Chapter 12

I need something to say
to someone like that


Vic called Jason’s cab company and got Jason to give him a ride over to the house that Vic was living in over near Sand Point. Conversation was pretty one-sided because two Grande cups of Starbucks coffee swishing around in Jason’s stomach had him all tense about being able to drop off some demo tapes of his band, pick up his dry cleaning, pick up a keg of Harp he’d ordered from across the lake, take Frank through the vehicle emissions test, as well as answer a few bells he had lined up for later that afternoon. He thought of how hectic his day actually was and stepped on the gas, got Vic to his house, and sped off down the road.

Vic had only been living in the house that he called home for a few months, but had known two of his four housemates for a couple of years. They were all bikers who had six and a half motorcycles between them. Each having one that was street legal and one beater each that they would rape for parts. Vic had recently sold his beloved Beemer to buy a Zundapp that needed a new fork, a new gasket, headlights and a lot of care.

His housemates called him Applecross because he was always going on about how he wanted to ride his bike up into the hills of Applecross, Scotland. They also harped on about this infamous Royal Enfield he’d supposedly bought for $300 that no one had actually seen yet, but had heard all of the latest developments on when he’d be bringing it home.

Vic walked into the house to find Keith in an easy chair flipping through a copy of Easy Riders magazine.



"You’ve been missed."

"Yeah, did anyone get my message?"

"What message? We knew you’d probably gone down to San Francisco for the weekend, but we didn’t think it would be a full-blown holiday."

"Yeah, it was a holiday, all right." Vic said, going to the kitchen and grabbing a Red Hook from the fridge.

"So, how was it?"

"None too eventful. But, I shouldn’t have stayed down so long. I have to get out of here."

"Now where?"

"Back to Britain."

"Britain? Seriously? Britain?"

"Yeah," Vic sighed. "I don’t belong here. My feet are itchy, my last three girlfriends were infidels, I need to sit in a pub and get legless and...I’m bored."



"Yeah, you can do that can’t you?"

Vic smiled.

"Bastard. So, Applecross is finally going to Applecross, huh?"

Vic smiled wider.

"Can I have your room?"

"Yeah, sure. I also want you to...Keith, can I trust you to baby-sit my stuff for a while?"

"How long?"

"Six months, maybe a year. Maybe longer?"

"One way ticket?"

"Probably. I just want to disappear. Go find an old Triton and fix it up; see if I can get a job in a garage or something."

"You lucky, lucky...."

"Well, yeah, I guess. I just feel like I’m spinning my wheels here. Something has to happen."

"I know what you mean. I don’t know what I’m going to do either. I wish I’d been born in England."

"You had the chance."

"Yeah, I guess I did." Keith chuckled.

"So, yeah; my tapes, records, books, all that stuff, just hang on to it, don’t sell any of it, and if you do more work on the Zundapp than I have, it’s yours."



"Thanks. How much are you taking with you?"

"Don’t know. I have to go deal with my bank and see some people. Creative financing is the code of the week."

"I hear that."

A rumbling of engines came up the driveway as Vic’s other housemates stumbled inside and shot questions at Vic as he ducked them all, thinking about England, wiping out the past and tolerating the present. Countless errands he still had to run before he stepped on a plane.

Blondo, Silky, Rex and Jeff all threw their leathers, scarves, gloves and keys on the coffee table, grabbed some beers from the kitchen fridge and tried catching up with where Vic had been and what he was planning to do next.

None of his housemates had any close female friends or had entertained a girlfriend in many moons, pick-ups from parties notwithstanding. They were all in various stages of misogyny brought on as a result of trying to shove any given woman they happened to be with into their own personal goddess fantasy they kept thinking they’d find, with Rex and Jeff gradually adopting the female mannerisms and nuances they’d wish they could find in the women they were currently trying to woo. As they began to grow their hair into manes, letting it hang down delicately from their brow, piercing their ears and tying bandannas around their necks, their attitudes towards gay men turned as hostile as their attitudes towards women. Good old boys will be boys will be girls and can’t be seen alone on a Saturday night.

"Hey, Vic, we heard about Estrelica. All last night, huh?" Rex prodded.

"I was there." Vic replied.


"I asked her to marry me."

The room exploded with laughter.

"That’s good. That’s a good one." Rex laughed.

"I’ve got a piece of paper she could use, basically." Vic explained.

"How much?"

"She hasn’t got anything."

"You know, you gotta stay away from San Francisco, man. That place just keeps putting ideas in your head. Have you even met the girl? Christ, if I had a bike for every girl I ever wanted to follow...." Rex thought out loud.

"I don’t want to follow her. I just want to see where she goes."


"What? Do you know her?"

"I’ve seen her around." Rex mumbled.

"Yeah, but do you know her?" Vic asked, looking into his eyes.

"Well, come on; I’ve seen her at the Comet. We’ve all seen her at the Comet."

"But, never alone, huh?" Vic asked.

"I tried once."


"I don’t know. Just too weird, I guess. She was always talking about these things that happened when she was a kid. And it took so long for her to spread her legs." Rex said flustered.

"You got to know what makes the tumblers fall." Vic said softly.

"Yeah, but are the locks even worth picking? Look, tell me about Berkeley: Did you see Josie?" Rex asked.

"I saw Josie. He told me you owe him a manifold and a drive train."

"Shit. He’s still crying about that? He always forgets that he owes me a trannie."

"That’s what he said."

Vic went over and crouched down by Keith and his magazine.

"Can you give me a ride across town?"

"How long is it going to take?"

"Two hours tops."

Keith grabbed his jacket and his keys as Vic listened to his other housemates talking about the difference between the 50’s Telecasters and the new ones.

"We ready? We’re ready."

They went to straddle Keith’s bike, The Black Nightie he called it, as Rex came out behind them hollering before they took off.

"Hey, Vic!" Rex smiled. "Does she still taste like envelope glue?"

"Who wants to know?"

"Chinn asked me."

"Eat cotzo" Vic spat as he tore off with Keith.

Vic shouted where he needed to go as they rumbled across the city: Farouk’s van, that he worked on and slept in, to get his sleeping bag; Purcell’s place to even everything up; and Mary’s place to see if she had an eighth. On the way, Keith asked him if he’d heard the new John Lee Hooker album.

"No, I haven’t. I’ve just been listening to what other people listen to."

"Ahh, the blues is to music what God is to Creation. Spare a few kronas for it. Trust me."

Keith’s last name was Todd, and once he’d worked out that he had spent six months of his life spelling out his last name, with two thousand of those hours spent on that silent last "d" alone.

He and Vic used to ride their bikes down the coast and just before Tristan got married they skied over in Jackson’s Hole for a fortnight.

They loved getting mail and had each of their addresses run off on a computer onto 1500 mailing labels one night at a party. Things just happened with Keith and Vic. They’d go over to Coopers pub, where they had been meaning to go for months, then when they actually got there, Applebaum would be having his fund-raising party. Keith said that his name was Travis Bickle and Vic said that his name was Gordon Senior, then said that they were working for his campaign in Humptulips and they’d get pints and food all night long. Keith also had a mountain of Andy Capp books in his bathroom.

Vic pointed out to Keith the spot where he’d been dumped by Sally; the boxcar he was in with Linda on Steve’s birthday; where he had lived on both ends of Garden Street; the Stop and Rob where he’d been carded. They passed one of Vic’s old houses as he leaned forward to shout "Yeah, I was gonna be a husband."

"Well, we all heal at our own pace," Keith shouted back as they hurled down the Counterbalance and sped across the intersection at the foot of Queen Anne Hill. They headed over to the Buckaroo Tavern in Fremont and had a couple of Rainiers, slapped their hands on the bar to Little Walter wailing away, looked at all the faces bopping to the tune, and talking about the Saints chances.

"A dream came true for me yesterday," Keith said.


"I was able to get down 99 from Larry’s up at Oak Tree clear down to the Kingdome without a single red light."

"You were dreaming."

"It happened!" Keith winked as Vic looked out of the window to see a red skirt flit past. The kind of skirt that needs ironing.


Estrelica & Vic, Chapter 13

All this...