Monday, May 9, 2011
The gang brought their Harleys to gravel-spitting halts before the main entrance to Dante’s bar. Only after Porker swung off his bike did the rest dismount. He strutted through the door with his posse at his back. From the stench it smelled like the wolves were out in force tonight. Like he gave a slop. If their size and number couldn’t make a carnivore think twice, the flaming boars’ skulls on the backs of their motorcycle jackets sent message enough to give even the drunkest wolf pause. Nobody fucked with the Javalinas.
Porker bypassed the bar tonight and headed straight for the door to the Pleasure Club. One of Dante’s hosts, a low-ranker by the bite of his sweat, stepped into their path. Porker gave him points for guts. Dante must pay through the ass for this kind of loyalty.
He gestured to his lieutenant, Mouthpiece. The heavyset pig waddled forward. “Porker wants to sample the pleasures of the club tonight.” Porker sneered, and Mouthpiece duly echoed it. “If that’s okay with you.”
Of course it was okay. Dante knew Porker and his boys. They drank and spent freely and didn’t start trouble, though they’d been known to finish it on occasion. Many occasions. What was the point of getting blitzed if you couldn’t knock a few wolf heads together?
The host escorted them downstairs and tried to lead them to a table in the back. Porker nodded to Mouthpiece, who yanked the host’s arm. “Porker wants that one,” he said, indicating a table near the stage. Porker held up three fingers. “And the three surrounding it.”
The host swallowed hard, but complied. One of the tables was occupied. The host shooed the deer seated there away with promises of salads and free drinks. Porker motioned to his gang to seat themselves, then yanked out a chair at his personal table. The chair groaned a protest but settled in under Porker’s ponderous weight. Chairs or chicks, everybody was happy to let Porker ride in the end.
Which brought him back to his reasons for stopping by tonight.
They’d had a grand week, knocking back beers at that rally in South Dakota, but now it was time to kick back and wallow with the ladies. Porker considered Dante’s private rooms in back and dismissed them. He wanted more than paid entertainment. Tonight he wanted a lady who meant it when she squealed. He wrinked his snout for a whiff of pig, but didn’t catch anything but wolf. Pickings might be lean in a carnie hangout. On the other hand, it was early.
As long as she wasn’t one of those sensitive types. That was the one problem with ladies. Even the by-the-hour ones wanted to talk sometimes. Porker wasn’t a talker. Get in and get out with as few grunts as possible. That was the credo he lived by, and it had served him well.
He took a sloppy swig of his beer and idly watched the wolf gyrating up on the stage. She was doing a number with the faggy snake again. Hey, to each his own, as long as Snaky kept his coils to himself. Porker didn’t wallow in that sty. He’d considered hitting on the she-wolf once upon a time, but she had ten years on him and was way too New Agey. He gulped another swig and peered around the room. Finally, the place was crowding up. Something decent had to be in here somewhere.
Then he saw her. Correction: he saw her. A curly-haired little slip of a cutie, with curves in all the places he liked them and skin as milky as a newborn piglet’s. She looked completely out of place in the Pleasure Club. She was seated at a table with a redheaded wolf; the two were making a ton of hand gestures at each other. Probably the only way they could talk dirty around all the noise and the music.
One look and Porker was smitten. He would have the girl, and that was that.
He elbowed Mouthpiece and pointed her out. Mouthpiece went white around the lips. “Dude, you nuts? You know who that is? That’s Bo Ewing’s sister. Ewing, the football player. They’re bighorns, dude. Tough as shit. You don’t want to mess with that herd. Besides,” he added with a shrug, “looks like somebody beat you to her.”
Who, Red? A minor trifle. Porker heaved himself off his chair and shoved his way through the crowd toward the lady’s table.
Again somebody beat him to the punch. Six juvenile wolves had ganged up on Red and Porker’s new lady and were leering and poking at her. “C’mon, say something, sweetie,” the leader pressed. “Bet I can get you to make noise.”
Red got up to muster a defense. Porker knocked him aside with a jeans-clad hip and confronted the lead wolf himself. “Who the – ” the wolf started, and Porker slugged him. Some things you didn’t need words for.
Stepping over the semiconscious wolf, Porker executed a courtly bow to the little bighorn. [Sorry. Couldn’t resist that one.] By now Mouthpiece had reached his side. “Apologies for the disturbance, miss,” he said. “Porker requests the pleasure of your company.”
“She ain’t interested.” Red had elected to make a stand. “Why not scoot on back to your seats? Plenty of gals around for everybody.”
“Porker’s asking this one out. If you don’t want him to feed you your tail, you’ll just – ”
Mouthpiece went urk and slid aside. Porker grabbed at him. His hand found a patch of wet stickiness at the small of Mouthpiece’s back. These mutts must be part coyote. A real wolf didn’t stoop to human weapons.
Confirming his guess, one of the bastards showed off the knife he’s rammed into Mouthpiece. “Good thing I brought my pigsticker,” he said with a chortle. “I knew it’d come in handy. You want some too? Here, piggy piggy.”
The puppies must be new in town, if they didn’t know about the Javalinas. They sure as hell didn’t know Porker. He didn’t bother with taunts or threats. He just waded in and started doing damage. A boar his size, with his hair-trigger temper, could do a shitload of damage.
Was the lady watching? This little display ought to impress her good and –
He didn’t see the knife go in. He didn’t even feel it at first. He’d just cracked a wolf’s forearm when his gut got queasy and his legs started shaking. He felt the hot wetness soaking his t-shirt and knew what the sumbitch had done. He grunted. From the corner of his blurry eye he spotted the wolf casually twirl the knife and wave it at the terrified bighorn girl.
Screw that. Screw being stabbed. Nobody messed with a lady while Porker was around.
“Hey.” The wolf glanced around. “You g-g-g-g-get your h-h-hands off her.”
The wolf started at him. “What?”
“I said – ” Porker drew himself up to his full imposing height. “You get the fu-fu-fu-fu-fuck away from her, you son of a b-b-b-b-bitch.”
The wolf gaped. Then he giggled. Then he guffawed. “I’m sorry, piggy, I didn’t quite get that. You w-w-w-want me to w-w-w-what?”
Oh yeah. They always went right for the mockery. The old sour rage had had decades to build, from the schoolyard on up. It countered the weakness brought on by the stab wound nicely. Porker swung his ham-sized fist and crushed the asshole’s snout. The wolf hit the floor, knife and all.
Porker sagged into a chair. He looked around for the lady. She stood in the shelter of Red’s arms, her enormous eyes fixed on Porker. “S-s-s-s-s-sorry, m-m-m-miss,” he said.
Now, with the action over, Dante’s security finally showed. Dante himself arrived with them. He grimaced at the bloody knife in distaste. “Human weapons. What the hell’s wrong with pups today? Fangs aren’t good enough any more? Hey, Porker. How you holding up?”
Porker just shrugged and gestured toward Mouthpiece. Security had already herded the lookie-loos off and was checking over his wound. Porker glanced once at his own wound, then paid it little attention. What did it matter at this point? She’d heard him talk. She knew. Next would come the laughter. Or the pity, which was worse.
What came instead was a cool cloth pressed against his side to stem the flow of blood, and bright bighorn eyes, and a shy smile.
“We’ve called the ambulance,” Dante said. “You sit tight, Porker. We’ll get you and Mouthpiece taken care of.”
“Th-th-th- “ He gave up and shrugged. Understanding, Dante moved away.
“Thanks, man.” Red stood behind the bighorn girl. “Hounds were drunk off their asses. I’m Jamie Olsen. This is Mary Ewing. Your name’s Porker?” Porker pressed his lips together and didn’t speak. Instead he looked at Mary’s smile. She had the brightest smile. Why didn’t she just say the obvious and get it over with?
“Not a talker, huh?” Jamie said. “Guess you wouldn’t be.” Mary took one hand away from tending Porker’s wound long enough to dance a hand at Jamie. “What? Slow down. Oh. Mary wants to tag along with you fellahs to the hospital, if that’s okay with you.”
“What’s w-w-w-w-with the h-h-h-h-hands?”
“Oh, that. Sign language. Mary’s a deaf mute. I’m still learning. She can be a real chatterbox.”
The wolf prattled on for a while, but Porker had stopped listening. The lady was deaf. She couldn’t hear him. She couldn’t hear his shame.
Jamie touched his shoulder, a sly look on his face. “Y’know, my buddy Lamar knows sign language better’n me. Bet he’d be happy to teach you. So you two can, y’know, get to know each other.”
Porker looked at Mary. She smiled silently back. “Oh, fu-fu-fu-fu – hell yes!”
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Th-th-th-that's all, folks!
Posted by Pat C.