Once a year the No Name Club put on an old-fashioned motorcycle run that hadn’t changed in four or five decades. Attendees paid one price for a weekend pass which included an all-you-can-eat pig roast, all the beer you can drink, a poker run, motorcycle games of balance to see who could handle their bikes in the dirt while under the influence of whatever they were under the influence of, and of course there was more than one wet T-shirt contest in which the chants of “skin to win” always enticed the beautiful ladies to shuck superfluous bits of clothing.
The poker run was a classic. It included dirt roads, lime-marked turns, exacting instructions that were purposefully deceptive, a section where the directions lay in the answering of questions and hints to those answers were seen along the highway. The route had to be followed precisely to find the hidden checkpoints and this exactitude always kept the riders interested.
Not caring for chrome or clean motorcycles there was no bike show. Believing that a motorcycle run was not a shopping trip to the mall, no vendors of any kind were ever present to compete with the debauchery. Run around crazy, do everything three times or sit with your feet up, cool your heels and relax enjoying a conversation with friends or strangers around your own private campfire. The choice was yours.
The wildest misrepresentations of reality have been spouted around campfires. Nothing said around a campfire could ever be taken seriously. However, that never stopped anyone from sitting in a circle, breathing in wood smoke, passing a bottle of bourbon, and huddling against the late-night chill in order to recite tales of glory. Occasionally, misguided facts might slip out under the guise of a twisted truth. But not tonight. This was the final campfire of the weekend and these were the last dogs hung.
Three diehards, three friends who had known each other forever never missed this motorcycle event. They liked the political incorrectness, low-key, down-home, old-fashioned atmosphere that didn’t exist anywhere else.
After everyone had left the three of them always stayed another day, caught up on the gossip, cured the world’s problems, commiserated with personal dilemmas and fabricated ridiculous whoppers, stories that contained little or no truth. Off by themselves, they sat around a campfire smoking, passing a bottle of bourbon and enjoying each other’s company.
“That blonde who won the T-shirt contest Saturday night was a real keeper. I think she was a pro. For $25 she was offering private lap dances and other questionable entertainments. If we get any more pros next year they’ll have to put up a pole. Maybe they should increase the prize money to entice the professionals.”
“Naw. Sixty dollars and a fifth of bourbon is plenty. Plus, I like the amateurs. I like the underfed and the slightly corpulent girls that get talked into losing their inhibitions and their clothes.”
The conversation, like it did every year, argued the preferences between exotic dancers with surgically enhanced body augmentations versus the girls who sported only that which nature endowed them and which of these groups of ladies might be more responsive to invitations for motorcycle rides off into the darkness. Twenty years ago one or all three of the men might have gotten lucky with the ladies. With each passing season, the chances of it happening again lessened but the acceptance of that reality didn’t subdue a vigorous discussion.
A bottle was again passed around, more than once.
“Remember when we went to Daytona and picked up those two girls on their way back from Mardi Gras?” Thus started embellished tales of sexual prowess concerning hitchhikers from the past.
“How about the time we went to Sturgis and those sisters were broke down on the road in Nebraska?” Because the first liar never has a chance, the specifics of the debaucheries in a Midwestern cornfield far outweighed anything that happened in Louisiana.
Of course they remembered Daytona and Sturgis… and the women… and the REAL facts. Nevertheless, tales of conquest were never interrupted and the truth never got in the way of a good story. However, there was one tale that was never embellished. There was no need to. It was held in the highest reverence.
It was 1973. They had come to this same old-time motorcycle run and afterwards decided to ride the 700 miles to Las Vegas. At 100 miles outside of Vegas some peyote was furnished and strangely, for the first time, all three of these psychedelic-drug virgins thought it was a good idea. The psychoactive buds filled with mescaline hit hard and took full effect on a hillside overlook just outside the fabled city. The trip changed from mileage to hallucinatory.
“The trip I remember was the one to Vegas when Marvin produced the peyote. Remember when it hit full blast, at that turnout a few miles outside of Las Vegas? We pulled off the road to admire the city and marvel at the view. Funny thing about peyote flashbacks, I can still see it today, plain as day and remember every detail. At first, there on the distant flats was The Emerald City of Oz and then it changed.”
The three men around the campfire went thoughtful; they all remembered the event.
“I didn’t see Oz, I saw Disneyland. Remember, I talked about when we were kids and on Sunday night watching Disneyland on TV was a big deal? There was Tomorrowland, Adventureland, Frontierland, Fantasyland and Tinker Bell. Ahh yes, Tinker Bell, Peter Pan’s fairy? Recollect how I went on and on about how I loved the way each show would open up. Tinker Bell would zoom out of the gates of Disneyland, wave her magic wand and explode fairy dust on the TV screen. She was overtly sexy in her ragged skimpy green fairy costume, something for horny little boys to fantasize about. She really turned me on and got me going.”
“Yeah, the power of suggestion on peyote was incredible. You started talking about Disneyland and Tinker Bell and I stood there watching Disneyland off in the distance watching Tinker Bell swoop out of Las Vegas, wave her magic wand, sprinkle fairy dust on the Harley and transport us to somewhere fantastic.”
“I can see it clearly.”
Arguments about exotic pole dancers and wet T-shirts, stories about picking up hitchhikers from Daytona and Sturgis all disappeared. Each man quietly remembered being loaded out of their kazoo at the highway rest stop, overlooking Las Vegas with Tinker Bell swooping around, darting back and forth in front of their eyes entreating each of them toward a mystical adventure in the town of fantasy, fame, and fortune.
It was quiet around the campfire for a long time. “I don’t have any peyote but I might be up for another ride to Las Vegas.”