This page was co-authored by Bear, one of our spirits, a biker, and a hell of a good guy on both sides of the Veil.
A little Wizard named Daniel was walking down the street one night, just checking out the scene, and he noticed that the neighborhood he was in wasn't quite as Righteous as he was used to. Daniel didn't mind though, he knew that some brothers and sisters were going through hard times, and that sooner or later they'd be back on top. The neighborhood wasn't the Scene, it was just a backdrop for the Plan, and as soon as the brothers and sisters could get a little ahead, they'd have a neighborhood that would smoke the Joes on First Street.
Daniel had just rounded a corner when he ran smack into a leather jacket hanging from a pole, and he knew that the patches symbolized territory, and that he was out of his. However, Daniel was very aware that he was a Brother, with or without patches, and he refused to take part in any initiation, just to prove he was worthy of colors.
The sounds of Steppenwolf and Bob Seger (the Bikers' Lament, "Sunspot Betty", holding rein over grief in that neighborhood) reverberated through the windows of various bars, and Daniel felt he was safe in familiar territory. Occasionally, the sharp and clear voice of Patsy Cline would penetrate the air, and Daniel knew that somewhere was a lonely old lady in a juke joint who was on the lam from her man because of a lover's quarrel.
Daniel kept his stride, looking in the windows of various shops, but keeping the stride of a man on the move, when a shadow disengaged from a street corner, and Daniel knew he was about to have a conversation with the Man. It was unreal; the Man wore blue from head to toe, and had some little flashes of gold sprinkled on his body; Daniel read a gold-plate nametag which read DARIUS, and under the name was a number, 90210. Darius, who thought of himself as an Officer of the Law, and holiest emissary of the Land, forbore Daniel to gaze upon his montage, and to submit to the regality of the Blue Crown.
Daniel, of course, refused.
Darius read the Riot Act to Daniel, who continued to keep a calm countenance, and refused to get bent out of shape in the face of Authority. Darius grew infuriated that he could not inspire Fear within Daniel, and drew his golden baton from the loop in his waist, and promised Daniel a night to remember. One way or another, Daniel was about to know what "Lock-up" was really about.
However, since Daniel had committed no bookable crime, Officer Darius had no choice but to think of a punishment for "insolence" without actually defining a crime and a suitable punishment that would be square in the law books. Darius thought long and hard, until he thought of a punishment suitable for Daniel's insolence that wouldn't get him - Darius - in trouble with the precinct captain.
Daniel, not having been born yesterday, was able to get a real good look at the Lone Ranger-wannabe, and to get a real good picture in his mind of the rather limited alternatives available to him. Daniel's misfortune - if he didn't watch his mouth - would be to end up in a squad room face down with a bunch of Lone Ranger wannabe's standing over him — or he could take his chances with the Lone Ranger and see what happened.
One Lone Ranger looked a little better to Daniel; at least Lone Ranger wanted to save his own face, and not that of a dozen fief-lords down at City Hall. Daniel opted for the fief's punishment; he accepted the challenge of Darius.
Darius, King of the Blue, sentenced Daniel to spend one night at the Lion's Den. The patches that Daniel had passed were those of the Lions, and since Daniel was already in Lion territory, he might as well spend the night at the Lion's Den, a bar and grill kitty-corner from the very place where they were standing.
Daniel looked across the street, and saw a wall of Harley's; choppers, short-ends, and fatboys. Daniel thought for a moment, and decided he had a better chance in front of the "Pride" than he did in front of the King's Council. At least if he were killed, the Lions would be honest about who killed him, and why. On the other hand, if the King's Council killed Daniel, they would lie that they had, and then would deny that they needed a reason.
Daniel crossed the street — in fact, he jaywalked — but Darius - in his confidence that Daniel was about to be about a slab of beef in the Den, decided he didn't need to do the paperwork associated with a soon-to-be-corpse that would never show up at trial anyway. Daniel was nothing more than a piece of meat with a number, and Darius strolled serenely up the street without a backward glance.
Daniel opened the door to the bar, and was practically blasted out by the huge cloud of reefer smoke that permeated the air. He took a few steps in and ignored the sudden toning down of noise that seemed to accompany his presence. Daniel pretended that he wasn't a mouse in a room full of ten cats, but the vibes just weren't right.
Daniel sat down at the bar, and pretended he didn't notice the absence of the "click click click" sound at the pool tables. Daniel knew, without looking behind him, that all the bikers were focusing their attention on him, and that it wouldn't be long before someone asked him what he was doing in the Den, knowing damn well he had no real business there.
A huge, furry hand clapped on his shoulder, and as Daniel wheeled to face the monster with fangs, a bear of a man shouted to the bartender, "This one's one me!" Daniel turned around to face a very large biker with a benevolent grin and slightly crazy look in his eye.
Daniel grinned lopsidedly, and asked the big bear of a guy what he had done to curry favor.
The Bear said, "Curry? Christ! I hate curry! I had a girlfriend once that turned me onto that shit, and I thought I was gonna puke! That stuff is like snot on fire! Why the hell anyone would wanna eat that shit is beyond me, but if you're into curry, then I guess you're a bigger man than I am. Chicks seem to dig it, but it beats the hell out of me why."
"Click click click" went the pool tables. Daniel knew he'd faded into the scenery, like he'd wanted to.
Bear wandered off, only to be replaced by a gargantuan individual, somewhat gorilla-like in ambience, and thus known to his buddies as Gorilla. The big ape clapped his big paws on Daniel, and the little Wizard knew he was definitely In For It Now.
The Gorilla asked Daniel what he was drinking. Daniel said he was drinking Rum and Coke, and nodded his head like he had just imparted sage wisdom to the biker and was waiting for the appropriate response. The Gorilla sniffed, and said, "Sure you're not drinking one of those pansy drinks like a pina colada or something?"
"No, really, it's a Rum and Coke." On an impulse, Daniel said, "I don't do fruit." The Gorilla stared for a minute, then nodded, and left the bar as suddenly as he had shown up.
Daniel had a few more sips of his drink, and as the "bite" became less, Daniel grew more comfortable, and decided he could hang at the bar a little while longer. He listened to the music: Aretha, the Beatles, Joplin, Hendrix, and all the other old stuff. It was a safe place, as long as you weren't a clown.
Suddenly, a chick showed up. She had long dark hair and a great Indian face, and the Wizard knew he was in real trouble. Daniel didn't want to sleep with this chick, but she had great facial lines, and Daniel knew he could not say so without brewing real trouble at the bar. Her hair, her eyes, her body all registered "Art" within the Wizard's mind, but he didn't know what his new buddies might think.
If Daniel were to tell the chick she had "great symmetry" the brothers might get offended, and Daniel would be in way over his head.
The chick, however, was brewing great trouble for Daniel. She was throwing her lines all over Daniel, and like a good salesperson, had her "resistance" to his "objection" already memorized and in good working order. If a Harley could run as fast as her mouth, she'd beat the straightaway.
Daniel, very conscious of this woman's appeal — clearly the Pride of her people — was quick to put on his most assuming manner, and to be as small - though not weakling - as he could be. It didn't do any good. The chick herself radiated such power and presence in the place, that like osmosis, or some kind of telepathy, when the chick was distressed, everybody in the bar was distressed.
Daniel, who was no slouch on telepathy but was a total dweeb on women, didn't know what to do. He tried to shrink into his "I'm a non-threatening person" disguise, but it didn't work. Then Daniel tried his "I'm a regular person just like you" motif, but again, it didn't work. The Cat - the chick at the bar - had him outguessed, and Daniel was at a loss.
Slowly, imperceptibly, but indefatigably, Daniel felt the Lions close in around him. Slowly, inexorably, he felt the heat of the Lions' breath on his neck, and Daniel knew that he was about to be destined for Cloud Nine - that which exists outside the normal parameter of human experience. Only Dead People knew about Cloud Nine, and Daniel wasn't quite ready to be initiated.
Then - like a flash! - Daniel remembered his stash. That crummy cop, Darius, had not even bothered to search him; Darius, in his arrogance, assumed that every clown in the neighborhood carried a stash, and since it was all illegal, it was all trash weed as far as he was concerned.
What Darius could not have known was that Daniel had that most primo of Smoke, the Sensemilla Gold, which came from a variety of cultures, but was, to the Lion's, the ultimate catnip, and a better currency than Diner's Club.
This is how Darius discovered the Den the next day, when he came to collect and report the remains of Daniel: Daniel was frolicking on top of a pool table with a lioness, and several biker Lions were sprawled on the floor, grinning, pool sticks in hand, and looking like the cats that ate the best 'nip since Sturgis.
Darius couldn't even book it as a crime, unless he wanted a bunch of angry brothers on his head. Also, the graft intake would go down, thereby making things difficult on his family. Darius looked at his number, 90210, and remembered that he represented a certain class of humans who had the monetary right to believe in their class; Darius wasn't going to argue. He "overlooked" Daniel.
Daniel, far from being an outcast, was made one of the Family, and he rides free to this day on his very own Harley. The Harley was paid for by the lawsuit waged against the cops of that town, and Daniel now rides through the country, looking for people who want to challenge his freedom.
Moral of the story: The grass may not be greener on the Other Side, but it's definitely easier to Smoke.