“When I got home, it didn’t feel like home no more.” They sat on the roof under the stars and drank and talked life and their place in it.
“My folks are good people, don’t wish ’em bad, but seemed like only thing I did right most days was taking a really good shit. Thought about Easy Rider, ’bout seeing the country, finding a new life that fitted, so I just left, walked out early morning without saying goodbye, couldn’t look ’em in the eye.”
He felt the same way. They got back home, alive, they survived, but there was always a but. ” Mate of mine from the regiment set up his own security firm, good money, bodyguards to the rich, hired load of the old boys so all together again, just like old times. Just couldn’t do it, didn’t want the life anymore.”
He sighed and glugged the beer and looked up at the sky. The dark canopy was lifting to reveal the sea in the distance. The Yank was right, it was the best view in town.
“Still figuring out what life I do want, only know we got to take chances to see a fresh start as an opportunity – can only try something new when you stop doing something old. I thought of you, Easy Rider too, just thought fuck it, why not?”
THE LUCKY FIND A PLACE THEY’RE AT PEACE WITH
The Yank nodded. “I was on the road and I was just so lonely. Liked it at first, but after a while realised I do need people, maybe that was why joined the Army first place – need to be told what to do, maybe that’s just who I am. Maybe I don’t deserve to be free.”
They started on the whiskey and were drinking themselves sober – the lie drunks tell themselves so they keep going. The Brit knew he needed to bolster the Yank, but didn’t know if his words were right. He tried.
“I don’t know what freedom really is, maybe just a dream to stop us going crazy, or not giving two shits to a fuckface what anyone thinks. Hell, everyone’s trapped in some way, but the lucky find a place they’re at peace with.”
“Thought I’d found that here. Figured nobody as free as the Hells Angels, that’s what they stand for right? Liked it at first, like the Army – get drunk, get stoned, party, get laid, fight, get told what to do.” He sighed and held the bottle upside down to show it was empty. “Nope, I’m just a joke to these guys. I’m not their brother, I’m just a pin number they use to bank Army cheques.”
“You can leave, start again, no-one has to tell us what to do anymore.”
The Yank slunk into his shoulders and shook his head. “I just can’t, can’t even think where to go no more.” They had broken him. He’d got home and found himself another hole, just as rotten as the one they escaped from.
WE KNOW WHERE WE’RE MEANT TO BE WHEN WE LOOK BACK AND SEE HOW FAR WE’VE COME
He put his hand on the boy-once-a-man’s shoulder. “Maybe life is just figuring that out. No-one knows where they’re going, but we know where we’re meant to be when we look back and see how far we’ve come.”
Right then a shout from below told them both which way to go. “Hey, you faggots get down here, no brokeback bikers in this club.”
They climbed the ladder down. They were standing in a semi-circle waiting for them, six mean drunks looking for an easy bully mark – flexing shotgun, pistol, three bats and a chain between them – snot-gurning beer sweat grins, smug in numbers.
“Seems our little pledge forgot who his real family is.”
He looked along the line and knew he couldn’t leave the Yank with them. Unfortunately, they weren’t going to let them leave easy, not these dogshit mongs, lives so rotten they didn’t know fresh air anymore.
He was going to have to put on a show to make sure they didn’t follow them.
So he put on a show.