Zerk’s Mark – Jean Marie

I couldn’t get out of my stupid job fast enough. Friday afternoon, sitting at my creaky old desk in the office of Redwall Construction was not exactly fulfilling. Aside from being the only woman in the company, I made shitty pay. I was excited as I tossed my purse in my crappy Toyota Camry because I was on my way to pick up my girlfriend, Candy. We were going to watch the MMA fights. Unwind, drink and maybe meet some guys; that’s just what I needed. Rural Colorado, between the small towns of Redwall and Clearwater, was not exactly the most happening place to live. The summer MMA fights were the biggest events around, and people drove in from as far west as Branton. Candy lived twelve miles away in Clearwater, so I had to go pick her up first thing. Her car wouldn’t start today, so I was her only lifeline to tonight’s festivities. I clicked on my Zeppelin and Rage Against the Machine playlist and rocked out all the way to Clearwater with the windows down. I pulled up to the Bag-N-Save where Candy worked. She was already outside, leaning up against the store. She didn’t see me pull up since her nose was buried in her phone. “What’s up, girl?” “Oh my god, Misty, thank you so much.


” Candy tried the broken door handle. I forgot I needed to let her in; the passenger door was broken. I opened the door, and she jumped in. “I’m starving. Where should we go?” Candy asked. “Something quick.” I pulled away from the Bag-N-Save. “How about tacos?” “Perfect.” After grabbing some tacos at the drive through, we headed to the fairgrounds outside of Redwall where the fights were always held. We passed a couple of bikers on the road. I’d been seeing more of them around lately. “No Tyler tonight?” Candy asked. “Nope. He’s being a dick, like usual.” “What’s his excuse this time?” “He’s shooting pool with his buddies.

” I tried to speak, steer, and take a bite out of my taco all at once. Most of the taco fell into my lap. “I thought you said he doesn’t like you going to the fights without him?” “Yeah, so?” “When are you going to dump him? Just do it already.” I didn’t have a good response. Why was I still with him? Tyler and I had been dating for a few months and he was such a deadbeat. We were in that weird stage where it was obvious that both of us knew it wasn’t going to last but neither one of us wanted to be the first to say it. Who cares? “I don’t want to think about him tonight.” I finished my taco. “I just want to relax and have a good time.” I loved watching fights. And no, it wasn’t just that it was usually two hot, sweaty men wrestling around. Okay, maybe that had a little to do with it, but it was mostly about the fighting. I was obsessed with the strategy involved. I’ve even thought about taking some classes myself, but always chickened out. It’s more of a guy thing, but girls can fight too, right? The fights were local, which meant they were mostly amateurs.

If we were lucky, there might be a few pros who actually fought for money. But the biggest paycheck they would see at a title match in Tri-Area Cage Fights would be maybe five hundred bucks. The guys would often spend more than that just on their training for the fight. These guys did it for the love of fighting, not for the money, though. We pulled into the compacted dirt around the fairgrounds that served as overflow parking. The place was crowded already. I could hear the scream metal as we walked closer. I loved the atmosphere, the people, the cheap beer, everything about this place. Candy was nice enough to pay my entrance fee since I drove. We got two beers and walked towards the crowd. At the center of the crowd of fans stood the cage. It was a mobile stage made out of metal and wood with a mat on top. The surface was square, and the cage around it was a ten-foot-high chain link fence. The sun was just going down, so the preliminary fights had already started by the time we arrived. These were mostly first-time fighters, so they were not very good but I still liked watching.

All the good seats were taken. It’s not like this was some arena that had stadium seating, so we couldn’t see shit. We found a gap in the crowd and were able to make our way a little closer to the cage. We watched a couple of fights, but they were pretty lame. Then a bunch of people started to cheer for the next match. It was the title fight for the 185 division. That’s when I saw him. Three men in matching biker vests stood close to the cage. For the first time in a long while, someone in the crowd was better looking than the fighters. One of the men stood out from among the other two. He was tall, large-framed, and had buzzed hair. He had a long beard that stuck straight out from his chin, heavily greased in beard wax. It wasn’t just his tattoos and muscles that made him stand out, although those didn’t hurt. It was his wickedly intense demeanor that commanded respect from everyone around him. He was the definition of man.

By far the most alpha of any man around, and it was obvious he was used to that. I had always had a thing for bikers; I don’t know why. I think it had something to do with their stand-offish attitude and primal confidence. Bikers always did their own thing and didn’t care if someone didn’t like it or got upset or offended. Bikers were badasses. They were tough, and they didn’t take any shit. One has to have an incredible amount of confidence to live like that. How did they get that confidence? How did they get that strength? I desperately wanted to find out. I didn’t know what the symbols meant on their vests, but they must have been in the same motorcycle club. The backs of all of their leather vests had the same emblem and a name that said “Red Spades MC”. This man looked like some Viking warrior that had traveled through time and ended up here, in Colorado. This huge biker with a long beard had a look on his face of calm strength. His eyes darted around faster than his head as if he was aware of everything around him. He saw everything, yet he made no indication of it. I felt like he knew I was watching him.

He was wearing a t-shirt that was tight around his muscular chest and arms. It didn’t really matter what size it was; it must have been double or a triple X, but I don’t think they made a size big enough to fit around his muscles. Both of his meaty forearms were covered in tattoos. He was cheering for the next fighter, someone named Sticker. Somebody pushed me from behind; it made me spill my beer and I almost dropped the entire cup. I looked back and saw it was some drunk college boy. His face was red and hair was styled with gel like some preppy boy. He stumbled past me, not even knowing that he bumped into me. His drunk friend behind him pushed him forward. The problem was it was the blind leading the blind and he pushed the college boy right into the back of the Viking biker. The mountain of a man didn’t move when he got hit, but he was clearly annoyed. The crowd was loud, so I couldn’t hear what was said, but I had a pretty good guess by just watching. The biker got in the college boy’s face. Some expletives were most likely said, and the biker pushed him back a good two steps. This college boy was in trouble.

Even I knew not to mess with bikers that wear leather vests, especially when they’re in groups. This is going to be good.

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Updated: 14 January 2022 — 11:32

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