excerpt from Wicked Bitch

Bob’s First Ride

I prepared for another lazy day with a good book. I finished my coffee at noon, then squirreled myself away to my haven in the shed. I turned on the space heater, and snuggled myself into the ratty old couch that I have claimed as mine. The sweet familiarity of the deep draw of a Camel accompanied me into the first chapter of a new book, two of my life’s greatest pleasures. I wiggled comfortably beneath my fuzzy blanket, and delighted in its warmth, then looked up as the shed door opened. In spilled a whirlwind of excited animal flesh, a panting, bouncing melting pot of dog… the lumbering antique beagle and bossy little terrier in his favorite fleece costume, both tripped up by the too long legs of the bull dog puppy nipping at Bob’s heels as he herded them through the doorway , laughing at their canine antics in simple happiness. I watched knowingly as he gazed longingly at the sleek beautiful Harley, and my heart constricted at the way I knew what he felt. The virginal eagerness to experience that first ride, the tingly fear of the massive engine and two fat tires being the only thing between your body and the highway… I knew what he felt more than I have ever known anything in my lifetime.

I smiled to myself, then asked softly,” Do you want me to take you for a ride?”

On my deathbed in the faces of the angels who carry me away I will yet see the joy, the nervous eagerness in his face as he agreed. I stood, and inwardly checked myself for the strength to carry him on the back of the great Milwaukee beast. I had it in me today.

I will ever remember the cold concrete of the shed beneath my feet as I walked over to open the big rolling door, the loud heavy clank of the door lock turning in my hand as I gently instructed Bob as to what he needed to wear to be comfortable and reveling in the way he bound about the big black Electra glide, reminding me of the red puppy frolicking at his feet. I straddled the heavy machine, and looked inward at my responsibilities and capabilities as I always have before I have ever touched a throttle. I eased over a thousand pounds off the kickstand and slowly backed her out into the wane sunlight in my bare feet while talking Bob through the motions of how to help me push her backwards over the tiny ditch at the edge of the door, smiling when he asked, “Doesn’t it have a reverse?”

We dressed quickly, and it was more than anything I can describe to watch this man I love more than life turn into an eager little boy of 64 years, hurrying into his long johns, questioning me how many shirts he should wear… he nervously zipped on his brand new leather jacket for the first time, and poked about the house in agitated excitement as I momentarily forgot where I had mislaid my big black sunglasses. As soon as they were located, we were out the door and Bob was nearly yelling at the dogs in his excitement to be on our way. I fired the huge bike to life and eased her through the side gate into the front yard, Bob fleetingly forgotten as I judged which part of the soggy grass would be safest to cross to the road in front of the house. After telling him I’d be back soon, I eased out onto the pavement and Marie and I again became one.. I knew I had to do this for Bob‘s safety, get the feel of her fresh in my mind and body before I took on the extra weight of him and the risk of his inexperience.

I eased her around the square uptown, giggling at the blue haired old ladies who nearly dropped their shopping bags at the sight of me on this machine, and threw a saucy grin and blew a kiss at the policemen who waved and whistled at me from the stop sign.

I then eased the big machine down the highway that ran past the road we live on, caressing the gears and throttle as would a cautious lover, learning her curves and her desires. I eased her thru a circular gravel drive in front of a ragged old house where an old man waved at me with a toothless grin, then headed back home to change Bob’s life forever.

Laughter bubbled out of me as I downshifted to turn onto our little street, and I saw him scurrying toward the end of the drive before I even reached him, already adjusting his brand new helmet, definitely a different sight than my red braids flying beneath a skull cap and Vietnam Vet dew rag. God, I loved him so much in that minute. I kicked Marie over onto her kickstand, and let him climb up onto the back seat and get comfortable. Then throwing my leg back over the seat, loving the familiar warmth that generated from the now heated V-Twin beneath me, I eased her upright and tested the feel of Bob behind me. I felt the power of holding in my strength, my hands and my skill the life of the man I love. I felt the nudge of the toes of his boots on the backs of my thighs as I hit the starter button and the humongous creature growled awake again. Before we made a full block, Bob stopped me, saying he was quite uncomfortable in the seat. My heart chilled for a moment as I feared he simply hated what we were doing and wished to no longer have any part of it. But after a few stops, he seemed to settle in and be ready for a ride. I decided to not give him any choice, I knew that if I got him out on the highway, if he felt the wind in his face and the steady thump of engine he would be as lost as I to the siren’s call of the road.

I ignored the bitching pain in my left hand, and hit the nearest highway out of town. My body responded quickly to the difference in weight, and I eased the black beauty through the gears quickly, letting Bob feel the glory that is a Harley Davidson. I now controlled her in practiced luxury, caressing the throttle with the sweet nearly orgasmic ease of someone doing what they love more than anything in the world. We soon made our way free of traffic and simply hugged the long sweet curves of the highway and were cradled in the freedom of the scent of wind and leather and asphalt. I felt Bob’s body relaxing behind mine, and knew he was going to be just fine.

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