Real Wild Child
a Noah Milano short story
It was in the air. Like an entity, like a thing alive. It twisted and curled its way through the room like a venomous snake. It was the taste, the smell, the feel of violence.
I should’ve turned my back and walked out the moment I came in and felt it, but I’d come in Fat Hog’s Biker Bar because I had a job to do, not to act like a coward. Or like I had an inch of sanity.
The place was filled with overweight, tattooed bikers looking meaner than a switchblade. Their cigarette smoke fogged up the air, broken bottles crunching under my feet as I walked over to the bar. I recognized the wailing guitars and pounding drums of Kyuss coing from the speakers, doing their best to drown out the gravelly voices of the bikers, half-deaf from to many hours on their thundering machines.
I ordered a Corona from the hulking man behind the bar. He wore a nose ring the size of a lifesaver and a droopy moustache that made him look like Frito Bandito on steroids.
I took the picture I’d been showing around all over California for weeks now and put it on the bar. Frito did his best to ignore it, but a 16-year old looker like Amy has a way of getting your attention.
“She’s smiling at you,” I told him. “And so’s Benjamin.” I covered the picture with some green.
“What’s with the act?” Frito asked.
“I’m looking for this girl. Been looking for her long enough I’m getting tired of having to bribe every one from gas station attendants to cheap hookers. If you’ve seen her, tell me where and you get the money. If you haven’t I finish my beer and I’m out, okay?”
Frito smiled. A hyena has a more charming smile. “I seen her. I seen her wiggling her sweet ass on this damn very bar two days ago. Hot piece of work. Hornier then a bitch in heat.”
“Her mother wouldn’t exactly appreciate that kind of talk.” I sipped my Corona and put it down gently.
“Who’re you anyway? You’re too young to be her dad. You her brother?”
“The name’s Noah. Noah Milano. Her mother hired me to get the girl back.”
“She didn’t seem like she had any idea to,” Frito answered and cleaned a glass with a rag that seemed to have just been used to clean a tailpipe. I was glad I drank my beer straight from the bottle.
The booted whale on my right announced himself with a greeting of stale beer breath. He smacked his meaty paw down on the picture and put his red, bloated face in mine. “What the fuck you doing with that damn picture of Rags Turner’s girl?”
I kept my cool. I was tired and cranky, not stupid. I wasn’t in the mood for a barroom brawl with a dozen Tyrannosaurus Harleys. “I just want to ask her to come home to her mom. Amy’s a bright kid, just a little naive. She needs to finish school before she becomes a biker slut.” So maybe I was a little stupid.
“That some sort of smartass crack?” the whale said. His spittle felt sticky on my face.
“I don’t need any trouble.” I held up my hands to back up that statement. Then the venomous snake became a fire breathing dragon and the powderkeg of violence exploded.
I saw the fist coming a mile away, the whale’s movements slow and clumsy from too many beers. I swayed to the left, his fist swinging by my face like a piledriver. I stabbed four fingers in his throat, his face going white all of a sudden, his eyes bulging. He staggered back and went down.
His pals got up, calling each others attention, waking up their buddies from their alchohol induced comas. They were going to teach the pretty boy in the fancy leather jacket a lesson. The pretty boy had other plans however and drew his Glock from the holster at the small of his back.
“Any of you so much as gets his breath in my face I plug him,” I announced.
Some of them backed up. Others went for theirs knives, brass knuckles and blackjacks. Behind the bar it made Frito go for a sawed-off.
I swung my gun arm his way like saloon door. I was so close the pressure of the Glock’s barrel dented his meaty forehead.
“Drop it.” He did. I grabbed the shotgun from the bar and emptied it with one hand, jacking the pump like I was masturbating with a steel dildo. The shells dropped on the floor and rolled forward. “Get out from behind the bar.” I couldn’t keep my eyes on the thugs in the bar and on Frito at the same time.
A 9mm automatic can be an amazing persuader, as the bartender attested to, leaving his appointed spot to walk over to his beloved clientele.
“Now that I’ve got your attention you can help me answer this little question. Where can I find Amy Hardigan? My new buddy on the floor here just informed me she’s hanging around with Rags Turner, so if any of you knows where I can find him?”
“You want to try and grab Rags’ girl from under him? You be my fuckin’ guest. It’ll be a nice sight to see him drag your skinned carcass in here and piss on it. You may think you’re some badass motherfucker with that piece to back you up, but Rags backs down for no fuckin’ thing.” Mr. Eloquent was tall, wiry looking guy with a spider tattooed on his right cheek.
“Maybe if I ask him real nice he’ll cooperate,” I said. “But if you’re so eager to see how it works out, please go ahead and tell me where I can find him.”
“Fuck you! I ain’t telling you jackshit!”
“Listen, it’s been a really long day. I’m tired, dusty and cranky. Also, I’m holding a loaded gun. Do you really think being uncooperative is the smartest thing you could be doing?”
He just smiled. “You shoot me now, you’ll never make it out of here alive.”
He had a point there.
My threats didn’t help any, but my money did. After racking up another hundred on my expense account the wiry guy told me where to find Rags. His gang had a clubhouse near .
I shuddered when I thought about the clubhouse. In the past, when I was still a soldier for my dad, Robert Milano, L.A.’s very own modern day Al Capone, I did some dealings with a biker gang we used to supply some guns to every now and then. One of them described a party in their clubhouse where his gang got bored with splashing, the passing of women around in a group orgy, and started pouring wine in the women's vaginas, using them as wine glasses. The idea of young Amy in that position wasn’t one that appealed to me. I’d promised her mother I’d get her back home before something bad happened to her, but I wasn’t sure I was going to be on time.
I parked the Mazda as far away from the clubhouse as I could and still make out anything through my binoculars. The clubhouse was a downtrodden woody affair, decorated with flags bearing the colors of Rags’ gang, the Confederate Flag and Jack Daniels.
I counted the bikes parked in front of it. Six. Had I been the optimistic type maybe I’d have figured some of the bikers just owned more than one. Being a realist however, I decided to carry an extra clip with me when I when I was going to make my little housecall.
Maybe I should’ve thought up a brilliant plan, but I’d been a gangster or a security specialist for most of my life, not a general. No way I’d ever thought up a plan like the one with the Trojan Horse. So I just got out of the car, unholstered my Glock and started to run towards the clubhouse, trying to keep my head down a little and kick up as little dust as possible.
I made it to the door without getting shot. My guardian angel was with me on this one. I peered through the dirty grease stained windows. The heavy metal music from inside made them vibrate. It was hard to make out what was going inside throught the thick smoke. Whatever they were smoking it gave off more smoke than the exhaust pipes of their hogs. I thought I identified five guys and three women. One of them seemed younger than the rest. Amy? Only one way to find out.
I breathed in deeply, kicked in the door with my Glock out.
One of the women jumped off the lap of a guy with a red beard and a a "13" fuck the world badge. “What the fuck?” she yelled.
A muscular guy with a ZZ-top beard went for the gun on the crate of booze that doubled as their coffee table. I put a bullet in the crate and ZZ-top drew back his hand, startled.
“Everybody just relax and keep their hands away from anything that’ll get me nervous and we’ll all get out of this alive and well,” I said.
The biker’s eyes killed me several times.
Sitting on a ragged couch, next to a dark haired guy with a goatee and pierced lip was Amy. She wore denim hotpant, a pink top and stilletto heeled fuck-me shoes. She was smoking a joint the size of a Cuban sigar. Her mom wouldn’t be pleased.”You fucking crazy, man?”
I probably was. No sane person would barge into a biker gang’s clubhouse to take away one of their woman. “I’m here to take you home, Amy.”
“Fuck you, I ain’t coming home. Momma hired you?”
“Yes, she did. She’s very worried about you.”
“I’m getting all misty eyed here, Slick,” the biker next to Amy said. “Now fuck off.”
“Let me guess... Rags Turner,” I said.
“Good guess. And if you know who I am you also know you don’t want to fuck with me.”
“Don’t worry, I wouldn’t even fuck the women you got here.”
ZZ-top took offense. “Anything wrong with our women?”
I glanced at the woman who’d been on his lap. She wore a denim skirt and a bra. They both made it painfully clear driving around on the back of a Harley didn’t do your body fat any good. I also noticed she was missing a tooth. Maybe she fell off the Harley every now and then.
“No comment,” I said. “Amy, get over here and come with me.”
She crossed her arms like an impetulant child. And here I was without any lollipops to bribe her. Time for another approach. “I’ll clock you one over the head and take you along over my shoulder if that’s what it takes.”
“Go ahead, baby,” said Rags. “We’ll get you back.”
Amy walked over to me. I grabbed her by the wrist and walked backwards and out the door, my gun still on the bikers. She spit me in the face. I didn’t like it, but I’ll take spit instead of a bullet any day of the week.
Rags stared after us, the hatred flickering in his eyes like a flame. I kicked the door closed to get him out of my sight. I shot out the tires of the bikes so I wouldn’t be followed.
“Now fucking run!” I told Amy and dragged her along with me. Behind me, through the dust we were kicking up I could make out the imposing sight of Rags and his buddy, staring after us like zombies. Rags pointed at Amy and yelled “I’ll get you back!”
I shoved Amy in the Mazda, got behind the wheel and floored it. Rags gave me the creeps.
I was filling the Mazda up at an almost deserted gas station when Amy banged me on the back of the head. I figured she used a shoe. Might’ve been a rock. Whatever it was, it hurt like hell and put out my lights faster than a power failure.
I felt something wet against my cheek. Slowly I opened up my eyes. My head felt worse than a tequila hangover. A German shepard was licking my face. An old guy in overalls stood next to him. “She sure did a number on you, didn’t she?”
He helped me up. It was like parting the dead sea.
“The girl. Where did she go?” I asked him.
“After she clocked you? She made a phone call and some biker dude picked her up some time afterwards,” he said.
Trying to get my neck in a position that felt a bit comfortable I asked. “Why didn’t you do anything?”
“Do?” he repeated. “Shit, I didn’t know what your beef with the chick was. Maybe you were some of them serial rapists and she put you down to save her cherry. Until I saw the biker, then I figured her cherry had been way beyond saving for quite some time. Lucky thing my doggie here started barking after the dude, he seemed to be ready to kick your lifeless body around some. Blitz here didn’t like him much. Damn near saved your ass. ” He patted the dog with his greasy palms. It had teeth the size of a sable tiger’s. I was going to buy that German shephard a shitload of dog biscuits.
I leaned back against my Mazda, the support was very welcome. Then I noticed the tires.
“Yeah, the biker dude shot them to pieces with a 12-gauge. Don’t worry though, I’ve got some spare ones. Gonna cost you, though.”
I sat down on the hood of my car. “How about you give me a bottle of Jack first?”
So that was it. I’m not a Mountie. I don’t always get my man. Shit, I don’t even always get my girl. The reaper does, however. Six months later the California Highway Patrol discovered the body of Amy Hardigan curled around the Harley she crashed into a ’65 pick up truck. Live fast, die young. Unfortunately, a real wild child rarely gets to grow up to become a real wild woman.
Jochem Vandersteen has been writing about Noah Milano for a couple of years now. The first full-length novel White Knight Syndrome is still on sale. He’s also the webmaster of the site that spotlights the fictional P.I.: www.sonsofspade.tk and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org