Tag Archives: Harley Davidson

Christmas…Ike Style

 

‘Tis the season…right?

I guess that depends on who you ask.

As you know – Ike is not the sappy, emotional type, so how do you think he handles the onslaught of forced sentimentality every December?

It probably won’t surprise you…but let’s find out.

Don’t Call Me Carol

“So, tell me, why don’t you like Christmas?” Tiki asked as he handed Ike a bottle of Budweiser.

“No offense, Tiki,” Ike said, “but you’re a bartender at The Golden Lion…not a shrink.”

Tiki held his hands up, palms out. “Sorry. Just making conversation.”

“I don’t come here to chat.”

Tiki decided to try his conversational skills on the bikini-clad blonde at the end of the bar. Ike turned his attention to his beer.

He closed his eyes and saw Dodger. The ten-year-old memory hadn’t faded at all.

Dodger sat against the cave wall and dug into his MRE. Ike stood at the entrance of the cave scanning the horizon through his night-vision scope.

“Hey relax, bro,” Dodger said. “It’s Christmas Eve, even here in Ass-Crakistan.”

“You relax. I’ll make sure nobody fires an RPG into the cave. I don’t care that it’s Christmas and neither do the insurgents.”

“How can you not care that it’s Christmas? You gotta care that it’s Christmas.”

“No I don’t.”

“Hey, I’m a million miles from my wife and daughter, but I’m not letting that stop me.” He tossed the MRE to the back of the cave. “Meal-ready-to-eat, my ass, I might have to kill a camel. Anyway, don’t scrooge out on me. Merry Christmas, bro.”

“Right,” Ike said.

“Come on, just say it once. Ten years we’ve been eating dirt together and I’ve never heard you say Merry Christmas.”

“And you never will.”

“No, man. You need to say Merry Christmas. Say it once and it’ll change your whole outlook. I promise.”

“Shut up and eat,” Ike told him.

 

Hugo Baccarri stopped next to the BMW and looked around the parking lot for potential witnesses.

Nobody in sight.

He climbed into the car as if it were his own and drove away, watching the rear view mirror as he went.

“What kind of idiot leaves the keys in their Beemer?” he asked himself.

He drove north for forty-five minutes, exited I-95 at Palm Coast and parked behind a Chinese restaurant, where he proceeded to rummage through the console and glove box. A watch, an iPod and a really nice Zippo lighter…not bad. He got out to check the trunk.

“What the hell is this?” He pulled a bright red coat and the tall black boots from the trunk.

When he saw the white beard and the donation bucket he realized what he had found. An idea struck him and he laughed out loud.

Tossing everything into the backseat, he drove to a nearby Home Depot. The backseat of the BMW was not a dressing room, but he managed to change into the Santa suit. It was a little big for him, but it would do the trick. He grabbed the donation bucket and stood on the sidewalk by the entrance to the store.

Nobody bothers Santa Clause, especially on Christmas Eve.

It was a great plan. In no time at all his donation bucket was filling with cash. Hugo wished every passer-by a Merry Christmas, even the ones who didn’t donate, and threw in plenty of Ho Ho Hos. He even posed for a couple of pictures with babies.

 

Ike opened his eyes when he sensed a presence on the stool next to him.

“Jingle bells, my brother,” Brewski said.

“What’s happening?” Ike asked, returning his friend’s fist bump.

“Nothing, just figured I’d stop off and have a beer with my best friend on Christmas Eve.”

“I can’t tell you how much that means to me.”

Brewski grinned and shook his head.

“What are you doing tonight, Grinch?” Brewski asked.

“I’m gonna have another beer then go back to the boat and drink some more.”

“Come on, where’s your Christmas spirit?”

“You mean the spirit that makes people stampede each other for a TV at Walmart? No thanks.”

“Hey cheer up,” Brewski said. “It could be worse. Remember last Christmas when we had to go have a chat with that guy who was trying to skip out on the five grand he owed Ralph? And when we got there he had his two brothers-in-law with him? Man, we worked hard for the money that night.”

“Good times,” Ike said flatly.

“And how about the year you had that woman stalking you? You didn’t expect to find her on your boat on Christmas morning…with no wrapping.”

Ike turned on his stool and looked at Brewski.

“Are you trying to cheer me up?”

“Yeah, but it’s not working. Come on, just try and enjoy the season. It won’t kill you.”

“Not worth the risk,” Ike said.

Brewski downed his beer and stood to leave. The men exchanged another fist bump.

“Merry Christmas, bro,” Brewski said.

“Later,” Ike returned to his beer.

 

After an hour-and-a-half Hugo packed up his bucket and left Home Depot. His score, not counting the change, was almost $300. Not bad for less than two hours. He drove into Flagler Beach and set up in front of a Publix supermarket.

Almost immediately the good people of Flagler Beach began filling his bucket.

Hugo grinned behind the itchy white beard. He had never been a big fan of Christmas, but his attitude changed a little bit every time a soccer mom dropped her change into his bucket.

 

Ike felt a hand on his shoulder, followed by a kiss on his cheek.

“Hello, Nadine.”

“Hi sweetie,” she said. “Merry Christmas.”

Ike smiled weakly and drank some beer.

Nadine was un-phased.

“Are you coming to my Christmas Ball tonight?”

“Nadine, we’ve been over this.”

“I know we have,” she said, “but you do so much for Christmas Come True, I’ll just keep asking.”

“And I’ll keep saying no,” Ike said, offering her a better smile to soften the blow. “Thank you anyway.”

Nadine kissed his cheek again and hugged him.

“Okay, honey, but the fun starts at 8:30 and you’re always welcome.”

She spotted Ralph, Ike’s boss and owner of The Golden Lion, and made a beeline for him. Ike waved over his shoulder then motioned to Tiki for another beer.

 

The Publix yielded more than $100 in an hour, but the manager hassled Hugo so he had to split. He relocated to a CVS and got a little more aggressive with his bell ringing, knowing that the Chistmas Eve foot traffic would be dying off soon.

 

Tiki swapped Ike’s empty bottle for a fresh beer.

“Nice night,” Tiki tried.

Ike looked around. “Yup.”

“Hey listen,” Tiki said. “Every year I get a bunch of people together for a Christmas Night booze cruise. It’s the perfect thing for people like…it’s better than hanging out at home alone.” Tiki regretted saying it as soon as the words left his mouth.

“Where you going with this, Tiki?”

“Well…this year’s cruise is already booked, but I’m taking names for next year. It fills up fast. What do you say? Want me to hold you a spot?”

Ike stood and downed most of the beer in one long swallow and dropped a ten on the bar.

“I don’t think so. Adios.”

“See you Ike. Merry…see ya.”

 

More than fifty bucks in half-an-hour. Hugo was very happy. He decided to call it a night, grab a bottle and a hotel…maybe even a hooker.

“Merry Christmas to me,” he said as he drove toward A1A.

He found a liquor store behind a night club called Finn’s and grabbed a bottle of Jack Daniels. At the counter, the clerk hummed a Christmas song as she rang up the whiskey.

“Santa doing some last minute shopping?” she asked Hugo.

Hugo pulled the gun from the pocket of his Santa suit.

“Gimmee the bottle and whatever you got in the register. Now!”

 

Ike walked toward the front of the store with his 12-pack of Budweiser. When he saw Santa standing at the counter he rolled his eyes.

“I can’t wait ‘til this shit is over,” he muttered.

 

“Come on, bitch” the Santa growled as Ike drew closer. “Gimmee the cash.”

“Son of a bitch,” Ike whispered when he saw the gun.

Ike slowly bent down and quietly set his 12-pack on the floor then reached behind his back and pulled the .45 from his belt.

 

The force of the bullet hitting him in the back drove Hugo into a pyramid-shaped display of rum. He crashed to the floor, the rum bottles cutting and slashing him as they shattered. The last thing he saw was his own blood mixing with Sailor Jerry’s, conjuring a bizarre cocktail of death.

 

Ike tucked his gun away, picked up his beer and casually continued to the counter. The clerk was wide-eyed with horror and her eyes were fixed on Santa’s corpse.

Ike dropped a twenty on the counter and turned toward the door.

“Merry Christmas,” he said.

As he approached the exit he caught his reflection in the glass door…smiling.

 

Don’t Call Me Carol was written before Christmas in 2013 and is the opening story in “Path of a Bullet – A Collection of Short Stories featuring Ike

As always – thank you for reading, and I hope you enjoy the holiday season in whatever way makes you happy!

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I Knew There was a Story to be Found at Biketoberfest

I just have two quick things for you today…

Well, actually – it’s just one thing, but it’s in two parts.

Part I;

I took part in a personal ritual over the weekend (October 16-19) called Biketoberfest.

Biketoberfest is an annual event here in this part of Florida. It’s centered in Daytona Beach, but its effects drift up to Flagler Beach (and to many other nearby communities).

Over the four days I did lots of riding, drank lots of beer and watched a lot of good bands. Biketoberfest is a great experience even if you aren’t a biker…just for the people watching opportunities alone.

At one particular venue called the Hog’s Pen (which is really nothing more than a large vacant lot across the street from The World Famous Iron Horse Saloon) there are several vendors set up for the event hawking their wares.

Iron Horse 2One of the spots is occupied by a dunking booth.

It’s about fifteen feet square, surrounded by netting to contain stray baseballs thrown by bikers whose aim isn’t what it should be. Nothing remarkable in and of itself, but…

On the collapsible seat is a guy wearing a clown costume insulting every person who walks by – hoping to get them mad enough to part with $5 in an attempt to dunk his ass.

drown the clown

The clown is the primary impetus of today’s blog.

His insults are not “family friendly” – he knows his audience, and there are no holds barred in his barrage of put downs. Appearance…sex…race…religion…color…sexual orientation…nothing is off limits.

Dozens of people gather around the booth just to hear what he comes up with next…and they are rarely disappointed.

As I stood there with some friends, in the back of the crowd, out of the line of fire, I decided that this clown needed a place in an Ike story.

Which leads us to…

Part II;

As you know (from reading this post) my current project is a collection of short stories about Ike.

After watching the clown insult people (and get dunked a few times) I decided that he needed to be in a story…so for the rest of the weekend I tossed around some ideas in my head and on Monday I sat down and began writing.

Reading the opening of Biketoberdeath at The Inspired Mic - Oct 21, 2014

Reading the opening of Biketoberdeath at The Inspired Mic – Oct 21, 2014

I’ve written about 1,700 words so far – which probably equates to about one-third of the story.

Last night (Oct. 21) I read what I have so far at The Inspired Mic and the audience approved…and wanted to know what happens next.

I think it’s only fair that you – my virtual audience – be privy to the sneak preview, so I’m posting it here. The only thing you miss out on is hearing me read it…probably a blessing!

So – with no further ado – the beginning of…

Biketoberdeath

Leaving St. Augustine just before dawn, he felt like the only person on Earth…or at least the only one awake.

The wind rushed over his face and his ponytail tugged at the back of his head. The Atlantic Ocean, less than one hundred yards to his left, deposited a salty film on his riding glasses.

The rumble of his classic ’74 Shovelhead was lost to the wind, but he could feel it throughout his entire body. Intake, compression, power, exhaust…the powerful V-Twin beneath him worked at nearly 3,000 revolutions per minute, but screamed in one continuous roar.

Ike relaxed in the saddle, propped his feet on the chrome highway pegs and enjoyed the solitude of a morning ride on A1A.

By the time he reached the Flagler Beach city limits the sun was rising over the ocean, casting long shadows on the empty streets, and melting away what little chill hung in the air.

While most of Flagler Beach was still sleeping, merchants prepared for the coming day. Bar employees washed away the remnants of a frenzied Friday night, cleaning the slate and making it ready for the next wave of leather-clad, alcohol-infused partiers.

Day two of Biketoberfest was in the books, and while the media reported a largely successful event, focusing on the thousands of bikers descending on the area, spending hundreds of thousands of dollars in out-of-state money, Ike was all too aware of the activities that didn’t receive any press thanks to a concerted effort by local authorities to make certain situations go away quietly.

There was no point in souring the public’s taste for such a lucrative source of tax dollars by making arrests after every bar brawl or issuing countless DUI’s. For one week out of the year the city commissioners recognized the value of selective leniency, and local law enforcement was encouraged to share in said attitude.

The courtyard dining area of The Golden Lion was deserted, with the exception of a few employees setting up for the day ahead. Saturday was typically the busiest of the four day event, so the crew had a few hours to make the restaurant look as though Friday night had never happened.

Ike righted a barstool on his way to the table under the stairs leading to the rooftop deck.

“Morning, Ralph,” he said, settling into a chair.

Ralph Donabedian looked up from Friday’s receipts and nodded. “Morning, Ike.”

“How’d we end up yesterday?”

“Close as I can tell, at least fifty percent up from last year.”

“Nice. Today should be even better. Perfect weather.”

“The money’s nice, but it’ll be good to have my parking lot back.”

Ike glanced across the street at the half-acre of tents and vendor booths. It was one of the few vacant lots in Flagler Beach and contributed to the popularity of The Golden Lion since patrons hardly ever had to worry about parking. During Biketoberfest Ralph converted it to a money maker by renting space to vendors, who paid handsomely to sell tee shirts, pins, patches and all sorts of Biketoberfest memorabilia. There was also a beer tent, so thirsty bikers could drink while they perused the vendor tents without having to walk across the street to the Lion.

Tucked into one corner of the lot was the only occupant allowed to use space free of charge, a dunk tank with a brightly colored sign encouraged passers-by to drown the clown. All day long a man in a clown suit sat on the collapsible platform hurling insults at the crowd, enticing them to plunk down five dollars for a chance to send him for a swim. The money collected was donated to a charity, the reason for Ralph’s generosity.

“That parking lot is a gold mine for four days every year. If I were you I wouldn’t complain about a few disgruntled tourists who eat somewhere else because they’re too lazy to park a couple of blocks away,” Ike said.

“I suppose I can’t argue that,” Ralph said, “but I could live without the depravity.”

“It’s just harmless fun…bikers blowing off some steam.”

“Four days of steam is…”

A scream shattered the morning stillness.

Ike spun in his seat looking for the source. Ralph maneuvered his wheelchair away from the table to see a woman standing in front of the dunking booth shielding a young child from the source of her terror.

Ike sprinted across the street.

“What’s wrong?” he asked the woman, who was now kneeling next to her frightened child, both of them crying.

She pointed at the dunking booth. “Ricky wanted to look inside the booth,” she managed between sobs.

The water in the booth was no longer crystal clear. Blood from the floating body of the clown had turned it a dull rust color.

Ike whistled and waved the bartender over.

“Tiki, get them inside and make them comfortable. Get them anything they want.”

“You got it, Ike,”

Ike made two phone calls—the first to the Flagler Beach Police, the second to his right-hand-man, Brewski.

“Hey, we got a situation. Need you here A.S.A.P.”

He tucked his phone away and took the .45 from the waistband of his pants. Full clip, ready to go.

After the responding officers secured the scene and the medical examiner did his thing, two detectives interviewed the woman. When they were finished with her they stood at Ralph’s table. Ralph held a coffee cup with both hands while Ike ate a large breakfast.

“Do either of you have a statement for us?” the lead detective asked.

“I do,” Ike said. “These pancakes are fantastic.”

“That’s it?” the lead asked.

Ike shook his head. “No. I also think the coffee is pretty good.” He gestured toward Ralph with his cup. “New supplier?”

Ralph sipped from his own cup. “New blend. I think it’s called Jamaica Me Crazy, or something to that effect.”

“Listen…Ralph,” the detective said. “They just pulled a dead clown out a dunk tank on your property. I would think you’d have a vested interest in helping us find the killer.”

“Nothing personal, Detective Stanley,” Ralph said, “but I’ll put my faith in a higher power. I’m sure justice will prevail.”

“Who? Him?” Stanley pointed at Ike. “You think he’s going to solve this case before we do?”

Ralph finished his coffee and set his cup down. “By the end of the day, Detective, you will have determined the identity of the dead man from his fingerprints. You’ll probably know more about him than his own mother. Which means you will know that he was a recovering heroin addict and a former member of a notorious motorcycle club…”

“Gang…” Stanley interjected.

“You say potato. Anyway…I suspect his identity and history will put a damper on your enthusiasm to find his killer, a position that your superiors will support, if not officially, at least tacitly. That is not justice. That is politics. So if it’s a statement you’d like, write this down…At approximately 7:45 this morning Ike and I heard a woman scream. Upon investigating, Ike discovered a body in the dunk tank. He then called 9-1-1. The rest, you know. I’ll be happy to sign it when you’re done.”

Detective Stanley exhaled and shook his head. “If that’s the way you want it.”

“Good luck in your investigation,” Ralph said.

Brewski pulled up a chair. “I just passed two unhappy looking cops on the sidewalk,” he said. “You do that?”

“I can’t take all the credit,” Ike said. “Ralph did his fair share.”

“So what’s going on?”

“Super Cooper is dead.”

Brewski’s head cranked around toward the dunking booth, then back to Ike. “Dead?”

“In the water, as it were.”

“What happened?”

“Don’t know yet, but we’re going to find out.”

“How did he die?”

“Shot. Twice in the chest, then dumped in the tank.”

“Cooper pissed off a lot of people with his trash talk whenever he was in the dunk tank. The list of suspects could get pretty long.”

“That was my first thought. Maybe he called the wrong biker a fag or made one-too-many comments about somebody’s old lady, but when he was up there, insulting anybody who walked by, he was just a clown saying whatever it took to get people to drop five bucks and try to dunk him. It all went to charity and outside of that booth he was as harmless as a kitten. I could understand an occasional drunk taking a swing at him, but putting two in his chest…I think that was more than just a bruised ego.”

“So, something from his past, maybe? The gang he was with up north, what was it called?”

“The East Coast Mother Fuckers. It’s possible. The MF doesn’t take too kindly to members jumping ship.”

“Where are we supposed to start?”

“With his car. It’s parked out on A1A about two blocks down.”

“His car? Won’t the cops want to search it and then tow it away as evidence?”

“Yeah, about that…nobody told them about the car. You know how these things are…people forget stuff. Happens all the time.”

~~~

The rest of the story will be available in my upcoming anthology “Path of a Bullet – A Collection of Stories Featuring Ike”.

It will be available on or about December 1.

As always – Thank you for reading

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Bike Week 2014

Two weeks ago my part of the country was invaded by about a half-million motorcycles. It was Daytona Beach’s 73rd Annual Bike Week…one of my favorite times of the year.

bike week logo
As usual I took time off from work to participate in the event(s). The weather was pretty near perfect and I did a lot of riding, drank a lot of beer and listened to a lot of great live bands.
To a non-biker it probably sounds boring. I can understand that. To me going to a NASCAR race sounds about as exciting as watching a chess match in a nursing home, but there are hundreds of thousands of people who would disagree with me.
To each his own – right?
Anyway – among some of those I rode with was a pair of “bike-week virgins”.
My friend, and fellow author, Becky Pourchot and her husband Shawn wanted to take their recently purchased bike out for the event and see what all the fuss was about.
So I took them on a guided tour of the festivities.
Becky was appropriately thunderstruck and acted the proverbial kid-in-a-candy-store…or a Jewish-housewife-in-a-leather-shop (is that a thing?).
I think the only words she spoke for two days were “This is awesome!”
I felt bad for Shawn, he’s a bit of an introvert, so being dunked into a sea of humanity with only a leather life-jacket was probably a bit discomfiting for him, but he seemed to enjoy himself.
After the event was over Becky, still reeling from the V-Twin euphoria, decided to memorialize one of our outings in poem.
Anybody who knows me, knows I’m not a big poetry guy…but I thought her work was worthy of sharing.
So here it is…

 

A Ride to the Iron Horse by Becky Pourchot

Iron HorseI play dress up for the day
my eyes lined dark,
my lips brushed with burgundy rose.
I zip myself in to a bodice
that hugs my waist,
an embrace of leather and studs.
My breasts like half-moons rise upward,
exposed to the sun.
This is the look, the dress, I’ve been told.
I want to embrace it all.

“It’s time to go!” I shout,
ready for the day.
I call my man from inside the house.
Our friend is waiting.
“Kickstands up!” he says
and we ride us three
me with my man,
and the other in front,
on the ocean lined highway
we roll.

Seduced by speed
our companion
in a worn denim jacket
his long hair whipping with the wind
slips ahead,
the call of his engine
echoing to the sky.
With a click of our gears
we accelerate
keeping pace
wondering
what he has planned.

There’s a chill in the air.
The wind sketches coolness into my limbs,
so I latch my legs tight,
surround myself with my man’s warmth,
and press my face into the deep smell of black, tanned hide,
letting the crazy pulse of the bike
charge me,
into a joyful,
lustful state,
ecstasy on wheels.

We ride the Loop,
a treasured trail
that wraps the rider in palmettos and pine,
dangling ancient moss like robes upon the trees.
As the sun lowers itself below the salted marsh
we swerve and bend at the wooded curves,
the iron oaks
reaching from above,
a silver silence
in the midst of the Harley’s cry.

We three arrive at the Iron Horse,
wind blown, but eager.
We dismount the bikes
and merge into a mass of bodies,
an expanse of leather and jeans,
surrounding us with the scent of
Jim Beam, cigarettes, and gasoline.
We wander through the crowds
my eyes, my ears
awake, alive,
taking in the vitality a thousand people
who share a single common passion
for liberation
for power
for an engine between their legs.
And I feel myself,
like never before,
a part of something dark and deep,
something seedy and wild,
where freedom
whispers in our ears
like the sound of a motorcycle
roaring down the road.

beckyWhen she’s not planning her next bike adventure, Becky is busy writing. She is the author of five books, including a collection of poetry for the fallen homemaker- Forgive Me Martha. You can find out more about Becky at www.beckypourchot.com

 

 

 

 

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