Elizabeth A Mills

The Motorcycle Thief: Chapter 5 of 6

	Nat has taken the Ninja out to food for us.  She has peeled
off all the decals and taken off part of the faring to make it look like
it's just another bike that's been rolled and the owner is waiting for the
replacement parts to come in.  She took my gun after I insisted on
cleaning it for her.  Nat knows how to clean a gun but I wanted to do it
anyhow.  Just for luck, I guess. 
	I can hobble quite well on my leg now.  The pain is going away
faster than I expected.  Shit, in a few weeks, I'll be able to ride again. 
Now, if I could just get rid of the Want.  It's eating away at me,
nibbling at my toes and fingertips like this itch that I can't quite get
to.  I wonder if knife-throwing would work for me too.
	I stand up, dizzy from lying down for so long, woozy from lack of
food in my stomach, and walk into the kitchen.  I want to find that damn
methadone and just party.  I know that if Nat finds me, she'll put another
hole in me that will really hurt.  I look around, in the cabinets, on the
counters.  It's nowhere to be found.  The ziplocs that she had stashed in
the cupboards are gone.  Fuck.  Fuck.  Fuck.  I stand there, in my boxers
and t-shirt, 7am in the fucking morning, cursing the woman I love for taking
my methadone so I can't get high.  All I want is to just get rid of
this monster that's making me want and want.  Just shut it up till I can
deal with it later.
	"Dammit..."  I whisper, drumming my fingers on the counter.
	Thunk.  There's a ebony and silver handled knife embedded in the
cupboard door close to my face.  I look at the dagger and then at where it
came from.
	"Back to bed."  Nat has a handful of plastic bags that she's
picking up off the floor where she dropped them to toss her knife at me. 
	I look at her, grumbling, and then shuffle back to my room.  I can
hear her cursing loudly in the kitchen, rustling plastic and then the
clomping of her boots in the hallway to my room.  I'm sitting on the bed
now, wondering what the hell I was thinking to go looking for that stupid
methadone anyway.  She'd just find out and then she'd shoot me.  And I
want to get off this stupid trip anyway.  I haven't slammed in two weeks. 
I don't really want to shoot up.  Just want to get rid of the want and
that's all.  Fuck.  Fuck.  Fuck.  I kick the bed with my good leg.  I
start yelling at myself for being such a fool.  I curse the day I started
shooting smack and that I got shot and that I let us fall into this
fucking mess.  I'm shouting really loud now and I look up.  Nat's
standing in the doorway, laughing at me.  I think I want to kill her but
then I start laughing too.
	Nat sits down next to me and we just laugh and laugh until we
can't anymore.  I am shivering because I'm just too tired and hungry to do
much else.  I lie down and just groan.
	"Oh fuck.  What the hell am I doing?"  I put my arm over my eyes
and just start giggling again.
	Nat pulls out a bottle of JD from her jacket pocket and takes a
large swallow.  "Dunno."  She grins after the hit.  "But you're looking a
lot better." 
	"Yeah.  Still can't find where you hide the goodies, though."  I
grin back at her.
	"Never will."  She reaches underneath the mattress and pulls out
the baggies.  My mouth drops open.
	I can't say anything at this point.  I grab the bottle out of her
hand and take a slug for myself.  My eyes start watering from not being
much into drinking hard liquor.  I've always been the beer-drinker.  Nat
takes the bottle back and just about drinks half of it off in one go.  She
hands it back to me and dares me to do the same.  I glug about a quarter
more and then start gagging.  She calls me a wimp and I tell her that I
think she's just too baaaadd for her own good.  We're getting drunk now. 
It's some ungodly hour in the morning and we're both smashed.
	"When you're well enough to ride, I'm taking you to Ojai."  Nat
takes the bottle from me and looks out the window into the morning sun,
drinking the JD like it was water.  "We need to just be mellow for a
	We spend about a week more at the house.  I can walk pretty well
now, with a cane that Nat produced for me after another food run.  I look
pretty bad-ass with my cane.  The leg is pretty much healed, to the point
where the old skin is peeling away and it itches like all hell.  The hand
has been fine for a while.  We pulled out the stitches a few days ago.
	Nat makes me walk as much as I can, walk around the back yard. 
She and I take turns throwing rocks at some bottles that we lined up on
the tree stump that Nat was throwing her knife at.  We break them all
pretty quickly.  I would have kept them if they were cool bottles but they
were just Budweiser empties.  I tend to collect bottles and put groovy
candles in them.  The apartment that I had in Sac was filled with candles
in various bottles.  Nat and I would light all of them, turn off the
lights and make love in the middle of the room.
	Ojai is about 100 miles south of where we are in Central
California.  We'll have to lug ourselves down the I-5, through the Grapevine
and then take the 150 through Santa Paula to Ojai Valley.  Normally, this
would be a cool ride, but I'm really dreading sitting on the back of a
hot Ninja with a stiff leg.  I hope that maybe we can lift another bike
and I can ride on my own.  Something like a nice cruiser that I can just
sit up to ride, instead of crouching.
	With the cane came a large bucket, soap and shampoo.  The outside
water works, it seems.  Nat and I hosed each other off in the yard.  It
felt so good to wash my hair out.  I hit it about four times with the
shampoo until the smell of dirt and grease was gone.  Nat took great
pleasure in spraying me in the face with the hose so it would get up my
nose and then I'd sputter and curse at her.  She laughed at me and I got
her back with a bucketful of water, pouring it over her head so that her
hair got all in her face.  We sat naked under the afternoon sun and I
combed out Nat's hair for her. 
	There is no time to get another bike.  We're on our way to Ojai,
running away to live without crime for a while, it seems.  Nat has it all
figured out.  She's got a major stash of money and so do I.  We'll just
pool it and live in the valley somewhere, up in the slopes or something. 
We'll sell off some of my cycles if we totally get broke.  They're easy to
get rid of.
	Crouching on the back of the Ninja isn't as bad as I thought.  We
have to get off a few times so I can stretch out the muscles in my leg. 
But, the ride isn't very exciting, other than a few CHP cruisers going the
other way on the 5.  They don't even look at us.  Nat has taken the faring
and bashed it up to the point where it's totally unrecognizable from the
shiny black it once was.  I hated to see the bike go like that, but we
really had no choice.  There will be other bikes, anyhow.
	As we ride through the winding 150, under the oaks and the sun, I
realize that I haven't wanted my smack at all.  Physically, at least.  I
still am taking the methadone...probably will be for a while.  But, I'm
not shooting up.  Nat's not letting me take any more meth than what keeps
the physical crap down to a dull roar.  She's holding the bottle for me. 
Won't let me touch it, on the pain of a good shooting in the other leg.
	Two Ventura Sheriff's cruisers are coming from the other 
direction.  Both Nat and I flinch a bit.  They probably don't recognize 
us, though.  I don't see heads turning or anything when I glance back 
over my shoulder.  Probably just heading to town to bust jaywalkers.  
Ojai police don't have enough to do, other than a few drug busts here and 
there and cleaning out the Dear Lodge of drunks on the weekends.  
	About five minutes pass by and I glance back again.  There's a 
man in a Chevy behind us.  One of those blue boxes that are horrible to 
drive because they're such dogs on the road.  He's wearing shades and he 
looks to be about the same age as us.  He's just cruising it seems.  It's 
a nice day to do that.  Our eyes meet just for a moment and he grins at 
me.  I'd grin back but my face is covered with a helmet.
	Nat is speeding up for some reason.  I say shit and grab onto 
her.  She's starting to really lean into the turns with a vengeance.  I can 
see her glancing into the mirrors.  Her eyes are wide and her pupils are 
dilated.  What is up with her?  I slap her jacketed shoulder with the 
flat of my hand and she takes her left hand, momentarily, off of the grip to 
push it away and then re-concentrates on the road.  
	The oaks are rushing by as green and brown blurs.  Nat tucks down 
and I scrunch down behind her, the visor of my helmet ticking against the 
back of hers.  I don't bother looking back again.  I can't tell if the 
car is back there or not because of the roar of the motorcycle's engine.  
All I know is that Nat's not slowing down, something is wrong and I can't 
do anything at all.	
	I look over Nat's shoulder, at the instrument panel.  We're going
95.  This is crazy.  If we slide, we're dead.  I'm not in leathers or
anything, just my jacket.  My mouth is suddenly very dry and my throat is
closing up.  I am breathing through my mouth, taking in large gasps of air
and trying to swallow back the urge to start yelling.  My tongue feels
like it's swelling into a big furry lump of flesh.  Gods, we're going to
die.  All I can do now is just hang onto to Nat and hope that she'll get
us out of this alive. 
	Nat gave the gun back to me before we left for Ojai.  I stuck it
in my belt and covered it with my jacket.  I hope it's not poking out of
the back of my jacket as I lean over on the motorcycle.  I don't dare
check with my hand.  I can feel it pushing into the small of my back.  It
has two rounds left in it.  I feel up inside of the back of Nat's jacket. 
Her knife is there, as if that was any use to us.
	There is a road crossing the 150 ahead.  I notice it just before
Nat starts leaning the bike over to the left, downshifting.  The engine
screams as we both crouch low and over into the turn.  Nat swings out her
knee to help with the turn, dragging it on the ground.  I can hear leather
scraping on asphalt and gravel.  We fishtail as the bike's rear end flies
loose from the paving for a second.  Nat throttles down for enough
traction and we catapult up and out, barreling down this little two-lane
badly paved road. 
	The road forks off into some sort of driveway.  We take the
driveway, slipping and sliding over the uneven surface.  There's a house
and a barn of some sort up ahead of us.  I notice a pack of Harleys lined
up by the house, front wheels all pointed at us in some kind of greeting. 
Nat slams on the brakes, front and back, locking up the wheels and sending
up sliding to a stop.  She cuts the engine, kicks down the stand and leans
the bike onto it.  She turns enough to shove me off of the bike and onto
my ass.  I tumble on the ground, grabbing at my gun.  The car is now in
sight, roaring up the driveway to meet us.  They guy hits his brakes,
sending a shower of dust and gravel flying everywhere. Nat hops off the
bike.  Her leg is torn and bleeding.  Her leather chaps have been eaten
through, down to her skin.
	The man is opening his door.  I think I can see a pistol grip
shotgun in his hand.  It's hard to tell because his windows are tinted and
the sun's shining into the windscreen.  I squint, trying to aim my piece
at him.  The front door of the house opens and a group of men walk out
nonchalantly.  One of them has such light blonde hair that it almost looks
white, standing out starkly because his skin is darkly tanned.  The man
with the shotgun is out of his car and has frozen still.  Blonde man makes
a signal and his companions pull out various weapons.  I squeeze my eyes
shut as they open fire and blow the man to pieces.  When the gunshots
stop, I open my eyes again.  He's on the ground, in pieces, lying in a
growing pool of blood. 

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