I really don't know anything about this. Really. I found this in a "My Documents" folder. It was modified in October of 2006. I don't remember anything about it. As soon as I finish this post, I'm going to read this story for the first time in five-and-a-half-years. This could be exciting.
A Hog. A Sled. A Harley.
From the time I turned thirteen, all I wanted to do was to ride a motorcycle. To live the exciting life of a biker. To race down the streets at night, the smell of burning rubber and gasoline in my clothes. To grow my hair long and unkempt, a Santa Claus style beard flowing down my chin like so much spilled soup. To ride with the big boys, to wolf-whistle at the ladies. Sometimes when I was walking up to the drug store to get a bottle of Snapple, I thought about how incredible I’d look with the wind flowing through my long hair as it fluttered around my face like the tassels on my handlebars.
Actually, I’d tried growing out my hair a few years back. Unfortunately, it was curly and bristly, and all I could manage was a sincerely impressive afro. And my beard would only grow to the level of intense stubble – patchy stubble at best. I had several places I couldn’t even grow hair on my face. And it was a completely different color from my hair, more a dirty blonde than brunette. Instead of looking like a biker, my mother told me, I looked like a homeless bum who’d somehow blipped in from the 70s – an impression made worse by the fact that I often took to wearing Hawaiian shirts and capris out in public.
But I was damned if I was going to let my dream go. I was twenty seven, and it was time to live my life. I was going to become a biker, and I was going to look incredible. And so I looked at myself as an uncarved mound of stone: to sculpt out a biker, I would have to cut away everything that didn’t look like a biker. The first was my hair.
I could not trust anyone to help me – the last time I’d asked my friend Dave to give me a haircut, he’d used the electric razor to sculpt the words “CHARLES IS GAY” in the back of my hair. Only he wasn’t really proficient enough to make it legible and it just looked like I had a large, unwieldly bald spot. No, I would have to manage this on my own. I carefully used a pair of scissors to cut away chunks of my hair as close to the scalp as possible, then I used an electric razor to finish it off. I was bald, which sort of looked biker-y, but I wanted long, flowing hair.
I’d previously looked around at the local wig shop and found what looked to me to be a dream wig – it looked sort of like Jane Fonda’s hair in Barbarella. It looked badass, totally like a biker. When I slid it on and looked in the mirror, I just smiled. “Oh, man,” I said out loud. “You are one bad ass.” I tasted the dirty word in my mouth and liked the way it sounded. “Bad – ASS,” I repeated. Just four years ago my mom would have washed my mouth out with soap for saying it, but now – I was a biker.
I’d also purchased a fake beard and spirit glue, and I now pasted the beard on. Only the wig was golden yellow and the beard was a Santa Claus style beard from Target and the two didn’t look so good together. I shrugged and said to myself, well, bikers aren’t known for having exquisite personal appearances.
I had a blue jean jacket I’d picked up from Goodwill, and I also had an old tattered pair of blue jeans I’d worn when I was seventeen. The jeans didn’t fit so well any more and I couldn’t button them, but I also had a really cool extra large t-shirt from Joe’s Crab Shack, so I left it untucked and so no one could tell that my pants were not completely closed. I looked in the mirror in a full-length mirror and I jumped up and down and squealed. I looked pretty much totally like a badass biker!
But what is a biker without a posse? He’s nothing; worse than nothing, he’s a target for other biker gangs. I needed to join a gang, and fast. But there was a big problem.
My mom made me promise three things when I moved out. ONE: I must never eat leftovers that were more than a week old, TWO: always wear a clean pair of underwear EVERY day, and THREE: never ever EVER ride on a motorcycle. I hadn’t broken any of the promises yet, and as much as I wanted to this time, it would be disrespectful to my mother. So until she was dead, I had to stick with my 12 speed Huffy. Now, some people think that a Huffy isn’t as cool as a motorcycle. They’re wrong. Maybe because it isn’t as big, or isn’t as loud – that’s what they’ll tell you. But two months before, I’d taken a big roll of duct tape and taped on a bunch of stuff to the bike and spraypainted the whole thing black – a couple of broomsticks, some empty cans, a Troll doll, and an AM/FM walkman with mini speakers. The effect was so amazing, it looked incredible. If you saw me driving down the street and you heard death metal blasting through the mini speakers you’d totally slow down and say to yourself, man, I have got to stay out of that badass’s way.
I got on my bike and started pedaling down the street, blonde hair waving in the wind. My Santa Claus beard was a little askew; I told myself next time I’d use more spirit gum. It was a pleasant June morning and it wasn’t too hot yet, but it was just hot enough to make my blue jean jacket completely unnecessary, which is why it looked so cool. Mr. Fonders down the street squinted at me nervously, but I waved to him and said “It’s just me, Mr. Fonders,” and he said “Hi Charles” and went back to watering his lawn. It was incredibly empowering.
I thought about yelling, “WHAT UP, BITCH,” just like I saw this guy do on television, but Mr. Fonders was pretty cool in his own way. Some old guys have those stupid things in their gardens that look like ladies bent over and you can see their big flowery underpants, but not Mr. Fonders. He grew tomatoes and peppers, and once he brought over three pink tomatoes and some peppers and asked if I could use them. I said yes, and when he left I ate half a pepper and threw up. Then I took the tomatoes back up to my high school and threw them at the brick wall and laughed like crazy. So Mr. Fonders and me were cool.
“Get a bike and join my cool gang, Mr. Fonders!” I yelled at him, and he looked up from watering and waved to me again. I didn’t have time to wait, so I just kept pedaling. It was a really nice morning.
I turned the corner and kept biking. My Santa Claus beard kept making my face itch, so I scratched it a little and kept on going. I thought about biking up to the drug store and getting another Snapple, but then I thought, how many bikers have you ever seen drink a Snapple, dumb ass? They drink root beer, right from the bottle.
They didn’t have bottles of root beer at the drug store, but at the dollar store next door they had some, only they weren’t cold. I thought, probably bikers have to drink warm sodas too sometimes – they don’t have a cooler on their bikes. That gave me a really good idea. What if I taped a little cooler to the back of my bike so if I wanted a soda later I could have one? I figured I’d do it when I got home.
On the way out, I saw these two kids with these really crummy bikes. The guys looked like they were twelve, and one had a orange girl’s bike, and the other had a blue Mongoose bike from Toys R Us.
“Those bikes are terrible!” I said, pointing proudly to my bike. “This is what you’re lookin for! Something totally awesome like this.”
The two boys just looked at me. I felt really sorry for them.
“You guys wanna go join my biker crew?” I asked. “We can go down the main way peel out toss down a few skynners and then smoke a dirvy.” I said it gruffly, just like I imagined a biker would say.
The two boys looked at me a little longer. The one with the orange girl’s bike said, “What’s wrong with your beard?”
“Nothing,” I said.
“It’s sort of falling off,” he pointed out.
I quickly adjusted the beard.
“What’s all that mean?” asked the other boy. “Peel a… dirvey and all that?”
I shrugged. “Motorcycle code, my man. You’ll figure it out along the way. You guys wanna ride out? We goin all the way down the junction, son, all engines open and flyin like skeedles.”
The two boys looked at each other, then at me. “No,” finally one admitted. “We’re watchin Pokemon in fifteen minutes.”
“You aren’t invited to see it,” the other boy informed me, and they both got on their bikes and rode away. Sissies, I thought. They weren’t tough enough for the biker lifestyle – but I would always be tough enough!
I spent the next two hours trying to find someone cool enough to ride with me. I saw one guy on a Vespa and I tried to ride with him, but after two blocks he turned down a sidestreet. I saw another guy on a bike, but he was wearing those skin-tight clothes and wearing a helmet - obviously a professional bicycler, and NOT the kind of compadre I wanted in my motorcycle club. I saw two biker guys downtown on some really cool Harley Davidson motorcycles, and I asked if I could ride with them, and they laughed and said sure – only to drive way faster than I could, leaving me behind. I was so mad I tried to memorize their license plate numbers so I could call the cops on them for speeding, but they went too fast and my eyesight is kind of bad. Also, my wig kept flapping in my face and it made it hard to see.
Finally I just rode to my best friend Chester’s house. Chester’s mom answered the door, and she gave me my first real laugh of the day. She looked scared and said, “OH NO, A BIKER! GO AWAY, YOU BAD BIKER!”
“Ha ha!” I said to her. “It’s just me, Mrs. Larrington!” Chester’s mom was a hoot. For the longest time she called us the CHUHs, because Chester and Charles both started with a CH. But after we graduated high school, Chester said she had to stop. I was always disappointed that she didn’t call us the CHUHs any more.
“Goodness, Charles,” she said, covering up her heart. “It’s you! You almost scared me half to death! Hold on, I’ll get Chester.”
Finally after what seemed like half an hour Chester came downstairs. He was still wearing pajamas, even though it was 3:45 in the afternoon!
“Who the fuck?” he said – then he realized who it was. I couldn’t believe he said the “F” word right in front of his mom.
“Hey, Charles,” he said. “What up?”
“Hey, man,” I said. “I’m just… you know, bikin around, getting a biker club together. You want to join?”
“Naw, fuck it, not today,” Chester said. “Let’s do it tomorrow. Today is pajama day.” Then he trudged back upstairs.
I just stood there for a while, feeling sad. Finally, Mrs. Larrington gave me a hug. “Chester hasn’t been feeling himself today,” she said to me, rubbing my hair with one hand. “Come back over tomorrow, okay, dear?”
“I sure will,” I said, and hoisted one leg over the bike’s frame. “That’s cool! Here I go, Mrs. Larrington – watch me!” And I switched on the AM/FM radio, turning it to the hard rock station, and pedaled down the road towards home – a vision in black and blue, a demon of the road, hell on wheels.