It was mid-afternoon and sweltering hot. But it was just like any say at work, the lot was full of cars in various states of repair. Some waiting on payment, others on parts. It was just the three of them, Vernard, Louis, and Joe. Joe hated working outside. The sun burned His fair skin and when sweat got in his eyes, it really stung. He unwrapped the blue bandana from his bicep to wipe off the sweat from his brow. He tied it around his head to help keep the sweat away. He sang with his coworkers to the tune on the radio while he scraped mud from the underside of the car to check for tears and leaks in the tubes. “Last night a little angel came pumpin' cross my floor, she said, Come on baby I got a license for love, and if it expires pray help from above." He glanced to his coworkers, Louis and Vernard were working together on some wiring harness. Possibly for headlights? He couldn't really tell from afar but Louis knew what he was doing. He was there in case Vernard got himself all tied up in a mess.
Back to his own work then, he didn't want to slack off since what kept this place running was their diligence to their work. From what was written on the papers, this car was leaking some fluid. The owner couldn't describe it but they were very worried about it being the radiator. However, Joe knew better than that. He had slid a grease pan under the car earlier in the morning and it hadn't collected any liquid yet in the time that he had worked on a different vehicle. It only had the dried up mud that he has scrapped off the bottom of the chassis.
So he decided to turn the vehicle on, he went to the office to unhook the keys from the safe's wall and went to sit in the driver's seat. He checked the washer nozzles to make sure that they even sprayed in the first place. If they didnt then the problem was from a leaky pump. But the washer nozzles worked wonderfully. It wasn't them. He moved onto his next suspicion and turned on the Air Conditioning to let it run for a while. He didn't hear anything at least not until the pipes formed condensation. Water dripped onto the metal pan and he looked to see if the water picked up any contaminant liquids. It was simply water, without discoloration from the fluids he would expect. Joe shook his head, this was no problem. It happened to everyone in this heat! He would have to tell their client not to worry. This Chevy was as good as gold.
When he checked what he could and fixed what was needed, he pulled himself from under the car. It got him wishing that maybe the owner of the shop would buy some damn car lifts. The couldn't simply use car jacks for every job. At least the shop had some mechanic’s creepers which admittedly, he and his coworkers messed around on and pushed each other across the shop when the floor was empty. He stood up with a grunt and went around to the hood to pull off the fender cover, which he slung over his shoulder. It left both of his hands free to unhook the hood’s prop rod. He gently carried the edge of the hood until it was closed. “Oh well, babe. Looks like I’m done with you. I'll tell your dad you were just being a bad girl. What were you thinkin? Making him worry like that.” His fingers trailed over the sleek finish. "What a beautiful machine." He kicked the mechanic’s creeper back into the shop and laid the fender cover on a table. The tools he used were tossed over into a drawer of the large standing toolboxes. That had been all the tools, right?
He still had some time to burn, but nothing else to do. The other two boys, his coworkers, were handling their business and helping them would only mean getting in the way. So instead, he washed his hands. Dark gray bubbles formed as he cleaned with a brush. He scrubbed his arms all the way up to his shoulders. He had to try and look presentable despite the dirt, grime, and grease like any reasonable young man.
The rumble of approaching vehicles quickly overtook the arrhythmic ratcheting and clanging of the shop. Joe didn't give it much attention until the roar of the engines made it hard to hear the water running. He stepped out of the washroom, towel drying his arms, neck, and face as bikes roared up into the shop. A lazy v-formation of leather-clad bikers swung around the corner, engines revving. They pulled into the open garage, stopping near the two boys still hunched over their respective vehicles.
A woman’s foot swooped off the lead bike and onto the ground. She kicked her bike stand into place before dismounting. She was dressed in all black-tight leather pants, combat boots, and a fitted leather jacket, the back of which bore a large, coiled black snake. Every biker jacket in the room carried the mark of the Black Vipers. Motorcycle engines shut off one by one and left an eerie silence.
She lifted up her helmet, revealing a head of vivid pink hair. She shook the hair out of her face and looked around the small, well-stocked shop. “It’s time for our monthly tune-up, boys,” she announced, eyes on the two mechanics who were now staring at her intently. Louis and Vernard had stopped their work to look at the new clients. Normally Joe would have said something by now, he didn't recognize her from around town and from the looks on the faces of Vern and Louis, they didn't either. The woman's face lit up with a confident smile. “Boss says you'll treat us well, so please do look after our rides…” She winked at one of the boys, though he seemed way more intimidated than infatuated. “…won’t you?”
One of the mechanics, Vernard, nodded to the pink haired woman. “Y-yea, that's what we are here for.” He was a big guy, broad, with muscles hidden beneath a layer of fat. He stood up and twirled a lock of his pine-green hair around his index finger, “Tune-ups for the bikes? All uh, nine of them?”
That many bikes in a small shop was deafening, so he was thankful they were off. Still, to the mechanics, it was a good sign. That roar was the sound of money. Joe stepped forward to hear what was being said before deciding to speak up.
“Tune-ups for all the bikes,” the biker echoed, smirking. She looked to a third mechanic who stepped out of some crevice. It was unclear whether he was the top dog or not, but the way he addressed her made it seem like he was at least higher up the social hierarchy than Vernard.
“You're looking at about $1500. Sound good?” Joe crossed his arms and gave the biker a side-eye. The other two mechanics nodded. He leaned against the entrance of the garage’s doors. “We do good work here.”
At the mention of a price, the pink haired biker motioned to one of the others. He came forward and whispered something that sounded foreign into her ear. She gave him a curt nod before turning back to the mechanic with the slick pompadour. “Charging us full price?” she asked, with over-acted incredulousness. “After everything the Boss has done for your shop? That hurts.” She ran a hand through her hair and sighed. “It’d be bad manners to charge us anything more than $150 per bike, kid.”
Louis turned his attention to Joe, clicking his pen with a 'I'll kill you later, idiot' glare that Joe felt boring into his very soul like Balor's gaze. He had learned about that guy from a movie. He felt a chill in his spine, he knew Louis would at the very least give him a well-deserved yelling. Big as he was, Vern seemed frightened by the considerably smaller figures of Louis and t As well. Unfortunately for the pink-haired biker, Vernard wasn’t the mechanic who called the shots here. Joe liked to take that role whenever he could. He at least saw himself as the top dog. Maybe it was like it is with lions, and the guy with the best hair was in the top tier. “Yea, full price. What of it?” He raised an eyebrow to the lead biker and then glanced at the other two mechanics. They shrugged with slight nods.
Louis, looked back to the pink haired biker. “If you want a lower price, go somewhere else. We can't lower our price, it'll only hurt the other shops in a race to the bottom of the barrel. Other shops don’t do the quality work that we do. We’re being nice with our pricing.”
Joe nodded along with a smug smirk, arms still crossed, “Yep, so are you going to take it or not?” He warily glanced at Louis.
Louis, shook his head. He wasn’t the only one rolling eyes, be it metaphorically or literally, at Joe. Quite a few members of the bike squad, all of whom had removed their helmets by now, had their brows raised.
Julien, the man who had whispered into the pink haired woman's ear before, stepped forward, displeased with the proposition. “Didn’t you hear what Nara said, boy? We won’t pay anything abo--”
Nara interjected, throwing a hand up to motion for him to stop before he could finish. Surprised as he was, Julien just blinked a few times at her before stepping down. If they were just talking about the players on the field, then Nara was definitely the top dog from the Vipers. She had pretty sick hair too, after all. “Well, I certainly don’t appreciate being overcharged,” she remarked, her eyes finding the fire-spitting cobra that decorated Joe’s exposed shoulder and bicep. “But if you boys are as good as you say you are, let’s see what you have to offer.” It was her first time at this garage, after all. Not only that, but it also looked like the head mechanic was a member of one of their sister gangs. For now, building bridges was the more beneficial thing to do; she could worry about cheating people out of their money elsewhere.
Joe glanced to Vern and Louis. He knew what the shop's workload was like. Recently, there hadn't been too many customers. People seemed to dump them for the cheap shops more and more often these days.. The three cars in the shop were fixer-uppers they were trying to sell, rather than a client's. "We don't want to overcharge you, but we can't work for too little. Small shops can go under easy and I'd hate for this one to close down." He sighed. "We'll have your rides purring like leopards. And, uh, we'll do your bikes for 130 each in the future..."
Louis got up, patting himself down. "You can leave them over there in the back. Joe'll get to looking them over and get what we need together. Count on me to keep these two knuckleheads in line." The words made Joe pout. Louis was showing Nara that he was really the head of the shop and that Joe was all bark.
Nara couldn’t help but smirk at the cute little pout Joe made when his friend ordered him around. This shop was under the protection of the Black Vipers, which meant it wasn’t in danger of going under any time soon as far as she was concerned. “Sounds like a deal to me.” She nodded at Louis’s instructions and signaled the others to comply. Soon, the bikes were re-parked right where they needed to be.
Julien was the first to dismount from his bike. He made his way to Nara.. They exchanged a few words before he motioned to the rest of the crew. “We’ll be leaving our precious bikes in your care, then.” Julien mentioned, saluting Louis with his middle and pointer fingers. With that, he and the rest of the crew took off, leaving only Nara behind. There was work to be done in this part of town that wouldn’t require their bikes. It’d be a better use of time than to just loiter around, waiting.
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