Salt Lake City, Utah
Twenty-one years later
Popping the tab on my energy drink, I stared at the warehouse in front of me. The one I had rigged with explosives. The owner of the building, a degenerate by the name of Gerald Piper, was due to arrive at any minute. The man was a sick bastard, involved with human trafficking and illegal porn. I’d been hired to not only take him out, but blow up his newly acquired warehouse in Salt Lake City. Although my knuckles itched to do some collateral damage to the prick’s face, before ending his miserable life, he wasn’t my only target. There were other individuals that Gerald was scheduled to meet with. Two bikers from a club called “The Devil’s Sons”. The President, Bam, and his V.P., Digger. Apparently, they were silent partners who’d pissed off a rivaling club, one too many times. Because the Feds were watching my clients closely, they had to keep a low profile but wanted Gerald, Bam, and Digger wiped from the grid. Honestly, after learning about their history involving the exploitation of women, children, and farm animals, I’d have done the job for nothing. The world was pretty much fucked already, but it would definitely be a little more tolerable without those three scumbags. They deserved to suffer and my only regret on this job was that their deaths would be swift and painless, unlike the unspeakable crimes committed by them.
Catching my reflection in the window of a nearby liquor store, I almost did a double-take. Currently, with the long, gray beard, bulbous nose, craggily skin, and a beat-up trench coat, I looked and smelled like a ripe transient. The kind that people went out of their way to avoid on the streets. It was one of many disguises that I’d used for jobs and probably the most effective. Even my own mother wouldn’t recognize me. Of course, she had no idea what I looked like anyway. Not after bolting when I was an infant. She’d been scared shitless of my old man, Acid, and had taken off, leaving me at the mercy of the sadist. But, it’s just like that old saying – “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”. Surviving a childhood with Acid had undoubtedly made me a tougher and more resilient person. It also made me cynical. I had no problem looking in the mirror every day. There were far worse assholes roaming the streets. If I could eliminate some of them and earn a fat paycheck at the end of the day, I had no trouble sleeping.
The sound of Hogs in the distance got my heart thumping faster. Knowing that shit was about to go down, I finished the energy drink and threw the can into the grocery cart I was pushing. Then I headed to the back of the warehouse, watching as two bikers rolled into the parking lot. As they parked their bikes, I pushed the cart slowly, pretending to look for more aluminum cans.
Ignoring me, the bikers got off their motorcycles, climbed the steps leading to the building’s Employee entrance and pounded on the door. After not getting a response, they turned around and scanned the parking lot, obviously looking for Gerald. When their eyes landed on me, I leaned down and picked up an empty soda can I’d planted earlier and tossed it into my cart. Then I began pushing it again, this time, talking to myself like a lunatic.
“Fucking crazy bum,” I overheard one of them say as a Caddy pulled into the parking lot. “He’s talking to himself. Next, he’ll be singing.”
“Hey you, get the fuck out of here,” said the other guy, glaring at me. “Go on. Beat it before we beat you.”
Smiling, I took my cue and began to sing.
“I keep a close watch on this heart of mine. I keep my eyes wide open all the time. I keep the ends out for the tie that binds. Because you're mine… I walk the line...”
“Can you believe this piece of shit, Bam?” laughed the other biker. “He’s singing Johnny Cash.”
“Funny thing is, the fucker doesn’t have that bad of a voice,” remarked Bam, pulling out a cigarette.
I went on.
“I find it very, very easy to be true, I find myself alone when each day's through, Yes, I'll admit that I'm a fool for you. Because you're mine…I walk the line…”
The Caddy rolled up next to the motorcycles and the engine shut down.
“What do you know, he showed,” mumbled Digger, staring at the car.
“Why wouldn’t he?”
He shrugged. “Never know with that asshole.”
A short, squat man carrying a briefcase got out of the car. He walked up the staircase and unlocked the door, not saying much to the bikers, who were still eyeing me.
“What, no encore?” asked Digger, when he noticed that I was no longer singing.
“Really? An encore? Get the fuck inside,” said Bam, pushing him into the building.