X-Book 1: New Allies New Enemies - Chapter 15 - Pit Stop
Summary: (See Book 1: Prologue)
Disclaimer: I own nothing associated with characters from the Marvel
universe or any previously published work.
Along a winding stretch of road in upstate New York, a lone
motorcycle roared through the early evening. The sky was dark and
starless, the clouds thick enough to hide the nearly full moon.
However, the twilight rider moved effortlessly along the black
asphalt, able to see the road in the dark with more ease than most
people could in the daylight. The rumble of the engine as he tore
towards his destination was very soothing for the traveler, though
must have sounded like a jet to anyone nearby.
Logan could have driven this stretch of highway with his eyes
closed. It was a road he had traveled many times over the past two
years since first coming to Xavier's School for the Gifted, and
now he was heading home again.
In his fifteen years of wandering, Logan had never thought of any
place as home, not even the ramshackle trailer he had hauled all
over northern Alberta. But, for many reasons, he found himself
drawn back again and again to Xavier's school, and he figured it
was as good a place to think of as `home base' as any where
Logan approached a crossroad, where the highway divided, and instead
of turning right towards the school, he made a left. There was one
more place he needed to stop before he ended his journey.
After another mile, Logan pulled into a small lot and parked his
bike under a dim neon sign. There were only a few other cars parked
next to the aging cement walls of the bar. It was too early in the
evening for the larger groups of regular patrons and Logan preferred
to finish his business here before the nightly crowds rolled in.
RUSTY'S, the sign read in glowing blue letters, and Logan glanced
up and grinned. Now, he knew he was home.
Pushing the windowless door inward, Logan instinctively took stock
of the people around him. There were two couples seated in booths
along the back wall and two men at the bar, watching ESPN as they
had an after-work beer. They were all locals, and Logan knew each
of them by scent, if not by name.
Logan moved quickly through a small maze of tables and greeted the
bartender with a nod before sitting at the last stool. The middle-
aged man put down the glasses he had been drying and pulled a beer
out of one cooler. He walked over to the end of the bar and handed
the bottle to Logan without being asked.
"Hey, there, friend," the bartender said, "So, you're
Logan glanced at the man and took the drink appreciatively.
"Thanks, Rus," he grumbled more than said, and took three
quick swallows before handing over his money.
The bartender grinned broadly and shook his head as he headed to the
cash register. Logan had been one of his regular patrons for a
couple of years and Rus learned his routine quickly. He would come
in around this same time, order a few beers and then leave. Never
really talked to anybody (except Rus himself) and always came alone.
Strange part was, Logan was not really a `regular,' in the
true sense of the word. Months could go by without seeing the quiet
dark-haired man, then he would appear again, almost as if he had
never been away. But, he seemed civil enough, never caused any
trouble and always paid his tab. In Rusty's book, that made him
good guy, and a great customer.
And, of course, there was another item which Rusty frequently
procured for Logan, an under the table and mostly unspoken business
arrangement they had.
"Has the shipment come in yet?" Logan asked as Rus handed
over his change.
"Not yet," he replied, "Frankly, I wasn't
expectin' you for a while. Just put the order in this morning
you called. But, it should be here soon."
Logan nodded and took another drink from his bottle. He did not
mind waiting. Merchandise of that quality was worth waiting for.
A few quiet moments past, when the front door swung open again.
Logan did not turn around, but noticed a strange smile touch
Rus's face. The bartender reached for a bottle on a high shelf,
and placed a small glass on the bar, as the new arrival sat down.
"Bourbon, mon ami," the man said, with a strong accent, as he
took a seat a few feet down from Logan. He seemed surprised as the
bartender placed the glass in front of him, almost before he asked
for it, but smiled gratefully.
"Merci," he said, and finished the glass quickly. The man
glanced around the bar, and seemed disappointed. He tipped his
glass in greeting to the two men watching the television, only to be
met with hard glares. The man sighed and shook his head.
"Quiet tonight, no?" he asked Rus with a friendly grin as the
bartender refilled his glass.
"You should know by now," Rus replied, "Most folks
don't come way out here `til later, friend."
"Oui, I do," the man replied, "Unfortunately, I don't
have the freedom to stay out as late as I would like. Which you
"I see," Rus said, and then grinned, "Gotta woman
waitin' for you?"
The man with the accent laughed, "One or two. Though not quite
how you mean."
"Kids waitin' then?" Rus asked.
" the man said with a sigh, warranting another laugh
from his host.
Logan rolled his eyes and tried to focus on the television instead
of the new arrival's ramblings. Unfortunately, the man glanced
up at Rus and, to Logan's complete annoyance, began to speak
"Don't suppose you know any place I could get a round of
five-card in, eh?" the man asked, "I know you don't like
cards here, ami, but is there anywhere closer than the A.C. that a
man could play a straight hand?"
Rus shook his head, "Sorry, aside from getting' some regular
poker buddies to meet at your house, I think you're shit out of
The man chuckled, "Not at my house
no, definitely not.
Management there doesn't like gambling either, if you get what I
Logan finished his first beer, and motioned to Rus for another.
Outside, the squeal of truck tires could be heard. Rus gave Logan a
quick nod. Merchandise was here. Rus dried his hands on the towel
hanging from his belt and headed out back.
The accented man glanced over, as if noticing Logan for the first
time, and tipped his glass towards him in greeting.
Oh, shit, Logan thought, realizing a moment too late that the chatty
guest was about to turn on him.
"What about you, ami," the man called, "Know any place a
guy could find an honest hand of poker?"
Logan glared over at him, "No."
"Fair enough," the man replied disappointed, and then added,
"How about a dishonest one?"
Logan did not reply, but continued glaring until the man shrugged.
"Doesn't hurt to ask?" the man said, and then sighed,
"Sure does help clear the head, though. I wasn't
I said I have dozens of children to go home to."
"Good for you," Logan said, trying to end the conversation.
"Not my children, par bon-heur," the man continued, "But
still dozens under the same roof. Not exactly the best place for a
free man, such as myself, which is why I search for solace
Logan remained visibly uninterested, but listened to the man
carefully. Something in his description of `home' sounded
"Mais," the man continued, giving Logan a wicked grin,
"There are some benefits. There are a few very beaux femmes
there, which makes up for all the petits
"Really?" Logan said darkly, "You must think you're a
pretty lucky guy
The man laughed, "Not until I get lucky, mon ami."
"I'm not your ami, bub," Logan shot back, disliking the
man more and more. He suddenly hoped this `home' the man
described was not where Logan was thinking of.
The accented man shrugged and gave Logan a cold grin, "No insult
As he finished his drink, Rus came back into the bar with a small
wrapped parcel. The accented man took a twenty out of his long
jacket and slid it across the bar towards him.
"Thanks for the drinks, mon ami," he said, stressing the last
two words significantly, "I certainly hope the troux de cul clear
out before your other customers show up."
The man stood, letting his long coat swirl dramatically around, and
headed out the door. Logan frowned as he watched the man leave, and
then smirked as Rus wandered toward him. Logan had spent enough
time in Canada to pick up some French, and he knew he had just been
called an `asshole.'
The bartender handed him his third beer, and Logan looked up at him
with disgruntled amusement.
"So, that guy around a lot?" Logan asked, and Rus nodded.
"Yeah, showed up about a month ago," he said, "Comes in a
few times a week
"Could you do me a favor and let me know when he's not
here," Logan replied.
Rus laughed, "No problem
here's your stuff."
Logan grumbled in acknowledgement and took the parcel in exchange
for several rolled bills. He tore open the brown paper and lifted
the box's lid. He pulled out one fresh cigar and rolled it in
Rus passed him a few packs of matches and Logan grinned before