Tucker Looked Pensive
We arrived in Pike just past sunset. A place without suburbs or even a school, the town was small and rough. Rednecks would thumb their noses at such a dirty shithole. Yet, we had business there, and Pop wanted things handled.
Next to me, Tucker looked pensive, nervous even. My brother wasn’t a thinker. He didn’t pout or brood. When upset, he freaked out and made the problem better or worse. Either way, Tucker never thought shit out. Now, he was deep in his head.
“What the fuck?” I asked, smacking his arm.
“You’re all quiet and emotional and shit.”
“Maddy went to the lady doctor to check on the baby.”
“Is everything okay?”
Tucker nodded as we walked towards the bar. “Yeah. Baby’s doing good, but it’s a girl.”
“And that’s a problem, why?”
“I don’t know what kind of dad I’ll be with a girl. I can be fucking rowdy.”
“Yeah, I noticed.”
“Little girls need a soft dad who doesn’t scare the shit out of them.”
“Your kid is going to grow up knowing you. She won’t be surprised by your bullshit. She’ll think you’re great, even when you suck. Kids are stupid that way.”
Tucker grinned. “I really wanted a son. I figured if I did a shitty job that it wouldn’t be as noticeable on a boy.”
“Maybe, but I’m nervous about having a girl.”
“You’re going to do a shit job whether it’s a boy or girl.”
Ruffling his blond hair, I smiled. “I bet she’ll be a cute little fuck, though. Blonde baby princess. Just think of all the pink.”
Tucker grinned. “Sawyer is a pretty cute kid, and she’s a girl.”
Smile fading, I shook my head at his stupidity. “Let’s just do this thing.”
By the time we entered the bar, Vaughn and Judd were already drinking beers. Both guys had their game faces on and the place tensed in their presence. I nodded at them and headed towards the back office where Zack waited.
My guy in Pike had gotten the bright idea at one point to have someone tattoo stars all over his face. It was fucking difficult to take a guy seriously who looked like a little kid drew on his face while he was passed out.
Zack shook my hand. I doubted he ever shook my pop’s hand, but I was new to the leadership role, and he was kissing my ass.
“I didn’t think you’d bring your guys like this,” Zack said, leaning against his desk and crossing arms covered in more stars.
“You said someone was fucking with our shit. I took it seriously.”“Ye
ah, they burned out two meth labs but also hit the courier. Killed him and took forty grand.”
“Anyone else die?”
“Two meth heads. Oh, and a kid at the meth lab. The fuckers probably didn’t know he was inside. Not that it matters. Kid’s still dead.”
“How old?” Tucker asked, all sensitive now.
“I don’t know,” Zack said with a shrug. “It was sleeping in a crib. Whatever age that is.”
I glanced at Judd and Vaughn. The older enforcer looked indifferent. Judd’s cold eyes never showed a hint of concern over a dead child. Vaughn’s expression was easier to read. He always looked on the verge of violence, and I wondered if he would punch Zack soon. If he did, I wouldn’t stop him.
“How do we know it’s the Devils?” Tucker asked Zack who was staring at Vaughn and waiting for the punch.
“We don’t. Could be anyone.”
“No, it couldn’t,” I muttered. “They’ve been testing us for years. It’s them.”
“How’d they know about the courier?” Zack asked.
Even Tucker knew we weren’t sharing our mole concerns with Zack. I ignored the question and turned to the enforcers.
“It’s getting dark. Tomorrow, get a look at the damage.”
Judd nodded and walked out. Vaughn considered hitting Star Face Fucker but decided to follow his buddy and get another beer. Zack likely realized he lucked out because he exhaled hard.
“You’re not doing what needs to be done here,” I told Zack and his relief faded. “The Devils are hitting weak spots in our organization. This is your spot, and that means you’re weak. What the fuck do you plan to do about that?”
Tucker shifted next to me, and all of his impending daddy softness was gone. He looked like the guy who would bash a person’s head in over a misunderstanding.
Zack didn’t have an answer. He just put his hands out and waited.
“We’re moving new people into your territory to take over the operation,” I told him. “You will report to them. You’re their bitch. You fuck this up, and there’ll be nothing left of you for your parents to bury. Not a fucking star will remain. Do you get that, Zack?”
Nodding wildly, he looked relieved again. He wasn’t going to die at that very moment, and a guy like him didn’t think about the future. If he was alive from minute to minute, it was a good day for him.
Tucker and I joined Judd and Vaughn at the bar. After getting a beer, I glanced at a few women who were eyeing Judd and Vaughn.
“You two are tense as shit,” I said. “Go blow off some steam.”
Judd wasn’t tense but nodded. Even remaining on the stool, he would shack up with a chick later then walk away before the sun was up. A good hard fuck would settle down Vaughn, but he didn’t want to give up his rage.
"Chill,” I told Vaughn.
“That kid is dead because of me.”
“No, that kid is dead because of your fuck uncle and his club. You know why you left and I do too. Let’s not have this conversation again.”
Vaughn grunted his irritation and then glanced around the bar.
“There are enough horny chicks at that table for the three of us. Tucker’s balls don’t belong to him anymore.”
“Maddy is all I want,” Tucker said and then finished his beer and burped. “She’s my girl and hotter than sin. All other bitches can die for all I care.”
“He’s a poet,” Vaughn said to me, and I grinned. “You want to play with the cute blonde over there, boss?”
Glancing at the giggling girls, I thought about Farah. The whole drive to Pike, I tried not to worry about her. Mostly, I tried not to think about her smile and those brown eyes. I didn’t need the distraction, but she was in my thoughts anyway.
“Naw, I got me a girl now too,” I said, thinking those giggly blondes would be a poor substitute for the chick I wanted.
“Is everyone whipped now?” Vaughn grumbled.
Judd frowned. “I’m right here, fucker.”
“At least, I know you’ll never give your balls to some pretty girl and start talking about flowers and poetry and shit.”
“Can you imagine?” Judd muttered, shaking his head.
“No, I really can’t. Good thing too. I’d be dangling in the wind by myself.”
Judd and Vaughn weren’t getting married and having a couple of kids. I knew that much about them. Of course, I thought that about myself until Farah. I thought I might get old and fuck around for a few decades and then pick me a jailbait wife and make my heirs.
As Tucker got drunk and dreamed of his pregnant girl and their cooking princess, I thought about Farah. The enforcers talked up the giggling blondes and eventually left with them. I stayed with Tucker until he was drunk enough to be entertaining. After conning him into dancing like a fool, I helped him stumble to the hotel.
Through it all, I thought to call Farah, but never did. She was fragile in too many ways, and the work I was doing wasn’t about feelings and shit. It was about blood and fear.
Despite knowing that, I fell asleep thinking about Farah laughing at my charming moves and the look on her face when she jumped off the deck into the river. If I could spend the rest of my life looking at that face, I’d be one satisfied fucker.