Balance

James is on a ladder painting –  Jesse and his dog Steve walk up the driveway.

Jesse: Place is looking better, nothing like a fresh coat of paint.

James: Yeah, thanks – better everyday.

Jesse: You ever go to the _______ coffee shop?

James: Yeah, I like how the strong smell of coffee hits you as the squeaky door opens.  Walking across the old hardwood floor sounds like my back in the morning.  I usually sit in the tall chair in the corner and stare out at the coastline.

Jesse: Nice gal works there.

James: Yeah, always been nice to me.

 

Jesse is looking over at James’ motorcycle in the driveway.

Jesse: Your motorcycle is loud.  Turns back to watching James paint.

Jesse: Someone beat up her dad.

James: Step-dad

Jesse: How do you know?

James: We’ve had talks about titles like ‘Father’, ‘Dad’, ‘Stepdad.’  Often earned, sometimes just taken – others abused.

Jesse: Someone beat up her Stepdad, he’s still in the hospital.

James: Anyone care?

Jesse: Oh his wife probably does.  But most everyone else thinks he used to molest his daughter – stepdaughter.

James: No.  Anyone care about motorcycle noise?

Jesse: Haven’t heard any complaints, lately.

 

Jesse is walking back toward his car with Steve.

Jesse: It seems easier for you to paint when you use your right hand.

James: Yeah, just trying to balance things out a bit.

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Yellow Rose Inn

James got a room at a bed and breakfast, The Yellow Rose Inn, on the edge of town. The place was a bit tired, rundown by time and in need of many repairs, so it was cheap. It was located near the water which had always drawn him. A possible bonus, it was run by a mother and daughter team, they were both attractive.

At first the mother was not interested in having him there, but the business needed money. She was concerned the other guests may take issue with a rough looking guest, but she saw him let a little boy sit on his motorcycle while talking with the father and relaxed, a little. Her bigger concern was how her daughter looked at him.

Mom: What brings you to Paradise?

James: Needed a fresh start

After James showered and cleaned up his bike, he set out to explore the town on foot. He had no idea how long he would be there, but did know that the few hundred dollars in his pocket wouldn’t last long. He would have to find some work. Having no commercial fishing experience he figured he’d have to look for something construction related, where his past skills lay.

Watching the Sunrise

Jesse was sitting on the porch with his dog Reggie, watching the sunrise. He currently had no big cases, so his old pal Johnny Walker talked to him more, lately. He had a bit of a headache but the peaceful sound of the waves sparkling in the sun eased it.

Until his phone rang and disturbed the moment. Luther “Suitcase” called to discuss a person that he had pulled over, a long haired guy on a dirty motorcycle with a California license plate. The rider has attitude, looks like a problem waiting to happen. Even worse, his last name is Stone.

Jesse: He do anything wrong?

Suitcase: No, but his bike is very loud.

Jesse: Run him through the computer?

Suitcase: Yeah, he has a bunch of history. Mostly drinking and rowdy youth stuff, nothing outstanding.

Jesse: He say why he’s here?

Suitcase: He said he just wanted to see the country.

Jesse: Let him go

Suitcase: Okay Jesse

Nobody Likes A Coward

“It doesn’t rain at the end of July, the forecast is wrong.  My motorcycle trip to the coast won’t be cancelled.”  I declared one beautiful sunny day.

“Okay, well yes it’s raining, but it’ll stop – it is July.”

Mike stared at me in silence.

Are Norwegian’s more stubborn that Swede’s?  Ah who knows, I laugh at such things.

We put our rain gear on in silence and rode out into it.  My open-face half helmet allowed the drops to hit me with a blinding sting.  Twenty minutes later we stopped to buy a better helmet at the Harley Davidson shop in Tacoma.

“You riding in that?” asked the pretty cashier.

“Yes!”

“Where to?”

“The coast.”

“Oh – really?  Be careful!”

After the monsoon experience on Interstate 5 we stopped at a Barbecue Restaurant to warm up, eat and pour out our boots.  No one said anything – everyone looked.

“It’ll let up, has to” I laughed.

“Sure, it’s gonna” Mike laughed back.

After the winding roads and fresh tarred construction we stopped for a beer at a Peninsula Dive Bar.

“Cheers to stubborn!”

Clank!

***

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As always I learned while enjoying the “Rain” writing workshop at the Fort George Brewery on January 23rd 2015.

Matt Love lives and teaches in Astoria, Oregon.

Time to Move on

 

                  Click, Click, DoTo…Doto… Whoop-Bang! The retro styled Harley Davidson fires to life. James looks over his shoulder at the place that was home, before his gal Lisa split. Their dozen year relationship wasn’t as good as he’d thought. Though they acted like they were married – they were not. Their undocumented love could not weather the stress of the times and withered while he was struggling with everything else.   With a verbal ‘frying pan to the head’, she told him that “She was Done” and left.

Now it was time to move on, again, this time literally. This life beating gave him an urge, to just go away. Go find dad, the man he never knew, the guy who didn’t know that he even existed. Time had come to leave the ugliness and memories of the big dirty city and ride across the country to find the old man. And who knows, maybe finally some peace.

James’s black motorcycle loved the open road, even better at around 80 mph. He flew through the desert states, barely noticing the scenery.   The hot wind licked his face.   His tightly braided ponytail whipped and snapped angrily. While the speed pushed jaded mental junk to the back of his skull, he just stared at the road. He didn’t really know (or care) how long it would take to get to Maine, he just knew “Dad” now lived there, or used to. What would they say?  Do?   Who cares, he had nothing better to do, nor anyone to do it with.

Garage Asylum

Being a “car guy” makes my eyes always shoot toward an open garage door.  With a tinge of voyeurism I look to catch a glimpse of a beauty sleeping under cover, curvaceous antique, sleek vintage hot rod, stripped down racer, badass muscle car, smooth exotic sports car, dangerous motorcycle of any kind, sparkle of chrome or “gearhead” project in the works…  But alas, usually I only get an eyeful of something you don’t want to see, Junk (but I look anyway).  There are occasionally a few buried treasures infinitely waiting under the dust and boxes of life’s souvenirs, but most garages sadly are simply full of stuff, piled high with things that people lazily save.  Although a few garages are actually used for a daily driver, the household workhorse vehicle, many have become storage units.  Some garages are methodically organized dens dedicated to other passions like woodworking, music, gaming, or even turned into pseudo pubs and tiki bars, and a few into gyms.  The worst are converted into living quarters, never to be open again.  The best are an Asylum, from the rest of the world.

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