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She threw the last couple of boxes into the back of her truck, tied everything down with some old ropes she had, and looked at the termite-infested house one last time before she drove away. The place was falling apart, but it had been home to her for years before he left her, and even then she couldn’t pull herself away from it. Too many memories of her parents still walked the halls of that house for her to sacrifice it just because of the misgivings of her ex. Within minutes she had reached the edge of town and glanced in her rear-view mirror just long enough to see the “Welcome to Osman” sign behind her.
“Goodbye ol’ town…”
And with that last parting thought she began to head south toward route 90 and an unknown future.
Nooo…don’t do this to me now!
The temperature gauge in her truck started to rise and she could hear the coolant beginning to boil in her engine. “Just a few miles more girl!” she urged the old Chevy. Her dad had owned the vehicle since 1965 and had always taken good care of it; regardless, every old dog gets worn down and time had finally gotten the best of her. The white pick-up chugged its way down the road, motor steaming and oil churning, until it could go no longer and she was forced to pull over as it coasted to a stop.
She got out of the truck, slammed the door shut, and went out to lift the hood up to allow the engine to cool. Not thinking things through well, she burned the tips of her fingers as she tried to release the hatch underneath the hood.
“Son of a…!!!” After a few moments of flailing her hand and fingers in the air and squealing a bit, she finally calmed down enough to try it again, this time using her white camisole to shield her skin from the scorching metal. The thin material was scant protection from the heat but it worked just well enough to let her release the hatch and send it flying open. She waved the steam away from her face as it billowed out of the front of the truck…backing up a few steps, she finally threw herself down on the ground, sitting down and leaning back against her arms, trying to come up with some idea of what to do next. No home. No transportation. No money to speak of.
She thought about trying to flag someone down for help, but this was southwest Texas and she knew better than to assume anyone but herself would be driving those roads. The only motorists she saw were a bunch of bikers passing her on their choppers, loud as thunder. One happened to notice her on the side of the road and gave a yell in her direction but she couldn’t make out whether it was a taunt or a cheap pick-up line over the roar of the machines. She also knew that border-country was an unforgiving environment in the summer and she wouldn’t last long in the sun. Becoming more desperate, she remembered passing a sign a few miles back saying Dryden – 5. She couldn’t be too far from the town at this point, and although she wasn’t terribly comfortable leaving her truck and all she owned on the side of a dusty road, she hadn’t seen anyone but the bikers in almost two hours. Figuring it was safe, she started walking.
About two miles and an hour later she found the thriving metropolis of Dryden , where it was likely that the population of broken vehicles outnumbered the human population by about fifty to one. Old rusted cars on blocks and bent frames littered the landscape. In the center of it all was the bar, and judging by all the bikes out in front – the same ones that passed her on the way in – it was pretty much a guarantee that there were people there. The biker haven was less than inviting, but all she needed was some water for her and a tow truck for her car. She would stay no longer than she needed to.
She walked up the wooden steps and through the screen door; all focus was instantly on her. The place had half a dozen men, all clothed in some combination of jeans, leather, tattoos, and liquor, sitting around the place. Two men were sitting at the bar and took particular notice of the woman – one’s jaw dropped as if he hadn’t seen a picture of beauty like that in years: long blonde hair pulled back in a pony tail, ratted from the dirt and sweat of moving, white tank top with car grease and dirt stains on the front, and short cut-off jeans. The other man, however…he skipped the beauty and went straight to thoughts of what to do to it.
“What can I get’cha, stranger?” piped the barkeep.
“Just water, please…and a phone.”
He began pouring the water. “Payphone’s down the hall on your right.”
Great. A payphone. And she had no change! She was so tired and frustrated from the days events that she completely forgot her purse in the truck. She got up anyway to see if there was at least a phone book where she could find a towing company. As she walked back nearly every eye turned to eye the ass that those shorts kept wrapped up…athletic, young, firm. The men were no strangers to women, but biker women were often used and abused, whereas she was fresh blood to them.
She found the name and address of a shop in Mofeta, ripped out the page, and ortaköy escort walked out into the main room.
“About 6 miles up the road,” the barkeep replied as he took her glass.
“Thanks.” She began to walk out, but as she was passing the men at the bar, the one with the ideas grabbed her by the wrist and yanked her into his lap, quickly throwing his other arm around her chest, holding her tightly, and grabbing her right breast. She screamed and struggled to break free as he started whispering in her ear the detestable thoughts of a mind gone sour.
“You’re a pretty little thing, aren’t you, honey! Yeah, walking in here with that ass all wrapped up and teasin’ like that? I saw you down the road…I know you ain’t goin’ nowhere now! Yeah, that’s right…I know what you need, honey. I’ll take you up the road, but you and me are gonna have a litt….”
A man stepped out of a door down the hall, slamming it behind him and begin striding towards the struggle. “Shark, if you don’t let her go, I’m gonna touch your bike like you’re touchin’ her.”
“You stay out of this! This is my bitch now…she ain’t none of your business!”
The man grabbed one of the wooden barstools, broke it against the floor, picked up a long stick from the remains, and ran out the door. “Dagger! Don’t you…” The sound of glass crashing filled the air. “Dammit, I let her go. Now stop it you son of a bitch…you’re gonna deal with me, now!” And deal he did. With one punch the man floored the grabby-handed filth; he stared at his work and walked back to the woman. The barkeep kept cleaning glasses. The rest of the men looked away. “You okay?”
“Let’s go outside…this room isn’t welcoming.” So they did. He asked what the hell she was doing there…she told him of her plight.
“I know the guy you looked up. I can take you to Mofeta…it’s only a few miles up the road and I live in town anyway.” She was shocked that anyone actually lived all this way in the middle of nowhere, forgetting that she was leaving a similar location herself. She had nothing to offer the man, especially considering he saved her from certain rape, but she wasn’t about to walk six more miles in the summer sun and heat, and she was becoming more uncomfortable about leaving her truck alone with every passing minute. She finally accepted.
She followed the stranger to his bike – a hulking, roaring beast compared to her frame, but just fine for his size. She had never ridden on a motorcycle before and was a little nervous about the experience but she would have to get over it quickly. He threw his leg over the bike, sat down, and directed her to get on behind him. She hesitated a little bit and he saw the twinge of fear in her eye…”Just put your feet on the pegs there and hold on tight around my waist. You’ll be fine.” So she did. As soon as he started up the bike, though, the sound startled her and instead of gripping his waist, her arms wrapped themselves tightly around his muscular chest, pushing her breasts and stomach into his back., and he finally drove off.
A couple minutes into the ride she began to ease her grip. She didn’t realize she was choking him just slightly from her embrace, but her tension eased as the ride went on. Shortly they arrived in Mofeta – not quite the heap of old cars that Dryden was, but not much better, either – and pulled up to John’s Auto. The two hopped off the bike and went inside.
“Dagger! Who’s the set o’legs?”
(“His name is Dagger?” she thought to herself…)
“Knock it off John. She’s here about her truck, that’s all.”
She described the problem and the smoke to the eloquent mechanic as he nodded his head, “Sounds like the radiator’s busted. Tell you what, legs…how ’bout we hop in the truck and tow it back here. There’s no charge for the tow as long as you use my garage to service the vehicle, and that’s pretty much a guarantee since there’s no other shop around here for about 40 miles,” at which point a proud smirk crept over his face. Before she could explain that she didn’t really have any money to pay for anything he was in his truck and Dagger pulled her to the side, “You’ll ride with me…no tellin’ what he’ll try to do to you in that truck.” She figured it was probably a wise move, agreed, and got on the bike – this time with a more relaxed grip.
As they hit the highway she noticed just how big this man was…he had to stand at least 6’4″, and with her face turned to the side against his back she saw that the leather he wore wasn’t a vest, but a jacket that had the sleeves ripped off… “Good lord, his arms are huge…no wonder he took off the sleeves!” Just then they hit a bump in the road, thrusting the bike into the riders’ hips and sending the vibrations of the 1200 cubic inch engine shooting through her thighs. Suddenly the ride wasn’t just tolerable, but relaxing…and pleasurable. Enjoying the sensations as the road went along, they reached her old truck and quickly jumped off the bike to make sure everything was still there. A sigh of relief otele gelen escort escaped her lips as she checked over her belongings and realized everything was still there. John quickly loaded up the old dog, the others returned to the hog, and back to Mofeta they traveled.
As they waited in the lobby of the shop for John to return with the diagnosis, curiosity finally got the best of the stranger.
“That wasn’t the first time you’ve been grabbed like that, was it.”
“What makes you say that?” she retorted.
“The fact that you didn’t cry afterwards.”
He was right. Thoughts of her father-in-law and her ex-husband flooded back to her. It had been years since they were put in jail, but not a day had gone by that she didn’t deal with the thoughts and memories of the abuse. “Let’s just say that I’m no stranger to assholes. Not that it’s your business,” as she leaned forward, resting her elbows on her knees.
“You’re right. I’m sorry.” Moments passed by and the breeze picked up, blowing the dry desert air through the tattered screen door. “He’d have done it, y’know?”
Indignant, she fired back, “Listen, can we change the subject?”
“Sorry. We just don’t see many women around here, and especially not as attractive as you.”
She expected him to start coming on to her now…she had always been suspicious of this stranger’s good will since he first asked her to step outside. But he didn’t. He didn’t say a word again until,
“Shark…Dagger…where do you guys get those names?”
A smile crept across the stubbled face of the man. “That’s just what the boys call each other.”
“Oooookay. Why Dagger for you then?”
The smile slowly faded into a stoic slab of stone. “Because that’s what I used when I stabbed my father.”
“Right…why do they *really* call you that?”
No response. Her face went from a smirk, to a chuckle, to curiosity, and then fear. Still no response. “Is he serious?” she thought…
“Don’t worry. I didn’t kill him or anything. He used to come home at night from the bar, drunk out of his senses. Mom would have nothing to do with him when he was like that, then he’d get pissed because she wouldn’t give it up and would turn his rage on my brother. Night after night he’d beat him bloody. I was bigger than my dad but always afraid of him…finally one Saturday night it happened again, mom refused him, and like clockwork he busted in to my brother’s room. Normally dad would smack him around good and leave, but this time it didn’t stop. Went on for what seemed like hours until my brother finally screamed…” He paused as his stare seemed to pierce the wall, even behind his sunglasses. “I couldn’t sit still any more and let it keep happening. Before I knew it I grabbed my knife, flew into the room, snatched his arm with my free hand, and jammed that steel through his forearm into the wall. The cops came and took him away. The deptuty was gonna take me, too, but the sheriff wouldn’t let him – figured it was clearly ‘self-defense.'”
“He in jail still?”
“Wow.” That’s all she could think to say. She wasn’t sure which was more startling, more incredible, more uncomfortable, more unbelievable – that he was sharing this story with a total stranger, or that he could see hers.
“So what’s your real name?” she finally asked to break the silence.”
“Well, it’s the radiator alright,” John spouted out, cutting her off. “The good news is that San Antonio has a replacement part ready to go and said they’ll have a courier get it to me by 10:00 tomorrow morning. The bad news is that it won’t be ready until 2:00 in the afternoon. And then, of course, there’s the little matter of money.”
She sighed. “How much?”
“Parts and labor, $720 cash or credit. No checks.”
Checks were all she had and, truth be told, she didn’t have the money anyway. Her disappointed look must have given away her financial predicament… “Now, if you ain’t got the money, legs, I’m sure we can find “alternate” payment arrangements,” he spouted as his eyes started moving downwards.
Before she even had time to react in disgust Dagger spouted “Shut the hell up John!” An awkward pause followed as all three stared at each other until Dagger broke the deadlock: “Can you step out side for a moment?” She obliged him and quickly stormed out. This was the second time she had been inappropriately propositioned in two hours, she had no money to pay for repairs, and no place to stay. She subconsciously started to walk back down the highway desperately trying to block the tears that wanted come forth…as hard as she tried to run from the past, as hard as she tried to remove herself from the memories, they kept dragging her back. A few minutes had passed before she realized it was Dagger’s voice she had been hearing in the back of her head, calling looking for her. She jogged back to the shop.
“Where’d you go?”
“Took a walk. What did you need to talk to him about.”
“Your payment. Don’t worry about it. Everything otele gelen escort is taken care of.”
“What? How? Did you pay for me or something?”
“Sort of. Like I said, it’s all taken care of.”
“Sort of? What’s that supposed to mean?”
“Hey, I said don’t worry about it! Listen, if you wanna whore yourself out to him, that’s your business…be my guest. Or if you somehow found the cash on your little “walk” there, then great. But I doubt it. The way I see it you got two options…you can accept his offer, or you can accept my help!”
Indignant, she thought for a moment and realized he was probably right. “Fine, but I still have nowhere to stay. What the hell am I supposed to do about that?”
“You can stay with me tonight”
“Oooohhh, I get it. I see. You try to play Mr. Goodbar and come in to save the day, offer help, be nice, and all the while you’re just trying to get me in the sack, just like everyone else! It’s just you instead of him then? Or did you decide to take first crack at me, then share with him when you’re done?”
His voice was lowered, “It’s not like that…”
But her anger wouldn’t let him finish. “Oh, how is it like then? Tell me! Why should I trust you over him or your little friend Sharkey?” Huh? Why don’t you *enlighten* me?” she shouted, arms outstretched.
He stood silent for a while, then quietly replied, “Go with me back to my shop. The answers are in the garage there.”
“Yeah right. How am I supposed to know that you won’t tie me up there and have your way with me?”
Again, silence. “Well, I guess you don’t. But you don’t have much of a choice, either.”
She paused to think again, but she figured that he had her pinned down again. She didn’t have a choice. Worst case scenario, she gets raped by someone. Best case scenario, he’s telling the truth. “Fine.”
The two got back on his bike and he started down one of the dirt roads leading out from behind John’s shop. Not a word was said until they arrived a couple minutes later at his “shop.” He turned off the bike, got off, and walked towards the lock on the garage. Angry but still scared, she stayed on the bike, ready to take it if necessary. He bent down to unlock the door and flung it open, revealing a full auto garage with four partially finished bikes. He walked to the one on the right and pulled off the sheet covering it. “This is why. I’m working on rebuilding a bike for John, and his tab is over $14,000.” She had never been particularly fond of motorcycles, but this was beautiful…chrome exhaust, deep metallic purple on the body with hand-painted flames…incredible. “I know you don’t have the money, and $700 is a drop in the bucket for me to absorb. We just agreed to trade services…he fixes your truck and I take the money off his tab.”
“That’s great, but that still doesn’t give me any guarantee that you won’t take advantage of me.”
He stared at her right in the eye and slowly began to walk towards her. “No, it doesn’t. But if I wanted you to be hurt I could just as easily have let Shark do his deed with you and then follow up for my own fun. Or I could have just taken you out to the desert. But I didn’t. And I haven’t. And I won’t. I’m on my honor, but you have my word.”
There wasn’t a speck of insincerity in his eyes. She felt ashamed, tossed her head down, and sighed. “Fine. Just answer me one thing. Why are you helping me?”
“You’re not the only one that’s needed a helping hand every now and then.” And with that they went inside.
His place was definitely that of a bachelor. Clothes were strewn everywhere, dishes piled up in the sink, and posters of half-naked women were tacked up on the walls. He walked over to the radio and turned it on – the sounds of classic Zeppelin began to fill the room – then went to the ‘fridge. “You want a beer?”
“No thanks. Water will be fine.”
He tossed her a bottle of water and uncapped a Bud for himself. “Well, make yourself at home. You can sleep in my room tonight…I’ll stay on the couch.”
“Thanks,” she replied. She was walking through the house, looking at old posters and pictures when she passed a mirror and caught the first glimpse of herself in hours. “Ohmigawd!” she thought to herself as she noticed the dirt and grease all over her. “Hey listen, do you mind if I take a shower?”
“No, go ahead. Towels are in the closet, but I don’t got no conditioner for you.”
She chuckled a little at his comment, but the moment lost its humor when she noticed the bathroom had no door. “Ummmm…isn’t there something missing from the bathroom?” she qipped.
“Oh, yeah. The wood’s rotten and the door ripped out of its hinges a few months ago. Not much need to replace it when it’s just me. Here, let me tack up a towel for you.”
He grabbed a large beach-like towel and a staple gun, and with a few clicks a make-shift door was up. “Perfect!” He was quite pleased with his work, not realizing that he didn’t exactly leave a convenient way for his guest to get inside. She couldn’t help but start to chuckle again, but it would do. She crawled under the towel, turned on the water, and began to take offer her clothes. She unzipped her shorts, letting them drop to her ankles, and quickly removed her tank top over her head. Just as she was about to unhook her bra she realized that she had none of her clothes with her. “Damn!”
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