze flows free and the music never stops. The booze up here ain’t nothing like what you have down there on Earth. You can drink all you want, and you never get sick or get a hangover. You never tasted better Jack than we have up here. One time in church, I decided to join the Halo Riders. The Halos are a division of the Road Dogs motorcycle club, but you have to be dead to sign up. When you wear the halo patch, you get to go back once and a while to help the bros down on Earth when they need it. That gives me a chance to ride my spirit bike, so I signed up. You ain’t ever seen a bike like a spirit-bike. Imagine your dream bike and multiply that by ten. You can ride all day, they never need gas and they don’t leak oil.
The spirit bike can cruise down the highway on Earth, looking like your average Harley. Or it can soar up into the heavens like a shooting star. When they’re in their glory, they radiate light, and fire shoots out of their tailpipes like lightning. Another thing about the spirit bike is that it can travel through time.
My pops ticker gave out back in 1965 while I was off fighting in Vietnam. I heard that when he got to Biker Heaven he went hog wild. Old Pops always did like to party. When I arrived in 1968, I partied for what seemed like an eternity. I spent a good long while cruisin’ the streets of gold. I’d see my pops at church, but most of the time he’s off doing his own thing. I got to wondering what his life was like when he got back from World War Two before I was born. I came along three years after the war ended and Pops and some of his bros started up the Road Dogs back in the fifties. I patched in, back in 63 when I was fifteen and I was alive when they started the club, but I was a little shaver. I got to wonderin’ what my pops was like, back in the day when he was young. I climbed on my spirit bike and took a ride through time.
I touched down on a lonely desert highway sixty miles outside of Harlem Springs Arizona. The tires chirped. My spirit bike changed back to an older well used Harley Davidson motorcycle. A 1938 flatbed Ford pickup truck rattled by going the opposite direction, but the driver didn’t see me. This wasn’t my reality. I was a spectator on this trip. I rolled on the throttle enjoying the feel of the wind in my face and motored on down the highway. Five miles outside of town, I passed the High Noon Saloon. The building looked newer than it did in my time. It wasn’t the Road Dogs clubhouse right now; that wouldn’t come about for a few more years. Speaking of years, I guess I had better clue you in on the time and place. I landed on September 4th, 1946, the year my pops came back from Germany.
I glanced about as I rode through the outskirts of Harlem Springs. The town looked smaller and somewhat cleaner. When I passed Hodgkin’s station, I looked over. Old Bud himself was out on the island pumping gas for the customers. He sure looked a lot younger than he did the last time I saw him. I turned left on Honey Suckle Court and motored down to the old home place. Back in the forties my mom and pops bought a three-bedroom house. It was four doors down from the house that I bought several years later.
Pulling up in front of the home place, I sat on the bike out by the curb taking in the neighborhood’s essence. A milk truck rumbled by and an old lady came out of the house across the street and began to water her lawn. She wore an old dirty white housecoat and had her hair up in curlers. She was oblivious to my presence. A young boy wearing bib overalls and a denim cap peddled an old bicycle down the street. A camp robber Jay sat in a tree overhead and chirped. A neighbor’s black and white mutt ran out to the street and started barking at the bird. The neighborhood was coming alive as people woke up and headed off to work. The smell of breakfast cooking came from several different houses. The wives were up and getting their husbands off to work.
A yellow taxicab, a beat-up 1934 ford, turned onto Honey Suckle Court and approached the home place. I watched it pull over to the curb and saw a young soldier climb out of the back.
“God, look how young he looks,” I said to myself, giving my father the once over.
He marched past me in that military strut that soldiers use even when they’re not marching. When he passed by me I recognized that look in his eyes. In Vietnam, they called it the thousand-yard stare. Combat veterans get that look after they’ve been in action for a while.
“I know Pops. I know you were deep in the shit. I’ve been there, man,” I said, but of course, he could neither hear nor see me.
Before he made it to the front porch, the door burst open. A pretty, young blonde-headed woman wearing a plaid skirt and a white top burst out the front door.
“Johnny! Your home!” she screamed, jumped off the front porch, ran across the yard to meet him, and leaped into his arms.
“Mom? God I didn’t realize how hot you were when you were young,” I said, and a big grin crossed my face.
After they finished kissing and whatnot, they strolled up the walkway, arm in arm, and went inside. I climbed off my spirit bike, crossed the front yard, passed through the front door, and into the living room. Pops sat down on the couch and loosened the collar on his uniform.
“Can I get you something to eat? Do you want a beer?” my mom asked.
The young man who would be my father looked up and grinned. “A beer would be nice. I watched the young woman who would be my mother hurry into the kitchen. She couldn’t seem to keep the smile off her face. She came back a few seconds later with two beers. She handed one to my father and snuggled up next to him on the couch.
“Was it terrible, over there?” she asked.
“You don’t even want to know, baby. I don’t want to talk about it. How are things with you?” my father asked.
“Good, now that you’re home safe.”
I watched them finish their beer and listened to their conversation. The next thing you know, they were making out on the couch. My father’s hand went to the front of her shirt and he began to unbutton it. I turned away. My mother stood up, took his hand and they headed upstairs. I stayed down in the living room; there are some things I don’t need to see. I looked around at their modest furniture and then crossed the room to the fireplace. The picture of the young couple picnicking by the lake made me smile.
“God she was so pretty and he looks so young,” I said to myself. I looked around the living room taking in the furnishings and then headed into the kitchen. Reaching my hand through the refrigerator door, I grabbed a beer and pulled it through the door. Once my hand touched the bottle, it disappeared in that reality and entered mine. I popped the top on the beer and sat down at the kitchen table. A newspaper sat on the table as well, so I picked it up and started reading the news. It was about the troops coming home along with the occupation force in Germany and Japan. I tried to ignore the sounds coming from the bedroom upstairs.
About twenty minutes later, they came back downstairs. My pops had his arm around my mother and they both had big grins on their faces. My mom started cooking dinner and my pop sat down next to me.
“Read the newspaper if you want, while I cook dinner. There’s news about the boys coming home and about the occupation force,” my mother said.
“Okay, dear. Where’s it at?”
My mother looked over her shoulder from where she stood next to the kitchen stove. “Why it was right there on the table a minute ago. It must have fallen on the floor,” she said.
I tossed the paper down and it appeared on the floor at my father’s feet in his place and time.
“You’re right. Here it is, but I could have sworn it wasn’t down there when I sat down.”
I watched my mother cook dinner and listened to their idle conversation. My mother cooked up some roast beef with gravy and mashed potatoes. Then she fixed up a garden salad. When the dinner was ready, she looked at the beer inside the refrigerator with a puzzled look on her face.
“What’s the matter, dear?” my father asked.
“I thought we had four beers left. There are only three in here. We only drank two earlier, right?”
“Yeah, I had one and so did you,” my father said.
My mom shrugged. “Oh well, it doesn’t matter.” She took two beers out of the frig, handed one to my father, and took one for herself. I chuckled under my breath and listened to their conversation while they ate dinner.
Finished with dinner, my pops said, “Hey, would you like to head out to the High Noon and play some pool?”
She waited for a few seconds before she spoke. “No Hun, why don’t you go alone? I bought a new romance novel that I want to start. Some of your buddies will be down there and want to catch up on things. It’s been a few years since you’ve been able to sit at a bar and drink with your friends.”
“Okay then. I’ll try to come home early,” he said.
“Don’t drink too much.”
“I won’t babe,” my father said. He kissed my mother goodbye and then headed for the door. I followed him outside, he jumped into his old pickup truck and I climbed onto my spirit bike. Pops pulled out into the street. He headed for the highway and I followed along behind him as we headed west toward the High Noon Saloon.
Pops pulled into the gravel parking lot of the High Noon Saloon twenty minutes later. A couple of old flatbed trucks along with several old pickup trucks and a few older cars filled the parking lot. My pops climbed out of his old Dodge and crossed the parking lot. I sauntered along behind him. He oozed attitude. I could tell by the way he carried himself that he was as hard as nails and he wasn’t afraid of anything. Pops entered the room, and all eyes watched him make his way to the bar. Up, on the stage, a country band began to play.
A man a couple of years older than my pops said, “Well if it ain’t John Brown back from the war. Welcome home. I’ll buy your first round.”
My pops glanced over. “Thanks, Ed. It’s good to be home.” A few more of the men from town came over to join them. They sat at the bar drinking and catching up on old times. A group of truckers sat down at the bar. They were drunk and starting to get loud. Fifteen minutes later, I heard the rumble of a motorcycle pulling up out front. A young man with short blond hair wearing a black leather jacket entered the bar.
When I looked up at the biker, I saw the same look in his eye that I saw in my father’s. It was the same look I saw in my, own eye when I looked in a mirror after I came home from Vietnam: the look of a combat veteran. “My God, that’s Sonny. Look how young he looks,” I said to myself, but no one in the bar either heard or saw me.
When the biker stepped up to the bar and ordered a beer, one of the truckers spoke up.
“I didn’t know you served scooter trash in here, Bob.”
The tall skinny bartender gave the fat big-mouthed trucker a nervous smile. “It’s okay. His money is as green as everyone else,” the bartender said.
A tight-lipped smile crossed the biker’s face. “Make it a Budweiser,” he said, ignoring the trucker’s comment.
“I’m surprised at you Bob. Do you need the money that bad, to take it from trash like this?” the trucker said.
“Mister, I don’t know what your problem is, but I don’t want any trouble,” Sonny said.
“Well, you’ve got it, biker boy, whether you want it or not,” the trucker said rising to his feet. Four of his buddies climbed off of their barstools to back up their loud-mouthed friend.
“Put his beer on my tab, and bring me another,” Pops said, stepping up next to the biker.
“Thanks for the beer,” the biker said. “But are you sure you want to get mixed up in this?”
“I do. Where’d you serve?” Pops asked.
“In the Pacific. I was in the Marines, and you?”
“I was in the Army over in Germany,” Pops said.
“My name’s James Taylor, but my bros call me Sonny,” he said extending his hand. My pops took his hand in his own, giving the man a firm handshake.
“My name’s Brown. John Brown,” my pops said.
“Now John, we like you and we’re glad you came home safe, but are you sure you want to buy into this?” The loudmouth trucker said. “What’s this biker trash to you?”
My pops and Sonny turned with their backs to the bar facing the truckers.
“Shut up Earl. You’re a loud mouth tub of shit and I’m sick of hearing you. If you’re coming, then bring it on,” Pops said.
The truckers rushed my pops and Sonny. As one man, they stepped forward to face the truckers. My pops punched Earl in the nose, splattering it all over his face. Blood gushed out of his nose and covered his shirt. He took a step back. Another trucker swung a pool cue at Sonny’s head. He dived under it, slammed a flurry of punches to the trucker’s wind, and then lifted him off his feet with an uppercut. He finished off the three-punch combination ending with a left hook and the trucker hit the floor. My pops and Sonny stood shoulder to shoulder battling the three remaining truckers. They made short work of it and when the fight was over, five truckers lay unconscious on the floor.
“I guess I’d better get out of here before the coppers show up,” Sonny said.
“No, you stay. Have another beer. Those truckers are always causing trouble,” the bartender said. “I’ll square things with the law.”
“Thanks,” Sonny said. He looked at Pops and said, “I’ll buy the next round.”
The police showed up, rousted the truckers who were now coming too, took a report, and left. Sonny and Pops sat at the bar talking, drinking, and smoking for the next two hours.
“I’d better hit the highway. The old lady will be gettin’ pissed about now,” Sonny said.
“I’ll walk you out. Those truckers might be waitin’ outside for some payback,” Pops said.
When they were outside, my pops stood under the boardwalk, looking at Sonny’s motorcycle.
“That’s one of those old Army bikes. I used to see those in Germany,” Pops said.
“The Army is selling them cheap. I know a guy who’s got one for sale, only it’s an Indian, not a Harley. Are you interested?”
“Hell yeah,” Pops said.
Sonny wrote down a phone number on a matchbook. “Here’s my number. Give me a call and we’ll go take a look at it. Is tomorrow okay?”
“Tomorrow’s fine. You live here in town?”
“Yep. Over on the north side.”
Pops put the matchbook in his shirt pocket. “I’ll call you tomorrow then.”
Sonny nodded, put the shifter into first, and crossed the gravel parking lot to the highway. Pops headed over to his truck. He leaned on the front fender. An intense excited look crossed his face while he watched Sonny ride away. He stood there until he could no longer see the taillights, and then climbed into the pickup and headed for home.
I climbed onto my spirit bike and motored my way back to town, only I didn’t head back to the home place. The air around me shimmered. I breathed in the smell of burning ozone and the scenery flashed by at light speed as I rode forward in time. I pulled into the parking lot of Saint Ann’s hospital and parked the bike. A band of evil little demons in filthy black robes gathered at the front door of the hospital. They were on the hunt for souls. They gave me an evil hiss. I ignored them and passed through the main entrance of the hospital, not bothering to open it. Strolling down the main corridor, I headed down to the maternity ward. It ain’t every day that you get to watch your, own birth.
My pops paced back and forth in the waiting room looking as pale as a ghost. He seemed about as nervous as a rabbit with a broken hopper in the middle of the interstate. I let out a low chuckle watching my pops pull a bottle of jack out of his coat pocket. He took a shot and ambled over to the nurse’s station.
“Is there any word?” he asked the nurse on duty.
The nurse smiled “No Mr. Brown. These things take time. That baby will come when he’s good and ready and not a minute before.” I heard the rumble of motorcycles pulling up to the front of the hospital. Sonny and four other guys sauntered down the hallway. They greeted my pops and did some hugging and backslapping. Pops seemed glad to see them.
“Relax bro. Women have been doing this since God kicked Adam and Eve out of the damned garden. She’ll be fine,” Sonny said.
I left my pops with his bros and stepped through the wall and into the delivery room. My mom lay on a metal table with her feet up in the stirrups. An elderly doctor stood between her legs and assisted in the birth. A few minutes later, I made my entrance into the world. The doctor cleaned me up and wrapped me in the blanket. The assisting nurse stepped out into the waiting room to find pops. He stepped into the delivery room with a big grin on his face and stepped up to my mother’s bed. She held me next to her breasts.
“Congratulations Mr. Brown. You’ve got a fine-looking baby boy,” the doctor said.
My mother beamed. “Isn’t he beautiful, John? He looks like you.”
“Look at that head full of hair. He almost looks like a caveman,” my pops said.
“We should name him after you. We’ll call him John,” my mother said.
I rode back to the house, took a seat on the couch, and let time roll by. Like I said at the beginning of this tale when you’re dead, you have a lot of time on your hands. I watched their lives unfold as if I were watching a movie on TV. I saw my mother and father, age. Their love grew stronger. I saw the little, baby that would be my future self begin to grow and form a personality. Five men, Sonny being one of them, all veterans, and my pops formed a strong bond of friendship. They all rode motorcycles; my pops had bought the old Indian from the guy that Sonny knew. My mom started riding on the back with him sometimes. She would leave me with the teenage girl down the street to babysit.
One day in 1959, I must have been about twelve years old by then, my pops and his bros rode down to the High Noon Saloon. I climbed onto my spirit bike and followed along behind them. They parked out front, climbed off their bikes, and headed inside. Sonny untied a green canvas bag from the back of his scooter and brought it inside the bar with him. I stepped in behind them and watched them find a table off to itself by the wall. I found a seat at the adjoining table and sat down to listen to their conversation.
My pops motioned to one of the bartenders and bought them all a round of beers.
“I picked up the vests tonight on the way over. I had the patches made up and sowed on. You guys are going to like them,” Sonny said. He set the green canvas bag on the table and unzipped it.
“I hope you got me a triple X,” a big burly guy with a bushy black beard sitting across from Sonny said.
“You bet I did, Will. I wouldn’t forget your size,” Sonny said. He held up a massive denim vest so the others could see the patch on its backside. The guys sitting at the table let out a cheer.
“The patches came out better than I thought they would,” Pops said.
Sewn to the back of the vest was a patch depicting a large crazy-looking dog riding a motorcycle. The top rocker, above the back patch, read: Road Dogs. The bottom rocker underneath the main patch said, Arizona. The colors of the patches were black and white.
“After that sit down with the officers of the other clubs, we shouldn’t have any problems on the road,” Sonny said. He handed out the vests.
“It ticks me off that we had to go ask them guy’s permission,” Pops said.
“It’s protocol,” Sonny said.
“I’m with John here. I didn’t like it either,” a wiry blond-headed guy sitting next to Pops said.
“Yeah, well. It’s done now. We’re a legitimate club. All we have to do is choose our officers. I wrote everyone’s name down on a piece of paper and put them in a cup,” Sonny said. “Bob, why don’t you draw the first name?” He took a tin cup from his canvas duffle bag.
“What am I drawing for?” Bob asked.
“We’ll go for president first,” Sonny said.
Bob took a folded-up piece of paper out of the tin cup and handed it to Sonny. Sonny unfolded the paper and read the name to himself. “Well, who is it?” Bob asked.
“What? Are you sure? We ought to draw again,” Pops said.
Sonny laughed. “No redraws. You’re our chapter president. Why don’t you draw for the VP?”
Pops put his hand in the cup, drew out a piece of paper, and handed it to Sonny. Sonny looked at it and shook his head
“Who is it?” Pops asked.
“It’s me,” Sonny said.
“Then you draw the next name. What are we drawing for now?”
“Financial secretary and treasurer,” Sonny said. He drew a name, unfolded the piece of paper, and looked across the table at Bob. “Bob Dawson, you’re our financial secretary and treasurer. Draw the next name.”
“Cool,” Bob said and drew another name. “What’s this name for?”
“Road Captain,” Sonny said.
“So who is it?” Will said.
“That would be you, Mr. Johnson. I’d also like you to serve as sergeant of arms until we get some more guys,” Sonny said. He looked across the table at a stocky young Hispanic guy. “Well, Tony there is only one more name in the cup and it says, Tony Sanchez. Tony, you are our tail gunner.”
“I can handle that. I like riding in the rear of the pack,” Tony said.
“I guess we need to start holding meetings every month and start looking for prospects,” Will said.
“Let’s have our meeting here on the first Friday of every month. I’m sure Sam will let us use the room in the back,” Pops said
“What time?” Will asked.
“How does six-thirty sound?” Pops said.
“Six-thirty is cool with me,” Bob said.
“We need to choose our biker names,” Sonny said.
“You already got a name,” Pops said. “Sonny sounds better than James Taylor.”
“You’re the only one of us with a kid. We should call you Pops,” Sonny said.
“Pops. Okay. We’re gonna call Will, there Wild Bill.”
Will laughed and looked over at Bob Dawson. “Bob here is as skinny as a string bean. Why don’t we call him String Bean?”
“That only leaves you, Mr. Sanchez. Does anyone have any ideas?”
“He’s about as stocky as a fireplug,” Sonny said, “but I got nothing. What do you think, Tony?”
“Call me Poncho, after Poncho Villa.”
“Poncho it is then,” Pops said standing to his feet. “Let’s raise a toast. To The Road Dogs. String Bean, get a ledger to keep records of our meeting. Write this date down. September 5th, 1959, the day the Road Dogs, was born.”
They stood to their feet and clinked their beer bottle together. “Road Dogs now and Road Dogs forever,” Sonny said.
“Road Dogs in life, and Road dogs in death,” Wild Bill said.
“Now let’s party,” Pops said and they all headed over to the bar.
Once again, I sat back on the couch and let time roll by. I watched a young boy grow into a young man. I watched the love that my mother and father shared grow, and I watched love blossom between a father and a son. As I sat there watching time pass by like a movie, I gained a deeper understanding of my father. I loved him all the more for it. One day in 1962, my younger self stepped off the school bus. I saw my father and his buddies sitting on the front porch. Their motorcycles set in the driveway. The sound of their vulgar talk and laughter floated on the breeze. A big grin spread across my young face. Back then, I loved my pop and his friends. I thought they were cool. I still do.
“Get your ass up here youngster. We got something to discuss,” My pops said.
The younger version of myself stepped up onto the porch with a guarded look on his face. I remembered that I wondered if I was in trouble or something.
“What’s up, Dad?” My younger self said to my pops.
“There’s something in the garage that I want you to see.”
My pops set down his beer stood to his feet and headed down the driveway to the garage. He laid a friendly hand on the back of my neck while we walked. Behind us, his buddies followed. My pops pushed open the door to the garage and a grin crossed my face. There set a 1953 Triumph Bonneville. It was a faded burgundy color and the tank was two-toned both silver and burgundy.
“Whose bike is that?” my younger self asked.
“It’s yours. It’s not running right now, but we’ll work on it together.”
Sonny stepped up and tossed me a denim vest with a Road Dogs prospect patch on the right breast. “Here, put this on, prospect.”
In a state of shock, I put on the vest. My chest puffed out with pride. My pops took my arm and said, “Let’s go back up on the porch and have a beer.”
On cloud nine, I headed back to the front porch with my pops and his bros. I couldn’t believe it. My pops had never offered me a beer before. I remembered wondering if mom would get mad, but I didn’t care.
During the months that followed, my pops and I spent hours on end in the garage working on the Triumph. Once we had the bike running, we had it painted, and put on new tires plus a new seat. We spent many summer evenings on the road with the club. I rumbled along reliving it from behind on my spirit bike. A lump formed in my throat when I remembered all the good times that we had. Five months after they gave me my vest, they patched me into the club.
When I wasn’t riding with the club, or going to school, I did odd jobs trying to earn enough money to buy an old Harley. The summer I turned seventeen, I almost had enough money. One of the club brothers had an old Pan Head for sale, but I was five hundred dollars short. On my seventieth birthday, my pops kicked in the last five hundred and bought the bike for my birthday. The year I turned seventeen was the best year of my life. Then when you think you’re on top of the world, life has a way of kicking you in the ass.
My pops had a heart attack. It was one month before my eighteenth birthday. Watching it happen, during my ride back through time was as hard as it was when I experienced it the first time. My mom rode in the back of the old red and white ambulance with my pops. The younger version of myself rode to the hospital on my Pan Head. The bros from the club met us at the hospital. I cruised along on my spirit bike watching my younger self from the past motor down the street. I noticed tears rolling down my young face. I glanced in the rearview mirror and noticed a couple in my own eyes as well.
The bros comforted my mom and my younger self, while they rushed my pops into the ICU. We played the waiting game for the next two hours, but finally, an elderly doctor came out to greet us.
“How is he, doctor?” my mom asked.
“He’s going to be all right, but he’ll need to slow way down. He needs to cut back on drinking and smoking. This was a warning sign.”
“Can we see him?” my younger self asked.
“Yes, but only for a few minutes.”
We went into his hospital room and gathered around his bed. I stood in the background watching the scene unfold. I noticed the tears in the eyes of my younger self. After hugging my mother, my pops turned to my younger self. “Don’t fret son. I’m gonna be fine. We’ll be back on the road before you know it.”
“You get well Pop.”
Turning to the bros, my pop said, “The doc says I need to slow down. I’ll need to step down as chapter president. What about you Sonny? Are you ready to step up?”
Sonny let out a sigh. “I would, but things at work are keeping me too busy right now.”
My pops glanced around at the bikers gathered around his bed. His eyes locked onto a young man a couple of years older than me. “What about you Little Danny Boy? You live and breathe the Road Dogs. Are you ready for some responsibility?”
“I’ll do whatever it takes, man. I’ll take the spot for now, but when you get better, you can have it back,” the stocky young dark-headed man said.
“Good. You’ll make a damned good president,” my pops said, and he was right.
Time rolled by. My pops got better for a while and then Little Danny Boy received his draft notice and went to Vietnam. Things had slowed down for Sonny at work. Since my pop, was still not feeling too good, Sonny took on the job as president of the chapter. Sonny hinted around about giving me the VP slot, but then Uncle Sam called on me as well. When I arrived in the country the first person I ran into was Little Danny Boy. We were tight for the first six months of my tour, but then Little Danny Boy and our squad stepped into an ambush. Little Danny boy died in my arms. It was three days after that when I received word about my pop had a second heart attack. This time he didn’t make it. The Army sent me home for the funeral.
I stood in the back of the Walker Brothers funeral home watching. I listened to my father’s eulogy for the second time. The pain was as real and as fresh as it was when I experienced it for the first time. I glanced up at my younger self, sitting in the front row of the chapel. I had my arm around my mother and saw my back quiver, rocked by grief. I was older more muscled and hardened by the horrors of war, yet inside I was a little boy grieving for his father. There is something about the love between a father and a son that transcends time.
The door behind me squeaked open. My father’s spirit, along with an old biker named, Fat Bob stepped into the back of the chapel. Fat Bob bit the pavement a year after I patched into the club. I guess they sent him back to bring my pops home. My pops looked at me and then he looked at the front of the chapel noticing my younger self.
“What are you doing here? And how can you be here and up there with mom at the same time?” my pops asked.
“I’m taking a ride through time, Pops. I’m in my past, your present.”
Pops nodded at Fat Bob and said, “Old Fat here says we’re going to a place called Biker Heaven.”
“Yeah, you’ll love it there Pops.”
“I told you,” Fat Bob said.
“And what about these spirit bikes? Those things are snazzy,” Pops said.
“Yeah Pops. You’ll love them too. You can ride for eternity and never have to put gas in them, but the best thing of all is they don’t leak oil.”
“Fat says that we can drink up there and party like, we do down here.”
“Pops the booze flows free, the women are loose and the party never stops.” I took a bottle of Jack from my vest pocket, took a shot, and handed it to my pops. “You never tasted Jack until you’ve tasted the Jack we have over there. Old Mr. Daniel himself has a big distillery set up and he keeps us well supplied.”
My pops took a shot and a smile spread across his face. “Damn. That is good.”
He handed me back the bottle, I stuck it in my vest pocket and grabbed him up in a big bear hug. “I love you Pops,” I said.
“I love you too, son.”
“Pops, you’ve still got the graveside service and a party to go to out at the High Noon Saloon, but I’ve got to go. I’ll see you up in Biker Heaven,” I said.
“Okay, son. I’ll see you when I get there.”
I left my pops and Fat Bob in the chapel, headed outside, and climbed onto my spirit bike. I fired up the beast, rode through town, and did about fifty miles down the highway. Pulling up on the handlebars, I shot up through the sky and headed home.
I hope you enjoyed the story. Until next time, peace out.