Elizabeth A Mills

The Motorcycle Thief: Chapter 4 of 6

	I spent the next couple of days in a fog of pain and want.  Nat
feeds me pills and food and sits next to me, reading a book.  She reads
out loud to me...stuff about wizards and elves, shit that really makes my
hair tingle to hear.  I sometimes think that Nat's an elf...more like a
goblin at times.  She's reading me something about this great ring of
power that everyone wants and these little, simple people who are saving
the world from it.  I wonder if the little people are going to save this
	She has moved me into the bedroom, onto a scruffy little twin
sized bed there which is full of fleas.  It can't be helped, though.  
She has to put me somewhere.  I am not allergic to flea bites like most 
people so the biting bothers me but I don't itch.  Funny how those things 
can really mean something at a time like this.
	I have wild dreams when I can sleep.  I'm starting to want my
smack really bad.  Nat is feeding me methadone to keep the want down just
enough so I can bear it.  But, I really want it back.  I dream about
little men with furry feet who bring me needles to stick my arm with.  I
dream about a dragon who Nat kills with her knife, which is really a sword
because it's so huge. 
	I also have this reoccurring dream: me and this woman are partners
in vengeance.  I don't know who we're going after, but we're after someone
who did something really bad.  We're in this warehouse, for no particular
reason.  It makes perfect sense in the dream world, though.  So, here we
are in this big metal and concrete building with huge hallways and
cubicles.  Everything is half-lit and gray.  Like it was twilight.  But, I
could have sworn that it was daylight outside.  The sun was shining when
we were outside and there are huge windows in this building.  But, none
of the light is getting though.
	We hear screaming and we start running towards it.  It feels like
I'm running though gearbox oil, it's so hard to get my legs to move. 
Almost like I've forgotten how to use them.  We run and run towards the
noise.  When we get to the source, we see this thing beating and raping a
woman.  I can't think of what it is...but it turns into the cop that shot
me.  He's got some woman in a corner, bloodied and torn.  She can't even
whimper anymore. 
	My partner and I start running around, looking for weapons.  Guess
we didn't remember to bring any.  Guns and knives, that's what we need.  I
can't find a thing, though.  Neither of us can.  We come upon this room
where we find a metal can of gasoline... one of those great steel cans
that you can't find that easily anymore because the plastic ones have
taken over the world.  I grab the gas.  I don't know what's happening to
the woman in the mean time.  Must have been put in dream-limbo or
something because nothing has changed when we get back.  My partner grabs
the gas out of my hand and douses the man as I kick him away from the
woman.  I take out my Zippo and set him on fire.  He screams as his hair
catches and I can see him starting to roast, his skin is blistering and
turning black.  It smells like burnt hot-dogs when you roast them on
sticks made of wire coat hangers over fire at the beach.
	I don't know what happens to the woman or to us.  Just watch that
guy fry and then the dream's over and I wake up, wanting to scream.  I
grab Nat, who's sleeping next to me, slumped over onto the side of the
bed.  She wakes up and takes my head in her hands and holds it, telling
me it was just another dream.  I whimper to her that I can't take these
fucked up dreams for much longer and she tells me that she's gonna shoot
me again if I don't shut up.  I wonder if she means it.  She looks really
tired.  There are dark bags underneath her usually bright, sharp eyes.  I
never have seen her so worn down. 
	Nat stands up and goes into the kitchen and gets my pills.  She
finished the Jack Daniel's a long time ago and there's no more booze in
the house.  She doesn't seem to care much about that.  She drinks when she
wants to and does drugs when she sees it fit.  I've seen her go for
months without either and it never bothers her.  She's not the type to get
hooked.  She takes her knife and plays darts with a old stump outside the
house in back.  She carefully places the blade in her fingers, positioning
it just so, and holds it until it feels right and then throws it.  Thump! 
It buries itself halfway into the wood.  She stands there for a second and
then walks over and works it out methodically, as to not break the blade. 
	I hear her do that when I sleep.  Thump.  Silence.  Thump. 
Silence.  I don't know if she has noticed that I have awakened and am
watching her.  She is concentrating on throwing her knife so hard that I
doubt that she has.  But, she has this ability to notice things, when I
think she's not paying attention.
	Nat is back with the pills and water.  I swallow them down and lie
back.  My leg is healing really well.  I'm amazed the pain has died down a
bit.  She sits down by the bed, cross-legged and rests her head against
its side. 
	"I have to get food for us.  We're almost out."
	"That bike is dirty."  I say.  "They'll see it and you're history."
	"Plates are no good."  She shrugs.  "We don't have any others. 
I'll have to chance it."
	I'm silent.  I know that she's good enough to pull it off without
a hitch but there's this part of me that's always afraid.  No one's that
good all of the time. 
	"We have to eat, unfortunately."  She shakes her head. 

	I bought Nat her knife in this little shop in old-town Sacramento,
California.  It's a wonderful place.  A pagan playground w/ great swords,
amulets, knives, and other things.  I was living in Sac at the time and
that's where we met.  I was working the bar that this industrial club off
of Arden Blvd, in a strip mall, of all places.  It was a cool club,
actually.  Everyone was into the black/leather/bondage thing: chains and
piercings and tatts and all...  Nat walked up to the bar one night and
asked for a shot of JD.  She was in motorcycle boots, jeans and a real
leather riding jacket.  I knew that because I ride too and I can always
pick out the real ones from the fakes, which are just poor imitations made
of buffalo hide are not stitched well.
	I had just dropped out of school.  That was a year ago.  Just gave
it up and decided to work and get my head together.  Went to bartending
school and got my license.  Then I went to work.  I am a night owl so the
job fit me.  Sleep all day till 2 or 3 and then get up, eat "breakfast"
and then start my day.
	I usually got Mondays and Tuesdays off so I'd stay up Sunday night
after work and then go out really early Monday morning, when everything is
really crisp and fresh, and ride my motorcycle around.  I'd then go out
for breakfast downtown at this great cafe with the best coffee and
munchies.  Lots of motorcyclists hang out there so I liked it.  I had a
Virago, a Japanese V-twin cruiser, at the time.  I couldn't afford my
dream bikes then...or steal them.
	So, I watched Nat drink her JD.  She didn't quite look like she
fit in the scene: no piercings (that were unusual), no visible
tattoos...(at the time I had a few too many holes in me and I have a few
tatts).  She seemed like she was a little above all of this futile
wanna-be crap.  And she was, in my opinion, one of the most beautiful
women that I have ever seen.  I couldn't stop looking at her.  I knew that
I was staring but I couldn't help it.
	She caught my eyes at one point and stared back at me with a
coldness that really scared the shit out of me.  Her face softened and she
smiled at me, after she saw me go pale and start shaking.  I didn't know
what to make of that so I kind of looked away and the then back at her,
meekly smiling.  I was a nice kid then.  I gave her another drink.
	When the club let out and my shift was over (Saturday night, one
more to go and then I could ride all morning in the sunshine), I walked
out to my motorbike in the cold Sacramento early hours.  She was out there
with the motorcycles, starting up a Harley .  A big old hog.  Funny, she
didn't seem like the Harley type...maybe a Sportie but that's it.  She
waved to me and putted off.  Cool.  I smiled to myself, shivering in the
wind, until I noticed a guy coming out to see his hog gone.  I didn't say
a thing.  
	Nat came back the next night.  Caught her in the corner of my eye
as I was mixing drinks for some under-age girls.  It was really late,
almost time to start shutting down.  It struck me how stupid it was to come
back to a place where you've stolen a motorcycle the night before.  She
knew that I saw her take the bike and that I probably saw the aftermath of
her doing so.  I tried to pretend that I didn't see her.  My heart was
beating very fast and my hands were shaking. 
	I started cleaning up bar a few minutes later.  She was nowhere to
be seen.  I halfway wondered if I was just seeing things.  I finished
getting things ready for the next night's bartender and then said good-bye
to everyone.  I slowly changed into my riding gear in the back office
and then one of the bouncers let me out the rear door.  She was sitting on
my motorcycle, the motor running.  She was in her leather jacket, leather
chaps, gauntlets and was holding her helmet.  My heart, which was still
pounding, just about stopped.
	"Want to go?"  She smiled.
	"Yeah."  I didn't even know that I had said it until she motioned
me over.  I numbly walked to the motorcycle, pulling on my helmet as I
approached her.  She scooted back on the seat to let me into the saddle. 
She wrapped her arms around me as I set the bike up to go and I felt as if
I was going to burn up.  I thought I could die at that moment and be
satisfied.  I let out the clutch and we started off.  I didn't quite know
where I was going but it didn't matter much.
	I took her to Capitol Park, where my favorite tree was: The Tree,
an ancient European Olive tree.  It's so gnarled and knobby that you can
see faces in it at night.  I used to hug it's trunk when I felt bad and
everything would start getting better.  I parked the bike and led her to
the tree.  We hadn't spoken til then.  I didn't know where to start.  So,
I took her to my tree and hoped that it would help me.  It had never let
me down so I knew that it would.
	"Do you always take women you meet to this tree?"  She smiled.  Her
grin had a biting edge to it that I liked.
	"Only when I need its help."  I looked into the bark, feeling it
with the tips of my fingers.  I then looked back at her.  It was hard not
to stare.
	"You think you need help?  With what?"  She set her helmet in the
tangled roots and put her fingers on the tree too.  "It's kinda strange
that you rely on a tree for that."
	"Just something that works, that's all."  I shrugged.  "Why did you
steal that Harley?"
	She jumped a little at my forwardness/stupidity, quickly
recovering to grin at my ignorance.  "It was there.  The guy who owned it
tried to pick me up for a quick fuck in another bar.  So, as payment for
insulting me and invading my peace and sacred space, I took his wheels."
	I laughed nervously at this, wondering what she was gonna do with
me now.  For some reason, I felt safe.  Couldn't tell why, but I felt like
she'd never hurt me.
	"You know,"  Nat was now really looking at my tree.  "I really like
this tree.  I can see people in it."
	"That is what I see too."  I smiled.  "When I was in school, a
friend of mine from campus and I used to come here and hang out under the
tree.  She's not here anymore and I am not going to school... So, I come
	"Yeah..."  She was resting her head next to my arm, which was what
I was leaning on.
	"Why are you here with me?"  I was full of stupid questions that
night.  "Why did you pick me out of that crowd?"
	"You ride and you seemed nice.  Dunno.  It's not something that I
wonder about so I don't have an answer."
	"Okay."  I didn't pursue the question further.  Didn't seem that
important anyway. 
	I carefully lifted my other hand and traced her jaw with my
fingertip.  I didn't have any idea what I was doing.  She smiled and then
pulled my face into hers and kissed me.  Her arms were so strong around
me.  Her strength was surprising for her size.  I am about five-six and I
weigh about 150-155 or so when I'm really working out hard.  I am a strong
woman with largish bones from my Celtic and Welsh ancestors.  She seemed
like she was stronger than I was and she couldn't be less than three
inches shorter than I and at least twenty-five pounds lighter with fine
Asian bones.  I probably could toss her around if I really tried but I
knew that she could kick my ass easily.
	I was clinging onto her jacket as she kissed me.  I thought my
knees were going to buckle.  When she let me go, I just swayed and had to
catch myself on the tree. 
	I took her back to my apartment.  Forget about my morning coffee. 
We had sex all morning under the sunlight pouring in my window onto my
bed.  I couldn't stop touching her, holding her, kissing her wonderful
mouth with such soft lips, kissing the rest of her body.  She has the
most incredible dragon tattooed on her back.  It's a traditional Chinese
dragon that seems to be writhing and twisting as she moves with a
character inked in beside it.  She told me that it means "burn."  I told
her about the Celtic armbands that I had tattooed on me and the koi on my
leg.  They are my strength at times.  They help me find my strength. 
	I bought her the knife after I had stolen my first motorcycle. 
She and I went to the shop that I loved to browse through so much.  They
had a particular knife that I really liked: fine, German steel and very
deadly.  Double edged thing, seven inch blade with an ebony and silver
inlaid handle.  I bought it for her and she put it in the back of her
jacket in a pocket that she had sewn back there to hide things in. 

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