Shadow Unit

Case Files

Teasers & Deleted Scenes

Somewhere and somewhen in California

Stink of greasy denim sweaty in the dry California heat. Heartbeat throb of a chopped Harley Davidson FLH Electra-Glide shovelhead, model year 1970. Mostly. The sting of sunlight burns through my sleeves and jeans; the sting of wind slaps my face. Desert spins by so fast it's hard to tell the mesquite from the Joshua trees. The road is a whipping gray line.

I want to hug the ripped Levi's vest in front of me and press my nose to the winged, helmeted skull that brands it. But a little voice in my head keeps saying look cool, look cool, so I push back into my white-knuckle grip on the sissy bar and try to remember how to pray.

The chopper's front wheel extends like a testing snout. The guy straddling its cut-down tank dangles from his ape hangers--hyper-extended handlebars--his shoulder-length rats of reddish-brown hair whipping my face as we lean into a curve. Instinctively, I drag in my knees.

No helmet, no gloves, no leathers. If you hit that pavement at this speed, denim and boots would peel off like the shell of a hard-boiled egg and the rest of you would follow.

This motorcycle club doesn't brake: ride hard, fear nothing--or go down. Six months from now, I will have learned to keep up. But today, I'm on charity.

Riding bitch behind a Hells Angel at a hundred miles an hour.

--Life by Misadventure, Solomon Todd, St. Martin's Press, 1978