Otis looked over his shoulder as he reached into the refrigerator, “A hundred is a hell of a lot to get gathered up in the next three weeks, Slice.”
I glanced up from my notes and pressed my hands into the edge of the table as I flexed my forearms. I knew I didn’t need to flex on Otis, but it had become a habit when someone questioned me. Throwing my size around was second nature, and I was a rather intimidating son-of-a-bitch to most people, Otis included. As he twisted the lid off the bottle of beer and tossed it into the trash, I began to stand from my seat.
“Well, that’s what they fucking asked for and I can’t change it. So, what’s your recommendation, Otis? Give ‘em fifty? Seventy? Fuck that. We’ll look like a bunch of incompetent twats. Get a hundred of ‘em found. I don’t give a rat’s ass if you have to run an ad on Craigslist that says AK-47’s wanted, will pay top dollar, find a hundred of ‘em, and get ‘em in here,” I said as I sharply tapped my finger on the notepad.
“In three weeks?” he asked as he sat down across from me.
I nodded my head and lowered myself into my chair, “Yep.”
“God damn, Slice, that’s a huge order. We ain’t got any AK’s right now. Jesus. I’ll get Hollywood on it, we’ll see how it goes,” he paused as he raised the bottle to his lips.
I shook my head from side-to-side, “No, we won’t see. Not on this deal, you’ll make it happen. Corndog gets out in six months. And these guys are serious players. They’re Sureños. More specifically, if I even need to say it, a bunch of ‘em are from Calle 18, mostly from Los Angeles. If we do this deal, we’ll be set with these bastards. If we don’t, Corndog loses his credibility in the joint. Hell, they’ll probably kill him. These sons of bitches don’t fuck around. They’ll cut a motherfuckers head off just for principal. Hell, I’ll do about anything to some prick I don’t like, but cut off a head? Yeah, I’m thinkin’ not.”
He pressed his beer bottle onto the table, lowered his head, and peered over the top in my direction, “You mean those MS-13 motherfuckers? This is who you’re talking about?”
I nodded my head and grinned.
He stood from the table and turned toward the door, “For fuck’s sake, Axton. I hate this shit. We make a good damned sum of money selling guns to everyone else who buys ‘em from us. And those MS-13 fuckers are some crazy assed Mexicans. They’ll kill an entire family just to prove a point. Do we really need to do this?”
I stood, cleared my throat, and spoke with a tone of authority, “We may not need to for money, and we sure as fuck don’t need to for credibility, but we’re gonna do this for Corndog. Did you forget what he’s done for us? For the fucking club, Otis? And since when was it your fucking place to question me?”
He turned around, narrowed his gaze, and raised his hands to his face. It was a habit he’d had since he was in his early teens when we first became friends. If he was getting ready to do to something he didn’t necessarily naturally agree with, or when he was preparing to make a move, he always raised his hands to his face first. As he encompassed his temples in his palms I smiled, knowing if I had him on board mentally, this deal was in the bag.
Otis was a rather large man by anyone’s standards, and outside of a one-on-one meeting with me, he didn’t take shit from anyone. Our club was large enough that we had small cliques within it of fella’s who ran together, but Otis sided with no one. He stood alone and he stood tall. At 6’-7” and 275 pounds of muscle, he wasn’t someone to argue with. If Otis said to do something, the men never questioned him, they simply moved in the direction he pointed. His size alone was one reason he was the club’s Sergeant at Arms. Well, that and the fact he was as mean as a fucking snake. Keeping order in the club and protecting or defending members was as easy as breathing for Otis.
“I didn’t forget, and I wasn’t questioning you, Slice. I was thinking. Fucking Mexicans? And MS-13? Son-of-a-bitch. Yeah, I’ll get Hollywood on it. I’ll have a hundred AK’s in two weeks, and that’ll give you some wiggling room. Hell, even if we’ve got to steal ‘em, I’ll have ‘em in time,” he sighed as he lowered his hands and pulled his chair from the table.
As I heard the door hinge creaking, I immediately stood from my chair and faced the doorway. As it slowly swung open, I saw Cash standing in the narrow opening between the door and the frame.
“Hey Otis, I got a question,” he said softly.
“Does that fucking door have a sign on it that says come on in?” I growled.
Cash shifted his gaze from Otis to me, “Sorry, Slice. I needed to ask…”
You stupid little cocksucker.
Before he finished speaking, I interrupted him, “I asked you a fucking question, Prospect. Does that god damned door have a sign on it that says come on in?”
Cash slowly shook his head from side to side.
“God damn it, Prospect,” Otis breathed as he began to stand.
I extended my arm and raised my hand in Otis’ direction to silence him from continuing. The dumb fucking
Prospect needed to learn that we had rules in place for a reason, and they need to be followed at all times.
“Hold up, Otis. I asked this simple minded little prick a question. Now answer me,” I barked.
“No, it doesn’t have a come on in sign, Slice” Cash sighed.
I shrugged my shoulders and continued to stare in his direction, “But it does have a sign on it, doesn’t it?”
He closed the door momentarily and slowly pushed it open again. As he opened the door, he peered around the wooden frame toward where I stood, “Yes, Slice. It sure does.”
I inhaled a long breath and raised one eyebrow, “Tell me what it says.”
“Knock before entering,” Cash said softly.
“Big red and white motherfucker, gets your fucking attention kinda like a god damned stop sign, huh? Being big and red with huge white letters and all?” I asked in a sarcastic tone.
He nodded his head.
“It’s pretty fucking hard to miss, unless you’re a stupid fucker or blind. And you know what? I ain’t lookin’ to add any dumb asses or cripples to this club. You’re never gonna make it, kid. Now fucking knock,”
The door closed. Three sharp taps immediately echoed into the room.
“Go the fuck away, we’re in a closed door meeting,” I shouted as I sat down.
As his steps faded down the hallway, I turned toward Otis and shrugged. He had vouched for Cash, who had grown up with a bike between his legs, and was a friend of his family. I called him a kid, but he wasn’t young. He was thirty years old and an auto mechanic, having him around would bring some benefit to the club, but everyone had to pay their respects and prove themselves through twelve months of being a Prospect. Cash certainly had his shortcomings, and not knowing when to keep his fucking mouth shut was one of them.
Everyone seemed to warm up to him quickly, but to me, he seemed weak. I was often able to see what others didn’t.
Maybe that’s why I was in charge.
“I know you vouched for that little prick, but the kid’s got diarrhea of the jaw. I don’t trust his little ass any further than I can toss him,” I said as I turned around to face Otis.
“I know you don’t. He’s got six more months, though. He’s still learning the ropes,” Otis explained as he lifted his beer bottle.
“He’s thirty fucking years old, Otis. He acts like an immature kid,” I shrugged.
“And another thing about something you said a minute ago, right before shit-for-brains interrupted us. Joking or not, I need to make this clear, you ain’t stealing any guns, we straight on this?” I asked.
“Yep,” he nodded.
Six years prior, Corndog had acquired fifty Beretta 9mm pistols. Unbeknownst to him, they were stolen. After selling a few of them, one was used in a murder. Local law enforcement traced the firearm back to Corndog, and questioned him on the sale of the weapon and the location of the remaining stolen weapons.
He didn’t budge. He lied, stating he found them on the side of the road. Had he provided the information to law enforcement on where he obtained them, he could have walked away. The club’s exposure on the crime was nil. The asshole who sold him the weapons was the one who stole them, and he was the person the cops wanted. Ninety nine out of a hundred men would have given the man up and walked free.
In fact, he didn’t even tell anyone in the club who sold them to him. He looked at it as something he needed to take care of himself. I always believed after he was prosecuted and sent to prison, he’d say something to one of the members, but after four and a half years in prison, he stood firm on his promise to resolve it himself.
Now in prison and almost done with his five year sentence, he had made a deal with a Mexican prison gang to supply guns to their outsiders on the street. Small groups of Mexican gangs had cropped up in the Midwest since the latter 1990’s, and most originated from southern California. Drugs were the primary focus of these gangs, and they didn’t interfere with our ability to do what we needed to do, so we allowed the drug traffic to proceed without any issues.
Most MC’s in this day and age chose not to mess with drugs as the risk is far too great. If caught and convicted, a kilo of cocaine under the RICO act would provide every member of the MC a thirty year sentence. This was damned sure a risk the Selected Sinners Motorcycle Club wasn’t willing to take. Not under my watch.
Our club chose the Midwest due to the extremely soft state gun laws. Our first chapter developed in Wichita. The second chapter formed in Oklahoma City five years later. Three years after that, a chapter in Austin, Texas followed. We were of the opinion as long as our focus was legal firearms, prosecution would be by state officials, and not federal. Federal crimes and MC’s didn’t mesh well, and typically a member of a MC would see the RICO act if he committed a federal crime. The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, or RICO as the Fed’s called it, was developed to thwart organized crime. As long as the crime committed wasn’t federal, we believed we’d never have to worry about the Fed’s knocking on our door. A state crime for firearms was typically a twenty-four to sixty month sentence in prison. A federal crime with the RICO act was typically ten times that amount.
So, in the Midwest we had become an extremely powerful presence. Semi-automatic assault weapons, high capacity pistols, and riot shotguns were our focus. Machineguns, silencers, short barreled weapons, and sawed off shotguns were federally governed, so we stayed away from them.
Keeping up on the federal and state gun laws was my job. Having the local cops on our side didn’t hurt matters, and we strived to keep the club out of legal trouble with our gun business. Staying out of jail in general was next to impossible, but outlaw motorcycle clubs weren’t known for abiding by the law.
We were no exception.
“If I’m going to get this order in two weeks, I better find Hollywood. Got anything else?” Otis asked as he tossed his bottle in the trash.
I pointed toward the trash can and shook my head lightly, “Take that stinking motherfucker outside. I don’t want to smell it. And that’s all I got, Otis.”
He shook his head and leaned over the trash can. As he pulled the empty bottle from the trash he turned to face me and rolled his eyes. Slowly he began to saunter toward the door. Otis did everything slow and easy until it was time to throw down in a fight, and then everything turned to lightning speed. I always imagined him saving his energy for such occasions. To watch him leisurely make his way through the day was almost exhausting.
“Better yet, smack that Prospect upside the head with it first. Maybe you’ll knock some sense into his stupid ass,” I laughed.
“Cut him some slack, Slice. He’s a good kid,” Otis sighed as he reached for the door handle with his free hand
“He may be a good kid, but I have my doubts that he’ll make a good Sinner,” I responded as I looked up at our motto posted on the wall.
The Devil Looks After His Own.
“We’ll see,” Otis said as he walked through the door.
“Damned sure will,” I huffed.
Damned sure will.