Monday, November 22, 2004

West Texas neon and grease

It didn’t take long for Patrick to find a job. Years of hopping from job to job had given him the experience to find work almost anywhere he laid his head. This time he found a job in a small motorcycle shop. He worked long hours, at first it was to make up on lost cash from the road trip. Then to find a more permanent living arrangement. After only a few weeks in the motel, he had grown weary of the old man and his disapproving looks when he returned at night from his long days in the shop covered in grease and grime that would turn to money on Friday. Of his leering eyes while the young woman went about her daily activities of laundry, shopping, and lounging about the room. Soon they found a small garage apartment. A perfect arrangement indeed. There was enough room to park the truck and a bike away from prying eyes at night, and enough space above to keep from running over each other while they stayed in.
After finding suitable living conditions, Patrick began working the long hours for the extra cash to finally rebuild his bike. He spent many a night when not working on customers bikes working on his own. Rebuilding, repairing and refinishing parts cast off by others as unusable or undesirable, yet still more than satisfactory for his meager needs. What he did not need he traded or sold for the parts he needed to purchase new.
As time progressed the bike began to take shape and form. It was no longer a rolling, broken pile of rusty, ragged parts, but a rolling functioning motorcycle. Not necessarily the show bike he wanted, but he could soon put his face back into the wind. He could twist the throttle and blow his troubles away with the exhaust gasses. He had finally regained the freedom he had desired, even as short lived as it would become.
Soon the young lady disapproved of his late nights in the shop. Patrick was hardly ever home, and when he was, he was tired from long hours in the shop. The same long hours that put a roof over her head and food in her stomach. She grew weary of sitting in the apartment unable to find a job. Soon the magic was lost. She began making friends at the nearby bar. Soon she was spending more time away from the tiny, sparsely furnished apartment returning to bask in the light of a jukebox and a neon signs. Men began to take notice of her again. For a while she resisted, but eventually she fell prey to temptation. It was a man who didn’t have dirt under his nails, or grease stained hands. He was a normal man who spent long hours in the bar that she was beginning to call home, instead of working on his bike or hot rod. A man who had a job and provide her with drinks and fine food. The same man who took his own bike to Patrick for repairs.
Patrick came home one night to find a note laying on the kitchen counter. It read “ thanks for the ride, Nina”