Stickman Readers' Submissions March 17th, 2007

Pretty In Pink…

China Hotel Guide
• Gladden Hotel Shilong
• Chang An Hotel Dongguan
• Regal Palace Hotel
• Shan Hu Hotel Dongguan

Looking at the clock I could see it was 0230 and a glance out the one window of my barracks room confirmed the rain had stopped and the streets were dry. Pulling on my black leathers and black Nasty Feet motorcycle boots I wrapped two turns of duct tape
around the top of my boot and taking a Sharpie wrote my name, contact information, and blood type in block leathers before rolling the leather over the top of the right boot. I figured if we did this when on an op it might prove useful if I ever
ended up in a trauma ward somewhere. I could feel the excitement build and there was a bit of shake in my hands as I placed my wallet and some yen in the zippered pockets before reaching for the custom made black leather jacket I had tailor made
outside of Osan Air Base in Korea and pulling it on over bare skin. It was hot in Okinawa and I wanted the protection of the thick leather and the double layer skid pads with as little extra heat as possible so I had a thin polypro liner on this
particular jacket instead of the usual padded/insulated nylon I had on my cold weather jacket. Sitting on a table by the door was my freshly shined and cleaned black Shoei Z1 Kevlar helmet with dark tinted visor and a single key with a 6”
braided blue and gold keychain my little sister had made for me in the 4th grade for good luck. Picking up the helmet I made sure the deerskin gloves where inside and my ritual complete I turned off the room lights and stepped out into the corridor.

My heart beat faster still as I went to the next door and turning a key in the lock opened the empty barracks room and flipped on the lights. Sitting on a separate maintenance stand on top of a piece of carpet in the middle of the room stood
my Harley Sportster. Against the walls were my two rollaway tool chests, two shelves full of oils, lubes, shop manuals, and other maintenance items, some spare tires, new brake pads, and other items necessary to maintain and race a high performance
bike. From behind a large framed picture of a 65 2+2 Fastback Ford Mustang GT I carefully retrieved a civilian motorcycle license plate with heavy magnets epoxied to the back. Placing it inside my jacket I quickly re-checked the bike one more
time like a pilot would go over a checklist for an aircraft. Earlier that afternoon I had already done this along with routine maintainenance and tuning before polishing her to a bright gleam and then heading over to the club for dinner. Pushing
her off the stand I jockeyed the wide flat track style bars through the door frame and silently pushed her out in the corridor locking the door behind me. Pushing her down the 20-30 meters to the wide double doors and then down the steps to the
walkway outdoor I was careful to make no noise, only the tires on the carpet and the soft ‘chink chink chink’ of the double roller chain moving over the sprockets could be heard. Outside it was so quiet I could hear the drops of
water left over from the rain falling from the nearby tree and hitting the ground. Sucking in a big chest full of pure ocean air I spread the sides of the helmet apart and forced the Shoei helmet over my head and secured the chin strap through
the double- D-rings and then secured the loose piece with Velcro, pulled on my gloves and straddled the bike. Flipping up the side stand I gave her a nudge and let her roll down the hill until I was about 50 meters from the barracks and then stopped.
Turning the key to the on position I reached down to the big S&S carb and pulled out the choke about halfway and cracked the throttle open twice before being rewarded by the familiar smell of high octane gasoline. Pushing the start button
she instantly came to life and immediately I pushed the choke in since the weather was so warm it wouldn’t be needed except to coax her to turn over that first time.

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The unique sound of the bored out big American V-Twin coming from the tuned Supertrap 2-1 exhaust wasn’t even close to the high pitched whine of it’s Japanese counterparts but it was a sweet sound to my ears nonetheless. Originally
she was 1200cc when I took her new from the shipping crate and immediately tore her down without ever firing her up once. After six months and a great deal of funding later she was now 1392cc’s which is all the space and stroke I could
get from the custom Buell heads and stock cases using a custom forged crank, cams, billet rods, and more special engine parts than I care to list. The brakes, tires, suspension, all of it as gone over with one thing in mind. I wanted a ‘sleeper’
that looked mostly stock but still cool, and would excel on the nearby mountain roads the locals used to stage races. Not the café style everyone else had, this had the appearance of a flat track racer with wide firm bars, a single seat with
a rear pad I could add for company on weekends and an oversized 3.2 gallon fuel tank with a big Harley eagle decal I added before spraying on the protective clear coat. Perhaps the oddest thing about the look was the orange high voltage coil mounted
right under the tank, it clashed with the black something fierce. I tried painting it black several times but for some reason the paint would flake off. Perhaps the electricity? Now I just left it orange and accepted the looks as an imperfection.
She was a very fast bike but I knew the fastest Japanese bikes would clean its clock on a grand prix style track, but on an uphill twisty mountain road the superior low end torque provided by the V-twin design and stroked crank gave me an advantage
over almost anything else out there. My mom used to tell me to pick my fights and the local motorcycle race scene in the low mountains of Japan was my pick. Letting her warm up I gently looped around the barracks and headed out the front gate
with the gate guard saluting me on the way out. It took about 40 minutes to reach the soba house where the racers met stopping only once to attack the local license plate to the rear of my regular plate and unclipping my base sticker plate from
the front fork and sliding it under the seat.

The ride there had totally relaxed me but as I stepped off my bike and over to the guy holding the clipboard I could feel the slight shaking return, being nervous was healthy I suppose. By now it was after 0300 and the parking lot was dark
save for a few flashlights but I still kept my visor down to cover my face. The guy arranging the races recognized me from the last time I raced which was over a month ago and scowled at me remembering the thick roll of yen I collected without
saying a word after leaving a lasting impression. My Japanese was pretty good but despite hiding my face I’m guessing they knew I was a gaijin from my bike if nothing else. Asking who I was racing that night I grinned behind the tinted
visor with satisfaction when I saw that tonight they’d be taking me seriously and I’d be racing the number three rated guy. Handing over the equivalent of nearly $700 US in yen I was told I’d be racing in the fourth heat and
I walked back over to my bike to wait noticing that this time an entire swarm of locals kneeling in close for a good look as they studied the unfamiliar details of the American machine. Much better, last time I was received as something of a joke.
They didn’t know the many hours I spent practicing on this exact mountain during the day and even the nights when I could find the time. Truth be told this course was ideally suited for a flat track style bike and techniques much more so
than a café bike, almost exactly the sort of roads I’d raced on when younger on Mulholland Drive in Southern California. Everyone needs a hobby and a vice and this activity filled both quotas.

The first riders were away about 30 minutes later and you could hear the engines winding up loudly all through the small canyon where we stood. I’d often wondered how they got away with the racing without police interference but I
figured the organizers were paying off the authorities. Certainly we were disturbing the few residents who lived along the way. Soon it was my turn and I was staged beside my opponent, a 750cc Suzuki that looked to have more modifications than
even my own ride. The rider was pretty cool, he didn’t even look at me but instead straight ahead at the starter. We were away in a roar of noise and tire smoke and I couldn’t help but smile inside at the very different note of my
engine exhaust. The course covered 5kms and I hung back about 20 meters learning the skill and techniques of my opponent just to make sure he was capable and wouldn’t end up taking me over the side with him. At the 2km mark I decided to
make my play and moving up on his rear tire I started to apply pressure to see if I could get him to break. The pace increased quite a bit and just when I thought he was going to have to back off and let me by the road exploded in lights and sirens
as what seemed like 100 police cars lining the road came to life. The Suzuki rider hit the brakes and in my mirror I could see him heading back down the mountain as I hit twisted the throttle and went by the police like they were standing still,
which they were. Wondering how long it would take them to pursue I thought about the consequences of standing before the old man trying to explain this one. My application for OCS I’m sure would end up in his garbage can so I was going
to do my best to avoid that particular confrontation. As fast as I dared I pressed up the mountain hoping they hadn’t set up cars at the exit but knowing they probably had since I noticed none of the cars were starting to pursue me. All
of a sudden it made sense why the other guy turned around, the trap was ahead. How do you say ‘CRAP’ in Japanese?

Slowing down a bit to think but still keeping a very fast pace I noticed a single headlight behind me and gaining fast, this was one extremely fast rider moving up on me and I wondered if the police had a special bike and rider out that night?
I started pushing the pace harder when the headlight started flashing at me, not like a police flash and no red lights, just a steady high-low-high-low beam flash. Backing off just a bit I let the bike close and before I knew it the rider was
alongside me and I was very surprised to see it was a pink CBR Honda with rider in pink leathers! The Japanese had all sorts of neon colors, pink, lime green, purple, so the pink bike didn’t surprise me but the pink leathers did and this
rider was very very good. Turning his helmet to me he motioned with his hand for me to tuck in behind him and follow. We were still about 1.5 km from the exit point when he slowed way down and turning off his headlight I did the same and followed
slowly along what would be described in my country as a dirt fire road cut in the side of the mountain. It wasn’t totally dark but dark enough since the cliff side was a sheer drop off of several hundred meters and I’ll admit to
being a bit nervous. By now we could hear the police cars whining past where we’d cut off the main road and I was thankful they hadn’t called in a helicopter, at the time I didn’t know they didn’t have one but they
sure had in California so I halfway expected one to show up at any moment. About ten minutes later we arrived at a small cabin and I followed the rider to the side of the house where he parked his bike and I put mine beside it as he was holding
up a old canvas tarp. Covering the bikes he walked back to the road and spent several minutes looking and listening down the road we’d just come up from.

Reaching up to undo his helmet I did the same and I started to say thank you when the longest thickest black hair I’d ever seen spilled from the helmet and a smiling beauty of a woman turned towards me and introduced herself as “Miko.”
Her father was a Shinto priest and this was her family’s summer cabin, I was later to learn her name carried certain significances. Moving up to the porch she softly asked me to follow and she unzipped her boots and motioned for me to do
the same. Pulling off my Nasty Feet I realized how big my boots where next to hers and she opened the door and motioned me inside. Once inside she lit some candles and I saw the room was very traditional. Tatami mats covered the floor and except
for a polished wooden table in the center of the room there was only a few bedding chests along the walls. Off to one side led out to an outdoor kitchen and the other side to an outdoor bath and shower area complete with a wooden bathing tub that
you used propane under to heat the water. She went out and started the water in the tub and quickly had the fire going as I was taking in the drawings and pictures along the one wall dedicated to their family history. We hadn’t said many
words yet and I didn’t know how long she’d let me stay there before telling me to be on my way and it was starting to get very warm under my leather jacket. Reading my mind she asked me for my jacket and a bit embarrassed I told
her I didn’t have a shirt underneath. Laughing softly she unzipped her own pink leather jacket revealing beautiful bare skin and a black lace bra so I followed her example and immediately felt cooler and a bit excited as I noticed her slight
yet well curved figure. Leading me outside I saw the tub up close and saw that it was more of a hot tub sized tub rather than a personal bath. Hanging our jackets on hooks she turned from me and unzipping her pink leather pants stepped out of
them and placed them on a hook next to her jacket and then quickly stepping out of her panties and bra got into the tub without ever turning towards me. She turned her head to me and asked me to join her and then watched with interest and no shame
at all as I undressed and came in the tub across from her. We sat in the cool water just looking at each other and as the water started to heat up we started small talk and as she stood up and bent over to cut the propane I couldn’t help
but notice this was one finely toned athlete with some seriously good looks. Turning around she sat next to me this time.

We stayed in the tub for over and hour until the sun started to peek over the mountains and the water started to get real chilly before she got out and headed into the cabin. I followed and she laid bedding out on the mats and came and took
my hand led me over to the bedding and there we stayed until almost noon only falling asleep once. She didn’t talk much but seemed to really enjoy being with me and her body was hard as a rock with muscles that ripped from one side to the
other, still she was very soft to the touch and knew how to touch and move softly. I only learned that she’d been studying the martial arts since she was a small child and a few years ago had taken up the ‘bad girl’ activity
of motorcycle racing and from what I had seen earlier she was just as talented on the bike as she was on the Tatami mats. She made no apologies for what she wanted from me and it was only hours later that she told me how she’s been watching
from a vantage point the last time I raced and had been watching for me since. That night she was at the same vantage point when she saw the police setting their trap and seeing me heading into their trap on the other end decided to see if she
could catch me and lead me to her family’s cabin. I’m certainly glad she did.

We were both hungry so after showing outside we dressed and slowly rode back to the soba house which was now open. She had a healthy appetite for sure and didn’t pause to talk much at all. After enjoying a lunch of soup and noodles
she gave me a phone number and abruptly said goodbye and that was it, she was on her bike and was gone. Taking a long route back to the base I was lost in the thoughts of what happened over the last 12 hours and wondered if I’d ever see
her again. Before arriving at the base I pulled off the fake plate and placed my base decal plate back on the front fork. Pushing my bike back down the corridor and towards the room I kept it in I passed a few guys who asked me how I enjoyed the
ride. Smiling inside I told them the ride was beautiful, a ride of a lifetime..

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Until next time..

Stickman's thoughts:

You've lived an interesting life!

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