Shootin’ the Breeze
It was a dark and stormy night as Crash knelt on the floor
of his garage foolin’ with the carburetor he recently
installed on his old Panhead.
Long ago he converted it to a 12 volt system and
brought the old girl up to date in some other ways, but he
insisted on using the stock Linkert carb. He thought it was
wrong to change too much and was fond of sayin’,”If I
wanted to ride a newer bike, I’d be ridin’ a newer
His Uncle Frank rode the very same bike for years and Crash
never got tired of tellin’ how the two of ‘em would fly
down the road when Crash was almost too little to walk. When Frank died two
years ago the bike was left to him.
“Here’s yer coffee baby.” Sweet Thing had been
Crash’s house mouse for over three years. They went everywhere
she gazed at her man she thought,’ I hate this bike. Always breakin’
deserves a newer ride that he wouldn’t have to mess with
“I know what yer thinkin’ and forget it! We can’t afford a
new bike, and even if we could it couldn’t replace
Baby......Hell, I was raised on this bike!”
“Ever notice how it seems that every time I’m on the
back the bitch breaks down?
It’s weird! C’mon
Crash! At least
start lookin’ for another one! Tommy said he’d
sell ya his Shovel for a good price. At least talk to him
“Tommy thinks yer just supposed to replace the oil, not
change it! And
that scoot sounds like a bag of bolts goin’ down the road
because of it. Right
off, it needs a head job, a new primary chain and God knows
what else! Baby
gets us down the road.”
“That’s what I’m sayin’....she does not! Take this carburator
problem...this is the 3rd carb you had on her this year and
every one of ‘em ended up with a cracked boss, or whatever
the hell ya call it! She
runs good when ya take her out on a test, but then when we
go somewhere she messes up. And remember when she had that mysterious electrical
“All electrical problems are mysterious.”
“Listen to yerself! Crash,
you are the best wrench I’ve ever seen, and yer startin’
to sound like a wanna be!”
“Ok ok! Listen.......I’ll
talk to Tommy, but I know he’s gonna want way too much,
and I ain’t sellin’ Baby!”
As Sweet Thing went back into the house Crash looked at Baby
and had to agree; when yer workin’ on a bike more than
riding it, it’s time to take stock of your priorities.
The next day he called Tommy and found that the price was
pretty good. If
he took the heads to a machine shop and rearranged his
finances a bit, he could end up not hurtin’ himself too
bad and still keep Baby.
“Who could be doin’
this?” asked Crash more to himself than anyone else.
Over the next few weeks it
happened over and over.
He even started locking Baby’s forks and the damned
bike would still turn up unexpectedly. Nobody would
actually see the bike pull in, it just seemed to show up.
Then one night when he got up to get something to drink, he
heard the garage door open.
As he walked to the garage he
heard Baby start and ran to find out who was doin’ this. There sat Baby, just
idling with the lights on.
“You gonna get out of the
way Short Stuff?”
“Who’s there? Come out where I can see ya!!”
Then he realized that he
hasn’t been called Short Stuff since Uncle Frank died. Feelin’ like an
idiot and scared out of his gourd he called out, “Uncle
Frank? Is that
“Bravo! Ya finally busted
me! Bet you
were goin’ crazy huh?”
“What is this? You’re
dead!! I can
hear ya but I can’t see ya!
Speak to me!”
“Sorry ‘bout that
he stepped out from behind Crash’s car. “Guess you need an
Crash didn’t know what to
say and what to do. He
just stood there with wide eyes and his mouth hangin’
“I know I shouldn’ta let
y’all think I was dead, but when I wrecked my truck in the
river it just came to me.
The cops would declare me dead eventually, even if
they didn’t find the body, figuring it got washed away,
and I could get out of a real mess I was in. Last month I was in
Jersey and found out some bad guy that was lookin’ to kill
me got greased his own nasty self. I’ve been on the run
for too long, so here I am!”
“Why didn’t ya let us
“Couldn’t chance it Short
Stuff! I wanted
to make sure his buddies didn’t pick up where he left off. Looks like
everything’s cool. I’m
just glad I kept my bike keys and yer garage is easy to
break into. By the way, you make me walk home one more time and I’m
gonna smack ya hard! And
one more thing....A Panhead’s Linkert carburator sucks! Why dontcha change
that damned thing? The
bosses always crack”
They walked into the house and
Sweet Thing woke up, then she fainted when she saw Frank. They broght her to, then the three sat at the kitchen
table drinkin’ coffee.
“Does mom know?”
“Nope. Was gonna tell her
her birthday and I haven’t seen my ‘lil sister for too
she’ll be surprized?”
that’s it for this month kids. Y’all just be
careful when yer out there trick or treatin’....
[TOP OF PAGE]
One night a month or so later he walked into the kitchen
wiping his hands on a rag and exclaimed, “Get dressed you
Sweet Thing!! We’s
goin’ to town! The
shovel is all done and I ain’t took ya dancin’ for a
long time so,.....let’s go!”
The night was warm and clear as they hit the road. It was shortly after
dusk and a few bugs were out, but not so many that Crash and
Sweet Thing had to keep their mouths shut.
“Where we goin’ Crash?”
“How ‘bout goin’ down to “Faces” I hear it really
rocks and they have great food in the restaurant part!”
new bike sounds good. Been
a while since I rode. At
least you got to ride to work on Baby. By the
way......how’s she doin’?”
that we got the Shovel she hasn’t acted up once.”
“I still think she doesn’t like me. Oh well, you know
how us women can be about their man!”
When they entered Faces they ran into some old friends and
sat by ‘em at the bar.
Crash was tellin’ a joke when another old friend
named Hot Dog walked in.
Sweet Thing too! I
seen Baby out front but didn’t think you’d both
“What the hell are you talkin’ about? Baby’s home in the
“Go look if ya don’t believe me.”
As soon as he and Sweet Thing walked out the door Crash’s
jaw dropped. There
leanin’ on her kickstand was Baby.
“Crash, this is just too *&$#in’ weird!”
As he walked to the old bike thinkin’ this must be a
lookalike he read off the plate numbers and stopped.
“Hot Dog must have rode her down here....wait! There’s his
After goin’ home and bringin’ back the car so Sweet
Thing could drive it while Crash rode Baby home, he double
checked the lock on the garage muttering to himself how his
goofy friends musta played a trick on him.
A week later it happened again! He was at his
mom’s house one night and when he came outside to leave
there was Baby beside the shovelhead! Nobody around, and
did you manage to get Frank’s bike here too?” asked his
mother when she came out and stood beside him as he stood
staring in confusion.
“I dunno what’s goin’
on! I think my
buddies are messin’ with me. I’m gonna push her
in yer garage for the night, ok?”
When Crash got home he asked
Sweet Thing about it.
“I heard the garage door and
figured it was you coming back for something. When I heard Baby
start I just figured it was you!”