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When the Rain comes [TRA2018]

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posted on Apr, 3 2018 @ 03:13 PM
When the Rain Comes

I first met Bonzo in a lay-by on the A31. I was 19 and my 350LC was (once again) out of juice. The reserve tap never worked and it was always running dry. It was one of those bikes that just takes over, stops you thinking about anything other than getting it set up for the next bend, snicking the slick little gearbox with your left foot, letting the clutch out and pouring it on with the right hand, a shiver running up your spine as the wail of the motor rose into a crescendo...right in the fat bit of the power-band....See? Happening again. I swear, there was something magical about those two strokes, something you just don't get with the big, four bangers.

Anyway, I was sitting on the little white Yamaha, cursing my stupidity once again, trying to shield a cigarette from the rain that was coming down in sheets and, to be honest, feeling pretty miserable. This was in the days before cell phones so when you were stuck, you really were stuck. I was trying to summon up the will to start walking when I heard the growl of a big, Jap four being wound down as it pulled into the lay-by and came to a stop next to me.
The rider, a big, Buddha shape squeezed into a scuffed, black leather, bristling brown beard with flecks of ginger and old fashioned, black and white era, motorcycle racer goggles beneath a black, open face helmet. His voice that gritty, gravelly Birmingham accent as he called out “Alright Bruvvah? Zit baff day fer ya? Or ya need sum 'elp?”

That grin, wide between the wire brush bristles of his hairy face was, even then so infectious I could do nothing but smile in response “Ran out of petrol ain't I?” Nothing else needed saying. I tossed away the soggy smoke, put my helmet back on and climbed up behind him for the ride to the petrol station that turned out to be only about two miles of howling speed up the road through rain that struck any bit of exposed flesh like icy needles.
This was Dorset, back in the days when someone would actually lend you a can to go rescue your machine with a gallon of petrol and that is exactly what happened.

Fifteen minutes later, my “Elsie” was fuelled up and standing under the porch of the cafe attached to the garage alongside the bigger, rougher looking GS thou of my new, best mate while we sat drinking from big, steaming mugs of strong, brown tea.

“See? Don't matter where you are or what you are doin' how ya feel is down to you exactly and nothing bloody else. All that rain, made you cold and moody? That cuppa tea you are drinking now wouldn't be half as good if it was a warm, sunny afternoon and you hadn't got yersel' into a state. That's how a Buddhist sees it. Whatever happens just happens, it's your job to decide if you are going ta take any pleasure from being alive in that moment or not.”
I have always been a simple soul and admit, I didn't really get it, still don't if I am honest. Not Bonzo though. He would find the tiny little diamond of truth sparkling in whatever situation he was in. No matter how negative it seemed on first impressions.

It turned out he was quite the history buff too. We left the cafe to clearing skies and that earthy, fresh smell of the woodland after rain. He wanted to show me something...After 10 minutes we turned off the main road and made our way slowly up what was actually now, a footpath. Stopping by a small stone tablet, we shut our bikes off and he pointed and said “Lawrence of Arabia. That's where he had his last off. Was riding his Brough and swerved to avoid a couple of kids on pushbikes...Hit a tree, never woke up...His last day on Earth that he was conscious of, he was doing what he lived for...Riding fast.” Bonzo took a small bottle of whisky from a pocket and opened it, tipping the contents over the stone and just standing there for a long moment, communing with someone separated by half a century but connected by the same drive to move through space on two wheels.

I didn't get that either, not then. We took off and later, as the darkness rolled in, our lights picked out the white lines and cat's eyes curving this way and that, “Elsie's” howl occasionally being drowned out by the roar of the GS but always able to keep pace...such was her spirit. Finally we pulled into narrow farm track, rolled about a hundred yards up to an oasis of sodium light and noise behind some old barn. There were about twenty bikes of all shapes and sizes parked up, from pukka looking Katanas to ratty old pre unit Triumph twins chopped until they were barely recognisable.

Names and faces passed in a blur of sweet, fragrant smoke and harsh, cheap whisky, Throaty laughter and in jokes between people who were tight with each other, but accepting of me in a way that made it feel like home.

That first day...Was one of the best in my short life, even now, looking back twenty years. It was the start of a journey and, just like when you pull on your leather, grab your lid and head out the door without a clue on a Sunday morning...The fact that I never knew where I was going to end up, meant everything was fresh and I was able to learn, like Bonzo insisted, to take what the world throws at you and enjoy it for what it is.

Funny how it has taken until now for me to get it. Standing with the others by this hole in the ground. Looking down at the wooden lid of his coffin, rain matting our hair to our scalps, mixing with the tears on our cheeks as we remember our own parts in HIS story.

It would have been easy to just mourn...but we all looked up and at each other, seeing our own grief in each others eyes, but also the love we each knew and that's when we all got it..and the smiles appeared, shy, knowing things on each face as Bonzo's last lesson tied it all together, right there in the rain, one last time.

edit on 15pTue, 03 Apr 2018 15:25:15 -050020182018-04-03T15:25:15-05:00kAmerica/Chicago30000000k by SprocketUK because: Linking embedding

posted on Apr, 3 2018 @ 04:15 PM
a reply to: SprocketUK

I always enjoy reading your stories Sprocket. This one was no exception.



posted on Apr, 3 2018 @ 05:01 PM
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance...

...In the rain!

Great story! Well told and presented.

posted on Apr, 3 2018 @ 05:06 PM
Loved this.
Great storytelling

posted on Apr, 3 2018 @ 08:13 PM
a reply to: SprocketUK

S & F.
Thanks for the good read.

posted on Apr, 3 2018 @ 08:21 PM
a reply to: SprocketUK

Wow man.

Touched. Truly.

Funny how this story is repeated in different facets among different walks of life. His history. Your history. My history all touches on a major chord that reverberates through time and space.

The way you incorporated the English accents really make it unique. Great work.

(I don't even think I could compete with this)

posted on Apr, 4 2018 @ 02:32 AM
a reply to: bally001


a reply to: cosmickat

a reply to: Nothin

a reply to: JinMI

Thanks for the encouragement and kinds words.

Especially the flattery, yeah, I loved that. You lot are the best
Beers are on me.

posted on Apr, 5 2018 @ 05:57 AM
a reply to: SprocketUK

Nice one! Sprocket stories are always a good read.

posted on Apr, 5 2018 @ 07:05 AM
For me, the thing that marks your writing is authenticity. There's something very real in your stories, that rings true. I know jack squat about riding a motorcycle, but I could put myself completely into this story. That tells me an awful lot about it.

Well done, Sprocket.

posted on Apr, 5 2018 @ 07:49 AM

And because running out of petrol on a rainy day doesn't have to be a bad thing.

And one for Bonzo

posted on Apr, 5 2018 @ 08:11 AM
Excellent descriptive read. Really enjoyed how how you tied the rain into the ending !
edit on 5-4-2018 by Sheye because: (no reason given)

posted on Apr, 5 2018 @ 03:32 PM
I think we all have known a Bonzo at one time or another in our lives. Good descriptive writing.

posted on Apr, 5 2018 @ 07:07 PM
a reply to: FauxMulder

a reply to: PrairieShepherd

a reply to: angeldoll

a reply to: Sheye

a reply to: LookingForABetterLife

Thanks to you all for your kind words also

Prairie There's little bits of life I like to call on at times yeah, glad you saw that You really should try riding a bike, at least once

Looking, yeah, if we are lucky enough to spot it

posted on Apr, 5 2018 @ 07:16 PM
a reply to: SprocketUK

LOL - you'll probably laugh, but I saw one I liked in downtown Minneapolis once. I could see myself on one of these if I ever get the money and time for it.

posted on Apr, 6 2018 @ 12:16 AM
a reply to: PrairieShepherd

V-Rod! Nice choice. I got a ratty old 1200 sportster as my main ride, Got rid of my Rocket 3 last year.

One thing I will say, is whatever you get, make sure you enjoy it, its not about the fastest or the shiniest or the biggest...its about the one that suits you, that's why I still have my sporty.

posted on Apr, 6 2018 @ 07:30 AM
a reply to: SprocketUK

That's just it, isn't it? It's what you like, and what fits.

I've never been too hung up on cars - I've driven a sporty sedan, a beat up Honda, our minivan, even a '68 Chevy Biscayne with a 3-on-the-tree manual transmission. Doesn't make much difference to me, it's what gets the job done, gets me to work and back, reasonably inexpensive, and is safe for my family. But if I ever buy a bike, it won't be about what works or gets the best gas mileage. It will be completely about what I want. Of course, I'll have to get a second one for the Mrs., though, she won't want to be left behind.

So I guess I need to finish that novel and make it big as an author - that's about my only shot at clearing enough $$ to buy a pair of bikes, I think. LOL

posted on Apr, 6 2018 @ 12:01 PM
a reply to: PrairieShepherd

True, but, one of my favourite bikes was a MZ ts125. That cost me 50 notes.
It was rough and slow and ugly, but it put a smile on my face.

Much better to find out if you like biking for the price of a meal out than spending thousands.

posted on Apr, 6 2018 @ 02:17 PM
a reply to: SprocketUK

Very cool well written Tale here Sprocket!! It was/is an enjoyable read!! S and F for You!!

posted on Apr, 6 2018 @ 03:33 PM
a reply to: SyxPak

Thank you Syx!

posted on Apr, 8 2018 @ 12:04 PM
Thats a great read. I actually knew a guy like that. He was my own personal guru. He always had an answer for me but he never just handed it over. He made me figure it out. I learned a lot from him.

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