by Saddle Tramp ©
I couldn't believe it. A kid driving a real nice little Accord that he had put into a killer stereo and hundreds of dollars worth of trim and chrome and shit hits me while drunk and running a red light. My Harley was totaled, and I wound up in the hospital for 10 days. I had a concussion, dislocated shoulder, and broken cheekbone, collarbone, and several ribs.
Not to mention the warrant the cops found on me for too many tickets.
To make a long story short, I got 30 days, the state got the wreck of my bike, and nothing happened to the kid. His parents didn't have to pay for a damn thing. He got a warning for running a red light, but I was left with nothing.
I lost my job, bike, current girl friend, and 30 days cuz of that kid.
The cops were nice enough to give me a ride from the hospital to the Sierra County Jail, but I had to walk outa the jail with no home, no bike, no cash, and no idea what to do next.
I walked around all day to try to find a job, but I was so busted up, nobody would hire me. So I walked to I-25 thinking maybe I could get a ride anywhere.
When I was still a couple of miles from the interstate, an old friend was stopping to gas up his hog. We slapped hands and hugged like we hadn't seen each other in several years, which we hadn't. Then he gave me the bad news.
Two weeks earlier, my best friend in the whole world had died when he took a nasty spill on a rainy night in Texas.
Pack Rat had been my best friend since fourth grade; we learned about cars, bikes and girls together; got our first jobs together; buried our parents together; and I was the best man at his wedding.
Now, I love Kate, don't get me wrong, but when Rat had to choose between partying with me, or providing for his family, he made the right choice and stayed with Kate. He also started his own bike shop in the panhandle of Texas. Rat had always been a great wrench (unlike me, I just wanted to do enough to get on the road), so his business took off.
Kate's parents were from that area, and when they died (a lot of people dying, huh?), Kate took over the ranch.
Kate has always been a strong gal, but there was no way she could keep everything going by herself. The biker, Midas (his daddy was loaded and Midas never wanted for money) said Kate was gonna work herself into an early grave.
"I'd go help her if I could get there, but I'm busted flat, just got outa jail, and still trying to heal." I told him.
"No prob, bro. I just saw a bike for sale up by the interstate. Ain't much, but if yer goin' to help Kate, I'll spring." Midas also has a big heart.
So I ride this P.O.S. (Piece of Shit) Cow-asaki most of the way to Rat and Kate's. I'm still about 150 miles out, when the motor seizes up. As I said, it's a P.O.S.
I manage to hitch a ride into town and went straight to Rat's shop. There's a kid there working the counter so people can order parts and stuff, but he don't know nothing about working on bikes. I started to tell him who I am, but he already knows. There are like hundreds of pictures of Rat, Kate, and I scattered around the walls of this joint. The kid, who's name is Kent, calls Kate and tells her I'm in town.
After hanging up, he tells me that Kate is terribly busy at the ranch, but I'm welcome to crash at the shop for the night and she'd see me the next day.
At closing time, Kent locks up and leaves me to explore the shop that Kent and I put together nearly seven years ago. I looked at all the pictures and remembered the times the three of us had together. Some of them had whatever girl I was going out with at the time in the pic with us. Rat, or maybe it was Kate, even wrote in the girl's name. Most of them I don't even remember.
That was just the way it was. Rat and Kate started going together as freshmen in high school, and I just bounced from one unfulfilling relationship to another. I was always jealous of their relationship, but I loved them both enough not to try and fuck it up.
Kate was usually the one that set me up with half of them. I know she liked me a lot, kinda like a brother, so she wanted for me the same happiness that she and Rat had found.
After the tears had gone away, I went back into the service area. A few bikes that Rat had been working on when he died still stood on the stands, waiting for the owners to come and get them. In the back was a bike under a tarp. I thought it could be Rat's, then I realized that the wreck out in the yard was his.
I lifted the tarp and saw an antique '46 Flathead that looked like it had been kept in a barn for the last 30 years. I figured it was a project that Rat never did or would get around to.
Even after the day of travel and the trips down memory lane, I was too exited to see Kate to sleep right away, so I started looking at the bikes that Rat had been working on. Nothing I couldn't handle.
So, with the lights on and doors open, I dug in. Tune up here, oil changes, new chain on one, and a ring job. As I started to set the timing on the ring job, I fell asleep sitting on the stool and leaning against a '91 Fatboy.
"Scott? Is that you?" woke me up from an exhausted sleep. It was Kate come in to pick me up. I jumped up and ran to see her. We met in the hall and I picked her up in a bear hug while spinning her around.
"What were you doing back there? There's a sofa in the office?" she asked.
"I was just finishing up some of the bikes in the back and I fell asleep." I said kinda sheepishly. We were looking into each other's eyes, so we didn't need to say that they were bikes that Rat had been working on.
A silence lingered between us as we looked at each other. After several seconds I burst out crying, blubbering like a baby.
"I'm so sorry, Kate. He was the closest thing to family I've had for years. And I'm sorry for missing the funeral. I was in jail and didn't find out 'til a coupla days ago. God, I'm sorry."
She held me like a mother comforting a little child in a thunderstorm.
After what seemed like an eternity, I heard the kid, Kent, come in. I quickly dried my eyes and went into the bathroom to throw some water on my face. Kate went to tell Kent that I had finished the work on some of the bikes in the service area, so he could call the owners to come pick them up.
Finally I grabbed my bag of possessions and left with Kate to get some breakfast.
During breakfast she told me all that had happened in the last five years since I had seen them. No kids, her ranching was booming, and the bike shop had become a center for biker throughout the panhandle. I had seen some of the shop's tee shirts on passing bikers and at rallies over the years, but never went back.
After finding out all about the accident and funeral, we just sat and looked at each other for a while.
"Why did you leave?" she asked me.
"I had to. You've gotta understand. After that last night, we could never be what we were before." I was staring at my hash browns. I couldn't look her in the eye.
"I know." She said and then paused to get her thoughts together. "You and Keith (Rat's real name) had always shared everything, and with all the alcohol in us, it just seemed the thing to do. I'm as much to blame as either of you. I started the strip tease. What did I expect to happen?"
"But you were married to my best friend! I should have known better to egg you on, and when things started getting weird, I should have left. I still can't believe some of the thing you did and that we did to you that night. Sometimes, when I'm real drunk and alone, I still see you and Rat and all that happened that night." I was running out of steam, but she didn't speak. After several minutes of silence, I continued. "I had to leave. If I would have stayed, it would have been awkward for all of us. You for knowing that you started it, me for having done to you what I did, and Rat for knowing that he used you the same way we used some of the girls from school. The whole situation was fucked up. So when I woke up before ya'll, I just packed up and left."
"What do you mean what you did to me? You mean anal sex? You mean cumming in my mouth? Or do you just mean having had any sex with me at all? I loved that night. I still dream about it today. Keith and I discussed it every so often. He never held it against you or me for what happened that night. He loved you, Scott. He loved you more than anybody, and I think that included me. When Keith would get drunk, sometimes he would start asking me what HE did to run you off." This time it was her that ran out of steam.
"I - I - I- I didn't know." I stammered. I just hung my head and started to think about the wasted years between us.
A tear started to form in one eye when the waitress came to give us our ticket. I shook off the tear and the guilt and looked up at Kate. She was getting the ticket.
"Don't ever give it a second thought, Scott. It was in the past and it can stay there. I just buried my husband, I can't afford to loose a friend, too." She went to pay the tab and I walked out to her truck.
The rest of the day she showed me some of the ranch. Two hundred square miles of grazing land and the 25 acres of houses, sheds, barns, and utility buildings. It was beautiful and I could understand why Kate had been unwilling to just sell it and live on what Rat brought in at the shop.
Her house was a five-bedroom ranch that kinda reminded me of the house in "Giant" that Rock Hudson and Liz Taylor had. It was that ornate.
She told me that she had eight cowboys working for her at that time, and that she was mostly a businesswoman, not a cowgirl.
"Oh, I can still ride a horse better that you can ride a motorcycle, you can bet on that. But there is so much more to a ranch than that. I only spend a couple of hours a day outside. The rest is spent in the office." She droned on about the business side, but I started to wonder what I was really doing here.
Kate was 30, the same as me, 5'10"; slender with D sized breasts. But they didn't look huge on her, her being so tall and all. She was wearing tight Wrangler's, which I found she wore all the time. Her waist was incredibly small so that it made her look like she actually had hips.
She had always been that way. Back in school, we used to joke that she had no hips, I had no butt, and that Rat had sense of humor. Kate and I hadn't changed.
Over dinner (Grilled burgers) I asked her if I could keep the shop open for Rat. It was her turn to stare at her plate and think of a reply.
Just as I was about to leave the table (and probably town), she looked up and smiled at me. "I can't think of anything that would do more to keep Keith alive more than that. I want you to have the shop."
"No way. The shop is yours," I said. "I just want to work there for a while. Maybe I can get back some of Rat that I lost over the last five years."
"Oh, yeah, and I'll need all of Rat's biker rags. He was always the mechanic. I just made the beer runs and watched." I said with a smile. The mood had gotten too heavy for me.
We both laughed at that and went out to the porch. We sat there way into the night talking over old times and I caught her up on what had happened to me over the last five years and all the girls I had dated.
"Some things never change." She said with a laugh.
"Yeah, but I'm not getting any younger" I told her. "I've gotta settle down one of these days." Kate started to interrupt, but I cut her off "and don't you go trying to set me up. You lost too many friends that way. Didn't you ever feel like my pimp?"
"No" she said. "I never set you up with any of my girl friends, just some girls that thought a rebel would be cool. Do you remember Michelle Carlson? I just got tired of her being a fucking bitch and I was kinda mad at you for something. So I set you two up. What did you do to her anyway?"
"You mean that short red-head? She was bad mouthin' you all night and teasing me, so I gave her what she was lookin' to buy. The first time was her first time and she screamed through half of it, then had her first orgasm. She "made" me do it two more times before she told me she loved me and wanted to marry me. What was I supposed to do? I didn't want that bitch for my WIFE. So I did what any other coward would do: I fucked her ass 'til she couldn't walk. She never said another word to me, either."
We laughed over that for a while, then went to bed. Separately.
The next morning I got to start working in the shop. Kate let me use one of her trucks. Nothing major at the shop. Just routine kinda stuff. A couple of the old timers stopped in, so they put out the word that Pack Rat's shop was still open. I knew many of them from my days in the area, so we caught up on old times. Some of them knew Kate from our wild days, and asked me to pass on their sympathies.
Bikers are really great people. Most folks think they just ride around drinking beer and causing trouble. Sure we can raise some hell, but there is a sense of family between us. Just because Kate was always busy with the ranch and Rat didn't party every night like the used to, doesn't mean that the bond was broken.
Things went great for a couple of weeks. Then Kate told me about the big rodeo a couple of towns over. She needed my help to get some of the stock there because all of her cowboys were gonna compete in the rodeo, and she couldn't do it by her self.
After getting all the stock loaded, transported, and unloaded, I got to hang out in the back and watch the other side of a rodeo.
As the opening ceremonies started I got a wink and a smile from the gorgeous blonde cowgirl carrying the American Flag. I asked one of the cowboy's what her story was, and they said everybody thinks she's lez, cuz she won't date any of the cowboys and she stays away from the rodeo crowd for the most part. I found out her name was Liz, and that she was easily the best cowgirl in the region.
The ceremony was nice, but as they were leaving the ring, the blonde's horse got a start from something, nobody ever found out, and took off down the chute. When it got out into the open, it bucked the blonde off, but her boot got stuck in a stirrup. With Liz on the ground, the horse started running to freedom, right past where I was sitting on the coral.
As it ran
by, I jumped for the saddle, but could only grab the horn. I, too, started
to drag behind it, and it stepped on my leg. I not only felt it break,
but heard it, too. But the girl was still dragging behind, so I didn't
let go. All I had was one hand on the horn, so I took my right hand and
unbuckled the saddle. The whole rig fell off, taking Liz and I with it.
|Another top quality story by Saddle Tramp.|
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