Harriot was around the age of seventeen when his parents decided to take him on a road trip. The plan was to drive across the country, from Washington to Florida. His parents asked him how he felt about it, still hanging onto the hope that he'll respond; he didn't. On the road through Oregon, Harriot's mother pointed at landscapes and scenery with a short dialogue for each one. He had no opinion on any of her observations. By the time they crossed the Nevada border, she was sitting quietly in the passenger seat. They stopped at a gas station to refill their tank for the third time that day. Harriot's father left the car to get coffee while the car was being pumped. Harriot's mother took a bathroom break when he stepped out of the minivan. A band of local bikers happened to be filling their gas tanks at the same time. He overheard one of the bikers.
"...And so I said to her, I'll give your dog back, but you're gonna have to do something for me. Lets just say her dog wasn't the only one with a wagging tail." The ring of bikers roared with laughter. One of the men spilled beer all over his bare chest, the liquid cascaded down his jagged body.
"You always know just what to say Black Dog!" yelled one of the men, as he began to laugh at the biker sitting next to him.
Harriot rustled through the luggage in the back seat until he found his father's leather jacket. Harriot stepped out of the van as a different person. He walked with a strut that demanded attention. His eyes held in them wisps of fire ready to ignite any man they pleased. The leather jacket flapped in the wind like powerful black wings. He stopped just a few feet short of Black Dog and spat on the asphalt. Black Dog turned to look at him, amused.
"Do you have something to say to me, boy?"
"I'm gonna join your gang."
Black Dog let out a hearty laugh; it shook the ground like an earthquake. "What makes you think you can join our gang? We aren't babysitters, we don't have time for children."
Harriot grabbed a bundle of Black Dog's jacket in each hand and whipped his head at the gang leader's. A loud crack reverberated through the air. Black Dog's goons shared a jarring sense of terror. Blood began to trickle from Harriot's forehead onto his shirt. The vertical streaks of red ran down his stomach and onto his shoes. Black Dog was facing the sky, motionless, as blood descended from his nostrils in tendrils. A loud shriek erupted from Black Dog's mouth, followed by quick inhales of breath; he was laughing.
"Christ, I wasn't expecting that. What did you say your name was?"
"Do you have a bike?"
"I did, until I smashed it into a guardrail one night. Almost lost my arm."
"That's brutal. I guess you're riding with me then. Hop on, we're going for a ride."
By the time Harriot's father came back outside, they were already gone.