I had mixed emotions about selling the motorcycle, especially as it meant I’d be giving up the riding lifestyle indefinitely. But I’d had my fun... I was getting older... My interests were changing... And none of my friends were riding much any more. Plus the bloom was off the vine for the 1975 Kawasaki. Known as the “Widow Maker,” it had been the fastest street bike in its day, but that day barely lasted 24 hours. The two-stroke H2 had all the grace and finesse of an early 19th century steam engine. It belched smoke, it made a peculiar noise, and it was the final flare of a style that was being by-passed by motorcycle technology from the second it had been introduced to the showroom floor. Kawasaki already had the Z-900 in the wings and Honda was quickly rewriting motorcycle history with its CB750.
My machine had been kept outside 9 months of the year (for nearly 5 years) and it looked it. A poorly routed battery vent hose had flicked acid onto one of the chrome exhaust pipes, leaving a trail of brass dots for about six inches across the pressed can, which already looked odd owing to a flattened seam that ran top and bottom. Though there wasn’t a dent on it, the machine had been dropped three times (twice in some pretty good crashes). It was a pre-historic street-screamer that never developed a following and had zip for moto-mystique. I originally bought it as a key prop to getting laid. And now, it was actually working against me.
Women have an innate sense of cool, and can tell at a glance — even if they are unfamiliar with a thing — whether it is a cool thing or not. Jet black motorcycles that growled like distant thunder were cool. Motorcycles painted in colors that matched fruit-flavors, and which sounded like lawnmowers that had gotten kicked in the balls, did not. None of them gave a shit how fast it went either. New women I met would look at the bike, shrug, and keep walking. (I think I was riding around on the last H2 sold in North America. I never came across another one.) And the girl I had, a real Mediterranean beauty with skin the color of honey at dusk, was beginning to withhold the one thing I desired above all else as pressure to get ride of the bike.
I was walking around in a near comatose state one Friday night, suffering from DSB (Deadly Sperm Build-up), when I decided to throw in the towel as a prelude to getting my horn honked. I wondered what I could possibly say that would serve as a nipple-hardening accelerant. And then it came to me.
“I’ve decided to sell the Kawasaki,” I said, “while it is still worth a few bucks.”
She looked at me through pools of liquid sienna that were her eyes and asked, “Is this an incredibly cheap ploy to get a little, while building up my hopes?”
I feigned indignity, which was difficult for me to do even then, when my eyes were the natural color of sincerity. “How could you even think such a thing,” I stammered.
“Because you would tell the Pope that ‘shit was blue’ if you thought that would get an instant blow job from me,” she replied.
“Would it,” I asked. “Let’s get him on the phone. I think he’s listed in the book, under 'Pontoon,' or is it ‘Pontiff.’”
She began to slowly lift up her shirt, pausing so just a hint of dual nipple was evident, and said, “Will you let me sell the bike for you?”
Now I hate to admit this, but I do have a weak side, and she was using the cheapest of ploys to one-up my utterly cheap ploy. The truth is that if I had been one of the Indians running things on Manhattan Island when the Dutch showed up, they could have kept the $24 in cheap beads if one of their hotties had offered to model them for me.
“Sure,” I said. “Do I still have to talk to the Pope?” I didn't. And I was amazed at how well my little strategem seemed to worked.
Imagine my surprise when she rolled over at dawn the next day, kissed my neck, and said, “I have a buyer for the bike.”
“Who? How? Did you conduct an auction in here while I was sleeping?”
And then the light came on. I had been the victim of a first class hustle. Now that my wits had been cleared of passion’s haze, I could see how the trap door worked, and how I had been lured onto it.
The naked beauty next to me had a sister who was also a knockout, and this sister had a friend who was in the market for a used motorcycle. And the friend had been informed that there was no reason to look further for a quality bike, as one was coming available shortly.
“How shortly,” I asked.
“They’ll be here to look at the bike in 2 hours,” she smiled. “Wanna shower with me? I’m thinking of shaving my coochie. You could help.”
I was overcome by a feeling of lightheadedness, as the little pilot said, “Relax Jack. I’ve got the controls.”
The “friend” turned out to be a 20-year-old firecracker of a little red head that matched the definition of “tom boy.” Wearing coveralls and a Wallace Beery shirt, “Liz” was first class eye-candy; flat as a board, with the body of a swimmer. She was a hair stylist with two ambitions: to get a college degree and to get a motorcycle. In tow was her husband of two years, a likable sort who owned a lawn mower repair shop. Turns out she’d been riding a Japanese 250 for a year, and was ready to move up to a much bigger bike.
Likable sorts are often paired with firecrackers, but it is an odd combination. The husband didn’t plan on getting a bike but was going to be able to fix this one, whenever it needed it, as two-stroke engines were “his life.” I remember thinking, “When was the last time you fixed a lawn mower that hit 100 miles per hour, you likable asshole?” But I just smiled instead.
Liz straddled the bike, and despite her diminutive size, had no trouble flat-footing it. As I recall, the machine was pretty light. “Can I start it,” she asked.
“Can you,” I replied, warming up the battered baby seal look that I save for special occasions. This got raised eyebrows from my honey, and a passing look of askance from the “husband.” But what it got from her was a dazzling smile, a hint of a blush, and a flash of crystal fire from dazzling baby blues.
She glanced downward at the side of the engine, looking for something.
“The choke is on the handlebars,” I said, pointing to the little lever on the left.
Liz smiled again, unfolded the kick starter, and switched on the ignition. For some women, every movement is an expression of sensuality. She came down on the starter with determination to get in a good solid kick. I could almost see the muscles flex in her leg. It wasn’t necessary. The engine exploded into life on the first kick. (I had just replaced the plugs with the brand new spares.) She duck-walked the bike up and down the sidewalk, getting a feel for the clutch.
“This is so much different from my other bike,” she said. “I want it.”
The likable sort put his hand in his pocket with purpose, and said, “I understand you want $400 for it. I can give you $350.”
Shocked for the second time that day, “It comes with the crash frame, the sissy bar, and the windscreen,” I stuttered.
“Three seventy-five,” said my girlfriend.
He had exactly $375 to the cent, folded over in his pocket. He didn't even count it. The likable sort handed me the cash, while my hot squeeze magically produced the title, which she had fished out of my bedlam of papers sometime previous to this ambush. He disappeared around the corner and pulled up in a pickup, towing a lawnmower trailer. They loaded the bike and split.
“Come on,” said my girl. “We gotta hurry.”
She drove like a woman possessed, out to a furniture store that was holding a huge tent sale. Sofas, easy chairs, kitchen sets, and bedroom ensembles filled a parking lot the size of a football field. She dragged me by the hand through a maze of “red tagged” specials, stopping at a nicely upholstered “wing” sofa in a colonial style. It was marked $375.
“What the fuck...” I started to say.
“Exactly,” she replied, shoving me down into the comfy confines of the new sofa. She sat down next to me, cupped my face in her hands, and covered my lips with her mouth like she was trying to revive me from drowning. There must have been a thousand people milling around, and my girl was attractimg an audience.
“He’ll take it,” she said to the salesman. The audience started to clap. The year was 1979. Customer service was alive and well in America, and the sofa was delivered that afternoon. She tipped the delivery guys $20 and they took the old couch out with them.
“Well how do you like it,” she asked, sitting down next to me in the house that evening. “Are you pissed?”
“Not at all,” I shrugged. This sofa is a big improvement over the other one. And it’s just big enough for the three of us.”
“Three of us,” she asked quizzically?
“You... Me... And your shaved coochie.”
“It was worth it,” she said, kicking off her jeans. “I got rid of that rat bike and that ratty sofa all in one shot.”
As the poster at the bottom of this blog reads, “Motorcycles make good girls do bad things!” They sure do. Liz became very proficient at riding my old Kawasaki. She rode it to college every day... Where she fell in love with her English professor, who also rode a bike. The two of them were last seen heading west. The likeable sort she'd married early in her life ended up by the side of the road with his pants around his ankles. He should have gotten a bike himself, and rode with her to school each day. Then again, things probably would have ended the same way. But with his own bike, he wouldn't have given a shit, and would have found another redhead.
©Copyright Jack Riepe 2010
AKA The Lindberg Baby (Mac Pac)
AKA Vindak8r (Motorcycle Views)