BEEP!! BEEEP!! BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP!
“Get outta the road motherfucker!” ,a voice shrieks through the darkness beside me, its wake throwing me on my ass and out of my revelry. I hear the screech of rubber as a dark shape crosses the road, turning around. Dimly I see two yellow parking lights, like the golden eyes of some jungle cat drifting towards me from the dark.
“You always walk in the middle of the road at night, ya fuckah?”
“You always drive down the middle of the road, at night, with no lights on, you crazy bitch?!”
“Sometimes… It makes it feel like flying.” ,she flashes an imp’s grin. “Hop on.”
“How do you know I need a ride lady?”
“If you’re the one who left that p.o.s. miles back, and even if you’re not and you’re out HERE, you need a ride. And I am no lady!”
I climb on the bike behind her a bit awkwardly, not only because I am “riding bitch” but also because of the size of the hogg. It is big even for me and its owner earns a few respect points in being able to handle it as she is all of about 5 feet tall from what I can figure.
Before I can answer she hits the throttle and the backend of the bike goes sideways with torque before the wheel catches, sending us rocketing forward. Grabbing my own ass and gritting my teeth we take off into the darkness at breakneck speed without her even having turned on anything more than the parking lights.
We fly through the darkness for some time, the wind and the growl of the bike under us too much to try yelling any kind of conversation over. Not that I mind, I’ve never been much of one for small talk – generally only being successful at putting my foot in my mouth – and to be honest this was the first woman I’ve been this physically close to since just after skipping out on my hospital bill.
It’s nice to have some time to not have to think about the next step, the next mile, the next day even just for a little bit. I don’t even realize my eyes have closed before blackness claims me, but I am not alone in the dark. For a moment I see Mary’s face, then eels of fiery shadow swirl all about me, and voice like gravel slowly being rolled to dust growls my name.
“You devious little bastard.”, he snarls, and I can feel the furnace heat of his breath on my neck. The Beast. “It’s been a long time since anyone’s gotten one over on me. Classic nutshot. Who’da thunk?”
I try to move in the inky murk around me getting nowhere, my feet rooted in place as the heat continues to grow.
“One good turn deserves another, don’t ya think?”, the demon laughs, and I feel the world turn beneath me.
My eyes fly open and I hear the woman driving the bike rattle off a chain of curses that would make Ahab blush as the rear wheel skirts out underneath us. She grips the throttle tighter and we jump ahead with a roar. “Easy, bitch, easy!” ,she yells into the night as the big hogg rights itself.
From out of the night ahead of us the sky slowly starts to glow with a golden light. After a few more miles a strange dark shape grows closer as we approach, becoming clear even in the dark once we get nearer. A giant tomahawk stands on the side of the road as if some massive native has tossed it there years ago, its darkened sign front announcing:
“BIG TIME! BIG FUN! TEN MILES AHEAD!
Circle Your Wagons At Chief Flaming Arrow Casino And World Famous RV Lodge!”
Cards. Dice. Slots. Bets. Odds. Stakes. Keno. Bingo. I suddenly feel a familiar tingle in the back of my throat, almost like a cold coming on and know without a doubt this was likely going to be another one of those steps in my little journey that I will regret before it is even over.
But them’s the chances you take, and at this point what have I got to lose?
Before my palms have hardly finished itching good the glow grows to a glare and we roll into the huge blacktop parking lot surreal in the way it seems hewed out of the forest without any forethought.
Winding our way through the sporadically filled rows of cars and pickups we make our way towards the main casino as clearly designated by the towering plaster wooden indian statues at its entrance. The “World World World Famous Famous Famous RV LODGE!” being of course easily located opposite of this, thanks to the giant 18 wheeled tee-pee sign happily lighting the way through the night like a beacon to complimentary septic tank dumping with every hookup.
“Buck stops here.” ,the bikes blonde owner announces. “You’ve got more bad mojo on your back than I thought. GTFO.”
I step off the bike, not quite sure what to do now; never having figured this vaudeville scene as my next destination. Not that I’m working off any kind of a plan. When you’re running from hell the only place you have to worry about getting to is away.
“You need it more than me, slick.” ,she says plainly and puts a small leather pouch into my hand.
“Uh. Thanks…I..”, the rest of my words are drowned out by the growl of her hogg as she rips away back into the night, and I stuff the pouch into my pocket before walking into the tinkling, twinkling wonder of Chief Flaming Arrows Casino.