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.

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