“How many bikes are parked here?” Wilson said.
“That’s not the question,” Mathias said. “It’s how many cars are parked here. I think we’ll be the first.”
“Were you serious about keeping the motor running?” Wilson said.
“Let’s go in,” Mathias said, “they’re guys just like us.”
“It’s like black guys comin’ to a clan rally,” Wilson said.
“And we done left our hoods at home,” Mathias said.
“Well let’s go check it out,” Wilson said. “For some reason I think we did a lot of this 30 years. I got the feeling you got me into a lot of tight spots.”
“Only a couple,” Mathias said.
They got out of the car and walked into the bar.
There were about dozen bikers in the bar; an undertone of talk interrupted by some laugher. A pool table was in an area to the right as they walked in. Two bikers were playing pool and the occasional sound of the balls colliding pieced the air.
Wilson and Mathias walked nervously to the bar and sat on stools. A big man, heavy with tattoos and wearing a black leather bikers vest over a blue denim shirt stood behind the bar bartender.
“What are you boys drinking?” the bartender said.
“Boys,” Mathias said. “We’re old enough to be your daddy.”
“My god,” Wilson said. “You’re determined to get our asses kicked.”
The bartender looked curiously at them. “You’re right, what would you two gentlemen like, but don’t push me.”
“Two Buds,” Mathias said.
“One Bud and a Coke,” Wilson said.
The bartender got the drinks.
“Any of this look familiar?’ Mathias said.
“Nah,” Wilson said. “Was it a biker bar back then?”
“Yeah, kinda,” Mathias said. “just a rough place; bikers, cowboys, and bad asses.”
“Which were we?” Wilson said.
“Same as today,” Mathias said, “out of place.”
The two men at the pool table placed their cues back in the rack.
“Wanna rack ’em up? Mathias said.
“Why not,” Wilson said. “There was a pool room in the basement of my house in Atlanta.”
Wilson and Mathias walked into the area where the pool table sat. Mathias grabbed two cues and handed one to Wilson.
“We ain’t done playin’,” one of the bikers said.
“You put the sticks back,” Mathias said.
“There’s still balls on the table,” the biker said.
“I didn’t notice,” Mathias said.
Wilson placed his cue back in the rack and so did Mathias.
“You wouldn’t want to shoot a game of pool, would you?” the biker said. “Us against you.” the bike motioned to a tall thin biker. “That’s Stretch and I’m Pudge. How ‘bout if if play for $10 each.”
“I got a better idea,” Wilson said. “Let’s just play for $100 each. I don’t like to be hustled and I don’t want you to think I’m hustling you. Let’s just get it all out of the way.”
“Who do you think are,” Pudge said, “Minnesota Fats?”
“You look to me like a man that like’s it straight up,” Wilson said. “Put it all up front.”
“I don’t think we want to play these guys,” Stretch said.
Wilson looked at Mathias. “I’ve played here before, haven’t I?”
“You guys go ahead and play,” Mathias said to Stretch and Pudge, “my friend and I got some reminiscing to do.”
“How ‘bout just a friendly game,” Pudge said.
“Friendly games have a way of getting out of hand,” Mathias said.
“No,” Wilson said. “I think it will be good for me.”
Stretch racked the balls and Pudge broke. Mathias missed and Stretch followed with two balls in the pocket. Wilson ran the table.
“I’m glad we didn’t play for money,” Stretch said.
“If we do,” Pudge said, “he’s my partner.”