Wednesday, February 01 2006 @ 07:35 AM EST
Contributed by: varmint
"Hey man, spare a dollar for a brother biker?”
I look up to see an elderly bum decked out in full
H.O.G. attire. I offer
him a smoke, but have no intention of parting with real money. He starts telling
me his hard luck story. He’s been homeless for about a six months. Lost the job,
lost the wife, lost the house. Now he’s cruising around the Southwest on his
And he just needs a few bucks to fill the tank, and get to the next town. This I
have to see. We walk around the corner to look at his bike.
It is the sorriest, beat-to-death, early '90s Softtail I have ever seen.
Frayed cables, dented sheet metal, bald tires over bent rims. There is a slow
and steady drip out of the primary. It smells strange, too. Not in the normal
“burnt oil” way. He offers to sell me his tool kit for twenty bucks. It has some
nice Snap-On wrenches, but Harleys are standard, and these tools are all
metric. Still, it is getting on Christmas . . . might as well do my good deed
for the year. I tell him, I live a block away.
I take him back to my garage to give him a quart of oil. I catch a momentary
sneer on his face as he sees my Victory. I see his lips form the words “Jap
bike”. As I fix the throttle cable he tells me he’s just waiting for the money
from his "slip and fall lawsuit" against KFC to come through.
I swear every bum in L.A. has a lawsuit in the works.
An hour goes by fixing little things. We compare notes on riding, women and
how we both have been in serious accidents. He asks if I have any of the pain
pills left? I tell him "it’s been nice to meet you," and start shooing him out
As he rides away, I think . . . "At least it’s better than a shopping cart".