Category: Sudden Fiction

Electra Glide

I drop smoothly onto the black leather cushion and lift my right boot to the footrest. I am planted solidly on the machine and love the feel of it. Here and there I flick away bits of dust as I polish the burgundy gas tank with my forearm. This is the burgundy of antiquity rediscovered — wine berry with pearl pinstripes and chrome ovals. I adjust the mirrors. I insert the key and hear the rhythmic bellows of my lungs inside the helmet. It is quiet. The visor is up. I turn the key and see the neutral light shine green in the dim garage. I adjust the choke wide open and start the engine. The garage instantly rocks to the sound of thunder.

I am in no hurry. There is uneven ground ahead of the garage and I study it as the engine barks, heats and begins to rumble evenly. I adjust the choke downward and the pistons canter together, their reins in soft loops trail behind and I feel them draped across the throttle. I pull on black leather gloves with air holes on the back and wrap their velcro closures tightly around my wrists. The neighbor kids assemble and yell whatever kids yell. I zip the black leather jacket in four places. I drop my right foot to the ground, balance the weight of the 80 cubic inch Evolution engine, sit erect and slap the kickstand upward against the frame. I rev the engine once — twice. We all secretly cheer, the kids and I. I squeeze the clutch and drop the transmission into first gear. I don’t think I’ve forgotten anything.

I lurch forward, legs raised, elbows scattered as I slip to the left. I swerve at the fence, back toward the car and over the gravel pile sideways a bit then straight, head spun to the tree tops, missing the brake, alternately revving the throttle and crunching the hand brake, visor slapping, foot a-fly in the air, slide right, recover, loose it, bounce on the driveway. The jolt slams my teeth together hard. Bushes rake across my throttle hand and visor. I frigging crush outliers in the iris patch but hit the street triumphantly, managing a sharp turn into the proper lane before a green pickup truck chews a hole in my new ride.

Kids cheer wildly. They want it all again but I am off to Connecticut if I can find the sonofabitch this time.


I was mindlessly looking out of my apartment window when suddenly, the Levelor blinds I was gazing through became the focus.

I’d received a letter from Hwasan that day, too. When I puled it from the mail box, whatever I had been thinking of was replaced. As I write, the phone rings. Now I hear the refrigerator, the furnace, the advancing of the clock. A cat wanders the neighborhood crying.

Hwasan wrote, “People want me to be Christian or Buddhist, not both. The world is going to hell and we debate labels?” Just so you know, Hwasan started a Christian Zen temple.

“People will comment,” I’ll write. “No big deal.” And then I’ll probably say something crazy just to interrupt his afternoon. “By the way,” I’ll ask. “Which hell is it the world is going to?”