I stood watching through the shutters. I was waiting for them. I knew they would soon be there to claim the spoils of their war, their property, things I had earned and worked for, and yet, for which I had no more claim. These things had been my identity, my pride, my personification—they had propped up my caricature for fourteen years. I was no more than a legend in my own mind. As quickly as the midnight clouds cover the moon, I was no more than a distant memory in the minds of my brethren. There I stood, once the king of my own mountain, now a man without rights, respect, or importance. No matter. I told myself that it was for the best.
They pulled up to the fence in my yard in a pickup followed by a couple motorcycles. Two days earlier these were my brothers, my family…but now…they were there to enforce their laws. I walked out to greet them. Our faces didn`t know how to react. Should we smile, should we stand stoic and emotionless? Should we show the same care that was only there a few days ago?
“I`m sorry brother,” said Sobel. He was my old Sargent at Arms.
“It is what it is,” I replied.
Still John had taken my place as President of the local chapter. He was an old Vietnam Vet, about 65, and really just a harmless old man that needed the club more than they needed him. They came to collect anything that had the clubs colors or name on it: shirts, vests, belt buckles, jewelry, and photos. They also demanded that I either pay them $2000 or give them my motorcycle. They also wanted my bike lift in the garage. It had been a gift from a club brother. They said he had only let me borrow the lift. I shook my head and a slight grin creased my lips.
“So that`s how it`s gonna be?” No one replied to my question. They just stared with eyes that were firm, yet subdued.
Still John stepped out of the truck and looked at me with a steely gaze. He nudged his head to the side indicating he wanted to speak to me alone. I walked over to meet him.
“Look…I feel bad about all this. I can loan you the cash to pay Bear off.”
I looked at him—everything inside screaming to demand the respect and fear I once held from these men—and I shook my head, no. I turned and pointed to six black trash bags on my porch. These were filled with fourteen years of my life. All of my T-shirts, colors, pictures, etc. I would have once spilled blood for the contents of these trash bags. The scene was almost comical…six bags of trash and gut full of dishonor.
Still John motioned for the guys to start loading the trash bags and to put my old chopper on the trailer. It was surreal to watch the bike I had built from the frame up with my own hands pushed away by a new member of the club that I had only known for 6 months. The old man inside once again screamed at me: how could you let this damn prospect touch your bike? You were the regional boss over seven states and 20 club chapters—who the hell is this piece of shit? My pastor`s voice pushed down the old man inside my head and reminded me that God works in mysterious ways, “What man means for evil God turns into good for those who love him.”
My wife watched from the inside. I looked at her briefly and saw the tears running down her face as they rolled Pricilla (we always named our bikes) onto the trailer. There was a picture on our wall of the International President and his new wife—their wedding photo they had sent us. Suddenly, a framed picture came flying from the porch and shattered at the feet of still John. We all turned to look…we saw my wife walk back into the house.
As they finished loading the bike, I wondered how I would say goodbye to them—or if I should. The air between us all was thick; it oozed around us and pressed on our chests. While they loaded the stuff, we would take a glance at one another ever so often and immediately look away. Who was I? This thought crushed my soul and my ability to think. Who am I now?
Still John and Sobel walked up to me and stood at a distance. Two days ago we were laughing together on the ride to the big meeting. We had no idea the boss would kick me out of the club—banished on bad terms. From that day forward all my relationships, my brothers, my family—all of who I was would be stripped clean. Any member caught talking to me or communicating with me in any way would face the same fate.
They turned, never looking back, and drove away.