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And you are?

April 7, 2009

Part I

In 1998 I was in a severe motorcycle accident. From what they tell me a little old lady just never saw the stop sign. I was going quite quickly, as usual. And that is about all I remember. I still have the brake lever on my bookshelf. They removed it from my chest on my second surgery. Again, from what they tell me my bike landed on top of my after we both vaulted over the car. I always wanted my bike to be a part of me, careful what you ask for.

The most serious of my injuries was the severe blow to my head. There is a clear impression of the instrument cluster on my cracked helmet. The worst part of the whole incident was the fact that they couldn’t remove my helmet as it was holding my head together. So they strapped me to a backboard, helmet and all. I don’t really remember the ride to the hospital or the visits to all the various soft pastel coloured test rooms. I do remember the horrible pain in my back. You can’t move when you are on a backboard, so your back is sore. Your muscles are pulled and strained from the accident and they start to tighten up. Very, very uncomfortable. But it did distract me from all my missing skin and cracked skull.

The thing that bugs me the most? They cut my leathers off of me. I loved those leathers.

It was only after I was released back to society that I noticed that something wasn’t right. I walked back to my apartment, knew where my spare key was and once inside was immediately glad to be there.

I checked my messages. Lots of good wishes and “hope you get well soon’s”. But they were all from strangers. They must have read about my accident in the paper and got my number. The city is full of very strange, yet kind people.

I popped my meds, took a shower and crashed in my lovely, stinking, worn out bed. I was home. Not bad for a dead guy because that is what I should have been.

Part II

I hate being woken up. I especially hate being woken up by the phone. I really, especially hate being woken up by the phone by a complete stranger. I thought it was a telemarketer at first but he knew my name and could say my last name properly. It was also unusual for a telemarketer to say “Hey, how’s it hanging man.”

“Good?”

“Cool, you really had us freaked out, I never knew a dead guy before”

“Uh, and you are?”

“Huh?”

“W-h-o a-r-e y-o-u-?” I spoke slowly, I thought the guy was retarded.

“S’matter? The crack to your head busted your ears? It’s Joe, man.”

“I don’t know any Joeman.”

“It’s J-o-e, m-a-n.” Now he was speaking to me like I was retarded. Now a small voice in my
head was whispering to me, “Hey, I think you might know this guy.”

“Hey Joeman, do I know you?”

“Know me? Know me?! Duuuuuude, we are the Mean Steam riding bikes of green!”

Now that struck a chord. My bike was green; it had really cool graphics of steam bursting from pipes all over it. It was cool. Was cool, dammit, I miss my bike.

“Joeman. I think I’m supposed to know you, but I don’t” I tried really hard to remember and the harder I tried the worse I felt but I forced myself to remember. Then the world closed in, I broke into a sweat, my knees grew weak.

“I’m gonna go lie down now, bye”

Part III

And that is how it has been for close to ten years now. I remember things, places, events. But no people. Nothing. When I try to, I get sick and pass out. Doc says I smashed part of my brain. No chance to get it back. I can still function, I can still walk, talk, ride. But I don’t know people from before the accident.

I don’t even know if that is a good thing. People who knew me tried to reach me, talk to me but all they wanted me to do was remember them and when I tried, comaville.

I moved out of the city and into a small town up north. Folks are real nice, they really try to take care of me. I told one guy my storey, one guy! And by 4 PM the whole place knew my storey. It’s ok, now that I am one of them they watch out for me. If someone comes looking for me, they ask them some questions and if they knew me they give them a storey about me moving to Tahiti.

The people here are real nice. Mostly older, retired farmers and the like. They were looking for a guy like me. I can fix just about anything. Cars, houses, plants, whatever. I work for cash and I am cheap. I live upstairs of the barbershop in a one room place. I like it just fine.

So 10 years on and I just keep on keeping on. I built new relationships, new friends and forget the past and anything connected to it. I have lapses every now and then but I pop some pills and it clears. I don’t ride anymore. Getting on a bike is like trying to remember, no good.

Part IV

So I was up at old MacGregor’s place fixing his plow when I heard a bike go by on the main road. Beautiful thing. All plastic and iron. None of that carbon fiber or chrome garbage they sell these days. Carbureted, twin pipe, just cruising. Made my heart ache. I wanted to ride so bad.
I finished up with the plow and headed back to town. The barbershop was also the post office and Bill was behind the counter helping the dude on the bike. He was sending a package someplace overseas that Bill (the barber) had never even heard of. He was looking in his big dusty post office books for the rate.

As I walked past the guy said “No way! I thought you were in Tahiti! “

I froze, I did not want to turn and meet his eyes. I knew that I knew that voice. I desperately tried to stop my mind from trying to place it, from trying to remember. The blood started to rush, I could feel my heart pounding. I started to walk again. And the guy started towards me. Bill stepped in his way.

“Hey, back off man, I know this guy.”

Bill said, “I know you know this guy, and he may have known you, but he doesn`t want to know you now.”

“Dude! C’mon, let`s go grab a beer”

Bill stood up on his toes and looked the stranger in the eyes. “I don’t want to be rude, but take you package and please leave….now.”

I continued my slow Frankenstein walk to the back and to the stairs leading up. In the hall mirror I could see the stranger with Bill standing toe to toe with him. Bill had his baseball bat in his hands. The stranger took his eyes off my back and looked at Bill and then looked down at the bat. He looked back at me then got his package and left.

I tried to slow my breathing, slow my heat. If I didn’t I’d never make it up the stairs. Bill’s wife Maude came out of the back and took one look at my face and grabbed my am and led me upstairs.

I love the people of this town. They never ask me questions about my past. They never ask the people who ask about me about my past. They don’t want to know. Lest something slip out and drive me away. They need me, and I need them.

Part V

Today was going to be a good day, I could feel it. The sun was shining and I had to go see Mrs. Norse to fix her washing machine. Real easy job and Mrs. Norse makes great cupcakes.
I fixed the machine in no time, just adjusted the belt and then filled myself with cupcakes. But Mrs. Norse was acting strange. When it came time for her to pay it soon became obvious that she couldn’t. I told she could owe me but she didn’t want it getting out that she was poor, she was a proud woman. She offered me a trade instead. She said that she felt bad that I had to walk everywhere or hitch rides. So she lead me to the driving shed and offered what was in there to me. A 1984 Yamaha Virago. Very cool.

I told her I wouldn’t take it, but would rent it from her in exchange for repairs. She agreed.
I had not been on a bike in 10 years. I spent the rest of the day getting it going. Once it was burbling quietly in the corner I slipped on an old half face helmet and threw my leg over. I just prayed I would be able to ride it. As I eased out of the yard I waved at Mrs. Norse. I slowly wound it up as I made my way to Main Street and home. As the wind and noise picked up I started to feel free, calm.

I was planning on pulling in front of the post office but I found myself riding on past. I headed out of town. The main road opening up to country and farmland. Faster and faster and faster.

“That BITCH!” Where did that come from? Why did I think that?

Faster and faster.

“That FUCKING BITCH!” What the hell? A face flashed in front of me. The guy from the post office.

“Asshole!” What is going on, who was that guy, why am I thinking of him now?

Faster and faster. Now I am coasting…. and coasting… and coasting. The wind noise lessens. The tire noise grows less. I come to a slow stop.

No, no, no. This is not right, this is not fair. We were happy, we had EVERYTHING! And she threw it away.

I turn the bike around; I know what I have to do, knew what I was doing all those years ago. I have wasted 10 years! I had a plan, I have a plan. I twist the throttle so hard I fear I’m going to snap the cable. First, second, third, fourth, bouncing off the rev limiter, fifth. The wind is bashing my head around. I don’t care. I have a job to finish. As I scream back into town, I never slow. I keep it WFO. When Mr. Geely backs his delivery truck out from his lot I slam into him at over 160 km/hr. I finish the job. I can’t live without her, I won’t live knowing he is with her.

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3 comments

  1. That was a very nice piece of writing.I wonder why more folks who blog don’t do stuff like this.


  2. Dude! Very cool. Brett – I’ve done a few totally fiction things and some fictionalized true life things but people were either not interested or didn’t get it, so I stopped. Maybe I just didn’t do it well enough. Like Eyeteaguy who doesn’t make it seem like fiction until you’re sucked in.


  3. Wicked piece of writing there. It really drew me in…made me want to read more…Cool stuff.Glenn



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