East Los Angeles
Mike Cortez stepped out on to the front porch of his home and looked around. His bike was in the driveway beside his wife's black SUV. Mike's truck was inside the garage. He only used it when the weather was bad, which wasn't often in LA, or when he needed to move something heavy. He heard the sound of laughter down the block and looked down the street. A group of about ten men, kids more than anything, were down at the corner hanging out. They all wore bright yellow, the sign of the Emperadores, a mid-level Latino street gang in LA. Compared to the Los Guerreros, the gang that owned the neighborhood when Mike was a boy, the Emperadores were pussies.
Mike stepped out on to his short cut lawn and to his bike. He snapped his helmet on and started his Fatboy. He let the engine purr underneath him for a few moments before he began to back out the driveway. He swung out and rode down the street towards the kids on the corner. They had all stopped talking when they heard Mike start his bike up, now they were all staring as he came to the stop sign beside them.
"Hey, Mister Cortez," said one of the boys. Caesar was his name. He had played football with Jose, Mike's oldest son. On instinct, Caesar's eyes fell to Mike's cut. The patches announced that not only was Mike Cortez a fully patched member of The Horde Motorcycle Club, but he was also a "Bad Motherfucker" and president of the LA chapter. Anyone with any knowledge of MCs knew how quickly he could sic an entire pack of angry, motorcycle riding men on someone.
"Boys," he said with a curt nod.
Any other gang, any other territory, they would have given him shit and called him names. He had been called names back when he first patched on with the Horde. The white boys had called him a Beaner and a good for nothing Mexican, and his own people had called him things like gringo and coconut, brown on the outside but white on the inside, but he proved his worth with the Horde and most of the Latinos he ran across knew better than to fuck with him. Not since the war back in the 90's.
Mike gave the kids a wave as he went through the intersection and through the Barrio. The neighborhood had changed some since he had grown up, but not too much. Despite not being involved, he had to admit that the East LA gangs kept the peace here pretty well. It was nearly worth the trade off of the occasional gang war that brought ten or twelve dead chollo bodies with it.
He hit the freeway and was out of East LA at damn near warpspeed. A half hour later Mike was rolling through the streets of Eagle Rock to the clubhouse. He pulled off the street and went down a winding dirt road to the two story building with a large logo of a cartoon Genghis Khan laughing maniacally outside of it. It was here, nearly fifty years ago, that the Amsel brothers started The Horde Motorcycle Club. It had been raided many times by cops, feds, and rival gangs. Back in the 70's, it was torched by a pissed off old lady. But, no matter what happened, the Horde always rebuilt. Mike killed the engine on his bike and popped the kickstand. He removed his helmet and climbed off the Fatboy. He was halfway to the door when it burst open.
"Mike," yelled the fat middle aged man as he came out. He was Arthur "Woody" Penwood, a member of the Horde's LA Chapter since '89. At present, Woody served as the club's sergeant at arms. "We got a problem."
"What's wrong, Woody?" asked Mike. Mike didn't panic, he never did. He had learned that panic only led to mistakes and sloppiness.
"It's your boy, Hector. Someone tried to take him out."
Mike balled his fists up on instinct. He could feel anger starting to rise, but he pushed it down. There would be time to release that anger later.
"Where is he?"
"Inside," wheezed Woody. "He's alright, just got a little skinned up from road rash. He was on a mule run from Phoenix with Yo-Yo. They were halfway back to LA when some assholes in a silver humvee sideswiped him. They got out and fired on him and Yo-Yo. Hector was able to get up and hop on Yo-Yo's bike. They got away, but they had to ditch Hector's bike."
"Alright," said Mike. He began to run the thread through his mind, assembling a plan. "Listen to me very carefully, Woody." He said the last part slowly to make sure Woody would grasp the seriousness of his tone. "Call up everybody and get them to the clubhouse. Also, call in some muscle from Bakersfield. Next mule run is tonight, right? Well, when we go up to Portland, we'll go in force. Dare them to make a move."
"We?" asked Woody.
"Someone tried to kill my son, Woody. I'm going with you. For these sons of a bitches sake, there better not be an ambush."