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bike with the Sprint Fairing, known to my readers as “Blue B@lls.” I started to explain, but he cut me off.


“Today is the 40th anniversary of my demise on this bike,” the Ghost droned. “I have to explain to someone, specifically a biker, what happened or another two hun- dred years will be added onto the curse.” He launched into a story that involved a


beautiful woman, a cheerleader at his high school, who wouldn’t give him the time of day. Then he got the Kawasaki H2, and she treated him like real dirt. (I know this rou- tine.) They had one date that turned out badly. He was a tormented soul and told her the worst thing he could think of: he went out with her to get close to her younger sis- ter, who had a mustache longer than his. The cheerleader smacked him, damned


him and wished him a terrible end. He found it ten minutes later. And now he must ride up and down Route 37 in the dark forever—unless she lifts the curse. “And the worst part of it is that two of the plugs on this damned thing are fouled. I can’t get it over 40 miles per hour,” he wailed. “All because of Janice Balcraken.” That was the name on my aged neigh-


bor’s mailbox. I’d met her only once, when she knocked


on my door to borrow a quart of gin. (Over the course of 40 years, her physical appear- ance had taken on the look of her attitude toward men, which was a kind of imperious contempt.) I told him I knew her. He begged me to return with the lady the next night, so he could apologize and tell her he loved her,


or whatever it would take to get the damned plugs changed. I knocked on her door. I told her the


story. I told her what he said. I told her about his ghostly tears whenever he whis- pered, “Balcraken.” She met me at the inter- section at 3 a.m., wearing the cheerleader outfit she’d had on the last time she saw him. This would not have been my first choice for reunion gear as time had not been kind to Janice Balcraken. To be hon- est, the cheerleader outfit would have looked better on me. “Give him this,” I said, “as a token of for-


giveness.” She shot me a puzzled look and I explained, “It’s a spark plug wrench.” The biker arrived on cue and asked,


“Where is she?” “Right here,” I said, with a grand


flourish. “Where? Behind the old bat in the Hal-


loween costume?” Even I winced at this one. “Willie,” she said. “It’s me.” “Janice you used to be beautiful,” said the


Ghost, whose real name turned out to be Wilbert Zazznewski. He was known as “Zazz” in high school. She had a nickname in high school, too. Likewise, it had some- thing to do with her last name. “What happened?” They were fighting like feral cats in Fish


House Alley when I pulled away. It seemed Janice managed to extend the curse for another thousand years when the third plug fouled. I could hear his scream over the SQUIDs’ revving engines on Route 37.


Jack Riepe’s revised version of Conversa-


tions With A Motorcycle is now again in print through a new publisher, Mason Erli- che Books. The new version retains much of the character of the original edition, with the addition of several chapters. To order an autographed copy of the revised edition, email your name, address, and telephone number to jack.riepe@gmail.com. Want to give this book as a Christmas gift? Order it now, as Riepe is considered a bad risk for green bananas. Look up the author at the beer garden at the MOA Rally in Hamburg, New York, this summer.


They fought until the sun rose and he


faded. It was dawn when she rang the door- bell. “Do you have any gin?” she asked. “The cat got the last of it,” I replied. “Zazz told me he had a fling with my sis-


ter,” said Janice. “I want to call her, but my cell is dead. Can I borrow your phone?” “Use the one in the kitchen,” I replied.**


Author’s notes: * The world’s longest parking lot is the Long Island Expressway (LIE) in New York. Women have given birth in stalled traffic, raised families, and sent kids off to college, all before reaching Ronkonk- oma. Source: Riepe’s Book of Indisputable Moto Facts


** Not all of my stories have a happy ending.


www.parabellum.com


June 2016 BMW OWNERS NEWS


109


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