…in so many ways.
My first short-story ever sold was military science fiction, and here we are over twenty years later back to Milscifi- a novel this time that is actually based, in part, on that short story. I gotta say, I’m digging it.
But the future may go back to the past in a way that I never anticipated. Going back to a spring day twenty-eight years ago…
I was taking classes at the community college and had forgotten one of my textbooks. A pal loaned me his 1983 Harley Davidson Sportster to run home and get it. I was feeling good. I was in excellent shape, had a decent haircut and was wearing a pair of Levi’s, Dingo boots, a nice flannel shirt and a pair of Ray Ban Aviators. I got to a left-turn lane, kicked back and lit a Lucky Strike just as a stunning blonde in a canary-yellow ’65 Mustang convertible pulled up next to me and was conspicuously checking me out. I remember thinking, “I could ride a bike for a hundred years and it will never be better than this moment.” It was a peak experience and I decided then and there that I was done with motorcycles. The light changed and I gave her an infinitesimal nod and drove off. When I got back to town I gave the keys back to my friend, thanked him and have been on a bike only once, briefly, since then. For over twenty years I have avoided temptation… until yesterday.
We were at Hinshaw’s Honda in Aubern so Aedan could talk to them about servicing his trike and I spotted a Honda CB1100 in fantastic shape. I was surprised that it looked new until I realized that it was new. The salesman, a fella about my age, commented that they had brought it back with a few modern improvements. I actually sat on the bike while he and I reminisced about great bikes in our past for a bit.
Then he said, “I need to show you something.”
He walked me across the (huge) showroom to a low-slung monster and wheeled it out into the aisle. It was gorgeous. Beautifully proportioned, beefy yet elegant. Every line bespoke power and grace, but with a nod to the great American bikes of the past. I swung a leg over and settled into the saddle, put my hands on the handlebars and my foot on the peg. It was like coming home; it fit like it was made for me and I felt right down to my gut what it would feel like to ride the beast, to wheel down the street, lean into a corner and power through, riding the wave of torque from the massive V-twin. In the back of my mind I could hear the red-and-black demon between my legs howl in triumph: “MINE.”
The Bike is a Victory Judge, a modern low-rider with a 1731cc DOHC V-twin and it’s a beautiful, brutal animal of a bike.
We talked about price, helmets, riding armor and possibly a side-car. I kept coming back to sit on the bike once again… I couldn’t get enough; I’ve never had such a visceral response to a vehicle. It was frightening and exhilarating. We were also told that the price included a full day of riding instruction at their private race-course and a significant Veteran’s discount. Damn, that salesman was good.
All hope is not lost; I may be smitten but I am still an adult. Sort of. There are a lot of practical considerations to think about, and it will be at least a few days before it would be possible for us to purchase the bike. Lust can be blunted by time, infatuation fades until common sense can overcome it. There is still hope.
Oh, who am I kidding… I’m doomed…