Howdy! Grab a chair an’ a beer! I hope ya liked the beginning of my story, Anchor’s Asylum, last month. In the world we’re living in you just never know how long we’ll have the freedom to ride, travel, or do anything without breaking the law. I hope you like the rest of the story, and remember, bad laws make outlaws!
Anchor’s Asylum—Part 2
The next day, Anchor opened the door to find Tony standing on the porch with an old man in a tattered leather jacket and run-down engineer boots. Long, dirty gray hair hung to his shoulders, and his beard was stained yellow down the front of his chin. A small toolbox dangled from a bony hand.
“This is Doc,” Tony said, as they stepped quickly inside.
Doc looked up at Anchor with faded blue eyes, then at the Fat Boy, trapped in its carbon fiber prison. “Dirty shame to do that to a Harley,” he said. “But I guess it saved her from the torch. Hand me that Phillips screwdriver, Tony,” Doc mumbled, as he held the air cleaner in place. He had just finished re-installing the carburetor, and wiring in a 12-volt gel-filled alarm battery. He watched as Anchor filled the tanks with fresh gasoline. “This alarm battery don’t have the amps the original did, but it should get ya by. Ya can’t buy the right battery no more, so ya just gotta make do.”
Hours before, they had pulled the axles to free the Fat Boy from its cradles, and carefully disconnected the sensor wires and hydraulic rams. The Harley now sat on its kickstand for the first time in nearly two decades.
Anchor could feel sweat trickling down his ribs as the old man tinkered with the ignition switch, finally getting the lights to come on.
The sound of the engine turning over was loud in the silence of Anchor’s den, and when the big V-Twin stuttered to life, he thought his heart would break out through his ribs it was beating so hard.
Doc grinned, his thin lips pulling back from his yellow, uneven teeth as he twisted the throttle, the 80-inch motor responding with a throaty roar. “Good thing ya live near the edge o’ town, boy,” Doc shouted over the Harley’s rumble. “Not too many people around ta call the law. Nice, fat jail term ya got here!”
Anchor threw a leg over the seat like he’d done hundreds of times before, but this time the rumble and vibration were not from computer-controlled hydraulics, but technology from the last century, when freedom was taken for granted.
He swung the side stand up, and sat for several moments before he pulled in the clutch and kicked it into first gear with a metallic clunk.
Doc leaned closer to Anchor. “You ever ridden one o’ these for real, boy?” he asked.
Anchor grinned at the old man. “Nope, but if it’s anything like the video game, I’m damn sure ready!
He turned to Tony, who still stood back in awe. “Tony! Open the door, man!”
Tony pulled the door open, and Anchor left black smudges on the tile floor as he shot through the open door into the pre-dawn blackness.
The narrow two-lane road through the mountains beckoned Anchor, drawing him like a magnet. The mountain road memory chip had always been his favorite, and he rode now as he had hundreds of times before. Only now, his eyes streamed tears as the wind tore at his jacket, and tangled his long hair. He was surprised at how realistic the game had been compared to the real thing, and he leaned into the curves, rolling the throttle open with practiced ease, reveling in the power of the big V-Twin roaring beneath him.
The old tires were hard, and he could feel them slide slightly on the sandy asphalt when the turns got tighter. He made a hard right, feeling the pipes drag the pavement, leaving a trail of sparks in his wake, then he was into a tight off-camber turn to the left.
Anchor had just rolled the throttle open when the front tire blew, throwing the Fat Boy to the side, where it caught the sandy edge of the pavement. Force of habit made Anchor take his hands off the bars and lean back in the seat, working the kinks from his shoulders as bike and rider hurtled out into space above the valley below.
Skinner’s War and its sequel are available as e-books from Amazon.com.