Except for the airbrush art on the gas tank, Terry's Dyna-Glide was done. The frame was a shiny black. The engine glistened with chrome. The front forks now extended well ahead, not quite a '70s style chopper, but definitely in that direction. The engine and transmission had been modified, with Terry taking it for a test run and declaring it "one awesome fuckin' rocket." In a bit of a contradiction of most show bikes, Terry had actually added a passenger seat, hand-hold, and a rack for strapping cargo onto. (Most show bikes had the smallest pad of leather behind the gas tank as a seat.) Terry wanted the rack so she'd have someplace to strap her gun cases when she went shooting.
She let me take it for a spin. Jumpin' Jesus on a pogo stick, this thing was fast. Launching wide open, the G-forces were palpable. I left the first light on El Camino Real in a flash, and didn't even have time to get scared of the damn thing before I was approaching the next light. Cops wouldn't bother writing you speeding tickets for this thing, they'd set up a system where they'd simply mail you the correct number of citations you should be receiving every month.
Bekka also took it out, and returned ten minutes later with a panicked look. She said to Terry, "Oh hell no. I know I've said I like fast, but that thing is ridiculous. I'll stick with my purple beast, thank you, that thing is quick enough for me. This monster is.... Lord woman, what the hell are you planning on having to outrun?"
With a vicious grin, Terry said, "I wanted something that would give those dumb motherfuckers on Ninjas a run for their money. Those assholes always think they can outrun a putt, and I wanted a putt that would prove them wrong. And it's just fun. Bet it's quicker than anything a club has on the street."
The tank would be done next week. She was going with a guy the Dago Hell's Angels suggested. She had perused his portfolio and decided they were right. "Eddie," the Iron Maiden mascot, was going on each side. I'd suggested using the mohawked skull of the Exploited logo, but Terry felt it was too stark, and didn't want a skull. "Everybody puts fuckin' skulls on their tanks, it's rubbed into the fuckin' ground. Yeah, Eddie is scary-looking, that's the fuckin' point, but the image also has some personality to it."
Bekka had a pen pal in the Philippines, a Naval captain who was a recent transfer from San Diego. He was the one Terry had bought the dead stock Dyna-Glide from. The captain was also a Becky Page fan, but not one of her worshipers. His enthusiasm was reined in.... Although his wife wished it would go away completely. The captain had complained in a letter that he couldn't find a copy of the just-released "Succubus" anywhere, so Bekka had mailed him a copy for free, to his undying joy. He'd even taken Bekka's advice and had a viewing party for his new neighbors at Subic Bay. Excluding his wife, everyone had a great time. (His wife was appalled they were showing hardcore porn to their fellow officers. The unanimous response was, "Yeah, but it's a Becky Page movie.")
Bekka felt the captain should see what had been done to his old cruiser, and provided with the tech specs, too. Terry agreed, and said she'd take it up to Riverside Raceway and get some track times on it. Now that it was on the street, she showed it off a little bit. First stop, the Hi-Lo, the bar for the local H.A. chapter. She offered test rides to certain Angels, ones she felt had a certain level of self-discipline and skill as riders. The reviews were unanimous, Terry the Terror had a putt that matched her moniker.
Terry knew her fellow competitors at the Gun Range would not hold the same enthusiasm she did, but she rode it to the next shoot-out anyway, gun cases bungeed to the rack. She wanted Gerald to see it, even if no one else cared. Her and Gerald had talked on the phone a few times and met for lunch on Sunday since they had gotten together. They both wanted to take things very slowly, so far as trying to build a relationship went.... Although after having lunch, they went back to Terry's place and were both naked within ninety seconds of her apartment door closing, remaining that way until well past dinnertime. If he hadn't seen her pull up and get out of the Nova, Gerald would have been hard-pressed to recognize Terry when they met for lunch. She was wearing flats, a knee-length skirt, and a well-tailored blouse. Makeup, even. She walked up to him, smiled shyly, and said, "Clean up real fuckin' nice, don't I?" Gerald had a lump in his throat. She was beautiful, and it was obvious she was doing this for him.
Terry rode into the parking lot of the Gun Range and walked the putt backwards into a space. She twisted the throttle a couple times before shutting down. The noise was audible even inside the heavily-soundproofed range. Some of her fellow shooters were hanging around outside, and stared hollow-eyed at her arrival. She had ridden the Dyna-Glide to the range before, but in its dead stock form. There was nothing remarkable about a stock Dyna-Glide, so nobody paid any attention to it. Everybody knew the purple beast of a Nova, with the supercharger jutting out of the hood, was Terry's, but a stock Dyna-Glide could have belonged to anybody. Now there was no question about whose motorcycle this was. Given the radical changes made to it, the putt now looked nothing like it had in its original form anyway.
After unstrapping the gun cases, Terry lit a Camel and walked towards the entrance. "Whassup, people?" she greeted those standing around.
There was quiet muttering in response. Then one guy, a single dude who had a libidinous attraction to Terry, said, "Where did you get that thing?"
"I've had it," grinned Terry. "Believe it or not, that's the same fuckin' Dyna-Glide I've been riding here off and on for a while. I got some work done to it, chopped frame and long forks, lotsa chrome, and I had the fuckin' engine bored and the tranny re-geared. That fucker is fast now." She laughed. "When you got a fuckin' Hell's Angel telling you your putt is too fuckin' fast for them, you know you got a rocket."
"Louder, too," said a sour anonymous voice.
Terry shrugged. "Yeah, well, it does have a sharper exhaust note now. Wider pipes, too, so they're gonna let through a little more sound."
Her non-suitor, who she remembered as Cody, asked, "What.... What are you going to do with it?"
This question made no sense to Terry. "Uh, ride it. What else would I do with it? I mean, it's nice, and once I have the artwork on the tank it's gonna fuckin' be the shit, but I ain't showing it. This is gonna be my daily putt."
"So you modified it to make it even faster?" asked Cody. "Why?"
Smirking, Terry responded, "The speed that beast is capable of is like the Colt I wear under my arm. I may not be using it, but it's nice to know it's there if I need to."
The same sour voice said, "Why aren't Harley Davidsons muffled? Why are they so damn loud?"
She wasn't sure who had spoken, but Terry glared in the general direction of the voice and said, "For me, and for a lot other fuckin' riders out there, that noise helps keep us alive. Especially on the freeway. Fuckin' drivers don't see motorcycles. You're invisible. But on a Harley, everyone can hear you, so they know you're there. Besides, muffling means restricting the exhaust, which means losing horsepower. Yeah, Harleys ain't the most technologically advanced machines out there, but they're straightforward. Ain't nobody's gonna cripple their power just to make their putt quieter."
A familiar Dodge Omni pulled into the lot. Gerald got out and started heading towards the front door. He suddenly realized Terry was standing there, and angled towards her. Terry grabbed him by the waist and kissed him, getting her tongue in his mouth. They remained like that for several seconds. When they parted, both of them realized the small audience they had were staring as if they'd both sprouted wings and horns.
Terry said to Gerald, "Hey, I got the Dyna-Glide back. The fuckin' thing only needs the tank artwork done at this point, you wanna check it out?"
"Of course," smiled Gerald. "I'm not, uh, really familiar with the technical aspects of Harley Davidsons, but tell me what you had done anyway."
Cody took half a step forward and said, "Um, are you two..... seeing each other?"
With a sly smile, Terry said, "Sorta. We're feeling this out slow, you know? All I know is Gerald here is one awesome dude, and the motherfucker can make me come like a fuckin' waterfall."
Gerald turned a bit pink at this revelation, but still managed to grin and say, "Well, Terry and I have been spending some time together. We enjoy each other's company."
Terry tugged at his arm. "You won't even recognize the fuckin' putt now. I'll go over what I had done. Check it out, baby."
The two of them walked to where the putt was parked. They were followed by a good-sized contingent of loiterers, curious about the machine this.... woman.... now called her daily transportation. A few were highly curious about the aspects of the relationship between Terry and Gerald. Gerald was an old hand around the range, a quiet but intelligent and knowledgeable denizen, a man whose passion had always been directed towards handguns. Gerald wasn't a rabid Fourth Amendment defender, but took his firearms seriously. Now, given what Terry had said, and their interaction, he had somehow had carnal relations with that crazy girl at the range, the one who drove the hot rod and whose appearance and behavior gave off more warnings than the sound of a rattlesnake.... But damn, she was hot, nobody could deny that. And Gerald? Of all people? Gerald had been, uh, intimate with That Crazy Biker Chick? Given the massive differences in personalities, they should mix like oil and water. But there they are, gun geek Gerald and biker bitch Terry, holding hands walking across the lot. Wow. Maybe there's hope for everyone. The more observant of them noticed Gerald's face had changed, somehow. Not only did he have a look of contentment, he also looked.... confident. assured. Like he knew next week's winning lottery numbers.
Terry knelt down beside the motorcycle and began pointing things out. She elaborated on the chrome work done, explained the engine boring, and launched into a litany about the gear ratios. For much of this, she may as well have been speaking Esperanto, but since her audience was entirely male they simply nodded and tried to look knowledgeable. She elaborated on the frame modification --- "You can't barely see the fuckin' weld work" --- and also explained the advantages of the bicycle-thin front wheel and massive rear rubber. She expressed her confidence that her modified Harley would easily challenge, if not stomp, any motherfucker on a Ninja or Ducati.
While she was still crouched down beside the putt, a now-familiar sour voice said, "So what gang do you belong to?"
Terry had been working on two personal skills since becoming a bodyguard, both being stressed by her boss: patience and diplomacy. She stood up straight, but did not turn in the direction of the voice. She simply said, "What do you mean? I don't understand the question."
"You heard me."
She now turned in the direction of the voice. It could have been anyone out of this small crowd. With a smile, she said, "If you're asking if I have a club affiliation, I don't. I am on good terms with the chapters of several local clubs, but I have no allegiance to any of them. Does that answer your question?"
The sour voice said, "You're just a biker criminal hoodlum. Get on your bike and go home."
Terry still couldn't tell who had spoken. In her head, she counted to ten, while forcefully arranging her face into an expression of placidity. Lenny had drilled into her, do not allow anger to dictate your actions. The opponent wins if you do. Let them make the first move, then go from there. But do not give in to the temptation to launch an assault. If you do, they win.
"You know, I'm not sure who's speaking to me," Terry said. "Why don't you step forward, so I know who you are?"
A guy, around forty, stepped forward. He was graying at the temples and was wearing a t-shirt that said, "Eliminate Crime -- Shoot Twice." Terry recognized him, sort of. He was there every Wednesday night for the shoot-out, but only entered off and on. No big surprise, as his scores were crap. She recalled a confrontation he'd had with the staff at the Gun Range. He'd brought a massive .50 caliber revolver with him to work out with. The gun was blatantly illegal in California, who knows where he'd picked it up from. Range staff had seen what he was working with (due to the noise) and had told him to put it back in its case, or leave the range for the day. He hadn't been happy, spouting off a diatribe about owner's rights that would have embarrassed the most rabid NRA member.
The guy had about four inches on her, which didn't bother Terry at all. She was repeating in her head, Go Zen. Find your place of Zen. She didn't say anything, simply nodding and giving a placid smile. After a couple moments, Terry finally said, "You seem to have an issue with me."
Mr. Eliminate Crime said, "Damn right. You don't belong here. You're just some damn biker, one of them gang members. Get on your damn motorcycle and go the hell home."
Terry kept her placid smile and said, "I just told you, I don't belong to a gang, and I have no affiliation with any club, outlaw or not. I'm here to compete in the target competition tonight. If my presence bothers you, for some reason, I suggest you leave. But I'm staying, dude."
"You know, if you were a man....."
She couldn't help but laugh at this. Terry got in control and said, "If I was a man, what? You'd throw down on me? The difference in our genders doesn't mean much to me. Throw down. Go ahead."
"What?" Mr. Eliminate Crime looked confused.
All the onlookers were scarcely breathing. Terry said, "You believe I'm a criminal. I'm not sure why, since I've never done anything to you. But if that's how you feel about me, go ahead, throw down. So what if I have tits and a pussy? Take a swing. You're not afraid of me, are you?"
Mr. Eliminate Crime snorted and said, "You got that damn gun under your arm. I'm not stupid."
Terry reached under her flannel and pulled out her Colt. She set it on the trunk of the car next to her. Then she got her placid smile on her face and said, "I'm unarmed. I'm a woman. I seem to represent everything you think is wrong with the world. Dude, how much easier of a target can I make myself? Throw a fist, I'm just standing here." Terry smiled just a little wider. "Please, externalize your anger."
Stepping forward, Mr. Eliminate Crime aimed a fist at Terry's head. She dodged her head back, letting it swing by, then grabbed the wrist of his swinging arm, twisted it up behind his back, forced her other hand onto his neck, and rammed his skull into the fender of the car next to her. He went slightly limp, so she let go and stepped back two paces and waited.
He got to his feet. A bit of blood ran out of his scalp, down his face. He bellowed, "Fucking cunt!" and charged Terry. She knocked his arms out of the way with one sweep, then used her other fist to punch him in the gut. The breath went out of him in a wheeze. She grasped his head and bashed it into the door frame of the parked car. He was still showing signs of life, so she did it again. He went limp,and she stepped away. Mr. Eliminate Crime slouched by the rear wheel well of the parked car, dead to the world. Terry reached into the pocket of her flannel and extracted a Camel, lighting up. She glanced back at Mr. Eliminate Crime and shook her head.
The onlookers drifted slightly closer to Terry, saying, "Wow..... How did you.... That was...."
Someone who didn't drift closer was Gerald. He remained standing near the putt. Terry's back was turned to Mr. Eliminate Crime, and the onlookers were crowding her, amazed at this display of self defense put on by a woman. Terry was distracted by her new-found fans. Suddenly there was a shriek of pain behind her. Everyone looked that way.
Gerald was standing over Mr. Eliminate Crime. He had one foot stomped down on his wrist, holding it there. The hand attached to the wrist had recently been holding a Derringer-sized pistol, now sitting on the asphalt. It was obvious to everyone what had happened, Mr. Eliminate Crime had a pocket rod, and was about to use it. Gerald was the only one who had thought to keep an eye on him, saw the movement, and did something about it. Terry realized what had nearly happened and started to feel the enormity of it, but tamped down that feeling and maintained their poise. She addressed the crowd of gawkers, saying, "I hate saying this, but we're gonna need some law."
Cory and another guy sprinted to the front door of the range, emerging less than a minute later with not one, but three off-duty cops. In their absence, Terry tucked her Colt back in its shoulder holster and stood with Gerald, who was still standing on Mr. Eliminate Crime's wrist, keeping him pinned. Terry looked at him and said, "Holy fuckin' shit, dude, you just saved my life."
Gerald shrugged modestly and said, "I've seen this guy around for a while. He struck me as someone who would have something in his pocket, legality be damned. I think he's the type who's watched too many Charles Bronson movies, one of those guys who thinks society is going to hell. I can see him developing a serious dislike for you, just because of how you look. He probably thinks he's a crusader."
The three off-duty cops were still installing their professional faces, and asked what had happened. The whole crowd began talking at once. Two of them got everyone to be quiet, and asked them individually. The third walked over to Terry and Gerald to get their stories, snapping cuffs on Mr. Eliminate Crime while they talked. Three squad cars arrived, gumballs flashing, within three minutes. No surprise, an altercation at a firing range had the ingredients to turn into a bloodbath. Two of the uniforms double-teamed Terry, leaning her against the car and frisking her. Gerald started to protest. Terry smirked at him and said, "It's cool dude, I played this game before."
Terry was cuffed (to Gerald's annoyance) but left standing in the lot. The registrations of all three guns were checked, the cops particularly curious about her Colt Defender and its concealed carry permit. Why are you carrying concealed, ma'am? Terry explained about her job as a bodyguard. This seemed to floor them: wait, you're a bodyguard for who? Really? Gerald noticed Terry was speaking a little slowly, and first wrote it off as mild shock. Then he realized she was actually carefully crafting her sentences, watching what she said. It hit him, she was controlling her usual style of speech, she hadn't used a variant of the word "fuck" in the entire time she'd spoken with the cops.
The gun Mr. Eliminate Crime had pulled was examined and had the serial number checked. It came back as stolen. It was a Raven .25. Still standing in cuffs, Terry found this hilarious. She quietly said to Gerald, "A fuckin' Raven? Dude. Not even the most broke-ass outlaw would bother with one of those. Makes me wonder if he's poor, or just cheap."
"Well, since it seems to have been stolen, it's immaterial. Uh, I don't think we'll be competing tonight. This is going to take too much time."
Terry looked a little disappointed, but shrugged and said, "If they cart me off, don't worry about me. I've done that scene before, and all I need to do is call Lenny, he'll have me out in four hours."
Gerald asked, "If you don't mind my asking, why were you arrested before?"
Looking into the middle distance, Terry said, "Just.... Being with the wrong people, in the wrong place, at the wrong time. They'd kick me loose the next morning with no charges. Just by sheer chance I was never holding anything when it happened, I'd be totally clean, and it's not illegal to hang around people that aren't."
After a while, Terry was un-cuffed, but instructed to remain where she was. The cops had ten witnesses whose stories all matched, and they all said the same thing: Mr. Eliminate Crime had attacked Terry, and Terry had defended herself. She'd done a bang-up job of it, too. Mr. Eliminate Crime was headed for jail by way of the ER, to check for concussion. He would be charged with assault and possession of a stolen handgun, the latter pretty much guaranteeing he wouldn't breathe free air for a while. In California, the penalties for being caught with a stolen gun are pretty draconian.
One of the cops walked up to Terry, pointed at her putt, and said, "Yours?"
"Yes, officer," she replied. "The registration and insurance papers are under the saddle. Would you like me to get them?"
The cop began walking a slow orbit around the putt, examining it. Terry knew exactly what he was doing, he was looking for any Vehicle Code violation there might be, such as no mirrors or brake light, no passenger hand-hold, whatever. Terry remained silent, but allowed herself to smirk at the cop while he did his inspection. She kept the smirk on her face as he approached her again.
"Quite a machine," said the cop. "Plan on showing it?"
Terry answered, "Naw. Yeah, it's pretty, and I still need to get the tank painted, but that's my daily rider. I never cared much for show bikes. I could never understand why anyone would build an awesome putt, then carry it around on a trailer all the time instead of actually riding what they'd built. Seemed like a waste to me."
"So you're really Becky Page's bodyguard?"
"Yeah. We're friends, too. Me and Becky are tight."
"How did you get that job?" asked the cop. "Have you done security work in the past?"
Terry said, "No. I, uh, work part-time on the production crew at Inana Productions, Becky's studio." (Terry wasn't in the mood to explain what a fluff girl was to a cop.) "Inana ain't a big place, we all know each other, everybody's friends. Becky and her husband decided I had the right attitude for the job. Really, I get paid to hang out with Becky Page when she goes out and her husband isn't around. She rides a custom Sportster, so her and I will cruise sometimes. All I need to do is keep the motherf--- uh, deflect fans who get too creepy or aggressive. Make them keep their distance, or just communicate to them they need to go find something else to do, you know?"
The cop frowned. "Why didn't they hire a professional?"
Smiling wider, Terry replied, "Actually, they did have a professional for a little while. It didn't work out. They knew they'd prefer having a female bodyguard, but also one who understood Becky as a person. They felt I was tough enough and smart enough, so they offered the gig to me. They're happy with me, and I take the job seriously."
"What do you earn?"
"I get $500 a day, and I'm with Becky about four days a week. I gotta pay taxes on that money, technically I'm an independent contractor, but it's still good money."
The cop regarded her cooly. "So you're a woman, with no experience in security work.... And according to your registration, you've only owned that Colt Defender you carry for four months, which means you're a novice with handling a firearm. And you make $2000 a week." The cop sneered. "That sort of money, I'll quit being a cop in a minute. I should get a hold of Becky Page, offer her my services. She could have a real professional with her."
Terry sharpened her grin. "I suppose you could try. You'd run into problems, though. Like I said, Becky and her husband wanted a female bodyguard, and uh, I'm guessing you're in possession of both an X and a Y chromosome. Also, they would consider your current career up till now a detriment. Um.... Let's just say Becky and Lenny have issues with authority figures. Since you're in constant personal contact with the person you're working for, being a bodyguard means you have to get along with your employer pretty much as a friend. I doubt Becky, or her husband Lenny, would be able to establish much of a rapport with a former cop. You would certainly find it hard to accept them as people. Their last professional only lasted four days before they got rid of him. He didn't like how Becky and Lenny lived their lives, and let them know. Hell, do you even ride a motorcycle? Becky likes to ride. What would you do, follow her in your car?"
The cop's cool look was devolving into a glare. Their exchange was mercifully interrupted by one of the other cops calling Terry over to his squad car, so she could retrieve her guns. Her and Gerald walked over. The cop placed the two gun cases on the trunk and handed Terry her Defender, which she slid into the holster, thanking him. He asked, "So what were you doing here tonight?"
Terry was a little confused by this question, as the answer seemed really fucking obvious to her. She replied, "I was here to compete. I'm here every Wednesday. Didn't your fellow officers, the off-duty ones, tell you what was going on, why this place is so crowded on a Wednesday night?"
Gerald said, "Terry is fairly new to shooting, but is highly skilled, it's amazing. She's quite the marksman.... Er, marks-woman."
The cop gave Gerald one of those I-thought-I -told-you-to-shut-up looks and continued, "Okay, that explains why you have that .22 Beretta. Why are you carrying the .45 Colt, the 1911? You're not using that in competition, are you?"
"No, it's to warm up with," Terry explained. "I use the big Colt for wrist strength and discipline. You spend fifteen minutes working with that Colt, then pick up a target .22, the target pistol feels as light and easy to handle as a squirt gun. It's how I've trained. I learned to shoot with a Beretta 92FS, so other than adjusting to the different styles of sights, using a target pistol has always been easy. Shooting isn't a cheap hobby, but I got the money for it these days, so here I am, you know?"
The cop pointed at Terry's holster and said, "I'll tell you what. If you have that damn piece under your arm out of its holster anywhere in San Diego, you'd better have a damn good reason. I don't like civilians who insist on carrying guns, no matter what they do for a living. Look at this guy we arrested."
Terry was tired of total diplomacy. She shot back, "Yeah, some wannabe vigilante type with a piece of shit ghetto gun shoved in his pocket. Who is he, anyway?"
"Horace Green, age forty-two." (Terry bit off a snicker. He was probably the only Horace in the country born after 1903.) "Tool and die worker employed in Chula Vista. Home address in Tierrasanta. One previous arrest and conviction, for pointing a gun at a census worker. No wife, no kids. You'll get to know him better in court, I'm sure."
"I'm sure I will." Terry paused. "So, you don't like that I wear my Colt?"
"If it were up to me, I'd take away every goddamn firearm from every goddamn civilian in the country," scoffed the cop.
Terry pondered this, staring at the asphalt. Then she said slowly, "Huh. Yeah. Wow. You know, I've noticed some commonalities between countries where citizens are forbidden to own guns. Weird little details. Like, in those places, you turn on the TV news and the anchorman is wearing a military uniform. And he tells you how awesome everything is. Nothing bad happened, nothing bad has ever happened, and nothing bad ever will happen. Yeah, the cave-in at a government-owned mine that killed 300 people? That didn't happen. And you haven't had running water for three days and you and your family have been living on rice and canned carrots and your neighbor got arrested in the middle of the night because he owned both a Bible and a William S. Burroughs novel. Nothing wrong with places like that, are there, officer?"
The cop straightened up and glared at Terry. His right hand moved to rest on the handle of his billy club. Gerald nudged Terry and said, "Let's go inside and see where they are in elimination, okay?"
As they got up to door, Gerald muttered, "Do you always bait cops?"
Terry grinned at him and replied, "Well, I'm not sure if my friend Lenny has been a good or bad influence on me. Lenny taught me it's more fun to fuck with people using your brain, you know? Nine months ago, my only response to that cop would have been, 'Fuck you, pig.' You can decide if I'm getting better or worse."
When they walked into the Gun Range, Terry could have only attracted more attention if she'd been on fire. Everyone turned to look at her and Gerald. Oh my God, that biker chick had taken out Horace The Vigilante. Put her gun aside, told him to step up, then laid him out. It wasn't just that Terry had dropped a guy in the parking lot, but it had been Horace, who liked to give the impression he was invincible, with or without a gun, a one man army. And Horace was going to jail, but Terry had been let go. And what had somebody been saying? Her and Gerald, the geeky dude, were now, um, on very friendly terms with each other? No way. Gerald was a nebbish, a guy who was fascinated by the chemical reactions that happened in a cartridge when the hammer hit it. His interest in guns was so technical he would paralyze an engineer at Smith & Wesson by talking for three minutes. Yeah, a nice guy, but a total geek. And now he was on intimate terms with The Crazy Biker Chick who had shown up a few months ago. It was a highly unusual pairing, like if Hulk Hogan started dating Yeardley Smith.
People came over and talked with them. They gave a bare-bones encapsulation: Horace --- yeah, that guy --- had picked a fight with Terry. Terry got tired of his noise, and told Horace to take a swing, if he hated her so much. Horace did. Terry dropped him by bashing his head into the frame of a car. Horace pulled a gun while lying on the ground. Gerald saw him, and stepped on his wrist. Then everyone went round and round with the cops. So, who is making the final rounds of elimination?
The consensus seemed to be that if anyone was going to start trouble like that, it was Horace. He was a hothead, a vigilante type who believed society was crumbling, and who felt the only way to stop the downfall was circumventing the law and the courts, taking out criminals with extreme prejudice. Wild West, mob rule justice. Terry was bitterly amused by this, as Horace seemed to have his own litmus so far as what constituted being a "criminal." He assumed Terry was, just by her fashion sense. Horace probably would have felt the same about Lenny, one of those punk rock druggies or something.... Hell, Lenny was a pornographer, which while not illegal, would probably have offended Horace's moral sensibilities, and made Lenny a target. Terry wondered where Horace would draw the line when it came to eliminating "criminals." Playing one's stereo too loud? Red light runners? Not having your dog on a leash? Jaywalking? Would any and all crime be a capital offense?
After about fifteen minutes, Terry tugged at Gerald's sleeve and gestured with her head at the door. Terry lit a cigarette when they were outside and said, "I can't hack being around those fuckin' people right now. You notice almost no one spoke to me directly, they always addressed you? Great, now instead of being that crazy biker bitch, I'm gonna be that crazy dangerous violent biker bitch. Fuck."
The front door swung open, and Peggy, the only other female target competitor, came out. She saw Terry and said, "Oh good, you're still here! I was afraid you'd taken off. So what happened? I've been getting conflicting stories."
Terry and Gerald went over what happened. When they finished, Peggy put her hand on Terry's shoulder and said, "Oh honey, I'm so sorry. That guy Horace is a creep, I'm not too surprised he'd have a problem with you. He's always prodded people to not only form Neighborhood Watch groups, but to arm them, have people forming posses to run off whoever they think are criminals. With you being, you know, a biker, I'm sure he felt you were up to no good, no matter what you were doing."
"Where did you place tonight?" asked Terry.
"Third. I'm fifty bucks richer. That should pay for some practice ammo, at least."
Terry smiled at this. "Look at the bright side. You only work out with your .22 Remington, right? Fuckin' .22 ammo is pretty cheap. Me, I go through a shitload of .45 ammo through my big Colt, not to mention 9mm when I rent a fuckin' Beretta to work out with."
"Yes, you do like your large caliber pistols," grinned Peggy. "I believe my husband wishes I had taken up needlepoint as a hobby, something cheaper and more ladylike, too."
"Doesn't he ever come to see you compete?"
Peggy frowned. "The big problem is the kids. The range prohibits anyone under the age of twelve from being on the premises, and good babysitters seem to have upped their rates in a big way over the last few years. Besides, I suspect my husband likes having me gone for the evening. I think he puts the kids to bed early just so he can.... Watch his videos."
"Given any more thought about what I offered?" asked Terry. "Like I said, I'm sure Becky would totally be up for it. She hates it that some men would rather watch her movies instead of, you know, being with their wives, she thinks that's sad. It would probably make her fuckin' month if she was able to help straighten a dude out, you know?"
After a pause, Peggy said, "You know, we forgot to exchange phone numbers last week. Here...." She pulled a pen and notebook out of her purse and wrote down a number, then had Terry provide hers. "Call me tomorrow, and I'll have made a decision."
"I'll call in the morning, I'm gonna be escorting Becky tomorrow starting at one. We'll get some lunch and fuck around at Fashion Valley mall, maybe go visit a friend out in Santee. Is that okay?"
"That would be fine. I need to get back in, my MKII is still sitting in my lane. I'll talk to you tomorrow, Terry. And thanks."
Peggy went inside. Gerald smiled at Terry and said, "See? Now you have two friends here. And you'll make more, don't worry."
Terry squeezed Gerald around the waist. "This has been a much wilder night than I'd anticipated. Let's pick up some beer and go to my place, okay?" She paused. "Dude, you fuckin' saved my ass tonight. That motherfucker Horace was gonna blow a hole in me. You had the sense to keep an eye on his shit. Thanks." Another pause. "Yeah, I wanna take you home and show you a little bit of..... appreciation."
With a feline smile, Terry said, "Baby, I'm gonna make you come so hard your ears fall off. That sound all right with you, dude?"
"I'll try to cope," Gerald smiled.