The Hogs of Spring

I have a tendency to regress sometimes and just recently fell victim to part of my past which I thought had been successfully sublimated. It has to do with motorcycles, springtime and my, until now, ability resist leaping onto over a quarter ton of screaming steel to try and Evel Knievel my way across the frost heaves our Department of Transportation has declared as roads. It all started innocently enough when I had to fly to the Lower 48 to take care of some personal matters. I was there for almost a week before I became adjusted to piloting a tiny rented, Korean-made, death trap through freeway traffic concentrations resembling a buffalo stampede. Most of the drivers seemed to be somewhat demented and made multiple imprudent single-digit gestures as they blasted by on my right, while I practiced lip reading their censurable concerns about my 50.5 mph top turbo speed. This continued until a kindly patrol officer pulled me over and offered an impromptu lecture on the financial burden one might incur to the state if one insisted on “using the commuter express lane in an under–powered, single occupant, Nerfmobile. Son, you resemble a gorilla trying to operate a modified football. Spend a few more bucks next time and lease something that doesn’t require sticking your head out of the sunroof.” He was amused enough to let me off with a warning. Chagrined I returned to my sister’s home and was sitting on the porch contemplating burying the rig in her backyard and notifying the rental company that a dog ran off with it when Sid pulled up in his nasty black Vette and peeled his 6-foot-5 frame out of the cockpit. He’s my sis’s significant other and a drug counselor for clientele made up of mostly biker gang members and other hard core miscreants. “Yo Bro, doin’ anything special?” he asked. “Not really.” I answered. “Unless you have a half-track I could borrow for a few minutes of merriment while I turn my rental into a peculiar looking Frisbee.” “Nah man, I’m fresh out of military stuff. Interested in scoping out a few custom bikes with Psycho Eddie and me at an Easyrider Meet?” “We’re not talkin’ Schwinns or yuppie mauve mountain bikes with spring water dispensers are we?” “Nope. Got any leather to wear, maybe an Uzi to help us get back to the car if the tattoo contest results don’t meet some club members’ satisfaction? They had quite a dust up last year.” “Huh?” “Just kidding Dude, if things get tight I’ll loan you one my flack jackets.” “Huh?” “Are you going or not?” “Yeah, I have a black jacket and dark jeans but with this straight arrow haircut, they’ll probably tag me for a narc and I’ll end up with a full body tattoo that won’t show up ‘til the bruises fade. It’d probably be safer to chug a quart of Red Ripple and go play bumper tag on the freeway driving a Mo-Ped in my Jockey shorts.” “Chill, you’ll just come across as a typical wannabe. ‘Sides the grossest looking riders are usually the undercover badges anyway. Gear-up, you’ve been in the weeds too long.” We figured we could keep out of trouble because Sid and I are about the size of your average mutant grizzly and Psycho Eddie (real nick name) has a stare like he prefers human flesh to a Big Mac. There were the usual leathered-out bad boys with their Harleys plus a bunch of partially evolved, pierced, humanoids along with visitors from all walks of life. Bands rocked the grounds and I felt like I was 20 again. We decided to leave before the really rough trade arrived but not before all those show bikes got an insidious grip on me again. I pictured rolling by Denali, cruising Thompson Pass into Valdez or just rumbling down the Sterling with two pound wasps blasting up my coat sleeves. All I needed was twenty grand and some rationale for buying a toy I could use only a few months out of the year (for a guy that part is easy). Unfortunately, I was shy about 19 grand so I returned to our hamlet with nothing more that a cool biker T and the same respect for miniature Korean cars that I have for used Yugos that barely function well as planters. My regressive fantasy is under control again unless I win that $30,000 custom Hog charity raffle that I spent a bucket full of cash for a bucket full of tickets. If that happens, all bets are off and it’ll be a wild ride bringing it to Alaska. It’ll be a wilder ride convincing my bride that it’ll need its own room in the cabin during the winter months. I’ll keep you posted. Nick can be reached at ncvarney@gmail.com

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