I pushed his office door open just enough to peer inside. He stood at the far side of his desk with his hands on his hips and his eyes fixed on the skyline. I cleared my throat. “Your email didn’t make a lot of sense.”
He turned to face me and shrugged. His crisp white shirt didn’t have a single wrinkle in the fabric, a reminder of how early in the day it was. He studied me for a moment and shook his head lightly. “It was as straightforward as it could be.”
It wasn’t. It never was with him. His cryptic messages – always without punctuation – made it problematic to understand his desire, and even more difficult to believe he was the editor-in-chief of the Union-Tribune, San Diego’s largest newspaper.
But he was. No differently than his father, and his father’s father, Camden Rollins III was the man in charge.
I swept my thumb across the screen of my phone and stared at the email. “Need something on filthy fuckers make it hard edgy and in-your-face maybe a three or four installment piece depending on what you find.”
He brushed his hands along the thighs of his pants, chuckled, and sat down. “Everything you need is right there.” He motioned to the chair positioned in front of his desk. “Have a seat, Peyton.”
I shoved my phone into the front pocket of my jeans, walked into his office, and sat down. “What – or who – are filthy fuckers?”
“You’re not much of a reporter.” He chuckled. “The Filthy Fuckers are an Outlaw Motorcycle Gang. But, like all the motorcycle gangs, they like to be called a club. You know, like the Sons of Anarchy,” he said.
Tattooed men made me go all wobbly-legged. Tattooed bikers made my lady bits ache. I nodded eagerly. “I’m going to do a piece on a motorcycle club? A real motorcycle club?”
There were very few television personalities I cared for, but no differently than half of the female population in the nation, I’d crawl naked through a mile of broken glass for a chance to suck Charlie Hunnam’s cock.
“Real? Yeah, these guys are real, alright. The Filthy Fuckers are as rough as it gets. President’s name is Nicholas Navarro. He goes by Nick or Crip to his brothers in the club. You’ll need to interview him personally unless you want rumors and bullshit. Scuttlebutt around town is that they’re close to declaring war with Satan’s Savages. After some of what we’ve seen from these clubs in the past, The Union-Trib would like to call it before it’s national news.”
“Holy shit. Yeah, I’m stoked,” I said. “Not that I’m complaining, because I’m not, but if you don’t mind me asking, why me? A girl doing a four installment piece of a motorcycle gang?”
“Three or four, depending on what you uncover.” He leaned back in his chair, folded his arms in front of his chest, and shook his head. “And why you? You’re a thrill-seeking weirdo, and everyone here knows it, including me. That’s why. Half my staff would be scared to death, but you’ll dive in head first.”
He was right, except for the weirdo part. I loved driving my Jeep to the most remote place I could find, parking it, and rock climbing wherever I wasn’t able to get to by vehicle. Hang gliding and paragliding from the cliffs at the Torrey Pines Gliderport in La Jolla was a common occurrence for me. And, I always volunteered to follow each unsolved death in the city, hoping I could turn it into a homicide, but so far it never happened.
“I’m not a weirdo,” I said in a matter-of-fact tone.
“An adventurous reporter who leaves no stone unturned.”
“I like that better,” I said. “So what do I do? They’re not just going to agree to talk to me.”
“Do your research. You’ll figure something out.”
“That’s it? That’s your best advice?”
He leaned forward, adjusted his tie, and sighed. “When was the last time you did what I told you to do?”
“Precisely. You’re going to do what it is you do. So, go do it. Just make it interesting. We need something awe-inspiring.”
I stood from my seat and nodded. “Awe-inspiring four installment piece, coming right up, Mr. Rollins.”
“Three or four,” he said. “Depends on what you find.”
The thought of rubbing elbows with the members of a motorcycle club made me tingle all over. “You might not see me for a while. But, if it’s out there,” I said. “I’ll find it.”
“Take all the time you need,” he said. “Just make sure three or four weeks is enough.”
Three weeks with a real-life Jax Teller?
He had assigned me to three weeks in fucking heaven.
I turned toward the door. “See you in four weeks.”
“Three or four,” he snapped back.
Yeah, I guess it all depends on what this Navarro guy looks like.
“What’s he look like? Navarro?” I asked over my shoulder.
“He’s a big muscular fellow that’s covered in tattoos from head to toe, including his hands. Likes to drink beer and fight. Rough dude. Like I said, do your research first.”
Tattooed alpha male biker?
“See you in four weeks,” I said with a laugh.
I walked along the row of motorcycles that were parked outside the bar. Some of them were apparently new – fitted with painted saddle bags and multi-speaker stereos, while others were older and adorned with nothing more than a solo seat, a leather tool pouch, and ape hanger handlebars.
Albeit short, my study of Harley-Davidsons – and the men who rode them – provided me with enough information that I found the motorcycles, the men, and the concept of a close-knit biker club fascinating.
I couldn’t help but wonder what level of rejection I was going to get. There was no doubt in my mind that the members of the Filthy Fuckers MC weren’t going to agree to sit down and answer all of my questions over a glass of beer.
Dressed in cut-off jean shorts, Chuck’s, and my favorite tee shirt, I walked across the scorching asphalt parking lot toward the bar’s entrance.
I reached for the door, inhaled a shallow breath, and pulled it open.
Just be yourself, Peyton.
I stepped into the poorly lit bar and realized the only patrons were bikers. I was met by no less than twenty-four eyes, two of which I immediately recognized.