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Bear had first told us he was going to turn Prospect for his dad’s MC, The Beach Bastards, when he started buying weed from us in the eighth grade. He’d known what his future held for him since the day he was born. Since he spent most of his time with either the MC or us, he’d been trying to get us to Prospect with him since the day he decided that we were all going to be friends.

“Not for us, man. We’re like our own MC of two. We’re like the non MC, MC,” I said. I’d moved on from the tequila and was lighting the two-foot tall purple glass bong that sat in the middle of the living room on yet another overturned milk crate, this one acting as our coffee table.

“You gotta kill people and shit?” Preppy asked in a lowered voice, like someone was listening in and he didn’t want them to hear. He reached over to take the bottle back from Bear, stretching out his too-long-for-his-body arm.

Where I was fifteen and taller and more built than most adults, looking several years older than I was, Preppy was smack dab in the middle of an awkward phase that made his arms and legs look like a stretched out Gumby and his face looked as if he’d had a chronic case of the chicken pox.

“Only people that need killing,” Bear answered like he was reciting something he’d heard a million times before, and no doubt he had. “No women or kids, nothing like that. Just people who know the score and understand the consequences, or people who fuck with the MC and us earning.” Bear looked up at Preppy through his messy white hair and brushed it out of his eyes. “Why? You got someone who needs killing?”

He sounded very much like his father, President of The Beach Bastards. Bear’s father was a psychopathic killer, who dealt in drugs and women, but Bear still managed to have the most stable upbringing between the three of us.

“Nah, man,” Preppy said, waving his hand dismissively like the question was ridiculous, but I knew he was lying. I saw it in his eyes. “Just curious is all.”

I also had a very good idea of who he thought ‘needed killin’.

Bear looked around and leaned in close, waving for us to lean in bring it in as well. “We got these guys, specially trained. Pops calls them ‘the janitors’. You know what their job is?” he asked pausing dramatically, waiting for Preppy and me to urge him on.

“What?” Preppy asked, totally enthralled. “What do they do?”

Bear smiled, elated that Preppy had taken the bait. “When people need killin’, or get killed, they sweep in and make it so it never happened.”

He made a wiping motion with his hands in the air, extending them out to his sides. He sat back, looking pleased that he could share with us something about the MC. It wasn’t until he turned prospect that he’d finally gotten a glimpse of the inner workings of The Beach Bastards, and he was always excited to tell us more about the club he was raised in but didn’t necessarily know a lot about before he was given a PROSPECT cut.

The kid was a born biker, but as much as he tried to get us to join, it wasn’t for us.

Preppy and I never strayed from our plan.

Ever.

“You guys ever need a cleaning up, you call me. I can put a word in. Problem is, you’d owe us a favor. That’s how it works. No matter when we call in that favor or no matter what that favor is, you gotta do it.” Bear lit a cigarette and waved the smoke away from his face. “Nuff of that shit, boys. Preppy, you got the goods or what?”

“Goods?” I asked. I wasn’t aware that we were selling to Bear today, or any other day for that matter. Since he turned Prospect, he bought his weed from the MC.

Preppy hopped up and walked over to the hall closet. He came back holding something covered with a ripped sheet. “What the fuck is that?” I asked.

“This—” Preppy waved his hand over the sheet. “—is your birthday gift, you ungrateful fuck.” He set it on the floor and grabbed the sheet in the middle, lifting it off like a magician. “Voila!” He stepped back, and my eyes focused on what was in front of me. It was a cardboard box and inside of it were bits and pieces of something.

Not just something. It was a tattoo gun.

“Happy birthday, you fucking fuck! Now, let’s figure out how to put this thing together, because Bear and I already picked out which tattoos we want from your sketchbook.” I stared at the equipment in front of me, not believing my eyes.

“If you take any longer to get started putting it together, I’m going to request mine be put on my taint,” Bear said, knocking me out of my stunned state.

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