The small town has trouble with gangs, until a saviour comes to assist.
Red neon sign flashed on and off in the darkness. The Dreamweaver's Bar and Grill.
The stranger paused in the doorway, waiting until he grew accustomed to the dimness. He was hard to describe, nothing to distinguish him from the next man, except for his piercing, emerald green eyes.
“What can I get you, sir,” the barman stood polishing glasses behind the long oak bar in the almost empty premises.
“A glass of your best soda water, please,” the stranger replied as he removed his black cowboy hat and wiped the sweat from his brow.
“Coming right up.” The barman poured the sparkling cool water into a tall glass.
“Looks good.” The man took a deep drink
“Not seen you around here. You just arrived in town?”
“Yep. On the bus,. I prefer buses and trains, I like to observe.”
“Done much travelling?”
“Oh, yeah.” The man took another swallow of his drink before continuing, “been to most places in the world. Europe, Asia and Africa. I love cities, lots of people, even crowded underground trains.
The bartender nodded, “Can’t say I’ve ever travelled underground, not sure I’d like it, neither”
“They’ve got ‘em all over the world, they’re the best mode of transport for moving people around. The London tube system’s huge. I was there when the Saran gas attacks happened 2002.”
“I’m a bit young to remember that.” The barman held out his hand. “The name’s Earl.”
“Lucas.” The two men shook hands.
“It was a terrorist attack, Earl. Someone released deadly gas into the London underground.” Lucas explained. “Over three million people use the underground every single day?”
Earl shook his head. “Hard to believe that some bastards would try to kill folk like that. Rats in a trap,” Earl shuddered.
“Terrorists. Al-Quaida claimed responsibility.”
“Sounds like you’ve travelled a lot?”
“Yeah, I’ve been all over. Have you travelled much?”
“No, the only place I’ve been is New York. Went there for my sister’s wedding last year,”
“You didn’t go on the subway?”
Earl shook his head.
“It’s one of my favourite places. I was in New York on 9/11.”
Earl raised his eyebrows. His customer continued talking.
“The Moscow underground station is amazing. The priceless artwork needs to be seen to be believed.” Lucas gave a nod, as if remembering. “Yeah, I was in Russia when Chernobyl happened.”.
“Sounds like you’re a walking disaster.” Earl chuckled, “You’ve been unlucky.”
“Perhaps,” Lucas said, then asked, “Is it always as quiet as this?” gesturing to the empty pool table and the only occupied table, where an old man sat alone nursing a drink.
“No. We’ve had trouble with some bikers. A bit of a vendetta going on between two rival gangs.” Earl continued, “They come in here causing mayhem. It’s frightened customers away.”
As he spoke the doors of the bar crashed open. A mountain of a man stomped up to the bar.
“That’s Lucifer, the leader of the Disciples,” Earl whispered, nodding in the guy’s direction.
“Whiskey. A quart.” Lucifer demanded, through a mouth barely discernible behind the long, bushy beard.
Lucas could smell the man’s unwashed body under the black leathers. The biker glared at him as Lucas stood, taking his soda water to a corner table.
“What’s that you’re drinking?” he snarled.
“Water. What’s it to you?”
“Have a proper drink.” The thug slammed the whisky bottle on the table before filling a shot glass.
Staring right in his aggressor’s eyes, Lucas ignored the glass, picked up the bottle and slowly emptied it down his throat in one go. He then turned to the shot glass and knocked back the contents until it too was empty.
The barman watched on, holding his breath but before things got nasty, the door opened and the rest of the Devil’s Disciples motorcycle gang came in, shouting and demanding drinks at the bar.
Their leader, Lucifer, abruptly stepped back as Lucas stood from his chair. He called out, “See you later, Earl!” and left the bar.
Later that evening Lucas returned, having looked around the town.
“Hi, Earl. Any rooms vacant? I was thinking I might stay for a few days. Seems like a fine town.”
“Sure thing, there’s a room overlooking the park. I’ll get the keys.
A few days later, the bar was once again busy with the motorcycle gang. Their high-powered bikes lined up outside on the street.
Earl appeared nervous. His hands shook slightly as served the mob. Lucas sat quietly in his favourite chair near the window and watched, unresponsive, when a truck roared down the Main Street at full speed, powering into the bikes, mowing them down like skittles. Without even slowing, the speeding vehicle continued on its way as if nothing had happened.
The burly bikers’ reactions were immediate, tearing outside to look at the mayhem and destruction, unable to believe what they were seeing.
“The bastard never even slowed. Did anyone see who was driving?”
“I couldn’t even see anyone. It looked as if it was driving itself.” Someone yelled and then bent down to pick something off the road.
“Look what I’ve found,” he said, brandishing a rival club patch. Lucifer snatched it from him.
“The Sewer Rats have sent us a warning,” he snarled. “So, it’s war they want? Well, they’ve got it!”
The clubhouse on McGuire street was unusually quiet for a Friday night. One voice, Lucifer’s, was holding forth.
“Retribution, that’s what’s going to happen,” he said in a menacing voice.
There was a murmur of assent amongst the gathering. The women members sat apart from their men tonight, wary of the underlying malice in the air. Even Lucifer’s Rottweiler, usually by his master’s side, had slunk off into a far corner.
“What’s the plan, boss?” his second in command, Weasel, asked.
“Tomorrow night, we’ll be paying the Sewer Rats a surprise visit, that’s what. It’s their club night, they won’t be expecting us and we'll be armed.” Lucifer grinned, showing his nicotine-stained teeth.
“Okay, guys, listen up, here’s what we’re going to do.”
On Saturday morning, a dozen gas bottles were being delivered to the Sewer Rats' clubhouse. The padlocked iron gates, set in the six-foot high fence, forced the delivery guy to leave them outside on the road. Later that day, a thug on a Harley Davidson roared up the street, he arrived to open up the clubhouse ready for the evening. Seeing the gas bottles he presumed their leader, Mack, had ordered them, so he shifted them inside the compound.
It was nearing midnight. The Disciples rode their bikes en masse to the other side of town. Most doubling up as their bikes were still in the repair shop after the truck debacle.
The bikes throbbed as they approached the clubhouse. Sounds of music and laughter came from the building on this quiet back road, on the wrong side of the tracks.
Over twenty men dismounted, all carrying weapons. Most had guns, some carried knives and machetes. A few even had hand grenades. They meant business. A bolt cutter soon took care of the locked gates.
It was a moonless night and dressed as they were in dark clothing, it was impossible to see the bikers preparing to enter their enemy’s clubhouse.
Lucas and Earl were dishing the dirt at the bar. They were alone. The few customers, those who were still willing to risk drinking at the biker's water hole, had gone home. The lights were dimmed, the jukebox played a sad song, and Earl was tired. He paused mid-yawn.
The sounds of gunfire could be heard in the distance. The two men stared at each other for a moment.
“It’s coming from the Sewer Rats' clubhouse by the sound of it.” .
Lucas nodded, a faint smile flickered on his lips. He snapped his fingers. The sound of a massive explosion rattled the windows of the bar.
Minutes later the town‘s fire engine tore past, flashing lights illuminating the dimness in the bar. Every dog in the town barked.
The following morning Lucas came downstairs to pay his account. Earl was busy wiping down the tables in the bar. “You leaving?” he asked.
“Yeah, time to move on,” Lucas replied.
“Well, it looks like our troubles are over. The gangs got themselves blown up last night. Seems they were having a fight when an explosion ripped the place apart. Caused by a shitload of gas bottles, all of them full.” Earl grinned, “No one can explain why they all exploded at the same time. Anyway, who cares? Everyone’s either dead, or injured.”
“Sounds like they got what was coming.” Lucas grinned. “Anyway, it’s been great to meet you, Earl.” The two men shook hands. “Good luck with everything.” Lucas walked out of the door.
As the Greyhound bus passed the scene of the explosion, Lucas gave a smile. He saw the smouldering ruin, the fire trucks still pouring water on the glowing embers. Removing his black hat, he rubbed his hand through the thick black hair. His piercing green eyes flashed and as he leaned back in his seat and observed.There's only room for one Lucifer in this world