Wednesday, April 17, 2013

End Of The Innocence

After her talk with Veggie Head Stalker, Bobbie arranged to have Stewart Pittman and Fox 8 come back for a live shoot in which she made her intentions known to the world. She explained that she would be going away and that if her followers wanted her to return they must rid North Carolina of genetically modified foods by any means necessary and establish plans to rid the rest of the nation and the rest of the world of these genetic monsters. At that point she promised to return with the knowledge of many dimensions. But only if we prepared ourselves would we be capable of using what she brought back with her.

Knowing she'd have to leave her motorcycle behind, Bobbie bought a used bicycle from Merrit at Re-Cycles Bike Shop to take with her to ride in the Tall White cities. She wanted something from home to take with her and Merrit put together just exactly what she needed.

Upon her return she promised to rid Earth of the Grey Aliens and those who would help them but only if we did our part while she was away. She explained that it was through the food supply that Monsanto and other Grey Alien institutions was taking over the minds of us all and that purification of the food supply was our only hope.

So have you decided where you're going?" the Veggicycle asked as Bobbie walked from in front of Stew's camera.

"All I know is the Tall Whites are taking me to another dimension," Bobbie answered, "and when I'm done they'll bring me back home. I hope."

"They will," the Veggiecycle said. "They always keep their promises."

"How do you know?" Bobbie asked.

"They made me?" the Wackemall 750 replied. "Just like they made Veggie Head Stalker."

"You knew about them all along," Bobbie asked, "and neither you nor Veggie ever told anyone?"

"Would anyone have believed a talking motorcycle and a plant that was wanted in over 100 countries?" the Veggiecycle asked.

"Probably not," Bobbie smiled. "It's just that everything is so unknown."

"I have a poem for that," the Veggiecycle replied.

"Of course you do," Bobbie grinned as Veggie began to recite, "You have a poem for everything."

"Sometimes life takes you down a road
you've been down before.
Sometimes where you planned to go,
on time and nothing more.
But the best adventures of my life..."

"That was nice," Bobbie said, "I'm going to miss your poems."

"I could go with you," the Veggiecycle said.

"But then the others would miss your poems," Bobbie said.

"I don't think so," the Veggiecycle said. "They don't seem to like my poems."

"They just don't want to admit it," Bobbie said.

"Why not?" The Veggiecycle asked.

"It's a guy thing," Bobbie explained. "They don't like to show their softer sides because they think it makes them look weak."

"You know," the Veggiecycle exclaimed, "that explains a whole lot of things. Especially when it comes to Billy."

"It sure does," Bobbie smiled. "Especially when it comes to Billy."


I had overheard what they said about me. It couldn't be farther from the truth except when it was true. Some days that was me to a tee. Okay, most days, but occasionally I'm able to see through the fog and get it together. Too bad the City of Greensboro couldn't do the same.

The City was mired in public records requests because they refused to release public records so what did people do? They asked for more public records requests which brought about more refusals from the City creating a viscous and never ending cycle that only grew bigger and costs more. Suddenly, instead of the taxpayers, it was the City of Greensboro complaining about costs but the fact was it was the the City that caused the extra costs in the first place by not making the public records public in the first place. I mean, my God, it was as if they were trying to hide the fact that Grey Aliens were running the city government.

Then to add insult to injury, the Greensboro City Council voted to bail out the richest developers in all of Greensboro with a thinly veiled grant and loan program called the "Good Repair Ordinance" that granted money to rich Downtown property owners while forcing financially strapped property owners into taking out loans they couldn't afford to repay so that their properties would be foreclosed on by a local bank owned by the Grey Aliens.

Are you confused as to if this story is really fact or fiction? I know I am and I'm the one writing it.


Bobbie wasn't even gone before the media started reporting on GM crops being destroyed in the fields where they grew. Rumors of biker gangs armed with machetes and flame throwers massing in small farming towns were rampant even if unproven. One thing that was proven was that sales of our Wackemall Machetes had skyrocketed. Suddenly we were back-ordered for months.

And it wasn't just North Carolina nor was it all bikers. People all over the world from every stripe were going after GM crops, killing them where they stood. Of course it didn't take long before the media started downplaying these events acting as if they never happened but with GM food prices now exceeding organic fruits and vegetables it was easy to see that suddenly GMFs were becoming in short supply.

In other states movements were afoot to ban GM foods but GM growers were pouring Billions of Dollars into campaigns to fight the organic efforts. Frustration was running high.

It didn't take long before Monsanto and the others came looking for Bobbie. As luck would have it she was in front of live television cameras saying goodbye to her followers when they rushed the yard outside our shop hoping to grab her only to stand down when Stew and the other television photographers from WGHP swung their cameras in Monsanto's direction. The whole world watched as a heavily armed force of Tall Whites appeared out of nowhere to escort Bobbie Sonner and Veggie Head Stalker safely away to another dimension.

The end of the innocence was upon us, the revolution was beginning and many good guitars would surely die painful deaths...


Monday, April 15, 2013

Strange Roads

Sometimes life takes you down a road
you've been down before.
Sometimes where you planned to go,
on time and nothing more.
But the best adventures of my life,
the best I've come to know
were when we rode uncharted roads
to find out where they'd go.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Hot Stuff

We all set around watching Bobbie's television debut in disbelief. Not only had Stew interviewed Bobbie but he had interviewed the deputies, police officers, state troopers and other eye witnesses who had watched Bobbie lead the animals back to the zoo.

Stew had also managed to get his hands on some cell phone footage of Bobbie facing down the charging bull elephant and he included it in the report that aired first on Fox 8 and over the course of the next 24 hours, world wide. Everyone who had seen her in action thought Bobbie to be some kind of goddess. Now Stew was back for extended interviews and hundreds of motorcyclists and other fans crowded the yard and the entire neighborhood hoping to get a look a Bobbie, an autograph or at least a smile from what we all knew was a natural born leader.

Now the entire world wanted to know who Bobbie Sonner was.

Old folks in motor homes were parking all over Burlington trying to get near her. The Burlington Police were working overtime trying to keep the streets cleared and traffic flowing. We didn't dare take Bobbie home because the Greensboro neighborhood where she lived was the very same way. Donny and Wooley had to go to Bobbie's house and request the Greensboro Police move the campers from her yard and the cars from her driveway.

On television, people were debating if Bobbie was the second coming of Christ Jesus, Muhammad, Buddha or some new miracle sent by God to found yet another great religion. Others feared she was the Devil. Fact is: none of them knew what they were talking about, they were just on TV talking.

Soldiers, Sailors and Marines stood guard in their off duty time, some even AWOL and all of them awaiting a new command from a new kind of leader.

Representatives from every major motorcycle gang and club in the nation met in our parking lot and declared our property a neutral zone, a sacred place where bikers never cross one another and nothing bad would ever happen to anyone for if it did those responsible would have to answer to every outlaw 1%er in the nation, maybe the entire world. There's only a handful of such places in existence, to know we would be forever safe here was quite the honor but it did have it's problems.

You see, with so many people all over the place we couldn't get anything done. Zero work was going on, the bills were still coming in and as much fun as I was having reliving my own days as a patch holder I knew if something didn't change very soon we were going to go broke. Just when I was trying to get up the nerve to attempt to tell them all to leave an old biker walked in with cash in had and said, "I've got $500 if Bobbie will autograph the tank on my hog."

"Consider it done," Bobbie smiled. "What color would you like for me to use?"

I worried Bobbie might get cramps in her fingers or fall out in the floor but she worked non stop for the next 36 hours airbrushing and signing motorcycle gas tanks and fenders for each and everyone who asked. Some paid her a hundred dollars, others paid her a thousand dollars. And we didn't even have to guard the money, the gang members stood guard for us, fetched Bobbie anything she wanted and even brought burgers and drinks for the rest of us.

Steve and I watched on Ebay as tanks and motorcycles signed by Bobbie turned up for sale in California within hours of the time Bobbie signed the first tank. We knew they were counterfeit but what could we do? Suddenly our sweet little Bobbie had become a very hot commodity. And as much fun as Bobbie was having I knew she would never want to be thought of as a commodity.

Nor did I want her to be but the phones were ringing off the hook with calls from agents, publishers, toy manufacturers, movie makers, you name it. There was even a gun manufacturer that wanted to make a Bobbie Sonner edition fully automatic assault rifle in hot pink. I shouted a lot of profanities and hung up the phone on them without ever hearing their offer.


Meanwhile, in Greensboro, the City Council was discussing changing the city motto from, "To be, rather than to seem" to "To seem, rather than to be." They were also erasing the historic names of city streets and replacing them with generic names in the hopes of seeming to be something they weren't ever going to be, namely, prosperous. You see, the Tall Whites and Grey Aliens who controlled the city were still stealing everything including the items that were nailed down.

The board of the Downtown Greensboro Interdimensionals announced they were planning to dismiss the only known human on their staff. Long hated by most of Greensboro's residents including myself I really hurt for the guy as I knew he didn't know what he'd gotten himself into when he came to Greensboro to take the job 15 years ago. Now, in order to save face for themselves the board was putting all the blame on him. I knew what he was going through as I'd been there myself. I wrote him a public letter of recommendation, posted it to the Internet and sent him an e-mail to show him where to find it. He deserved a lot better than the Downtown Greensboro Interdimensionals and I hoped he could find it.

The Grey Aliens were busy erasing our history, renaming streets, shopping centers and neighborhoods. They called it progress, a new beginning but some of us knew better. Some of us understood that to erase the past would only mean we would repeat the past. And to make us think they didn't exist they filmed prank videos of fake aliens doing things they never do.


I watched from a distance as Bobbie and the Veggiecycle talked. "I don't know about all this," Bobbie said, "All these people, all this confusion, is this how being a leader is going to be?"

"Only if you let it," the Veggiecycle said. "So far you've done nothing to stop it."

"But I don't want to just tell them all to go away," Bobbie said. "That would hurt their feelings."

"It's a narrow road" the Veggicycle said as he began reciting another poem from his life.

"Narrow roads will test your skill,
keep you on the line,
teach respect, patience
and riding slow to make fast times.
Narrow roads will keep you sharp..."

"Do you have a poem for everything?" Bobbie asked.

"If he doesn't he'll make one up," I interrupted, "but he makes some very good points, don't you think?"

"He does," Bobbie agreed, "but what do I do?"

"Maybe it's not what you do," the Veggiecycle said, "but what they do."

"What does that mean?" Bobbie asked.

"You're a leader," I explained, "give them a task, a chore, instructions to follow."

"And you think they'll do it?" Bobbie asked.

"That's why they came," the Veggiecycle said.

"Just be careful what you ask," I added, "your influence and power is far greater than any of us know."

Bobbie started walking towards the door. "Where are you going?" I asked. "Do you know what you're going to tell them?"

"No," Bobbie answered, "but I saw some buds on Veggie this morning so I thought I'd go see if he's finally awake and maybe talk to him about it."

"You can't go wrong talking to the green dude," I said. "Take him that box right there, he'll love whats in it."

"What is it?" Bobbie asked as she picked up the box.

"Organic fertilizer," I answered. "You know, chicken poop. It's hot stuff when you're a hungry plant."

Bobbie just smiled. "I'll make sure he gets it."

Continue to  End Of The Innocence

Friday, March 29, 2013

Narrow Roads

Narrow roads will test your skill,
keep you on the line,
teach respect, patience
and riding slow to make fast times.
Narrow roads will keep you sharp
or throw you if you let them
and take your money every time
that you should try to bet them.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013


Bobbie and I were in Downtown Greensboro at Zeto Wine and Cheese having Korean food from the Urban Street Grill with a potential customer when my telephone rang. It was Bobbie's first sale but it was looking like she pretty much had the deal in the bag so I stepped to the side and took the call. "You need to get back here now," Donny said.

"Has someone died?" I asked. You see, Donny never explains much, he just says do it much like I'm prone to do.

"No," he shouted, "nobody died."

"Well," I said, "If nobody died then you've probably got time to explain to me why I need to drop a potential sale and come running back to Burlington from Downtown Greensboro."

"There's reporters everywhere," Donny said.

"What do they want?" I asked.

"I don't know," Donny grumbled. "I didn't talk to them. I don't do reporters, remember?"

Donny has always been shy. He didn't want me to publish this story because he's so shy. Then he tried to get me to write him out of the story which I couldn't do and still write the truth. Fact is, had it not been for Bobbie the story would have never been worth writing but when she emerged as a leader that changed everything. "Well why don't you go ask them what they want?" I asked.

"I'm not going out there," Donny said. "I'll just stay inside 'til they leave."

"You mean until the next shift comes in so those guys can go home to their wives and families," I said. " 'Cause that's what they're going to do if it takes them a month."

"You think so?" Donny asked.

"If there's that many reporters then evidently they think the story is big enough to merit keeping crews on the ground 24/7 until they get what they want," I explained. "We'll be there as soon as Bobbie closes this deal, okay?"

"Okay," Donny said, "just get here as fast as you can.

It's strange what scares people. Some people are scared of dogs, spiders and snakes. Donny isn't scared of any of those things. Some people are scared of heights or being in tiny spaces but not Donny. Donny will stand toe to toe with anyone unless that someone has a TV camera. Donny is scared of flying and justifiably so as he once took control of the quality control department of a major manufacturer of airplane parts and discovered that tens of thousands of defective parts had previously been shipped to almost every airplane manufacturer in the world. But why Donny has a phobia of reporters and television cameras-- even he hasn't a clue.

I walked back to where Bobbie was standing just in time to see the customer getting in his car. "How'd it go?" I asked. "Did he make a deposit on a motorcycle?"

"He paid in full," Bobbie said holding up a check. "I hope I didn't come down too much on the price?"

"Baby girl," I laughed, "you're two grand higher than we were expecting."

"Really?" Bobbie asked, "You mean it?"

"You bet I mean it," I replied, "After things die down at the shop you should talk to the other partners about a bonus."

"What do you mean, after things die down?" Bobbie asked.

I explained the reporters to Bobbie and was guessing they finally got their hands on the police reports from the incident at the Asheboro Zoo and had figured out where she lived and worked. If I was right there would be more reporters at her home so we rode to my place where we dropped off the bikes and switched to my Dodge Ram as I didn't want to push my way through crowds on motorcycles. By the time we got to Burlington every television station in 5 states must have been there as was my old friend Stewart Pittman of Fox8 in nearby High Point,  parked almost a block away on the side of the street in a long line of brightly colored media vehicles. I nodded at Stew, he knew what I meant. "That's Stewart," I said to Bobbie, "He's the one who will be doing your interview."

"How do you know?" Bobbie asked.

" 'Cause he's the only one we're going to let near you today." I answered.

"Why only him?" Bobbie asked.

"One," I answered, "he's a friend of mine and two, we can trust him not to hype the story just for ratings. Stew will do you right."


Do I even need to mention local politics? Of course not. The tradirous Tall Whites, the Grey Aliens and a few token humans were still doing what they'd always done, just like they do everywhere. With the Republicans in charge of the house, senate and the govenor's office in Raleigh there would be no help from there either. And Washington? We'd have better odds of getting help from Moscow, Bejing or Tehran and their mutant rats.

Yeah, I know and locusts swarmed over Egypt and Israel. Well in case you didn't know, the corruption and greed forced on us by the Gray Aliens is a bigger plague than anything you ever read in the Bible and unlike rats and locusts, you can't eat Gray Aliens as their flesh and blood are poisonous to humans.


Lemar and John had returned from lunch and were manning the gate by the time Bobbie and I turned into the driveway. "Where's Wooley and Steve?" I asked.

"Wooley is having lunch with his wife and Steve just called and said he'd be back with some parts in a few minutes," John answered.

"You and Lemar get both of them on the telephone and tell them to stay put right where they are while I get Bobbie inside the shop," I said.

"Too late," Lemar said, "Steve is coming down the street now."

"Plan B," I said, get Wooley on the phone and tell him to stay put until we call him."

I drove to the shop door, blew the horn, waited for Donny to open it and drove inside, let Bobbie get out then parked my truck outside and walked back in with Steve where we devised a plan to get Stewart and his camera equipment inside the shop without the throngs of cameramen and reporters who were bound to follow.

A few minutes later I walked out the back of the shop and disappeared through a gate most people don't know exists, walked around the block and made my way to where Stewart was waiting just outside his news van. "Long time no see," Stewart said extending his hand.

"Too long, Bro," I replied as I shook his hand, "How about I show you in the back gate?"

"You got a back gate big enough to drive in?" Stewart asked.

"No," I replied, "but I've got a car and driver waiting a couple miles away that can carry us right back in the front gate incognito."

"Sounds like a plan," Stewart smiled as he got behind the wheel. "Point me the way."

A few minutes later Wooley drove Stewart and I through the front gate and into the shop with a car loaded with Fox8 camera equipment. I then walked outside to the street where I explained to the reporters and camera crews there would be no interviews today. Upon hearing that the Burlington Police Department was happy to ask them to please clear the area though we had little doubt at least some of them would be back the next day.

Continue reading Hot Stuff

Monday, March 25, 2013

Life Is A Zoo

Back at the shop business was picking up. Of course business always picks up when people start riding more. Instead of getting their bikes ready in the winter when the shops are slow, most people wait until the weather is nice before they even remember they have a broken motorcycle parked in the back of the garage. And while we've never liked taking in customer repair work preferring to build and sell bikes instead, some customers just won't let you say no and are willing to pay enough money to make sure you don't. I guess that's why I got used to doing more riding in the winter than in summer.

John came into the shop one morning with an announcement, "I've got free passes for all of us to the North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro."

"Really," Steve said, "I haven't been there since my kids were small."

"Me neither," Wooley said."

"I took my granddaughter there a couple of years ago," Donny said. "It's a really great zoo."

"I used to go camping there before it was a zoo," I said. "We used to catch buckets full of rattlesnakes and cook 'em. But I've never been to the zoo there."

"Man, you need to go," Lemar said.

"Really," Bobbie agreed, "you don't know what you're missing out on."

Minutes later we were locking up the shop, mounting our bikes and making our way to Asheboro and the North Carolina Zoo.


What? You thought I was going to follow up on that encounter between Bobbie and I in the last episode? Like hell, I am. What do you think this story is, pornography? The chic's got class and I'll kick anyone's ass who says otherwise. Besides, what happens on the beach stays on the beach.

Back in Greensboro the Tall Whites on the City Staff announced the city budget deficit had gone from $6.5 Million Dollars to $7.1 Million Dollars. Their solution was to spend half a million dollars more to change all the signs and rename High Point Rd to an as yet undisclosed name.

That's right, SSDD.


We had only been inside the zoo a few minutes when we noticed several men inside the Africa Exibits who appeared to be tearing down the barriers that kept the animals in the zoo. "Hey," John asked one of the zoo workers, "are those guys supposed to be letting the animals out?"

"I don't think so," the zoo worker said. "I'll go ask my boss."

"Well you better hurry," Lemar shouted, "That guy over there just poked that elephant with a cattle prod!"

"And it's headed straight for Asheboro!" John shouted.

"Come on," Bobbie screamed as she ran towards the exit, "We've got to stop them!"

Everyone ran outside and to the parking lot where our bikes were waiting has hundreds of shocked elephants, rhinos, hippos, lions, gorillas ostriches, giraffes, zebras, African bush hogs and others ran wild, many of them for the first time in their lives, stampeding straight towards the City of Asheboro trampling down fences, small buildings and even a few houses along their way!

Of course, I didn't run. Well, maybe a few steps but I was soon out of breath. But I got to the Veggicycle as quickly as I could, strapped on my helmet and said, "You're driving, get me to the front of the line."

"She's riding really fast," the Veggiecycle said. "Are you sure you're up to going that fast?"

"No," I replied, "but do it anyway. I'm not going to let her die without me dying with her."

"One death wish coming up," the Veggiecycle warned as we launched on the fastest overland journey I've ever traveled in my entire life and faster than I plan to ever go again.

"Your speedometer just broke," I said.

"You can fix it," the Veggiecycle said.

"If I live long enough," I agreed.

We arrived on the edge of town where Bobbie had stopped her bike and got off to face the approaching herds. Somewhere in the blur we had passed the others who were now pulling up behind us. "What are you going to do?" I asked.

"Stop them," Bobbie said.

"How?" I asked. "How can you stop a stampeded?"

"I don't know?" Bobbie said as she started running towards them.

I tried to stop her. I ran after her as if she really was my own granddaughter, Or daughter. I ran as hard as I could run until the pain in my chest overwhelmed me, everything went black and I found myself face down in the dirt. The next thing I knew Donny, Steve and Wooley were lifting me from the ground as Lemar and John ran after Bobbie who was at least 300 yards ahead of them staring straight at a charging bull elephant!

There was nothing we could do.

"Shoot it," Lemar radioed. "You guys have guns, shoot it!"

"Handguns at this range," Steve radioed back. "Not a chance."

"What do we do?" John shouted.

"Nothing you can do," Wooley radioed back.

"Pray for a miracle," Donny radioed.

We watched as Bobbie stood facing the charging elephants, so tiny in comparison, knowing nothing any of us could do or say could change her fate. If there is even one of us who says he wasn't already balling his eyes out at that point I'll call him a liar to his face and gladly take my beating. We were at that point, six very broken hearted men, young, old, black and white for the fact is: there wasn't a single one of us who didn't love Bobbie more than we loved life itself. She had become for six men the very reason we did everything we did and at that moment our reason was about to die.

Bobbie raised both her arms straight from her body and stood there facing the charging bull elephant with open palms. We watched as it closed in on her, the other animals close behind. Then just when it appeared that we had lost Bobbie forever the raging bull stopped running and stared at her intently as the other animals stopped behind it.

The giant elephant then started roaring, rumbling, grunting and trumpeting a number of very angry sounding calls right in Bobbie's face. All the while Bobbie stood there motionless. After several minutes the elephant reached out with his trunk and touched Bobbie's head. Slowly, Bobbie brought first one hand then the other to rub the elephant's trunk.

"Gentlemen," I radioed having finally caught my breath. "I think we just witnessed something only a handful of soldiers in the history of the world have ever seen."

"Soldiers?" Lemar questioned.

"That's right," Steve said. "You're in the army now. You just witnessed the birth of one of the greatest leaders the world has ever known."

We rode slowly back to the zoo with most of the animals happy to follow Bobbie back to where they were supposed to be. A few remained loose but not so many that local authorities couldn't handle the job and none that were of any grave concern to humans. That evening, after I went home, Bobbie dropped by to talk with me. "Listen," Bobbie asked, "about that night on the beach."

"What about it?" I asked. "You had a little much to drink and you passed out."

"But I kissed you," Bobbie said.

"You must have been dreaming," I laughed. "You never kissed me."

"I didn't," Bobbie asked, "are you sure?"

"You don't think I'd remember being kissed by someone as hot as you," I answered.

"I would hope so," Bobbie said.

"Believe me," I said, "a kiss from a hottie like you would be a life changing experience for a lonely old man like me. I could never forget it. But it never happened, okay?"

"Then I dreamed it?" Bobbie asked.

"That's right," I said, "You must have dreamed it."

"But why would I dream something like that?" Bobbie asked.

"Who knows," I answered. "Over the years I've had lots of crazy dreams. I've even talked to my many therapists about them."

"What did they say?" Bobbie asked.

"The quacks told me all kinds of BS about how it was my inner self expressing myself or how I was seeing my future." I answered.

"And the ones who weren't quacks?" Bobby asked. "What did they say about your dreams?"

"Same thing I told you," I replied, "Who knows?"

"Too bad," Bobbie smiled as she got on her bike to ride home.

"Yeah, too bad," I said as I turned to look the other way so she wouldn't see the tears welling up in my eyes. I was thinking I might need to call my therapist and see if he can work me in.

Continue to Grilled.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Full Moon

We had quite the party that night. Wooley's friend, the buyer of the trike was ecstatic with his new toy. And the fact that we had wrung it out on the way down didn't bother him at all. After all, it was under warranty just like every new bike we sell.

Of course, because of the medications my doctors give me I'n not allowed to drink so I finally decided to walk outside where things were a little quieter and watch the waves crash on the beach under the light of the full moon. "Something wrong?" the Veggicycle asked.

"What makes you think that?" I questioned.

"Well," he replied, "for starters you answered my question with a question."

"And that means there's something wrong?" I asked.

"And secondly," the Veggiecycle added, "you're trying to change the subject."

"No I'm not," I argued.

"And thirdly," he continued, "you're becoming argumentative with a motorcycle."

"Okay," I laughed, "you caught me. There is something wrong. I just don't want to talk about it."

"It's Margaretta," the Veggiecycle said.

"What are you talking about?" I asked.

"Margaretta," the Veggiecycle explained. "The girl from the cantina down in Mexico."

"I haven't seen her in over thirty years," I growled.

"That's not true," he said. "You see Margaretta every time you see Bobbie."

"How would you know?" I grumbled. "You couldn't even talk then."

"No," he agreed, "I couldn't talk then but I could see just like everyone else could see. You risked life and limb to be with her. Even Veggie Head Stalker couldn't drag you out of that cantina without her. When those banditos tried to chase you away you fought them all until they almost killed you. They would have killed you had Veggie not knocked you unconscious and dragged you out of there."

"Veggie, knocked me unconscious!" I shouted. "I thought one of the banditos knocked me out! You just wait 'til we get back to Burlington, I'll show ol' Veg Head a thing or..."

"Why all the shouting, Grandpa?" a soft voice from behind me spoke. I turned around to see it was Bobbie. "It's a beautiful night and being that I've already had a few drinks I was hoping you would take me for a ride along the beach road."

"I was kinda hoping that extra seat might help me find some hot babe," I said. "Hoping I might get lucky away from home."

"I don't know about lucky," Bobbie smiled, "but do you think you're apt to find much hotter than me?"

"Put your helmet on," I smiled, "and watch where you put your hands."



We rode north along the Outer Banks with the Atlantic Ocean to our right and the Inter-coastal Waterway to our left Bobbie holding on her arms around my waist. I imagined myself 35 years younger and what I might do. The Veggicycle had been right, I did see Margaretta every time I looked at Bobbie. The resemblance was uncanny. Even the way she moved, her riding style, her hobbies, waiting tables for a living, working on and riding bikes... those were all things Margaretta did. And Bobbie was brilliant, worldly and wise like Margaretta had been. I guess Veggie knocking me out had been for the best. The cantina was already fully engulfed in flames when we got there and I could see Margaretta on fire as I tried to fight my way past the banditos to pull her out but there was no way I would have survived. They had beaten me almost to death as it was. I swore that someday I would go back and kill them all but I never set foot in Mexico again. I was just too scared to go back.

I found a nice place to pull over and parked the bike. "Look what I got," Bobbie said reaching into the pockets of her jacket. "Salt and a lemon but no Tequila. It fell out of my pocket."

"I got Tequila in my saddlebag," I said. "You want some?"

"But I thought you didn't drink?" Bobbie asked.

"Not in several years," I answered, "Somebody gave it to me and told me to keep it until I found somebody special to share it with."

"What was her name?" Bobbie asked.

"What was who's name," I answered with a question.

"The woman who gave you the Tequila and told you to share it with somebody special," Bobby said.

"Margaretta," I answered.

"What was Margaretta like?" Bobbie asked.

"Like you," I said. "Young, beautiful, smart, good with her hands, a great leader."

"You were in love with her?" Bobbie asked.

"In some ways I still am," I answered.

"I'll drink to that," Bobbie grinned.

I opened the bottle and handed it to her, "Careful, this is the real deal."

"How will I know when I become a great leader?" Bobbie asked.

"Beats me," I said, "I've never been much of a leader."

"But you are a leader," Bobbie said.

"I just step in and take over when no one else can or will," I replied. "I drag people into following me. People follow great leaders because they want to follow them."

"You didn't drag me in," Bobbie said.

"No I didn't," I replied looking up at the full moon. "I seduced you."

"I beg your pardon," Bobbie questioned. She was already a little tipsy.

"With a paycheck," I explained. "I seduced you with a weekly paycheck."

"You mean a weak paycheck," Bobbie smiled.

"That too," I admitted, "None of you make as much as I wish we could pay you but did you know I draw the smallest paycheck in the entire company?"

"Why?" Bobbie asked.

"Because I need all of you more than I need the money," I answered.

"You're a sweet grandpa," Bobbie said. Then she kissed me.

"Careful," I said. "I may look like a sweet grandpa but I'm still a dirty old man.

"I'm safe with you," Bobbie laughed. "You couldn't live with yourself if you let anything bad happen to me."

The excitement of a long day had caught up with her. Two shots later she was passed out and sleeping by my side. I screwed the cap on the bottle and did what grandpas do-- I gave her the blanket out of my saddlebag and watched her sleep until morning. Don't let anybody tell you hot young babes don't snore. When they're passed out drunk on the beach they all snore. Grandpas know.

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