3.5 Stars For Humorous Content *** 1/2
It had been a rough day, in a rough week, in a rough month, where the events of daylight permeated night making sleep impossible. The typical outlets of release — raging weekends with the guys, eying the nipples on the topless dancers, and twisting the throttle on a motorcycle — weren’t putting a dent in life’s real challenges. In fact, the challenges had trivialized the diversions to the point where each seemed to be robbing me of potential solutions. Cracking a bottle of rum only obscured my perception of the obvious... Slipping a dollar into the g-string of a red-hot dancer only emphasized the shallow connection between my hand and her supple flesh... And the motorcycle that had become my church for the past five years revealed itself to be an extension of my current mood.
The bikers I noticed on the street were younger, tougher, and more inclined to spit in the eye of reality — and these were just the women. I am talking about the real riders, the guys on Harley’s, Moto Guzzis, Beemers, Old Brit bikes, and Jap cruisers that bear the practical customization of preference; with gear lashed to the frame through the systematic practice of thousands of hard miles; and tool kits whose cracked, rolled sleeves have tasted the ground alongside roads whose numbers are forgotten by even the local residents. I was losing the vision of myself as a member in this club, having become more of a tolerated observer. And observers in this club are only tolerated just so long.
As I said, it had been a rough day, culminating in the kind of unspoken conversation in which a woman’s look explains that she has reached the point where she can barely tolerate the way a man is breathing — in and out. In the absence of a good solution, a bad one is better than nothing, and I staged a tactical retreat to a lawn chair left in the garage, where I lit up a maduro the size of a Ducati muffler, and poured myself a glass of Irish fire nearly as big as my ass. I listened to the soothing strains of Steppenwolf and sucked on that cigar like it was the tit of truth, flicking the smoldering, thumb-sized stump at the slinking form of the cat next door. (The pet of my aged neighbor, old Biddy Bitchwell, this cat does not miss an opportunity to slink into this garage and piss on my shop rags, gloves, or anything else it can find within range.)
The humidity was up, even though evening temperatures were dropping into the ‘60s, and the cigar smoke and whiskey lulled me into a passable excuse for sleep. And it was in this trance that I had my out-of-body experience. I found myself on my bike, casually taking the twisties of an unmarked country road. The perfect pavement followed the contours of a creek on the right, passing through deeply forested stretches, occasionally bracketed by rock embankments. I was trailing the tail light of my riding partner, Dick Bregstein, lazily choosing whatever line he picked through the curves, matching his speed, which was slowly increasing.
Bregstein rides a BMW “R” bike, which combines mechanical perfection with the romance of a steam engine, as it’s design predates the Egyptian Pharaoh Kahmet Rah. Yet in this dream it growled like a Harley, with each twist of the throttle. I slowly realized that each growl had lyrics like a song, which is what the exhaust note of a motorcycle really is. And the refrain of Dick’s bike was:
“Though we’ve ridden thousands of miles,
“And burned thousands of gallons of gas,
“Accept this run for what it is,
“And shove that K75 far up your ass.”
“That’s unlike Dick,” I thought to myself. And then I realized maybe it wasn’t. There was the time that Dick “Armor All-ed” my seat... And pulled a panic stop that cause me to rap my balls with the gas tank. Then again, there was the time he offered to tie my boot (sparing my arthritic knees one extra dismount from a bike that is as tall as the Chrysler building, after 8 hours on the Blue Ridge Parkway), and he lashed it to the brake pedal.
We pulled over beside the most perfect lake, barely visible from the road, shrouded in low trees and a mountain mist. A faded wooden sign read, “Decision Lake, Essex County, NY.”
“I gotta squeeze my lemon,” yelled Dick, before heading off into the brush. (For those from Nebraska, this meant he had to take a leak.)
I swung my leg over the saddle, hanging in the balance for a second, then dropped to the ground eleven feet below the saddle of my 1995 BMW K75. Taking a piss is always a good idea whenever you stop (if you’re older than 50 and have kidneys tenderized by motorcycle shocks), and I stepped into the brush before unzipping and uncoiling “The Dragon.” (By the way, this lends an entirely new significance to bikes owned by hot babes bearing the sticker “I rode The Dragon.”)
“Wow,” said a woman’s voice.
“I beg your pardon,” I replied, feigning a really good James Bond accent. (I once took 23 online courses in ventriloquism, and made the voice emanate from the task at hand.)
“That’s clever,” said the woman’s voice, which was like warm honey pouring over my soul. “Does it do tricks too?”
“It has a mind of its own, and occasionally gets me into a tight spot.”
“I bet,” said the voice, which now appeared to come from below, from a woman swimming in the lake. But this wasn’t just any woman. This dream was the character of Diane Lane, the naked Diane Lane from the 1999 movie Walk On The Moon.
“You look hot,” she said. “Come on in. The water is great.”
I shed my riding gear in a second, and stepped into water that took my breath away with a flash chill, but which soon enveloped my body like a balm. She took me in her arms and kissed me, like the character of the Diane Lane who kissed the “blouse man” in the better scenes of the 1999 movie Walk On The Moon. And I realized in that second, that I have been “the blouse man” at various times in my life, and would likely be again.
“I am never going to leave this lake,” I said, directly into the lips of the character of the naked Diane Lane from the movie Walk On The Moon.
“You can have whatever you want... I only ask one thing in return.”
“Anything,” I whispered, pulling her around me.
“I want you to kill Bregstein,” she said, looking into my eyes.
I was stunned. And she repeated it.
“I want you to kill Bregstein, by hitting him on the head with a heavy rock.”
“But why...” I stuttered.
“There comes a time when the love of every beautiful woman requires a man to smash the Dick closest to him,” said the character of the naked Diane Lane, in the lake, from the movie Walk On The Moon.
“I think you’re carrying an element of symbolism to an extreme.”
She shrugged, and started to swim way.
“I’ll do it,” I said, picking up a heavy rock from the lake’s bottom.
At that moment, the ringing of my cell phone jarred me to consciousness. The voice of a shaken Dick Bregstein spilled out of the tiny speaker into the cigar-smoke tinged dawn of the garage.
“Jack,” said Dick. “I just had the most incredible dream. We were on a ride through the country someplace, and stopped to piss at a lake. A naked woman invited me into the water. I jumped in. She was going to take me to a hedonistic heaven, provided I could do one thing for her...” And here, Dick hesitated. “She asked me to ‘Off Jack.’”
“What happened next,” I asked.
“I complied, but must have misunderstood because she disappeared.”
“Who was the woman,” I asked.
Dick hesitated again... “She’s famous. I’ve had a thing for her for years. I watch her all the time...”
“Dick, who was it?”
“Joan Rivers,” said Bregstein.
“Dick, any man would have done the same had they found themselves in your circumstance,” I said. “Wanna ride today?”
“See you in an hour,” said Bregstein.
Note To Brady: I still cannot leave any kind of a response to your blog either, regardless of how I sign in or the browser I use. I will respond to your personal e-mail as well. Sorry.
Note To Johm McClane: Your blog is telling me I have to be invited to leave a comment. Should I feel offended?
©Copyright Jack Riepe 2011