Friday, September 19, 2008

Trouble With The Cops Again...

The police just left here and I got the distinct impression they were greatly disappointed that I wasn’t handcuffed in the back of the car. It never ceases to amaze me how a simple and straightforward philosophical point can escalate into a major grievance -- often involving long-faced authority. In this particular case, the philosophical point is that a man’s garage is his temple.

This philosophy may be subject to interpretation depending on the circumstances. For example, in the case of assertive alpha males (who make the ground tremble when they walk), the garage becomes a master mechanic’s surgery, with tool chests on rollers, flawless workbenches, and tools hanging on little pegs like chromium steel pork chops in a butcher’s window.

My friend Clyde Jacobs has a garage like this. All that is missing is the hand-lettered sign from the “Little Rascals” that reads, “He-Man Woman Haters Club... No Women Allowed.” (The reason this sign is missing is because Clyde’s wife Patty, who is about 25 percent his size, would insert her foot far into his ass.) The floor of Clyde’s garage is oil-resistant rubber and has a turntable built into it so he can rotate his BMW like a 45 rpm record, with one hand.

Another buddy of mine, Eric DucDude (so named for his Ducati affinity) also has a garage like this with semiprecious motorcycles (some old, some new) all reposing on battery tenders like an ad for a Euro-tech bike spa. I’ve been to his garage once, and I swear he looks at home walking through it wearing a white lab coat and carrying a clipboard.

Then there are the non-Alpha males... Men like myself who have had their lungs and balls removed by the hell-spawned attorneys of former wives. My “temple” is about 20 square feet in a three-bay garage, subject to shrinkage by antique furniture acquisitions, gardening supplies, and the detritus of various home improvement projects, all at the discretion of the haus frau, who periodically reminds me that I live here at her fickle pleasure. I am chagrinned to inform the gentle reader that a packed suitcase is kept by the door to remind me that I am always close to the gutter.

Nevertheless, I still regard this 20 square feet as my final refuge. It is where I can go to admire my bike and sit with a drink and a cigar. (Of course, I have to go outside if I want to light the cigar.) Yet even this modest male-retreat is under constant surveillance and siege. The nice old lady who lives next door has a cat named “Houdini,” who has determined that there is no better place in the world than this garage for taking a piss.

Now there are no broken windows in this garage. The cat simply waits until one of the doors goes up, then dashes in and signs his name on the nearest pile of rags, carpeting remnant, or my Joe Rocket ballistic jacket. Whatever is available. He’s out again two seconds later. He’s like a feline Zorro, signing a “Z” in yellow ink.

For those of you who have not read, Fun Facts About Cats, these animals do not have a strong sense of smell. A sense of smell is considered useful in the wild if you intend to mate. Even in the watered down version of nature that we call “society,” smell triggers certain reactions. It is why women spend a fortune on perfume and cologne. It is also why men laugh when they fart. Nature has compensated the cat for a poor sense of smell with piss that can be detected by other cats 143 miles away. (NASA once published a paper saying that cat piss is the only aroma on earth that can be easily detected in space.)

All I wanted at first was to discourage the cat from coming into the garage. I tried putting mothballs in the corners and around the workbench. I set unbaited mousetraps on the rags. I started letting the two huge dogs that live here into the garage. One went to vet's for eating the mothballs. The other limped back into the house with mousetraps on every foot, his nose, and tail.

Then I was out for blood. I borrowed a chipper, put an old towel and a bowl of milk in its feeder opening, then left the garage open. All to no avail.

This morning was the last straw.

I was attempting to perform a frivolous bit of maintenance, which boils down to hanging a “ride bell” from the center stand on my 1995 K75 BMW. According to legend, the ride bell should be hung down low on a bike, where its gentle tinkling will discourage gremlins from working their mischief. The bells are silver in color, and generally have a design on them. The one I was attaching to “Fire Balls,” is called a “Writer’s Bell,” as it bears the image of a naked woman, who is handing a drink to a man, who performs no useful work. My squeeze gave it to me as a gift. Ride bells of various design are common among the cruiser crowd, though I have seen a few Beemers with them as well.

The Typical Ride Bell... Shown slightly larger than actual size.

It was a delightful day outside, with the cool hint of an early fall. Naturally, the garage door was wide open. I was on the floor under my bike, when I witnessed four furry feet slink past me. The cat sashayed over to my gear (which was heaped in a pile on the floor), and squatted up against my helmet. It was about to unload into my $350 Nolan.

Not two inches from my hand was the remote to close the garage door. I hit the button and the trap was sprung. “Houdini” was my prisoner in the garage. You should have seen the look on his furry little face as I backed him into a corner. We stared at each other in a stalemate, and then I unzipped my fly in preparation to pay this cat back in kind. It occurred to me that this is one of those ideas that sound much better in barroom conversation than in reality. There was no guarantee the cat would sit there and just take it. The thought of chasing the cat around while hosing off my own stuff seemed somewhat self-defeating.

And then I knew what I was going to do. I donned my armored ballistic jacket, helmet, and gloves on the outside chance “Houdini” wouldn’t cooperate. (This turned out to be a wise precaution.) The deed was done in two seconds and I released one thoroughly aggravated cat out into the driveway.

I felt 20 years younger. I whistled. I did some work in the garage. I poured myself a drink and lit a cigar in an act of total defiance. Ten minutes later, Mrs. Hackleschmackle appeared at the door with two cops. She held the sneering cat in her arms.

“Does this belong to you,” asked the first cop, who looked like a skinhead working for the post office in a totalitarian state. Using his baton (club) he pointed to the ride bell attached to the cat’s neck via a Radio Shack wire tie.

“No,” I lied, using the kind of intense nonchalance that only public relations Jedi masters can muster.

“Yes it is,” said the hag from next door. “His girlfriend showed it to me yesterday.” I had no trouble envisioning Leslie joining this crone in picking me out of a police lineup. Fortunately, she had left for Europe.

“I did have one like it, officers,” I said, “And my girlfriend did get it for me. But I sold it so I’d have some money for whisky.”

‘Well just how do you think we should resolve this,” asked the second cop, using a tone of voice which suggested that he didn’t really give a damn for whatever answer I might pose.

“Officers,” I said with quiet authority. “If I were you, I’d walk this lady back to her house, and beat the shit out of her with your night sticks. It’s the only known cure for Alzheimer's.”

And I closed the garage door for the second time that day.

©Copyright Jack Riepe 2008
AKA The Lindbergh Baby (Mac-Pac)
AKA Vindak8r (Motorcycle Views)
AKA The Chamberlain -- PS (With A Shrug)


Unknown said...

Jack, although it may present a somewhat disturbing image I am thankful for your humor here on a Friday afternoon. The thought of you trying to piss on a cat in full gear is nothing short of hilarious! Maybe you could trap a big rock and let Dicky B. exact his revenge.


MackBeemer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

" We faced each other in a stalemate, and then I unzipped my fly in preparation to pay this cat back in kind."

Will next weeks issue be written by Claud Bawls?

Ride Safe,


BMW-Dick said...

Dear Jack:
For a minute I thought you were going to handcuff the cat to your side of the bed, have your way with it, and then brag about all the pussy you get. Thank you for not telling that part of the story.
About your Joe Rocket jacket....I always though it was you that smelled like cat piss.
Never to old to learn!

MackBeemer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nnek said...

I was picturing the wet puss until the bell came back in the story!
I had a cat that did the same in my barn.... never caught the beast in the act or otherwise but the evidence was arromatic.
You should have hung it from his lowest parts!!!

Anonymous said...

What bmw-dick said.

MackBeemer said...

Once when I was a much younger man, I had the pleasure of entertaining two squeaky-clean gentlemen who flashed their badges in my face. The badges said they were Agents of the Secret Service of the United States. I did not invite them into my home since I had Mary Jane seedlings lining the window sill of the large picture window of our living room, a German SDS poster prominently displayed over our couch – the poster featured idealized line drawings of Marx, Engels, and Lenin and the caption "Anders reden vom Wetters – Wir Nicht!" Another wall supported a gigantic poster featuring a tank with the business end pointing right at the camera. It was so arresting a photograph that I cannot now recall the caption.

The gentlemen said they had information indicating that I had threatened the life of the President of the United States. (The then sitting president was Richard Milhous Nixon.) I asked the gentlemen with the white sidewall haircuts if they would care to divulge the identity of the party or parties who had squea… um, provided them with this information. They declined to do so. After my abject denial that I had ever said anything of the sort, the cleanly shaven stand-ins for Ephraim Zimbalist Jr. left in their unmarked nondescript car. I have heard nothing from the Secret Service since then. That was in 1968 or so.

I must confess, however, that I have often thought of murder and mayhem involving various occupants of the White House. I have fantasized about it, imagined squeezing the trigger of a high-power hunting rifle with the crosshairs of my scope hovering just above my target's eyebrows. I've wondered about setting off bombs, throwing hand grenades, and, in bloodier moments of reverie, stabbing the sonsofbitches in the throat with a chrome bladed hunting knife large enough to chop down a sizeable tree. (During the 1960s you weren't a real man if you didn't think now and again of offing the sogenannte "Leader of the Free World.")

I've thought about this incident quite a few times since. As near as I can figure, some student in my "Introduction to Ethics" course at Wayne State University in Detroit awoke during a lecture where I had been discussing a theory known as 'Act Utilitarianism' ("AU"). I'd explained the theory replete with translations into first-order logical calculus. I had gotten to the point in my lecture when it was time to offer the knock-down counterexample. According to my counterexample (I do remember thinking this was a counterexample) assassinating President Nixon might turn out to be morally right on AU grounds. Doubtless I went on to point out that since everyone would agree that assassinating a sitting President was morally wrong, this sufficed to show that AU was an inadequate theory of moral obligation. At that point, I hypothesize, this "student" awoke, and hearing only the counterexample and not its import, ran to the nearest telephone, contacted the local FBI office and told them that I, a mild-mannered professor of philosophy at Wayne State University had just said that assassinating President Nixon was morally right.

It is, I think, worthy of note that the visit by Secret Service agents occurred some months after the supposed threat against the life of the President would have been made (according to my reconstruction). One hopes that the response time of FBI agents has improved since the 1960s.

My name is MackBeemer and I approve of this message and almost everything in it is the Unmitigated God-damned Truth.

Sojourner's Moto Tales said...

Jack, this had me in stitches--I could imagine you in the garage with that cat--I never know what to believe with you--you are a very smooth, convining liar, er, storyteller.

I'm a cat lover but found this hysterical. I read this somewhere: "Cats are proof that not all things in nature have a purpose."

Still, I love them. Decades ago, we put a bell collar on one of our cats who had brought home a couple of birds. He learned to stalk so that those bells didn't jingle! Seriously. After that we stopped letting our cats go out period. This was something this cat, Emiliano Zapata, didn't like and on ocassion kept up amazing caterwauling to show his displeasure.

Great post!

redlegsrides said...

great story!

perhaps one of those ultrasonic sound emitters that humans can't hear?


Unknown said...

Not bad, Jack, but you don't need that comma in front of the book title.

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Will:

Thank you for your kind comment. And while I hate to offer anything in the way of contention, please be advised that a number of women, and two men, have requested pictures of me pissing on a cat, while I am wearing full gear, if and when I decide this is appropriate.

And Will, your name has been entered into the free meal contest.

Fondest regards,

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Joe:

You won't believe this, but I had to reread that name, "Claude Bawls," twice to get the joke. This is what a lifetime of drug and alcohol abuse have reduced me to.

Thank you for your kind note. You have been entered into the September free meal contest.

Fondest regards,

Jack Riepe said...

Dear BMW Dick:

For those of you who enjoy reading these notes, BMW-Dick is my riding partner and frequent editorial foil Dick Bregstein. Other people have claimed to be him, but he is the true Dick.

Back to my highly confidential note -- Dick, I notice you have two cats at home, and a number of restraining devices hanging o the wall. Which do you prefer?

See you at the monthly Mac-Pac Breakfast tomorrow.

Fondest regards,

Jack Riepe said...

Dear NNEK:

Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment. You'd be surprised at home many people contacted me with stories of cats pissing in various treasured locations, like antique cars, closets, and wedding pictures of former spouses.

I'm entering your name in the September monthly free meal contest. But I'd ask you to include the town or state you live in to facilitate contact if you win.

Fondest regards,

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Adk (Chris):

For those of you just joining this blog today, Adk is Chris Wolfe, who was featured two stories ago in my story "A Bike Called Hepatitis."

Back to this note -- Chris, I'm sorry you're not feeling well. I figure you must be ill if you had to plagiarize Dick's insults to me. I was amazed to hear morning temperatures are already dipping below 30º in your neighborhood. It was 62º here at dawn yesterday. I ran naked through the yard.

I entered your name in the monthly free meal contest too, but it was against my better judgement.

Fondest regards.

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Mack Beemer:

Once again, for those of you just signing onto this blog for the first time, MackBeemer is Mack Harrell, and one of my first riding partners. In fact, going back to the very first story I wrote for this blog, "Return To Jersey City Again," Mack was my accomplice.

But back to this note -- Dear Mack, do not be surprised if you again visited by the Secret Service after sending this remarkable post. Friends of mine in the privacy conservancy claim millions of e-mails are scanned each day for certain "danger" words. You have hit them all in this candid post.

And you managed to do so in an election year, when tempers run high.

If you get the chance, please remember to send me a postcard from Guantanamo Bay, after they take the water hose out of your ancient ass.

Fondest regards,

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Sojourner (Sharon):

I figure my blog is nothing more than counter ballast for yours (Sojourner's Moto Tales), which always takes the higher, more etherial road. You always see the glass as half full. I see it as half empty, but what it does contain is cat piss.

I think anyone looking to align their mind with great reasons to ride, or for inspiration on the days when riding isn't possible should read your stuff. Riding with you would be interesting. You'd be in the center of the road, looking up, and I'd be in the gutter, waving to close friends.

Thanks for dropping by. Your name is entered into the contest for September.

Fondest regards,

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Charlie6:

Yours is another blog I read on a regular basis, although I have become suspicious about it. For one thing, your bikes are always spotless. Most Beemer riders have some token dirt to indicate the machine has been out of the garage.

I am manufacturing something called "Easy Dirt." These are Colorforms-type smudges that riders can stick on their machines to make them look like they got a workout. They peel on and off in a second.

Your solution to slippery seats was impressive.

Thank you for stopping by and your name has been entered into the September contest.

Fondest regards,

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Rogers:

Once again for those joining this blog for the first time today, Rogers George is an old riding buddy and friend I met in Beemer circles. He is also a technical writer with a knack for bringing life's little moments into focus.

Back to my note -- Dear Rogers, you are a pain the ass. I have found no less than 50 errors in this text that I am fixing as they surface. I initially used the archaic means of indicating a published work by putting the title in quotes. While this does still not merit a comma, I'm used to dropping one in before quotes as a reflex.

I'm glad you found an extra comma in my story. I found a coma in your latest work. Hah! I'll spring for breakfast if you show up at the PFD tomorrow.

Fondest regards,

mtlcowgirl said...

Dear, dear Jack.

Enjoy ride bells for what they are. Nothing more than trinkets. Tchotkes. Ask Mack. His did not help his low side coming off a ramp on pea gravel,his broken collar bone turning with his front wheel not straight, nor his sprained ankle and my bruised ribs and a bump on my head when we went down not far from Watkins Glen, when Mack tried to turn left on uneven ground. Ride bells? If they are a gift, accept them graciously, hang them under your faring and just ride your ride.


Ride bells are

MackBeemer said...

Dear Mtlcowgirl:

For those entering this blog for the first time, Mtlcowgirl ("Montreal Cowgirl") is MackBeemer's wife.


I'm sure Jack will not miss the opportunity to point out that my various "oopsies" have all been caused by my penchant for riding with my feet on the gas tank, or my legs looped over the handlebars, or maybe even while sitting backward on the Queen to see where I've come from.

Your insane husband,


Jack Riepe said...

Dear Karen:

What makes you think one little ride bell would compensate for Mack's riding ability. He would need a carillon of ride bells. And then he would sound like an ice cream truck everywhere he went.

You name has been entered into the monthly contest.

Fondest regards,

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Mack:

You got that right.

Fondest regards.

Anonymous said...

I bet the cat will exact his revenge on you sooner than later.... you better keep the door closed LOL. He may bring friends to help... I wonder if his claws could puncture your tires?

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Anddrea:

I gave the cat's address to a Chinese restaurant in the neighborhood. Hopefuly, the problem will solve itself.

Thanks for stopping by.


David H said...

Jack, Only Mack could twist a post from power pee-ing on a cat to darkest thoughts of political assination, complete with the appropriate criminal mental profile. And to think that he had a chrome butter knife within inches of my throat (ok, more than a hundred inches)on Saturday is scary.
(Full metal jacket under the leathers)

Anonymous said...

Merely the sincerest form of flattery on my part. I was laughing so hard I couldn't see the keyboard. You're right about the smell, except it's not cat piss.

Jack, Dick's right. I've seen much of the pussy you've had in the past and most of it was either handcuffed to a police officer or you were signing forms at the pca.

Jack Riepe said...


There is a dark side to Mack Harrell that will undoubtedly become public when he gets out of Guantanamo Bay.

Before the keyboard became the standard for personal communication, he was allowed nothing sharper than a crayon.

Fondest regards,

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Adk:

I had a friend...
His name was Chris.
He made my drinks...
They tasted like...

If you recall, this was the first verse of a song I wrote for your birthday, an odd custom in a odder Adirondack bar.


John said...

Ride Bells are for pussies anyway, so it works well around the cats neck.

MackBeemer said...

Dear Jack:

Your last comment ("sharpened crayons") conjures another story from my past. The story attests to a dark side of my personality which made itself known early in my near-criminal career.

I was a wee lad of 5 years. My parents had pawned me off on “The Manhattan School” – an upscale private school in New York City for parents who found their brats hard to control without credible threats of violence. On my first day at this “school” – the pejorative quotes are warranted, my dear fellow, as my story will show – I was led into a small room, seated in a chair-desk, given a large piece of manila coloring paper, and given my choice of crayons from a large Crayola box. I chose blood red and murderous black for my two colors and set about applying the wax pigment to the paper as fast as my furious little fists would go.

As it happened, the chair-desks in this room had been purchased from a nearby public school whose students had used their desktops for switchblade carving practice. My crayons stumbled over gashes and scars the public school miscreants had left. Owing to the speed of my grubby little fists – my frenzied application of color made a quite audible noise. With each pass of my fist, the crayons rumbled over the scars beneath the page.

Suddenly there was an adult female personage at my right elbow. “Fulton,” she said. “You are coloring too loudly.”

The female personage then left me to my artwork, and while I made every effort to color silently as the other children in the room did, soon I was back at my furious Jackson Pollack frenzy of color application.

Without warning, the aforementioned female personage grabbed my right hand and with a force I can still remember brought her stout ash ruler down across my wrist, WHACK! “Fulton,” she said, “you are coloring too loudly.”

In addition to various nicknames that have more or less stuck to me as the years have gone by, this one "Coloring too loudly" more than any other captures my inscrutable essence.

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Mack:

For the longest time, I kept your real name secret. But you have let the cat out of the bag. (How appropriate for this story!)

I suspect the boys are going to have a good time with "Fulton."

Fondest regards.

Anonymous said...

Jack, this one was a real "pisser" pardon the pun.
Jane and I tried to keep the laughter down to a low roar as we read read your latest offering.

Grandad 43
PS 14

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Dave:

Thank you for your kind note. It is always a pleasure to hear from you, especially when I've made you laugh.

Your name has been entered into the monthly contest.

Fondest regards,

Anonymous said...

Jack, You're a "hoot", or should I say "piss-ripper"? Stay away from the "Kitty Chow Mein". Enjoyed the read.