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Bounty:Fury Riders MC(2)

By: Zoey Parker





All I had to do was take shots worthy of being put up for the exhibition. Nothing I’d already done was good enough. Even my favorite shots were shit all of a sudden. I needed something raw, gripping, evocative. Something nobody would forget.



Which was what gave me the idea to take shots of city life. Not the glamorous, flashy stuff. The seedy stuff. Gritty, raw, real. The only downside being the need for me to travel to these seedy places to take the shots.



It’ll be worth it, I thought as I rode in the back of the taxi. No way I was driving my car around there—I would even know where to park to keep it from being stolen.



“What’s a nice kid like you doing around here anyway?” The cabbie peered at me.



I smiled to myself. Yes, Erica. What are you doing here? This was a far cry from the suburbs.



“Taking pictures,” I said, holding my camera up so he could see it. I’d graduated to a much nicer model than the one I bought more than a decade earlier.



“Of what? A murder?”



A chill went up my spine. “Uh, I hope not!”



He chuckled. “Just wondering. Not many nice things happen around here. I’m sure you watch the news.”



“I do,” I said, looking out the window, biting my lip. I was well aware of what happened there.



“And you still wanna be here?”



“I’m a photographer,” I explained. “I have to go where interesting things happen.”



“Interesting. That’s a word that can have many different meanings,” he said. I smiled to myself. A philosopher cabbie.



We pulled up to the corner I’d asked for and I handed some money up to the front seat. “Can I ask one more favor?”



“Shoot.”



“Do you mind if I take your picture?”



He smiled. “I’d have worn a nicer shirt if I knew this was coming.”



I got out of the cab and looked around. What a depressing area. I felt distinctly fluttery in my stomach but put on a brave face for the driver.



“Okay, I’ll stand here,” I said, positioning myself to the left of the driver, slightly in front of him. I crouched down. “You just sit behind the wheel as though you’re waiting for the light to change.” It didn’t matter what color the light was or how long he waited—there was no one behind him. The street was strangely free of traffic. My stomach gave another fluttery feeling.



I got my shot and thanked the driver. “You want me to come back for you?” he asked.



I smiled. “I’ll call your dispatch when I’m ready. It shouldn’t take me long.”



“All right,” he said, grimacing. He looked me up and down. “Nice kid. A shame.”



I didn’t get a chance to ask him what the shame was before he pulled away. I didn’t want to know what he was thinking.



I looked around again. There might not have been many cars on this particular block, but there was a decent amount of foot traffic. I’d dressed in dark colors, hoping to blend in, and I realized the bagginess of the hoodie and jeans I’d chosen were probably meant to hide my body. It was a subconscious decision at the time. My ash-blonde hair was tucked up in a dark wool cap.



The only light came from the few working street lamps and the illuminated signs for the handful of businesses on the street, all food joints. Chinese takeout, pizza, wings. There was what appeared to be a market of some kind, too, but no market I would ever step foot into. The inside of the shop looked scarier than the street outside it, with dim lighting and a menacing man in a bloodied apron smoking a cigarette out front. I had my limits.



Still, he was a start. “Excuse me,” I said, approaching with caution. I spoke in a register lower than my natural one, in even tones. The last thing I wanted to do was show him how nervous I was.



He looked me up and down, his eyes squinting. “Yeah? Whaddya want?”



“I was wondering if I could take a picture of you.” I pulled my camera out from the large front pocket of my hoodie, where I’d been holding it out of sight as I walked.



“Why?”



“I’m a photographer. I don’t work for the newspaper or anything. I just find you interesting and thought you’d make a nice shot, in front of the window, smoking. That’s all.”



He looked skeptical but agreed. “I don’t have to smile, do I?”



I shook my head. “No, not at all. Look as though I’m not here. You’re just taking a break.” He did as I asked, looking as natural as he could. I snapped a few shots and showed him the screen so he could see how they looked.



To my surprise, he grinned. I didn’t know why I was surprised—most people smiled when I showed them their shots. Maybe because he was so scary-looking. But I knew he wasn’t scary at all. Just a guy on a smoke break, probably worn down by life. He actually thanked me before I moved on. I made a mental note to send a print to the address of the shop.



I did this a few more times. Once with a group of kids eating pizza while sitting on the doorstep to what looked like an abandoned house. Once with the gang behind the counter of the Chinese restaurant—I managed to see back into the kitchen, where there was a symphony of motion taking place at the time. Once I took a shot of a homeless man with his cart of possessions and handed him ten dollars when I was finished.

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