Every time a motorcycle passes, Mom grips the steering wheel really tight and holds her breath until it speeds by. She keeps checking the mirrors and wiping the hair out of her eyes. She’s got bubbles of sweat on the top of her face and when the car lights up the next time, I notice she’s got tears leaking from her eyes.
“What’s wrong, cunt?” I ask.
Mom rolls her eyes and shoots me an angry look. “Just because your father calls me that, doesn’t mean it’s a nice thing to say to someone. You just stick with calling me Mom, okay?”
“Cunt doesn’t mean beautiful girl?” I ask, confused because Tripod is the one who told me what it meant, and he is the VP of my old man’s club, so he knows a whole lot.
“No honey, it doesn’t mean that. It’s a bad word so don’t ever say it again, okay?” She ruffles my hair with her hand and goes back to checking the mirrors.
When I get back to the clubhouse I’m going to ask Tripod about that word again. My old man says that girls sometimes don’t understand things the way boys do, so Mom is probably just confused.
“How can a word be bad?” I ask.
“It just can, Abel.” She says with a huff. Mom has the same look on her face she gets before she sends me to time-out, but at least her eyes aren’t leaking anymore.
I don’t like it when her eyes leak.
I also don’t like it when her nose leaks blood after she argues with Chop, my old man.
“Mama, what’s wrong?” I ask her again.
She shakes her head at me and smiles. “Nothing baby. Nothing’s wrong. In fact everything is great.”
“But I want to go back to the clubhouse,” I whine.
“No!” Mom yells, slamming her fist against the wheel. She takes a deep breath and another drag of her cigarette, stubbing it out in the ashtray. She reaches over and grabs my knee. I giggle because it’s my ticklish spot. “Abel, we are going somewhere you are going to love. It’s even better than the clubhouse. I promise.” She removes her hand and lights another cigarette.
I shrug and start to get excited, mostly because I think my mom might be taking me to Disney World. I have never been there, but it’s the only place I could think of that could be better than the clubhouse.
I go back to stretching the arms of my Stretch Armstrong and tie them behind his back the way I saw the cops do when they took Uncle Gator away yesterday. Cops aren’t friends of the club, so I didn’t tell my old man how cool I thought the lights and sirens were. He said Uncle Gator won’t be home anytime soon, but that we can visit him next month in a place called Up-State.
I hear a familiar rumble and I turn to look behind us. “Hey Mom, Dad’s here,” I say, but she only looks ahead and nods. Her eyes start leaking again. Motorcycles surround the car and my mom slows down but doesn’t stop. I recognize Tank and his bike when he pulls up close next to us. Even with his helmet and yellow tinted goggles I can tell he’s angry by the lines around his mouth. He’s shouting something, but I can’t hear him over the other bikes. My mom hears him because she shakes her head ‘no’ like she’s answering him.
I see Tank kick out his boot and the next thing I know the back window explodes into the car and the glass flies everywhere. Even though I duck behind the seat it’s too late. I catch a piece in the corner of my eye and it feels like a deep burning scratch. My mom screams and the next thing I know I feel the car veer to the right, the tires bumping over uneven ground before coming to a stop.
I take my hand off of my eye and try to open it but the second I do it shuts automatically and I’m sure that the glass piece might still be in my eye. Mom grabs my face and inspects my eye. The bikes have all come to a stop around the car and now I see Chop. He gets off his bike and throws his helmet to the ground. My mom picks a small shard of glass from my eye that’s stained with red. “I love you, Abel. Now and forever. Just remember that.” She whispers as Chop tears her door open and drags her out of the car by her hair. She screams and kicks but Chop doesn’t stop dragging her until they are covered by the trees on the side of the highway.
I may not be able to see them, but I can still hear them. “Do you not know how to fucking listen!” Chop shouts. “I told you that if you ever set foot in Logan’s Beach or near my fucking kid again, that I’d cut your tits off and hang them on the fence of the clubhouse! Did I look like I was fucking joking, cunt!”
I’ve heard them yell at each other before but something about this times seems different. “Come on, buddy.” Tank tells me, leading me out of the car and back to his bike.