The detritus of a middle-aged coupled lined the garage like exhibits of an abandoned museum. Boxes of stuff (books, china, clothes, and faded pictures) joined old lamps, rolls of carpeting, and left-over lumber jammed against the four walls. A disused canoe, covered with dust, had been hanging undisturbed for years. A set of shelves, once precisely organized, now held a random selection of garden chemicals, misplaced tools, partially-filled paint cans, jars of loose hardware, and Christmas lights that hadn’t made it onto the house in 10 years. Each layer of past living was like the ring on a redwood tree, accumulating to the point where it was no longer possible to park the car inside.
Standing in the bay’s last remaining cavity was a 1990 Harley Davidson Fat Boy FLSTF 1338. The motorcycle dully gleamed in the subdued light that filtered in through mostly blocked garage windows. And while stuff was piled all over, nothing came close to touching this two-wheeled crown jewel.
He stood in the doorway connecting the garage to the kitchen, sipping a cup of coffee. It was impossible for him to look at the bike without remembering long runs to horizon, wild weekends with fallen friends, flights from the police, and nights lost to the arms of limber lovers. The last of those lovers dozed upstairs, making the most of this Sunday morning’s quiet hours. Yet it was these quiet hours that he liked to spend with the bike, thinking of they great open spaces they’s roamed together. Now the two of them were alone in the last open space of a cluttered garage in an equally cluttered life.
He triggered the button that raised the creaking bay door and the early sun’s rays ricocheted off flawless chrome pipes and accessories. Despite the 95,000 miles on the Harley’s clock, there wasn’t a scratch, a dent or a blemish in the silvery finish of this semi-precious motorcycle. The advance of arthritis and other assorted aches and pains kept him from the wild rides of his youth, but this bike was no garage queen. He was still up for a few hundred miles here and there, blowing past the younger wolves who tended to gather in short-run packs. Sometimes the squeeze came too. More often than not she preferred to hang back with the grandkids.
Grandkids... He never thought he’s be sharing his bed with a grandmother. She’d been coloring her hair for years, but he recalled the shock of watching her shower (one of life’s timeless pleasures) and catching a glimpse of gray pubic hair. His chest hair and piss-python pelt had been going gray for years, and he never gave it a second thought. It was something else though to see his age reflected in the woman he loved. He thought of an old television series, “Highlander,” in which an immortal found himself loving women who aged before his eyes. He sometimes felt that way when astride the Harley... That he was immortal and the ride was ageless. Then he’d get the joint pain.
Who was he kidding? It was easier these days to throw a leg over the Harley’s 25-inch high seat than it would be to mount the pole dancers that were the delight of his youth.
Pushing some crap around on a shelf, he put the coffee cup down and picked up a can of chrome polish. A rag, well mired in the sweet chemical mix of solvent and buffing agents, was just under the cap. He began the familiar ritual of smearing the polish on the pipes and rubbing it in with with short, circular, methodical strokes. Then with a super-soft chamois, he’d buff it to an ingot-pure shine. He once figured out that there was 640 cubic inches of chrome to the bike’s 80-cubic inch engine. “Eight inches of shine to every inch of muscle,” he thought. “About the perfect proportion.” It would take the better part of three hours to get the Harley shining to his expectation, but it would be time well spent. “A man needs time to collect his thoughts as to where he’s been and where past events have led him,” he thought. His past had led him to comfort of one woman, two kids, three grandkids, and this bike.
Still, he was too easily lost in his daydreams, while she found comfort in friends he found alien and sometimes trivial. He’s gladly relive each day of his youth over again, with the same result. He wasn’t sure she would.
The aroma of the chrome polish slowly permeated the open garage as the chemical began to coat the skin on his hands. He realized he should probably be wearing gloves as stuff that breathed life into chrome couldn’t possibly benefit anything that breathed to live. Yet he’d grown accustomed to the softening effect the polish had on his hands. “And the stuff washed off easily enough,” he thought, massaging it into the curved section of the bikes pipes. He polished the chrome gently, firmly, and with tender purpose.
“I remember when you used to touch me like that,” said a soft voice from behind. The lingering emphasis was on the word “me.”
He paused, thinking, “She’s up.” And while he would be glad to see her, he wasn’t ready to pull himself away from the mind-soothing reverie of polishing the Harley. Turning, he saw a slender, silver-blond, standing in the doorway, holding her robe around her.
“And I remember when you used to walk around with your tits out,” he replied.
She looked at him with the defiant challenge that had been her signature expression as a teenager, and slowly opened the robe. Her breasts reflected the years with grace and still sparked a reaction from his DNA. He stood and turned, glanced at the nipples that once drove him to distraction, then locked his focus on her eyes. He wrapped his left arm around her waist and began to gently rub her breasts in circular strokes with the chrome-polish scented chamois.
“You bastard,” she shrieked, squirming from his grasp. She stepped back, and slammed the door shut. A minute later, he heard the shower run. It had been his intention to join her, but discovered the door was locked.
“Oh well,” he thought. The next layer of polish went on as smooth as the first coat. The Harley was timeless and a talisman of youth.
The Moto World Is Talking About
Jack Riepe's Hot New Book:
There is still time to order your hand-numbered, personally autographed, and inscribed copy of Jack Riepe’s new book — Conversations With A Motorcycle. Absolutely limited to one thousand hand-numbered copies, the list will be cut off as the books are delivered. This means you may end up with a book in a much smaller collection (Though all the lower numbers are gone.) The hand-numbered books are being offered by subscription only, with delivery expected in two weeks. To order your copy, simply send your name and address, with the phrase, “Advance Book Order,” in the subject line to. email@example.com,
Conversations With A Motorcycle is part autobiography... Part philosophy... And part novel. It is written in a dramatically different style for this author, though remains all humor. Riepe is unbelievably candid about certain details in his life, providing the back-story for decisions that sparked his love affair with motorcycles. Those who purchased his previous work, “Politically Correct Cigar Smoking For Social Terrorists” will be delighted with the new book. Unlike the cigar book, the chapters in the moto-work are interrelated and read like a novel.
Dedicated Twisted Roads readers will be familiar with some of the characters and the scenarios in this book, though the added details and details and dialogues have never been before revealed. Accredited book reviewers are advised to contact the author directly for advance copies.
For more details, click here.
Twisted Roads Readers Respond...
Twisted Road Reader Curtis Yeager sent us this shot from the shores of Lake Tahoe this morning. He asks the question, "Who could find fault with the iconic lines of the BMW 'R' bike?" The Twisted Roads editorial review board in turn asks the question, "Is it a coincidence that Curt's riding gear sort of matches the paint job on his bike?" (We think not.) Curt stands 9'7" tall. That puts the seat of this rig at about 5 feet in the air.
Each month Twisted Roads readers who send in a picture of themselves and their machine will be eligible for a free prize drawing. Where are the Harley riders and their hot girlfriends?
Letter From A Twisted Roads Harley Rider/Reader:
Dear Twisted Roads:
I didn't realized how much dick you likely sucked until I noticed all you wrote about were BMW motorcycles. From what I have heard, the difference between BMW-riding men and women is that the women tend to have much larger dicks. There was a time when you alternated your focus between metric bikes and the American-made, internationally acclaimed, universally desired, and galactically acknowledged (as the sex bike of the century) — Harley Davidsons.
What the hell happened to you? Did you drink the Kaiser's Kool-Aid or did you just wake up one morning with a wiener schnitzel sticking out of your ass? Could your Harley-riding readers kindly find a relevant, relationship-building story where the motorcycle plays a significant role in the entwined lives of a man and a woman? If not, go fuck yourself.
Maximus "Snake Eyes" Magnamala
Anal Park, IA
Dear "Snake Eyes,"
I am shocked. As a moto-journalist dedicated to accurate coverage of the facts, I was compelled to re-examine my blog's editorial policy. Lately, I have done nothing but write about the Teutonic side of life, the joys of Bavarian biking, and the thrill of precision Prussian sex. Anyone who has ever made love to the strains of an "Om-Pah" band can understand how easily one can fall into this trap. (Nothing brings out the passion in a woman like blowing in her tuba.) But I would like to apologize to my readers for this unintended prejudicial coverage and present today's story, which meets the criteria expressed by Maximus "Snake Eyes" Magnamala.
©Copyright Jack Riepe 2012
See? Why did she shriek? Why not force him to clean up, or finish, the polish job in the shower?? He dirty'd her, he can clean it up. ;)
Today's the day?? Books go in the mail?? Looking forward!!
The mailing of the books was delayed two weeks owing to the personal tragedy in my family earlier this month. I was simply unable to focus on the highly critical details during that time. The risk of introducing error in the process was simply too great.
Jack, good to see you back after a short absence. And with a great story too. I expect it will resonate with a lot of us more mature(!) riders.
Hey...wrenches get thrown into the systems. I completely understand about the delay. Uh...errr...wait...I want to cancel my order. That means I should get a refund on 5 books, right?? ( wink, wink )
Give me an hour in that garage and his Mrs'll be able to park a semi in next to that Harley!
Sorry to hear of your recent troubles, hope it all worked out for the best.
sorry to hear of your loss. Time heals, hope you are in good spirits.
take care & get well,
Riding the Wet Coast
My Flickr // My YouTube
So sorry about your family's tragedy, you have my deepest sympathy, and best wishes.
So, you found that can of Simichrome in my garage rubble, eh.
Great story today. Easy, poignant and nostalgic with particularly nice prose to keep it moving.
Behind Bars - Motorcycles and Life
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