The Grave Drop Cafe – Dust
Miss Priscilla Smyth-Brown was conveyed to hospital in the God’s Hitmen sidecar, attached to a motorbike ridden by Mongrel.Â The sidecar was usually a mobile pub, carrying the beer to lubricate club road trips.Â But it also doubled as an armory, mostly consisting of baseball bats and golf clubs, to enforce the President’s religion of Hitmen Rule on disbelievers.Â Of late, it had also transported various weapons with muscle â€“ including a bomb-belt â€“ to the club’s arsenal just in case the building tension with the Devil’s Henchmen Motorcycle Club erupted into open warfare.
To this end, an associate member of the Hitmen, known simply as Sissy, had been inserted as a fifth column operative into the enemy camp.Â Sissy ordinarily was the only side car passenger.Â It enabled her to peruse every car for her dream man.Â Who was anyone not gay or impotent and available to perform unspecified duties, though not in the sidecar.Â For as it was, the sidecar groaned under Sissy’s weight.
Her desperate search for the right man had become a standing joke in the wider motorcycle community, and it raised no eyebrows when she approached the Devil’s Henchmen for associate membership.Â It was granted, for the club saw it as a way of having a spy in their opponent’s ranks.Â But Sissy was not a double-agent â€“ her loyalty to Mongrel and the Hitmen was unwavering, despite the wishful thinking of their enemy. Â The only one of the Henchmen she had any feelings for was a young tough known simply as Spider because of his gangling limbs.Â She had developed a sisterly soft spot for him.
None of which had anything to do with Miss Priscilla being conveyed to the hospital for onward consignment to the morgue.Â Upon reaching there, she was pronounced dead on arrival. Â Saint Nicholas was noted as beingÂ the next-of-kin by an overworked clerk.Â The admissions clerk couldn’t fathom the saint’s torturous ramblings about his complex relationship with the deceased, and the clerk named the somewhat distraught man as the closest living relative of one Priscilla Smyth-Brown.Â Thus in due course he received the autopsy report showing that the good woman had died of the ravages of old age â€“ natural causes.Â Though the report to the coroner noted in passing a high level of ginseng and gin in the body.
Before then, Saint Nicholas was contacted by the hospital regarding the collection of the body of Priscilla Smyth-Brown.Â Being almost broke, he rode his motorcycle over to the God’s Hitmen Motorcycle Club.Â He was the only non-member welcome there because of his close friendship with Mongrel and That Bitch.Â And he sought their advice as to what to do about the body.Â She Who Commands firmly suggested that a do-it-yourself funeral was the way to go.Â She scornfully rejected Mongrel’s suggestion that they cremate the old witch in the 44 gallon drum used for club barbecues.Â That Bitch pointed out to her husband that such a cremation would ruin the drum for future barbecues.
Thus on a bright sunny morning the late Miss Smyth-Brown was collected on time from the mortuary.Â She was soon ensconced once more in the sidecar.Â Naturally, the seat belt was buckled on for her safety, and a frayed straw hat provided protection from sunburn.Â The cortÃ¨ge consisted of Mongrel and That Bitch riding the bike attached to the sidecar, with She Who Commanded keeping the straw hat pressed firmly in place on Priscilla’s head.Â Saint Nicholas brought up the rear on his black motorcycleÂ Thus they set off on Miss Smyth-Brown’s final journey.Â They hadn’t got far from the hospital when they were pulled over by a police patrol car.
“Riding without a helmet is an offense!” said Officer Hog, glancing at the old lady.Â He began writing an infringement ticket.Â “It’s a $200 fine.”
“But she’s dead!” protested That Bitch.
The policeman shrugged indifferently.Â “The law is the law!Â She has to wear an approved motorcycle helmet.Â The Regulations don’t exempt or otherwise exclude the dead from wearing protective headgear.”Â He peered at the corpse.Â “It’s for your own good, Madam!”
It was beneath Miss Smyth-Brown’s dignity to reply to such nonsense, and she remained stiffly silent.Â Even when the officer obtained her name from Mongrel and cited her on the ticket.Â Her very first ticket ever.
“It’ll cost you another $200, Madam,” cautioned the officer, “if you move from here without wearing the aforesaid helmet!”
“Jesus!” prayed Mongrel in exasperation.Â “Hop off, babe!” he said over his shoulder to his wife.Â “We’ll dump the old bag here!”
“Mongrel, we can’t do that!” said She Who Commanded.Â “Some kid on his bike might fall over her.”Â She retrieved a cell phone from her leather jacket and rang club headquarters, giving their location.Â “Get everyone over here!Â And bring a spare helmet!”
To re-establish his authority as President in his own eyes, Mongrel there and then conferred a life membership of the God’s Hitmen Motorcycle Club upon Priscilla Smyth-Brown.
Fifteen minutes later Priscilla sat stiffly with helmet on, the straw hat at her feet in the sidecar.Â Officer Hog, in order to keep the peace, offered his patrol car as a police escort.Â For he was now outnumbered by over sixty to one.Â Thus with the patrol car leading the way with flashing blue and red lights â€“ and with 20 bikies riding in pairs in front of the sidecar, another 40 in pairs behind and the saint bringing up the very rear â€“ Priscilla Smyth-Brown made her final worldly journey.Â She was the oldest outlaw bikie in history and thus worthy of the very highest of respect.Â In death, she’d been elevated far higher than she could have imagined in her weirdest of dreams as the landlady on Hell Street.
Noticing that a coffin was not lashed to the sidecar, Officer Hog radioed the police communications centre to ask for legal advice regarding the forthcoming burial.Â It was a ploy to also request backup from the SWAT squad at the cemetery, just in case the grieving outlaw gang turned nasty.Â The officer-in-charge happened to be within earshot of the incoming radio message â€“ a Priscilla Smyth-Brown attended the same church as he did.Â Given that it was unlikely there were two such entities in the precinct; he accompanied the heavily armed SWAT team of 12 men to the cemetery, in order to pay his last respects.
There they all stood beside the open grave: Saint Nicholas, 62 bikies, the SWAT team, Officer Hog and the police officer-in-charge.Â But there was no priest, for no one had thought to ask one to attend.Â Nor were there undertakers to lower the body into the ground.Â Nor a coffin.Â Nor flowers until officers of the SWAT squad borrowed some from nearby freshly interred graves.Â Mongrel’s shirt was used to cover Miss Priscilla’s head, tied in place by the long sleeves.Â SWAT squad trouser belts, knotted together, were fastened around the body â€“ and for Miss Smyth-Brown the last ceremony on earth was ready to begin.Â Her fellow parishioner, the police officer-in-charge, appointed himself to deliver the eulogy.
“Dust to dust,” he began.Â But an eddying gust of wind blew some dust into his face and mouth.Â Bare-chested Mongrel pulled a hip flask of rum out of the pocket of his jeans and offered it to the police officer, who took a lubricating swig beside The Grave Drop Cafe.Â “Dust to dust, ashes to ashes â€¦.” and his mind went blank.
“Blessed are the peace makers,” intoned Saint Nicholas to break the heavy silence.Â Then his mind also went blank.Â For what does one say beside a yawning grave?Â “May you rest in peace,” he added somewhat lamely.
“Amen!” said She Who Commanded.
“Form a guard of honour!” the police officer-in-charge instructed the SWAT squad.Â “One volley!”
The SWAT squad, some holding up their trousers without belts, followed their commander’s example and drew their revolvers.Â As Miss Priscilla Smyth-Brown was lowered into the grave by Saint Nicholas and Mongrel, 13 shots rang out in final salute.Â Miss Priscilla could never have imagined anything better.Â But Mongrel did.
“One volley!” he barked, and 62 concealed God’s Hitmen handguns were suddenly drawn and firing a ragged staccato of shots into the air.
Thus the oldest member of a bikie outlaw gang was buried with a 75 gun salute to mark her passing from dust to dust.
Tales from the Divine Drop Cafes