The Local Curmudgeon: Biker Trouble by Rodney Johnson
Note from the Editor:
This is the final installment of The Local Curmudgeon, written by Rodney Johnson. Thank you, Rodney, for making us laugh with your hilarious stories. Rest in peace.
Standing in his driveway, Hal, my neighbor, said, “I think I’m in trouble with some biker gang.”
Standing in my driveway, with a garden hose in hand, I said, “What.” I was cleaning bug splats off my truck windshield, the kind of splats we get in Florida. Love bugs, no-see-ums and every other bug there is on the planet. Kind of a bug guts glaze that requires a chisel to remove.
“I cut off some bikers on 95 by the first Daytona exit yesterday and one of them followed me home.” Hal said.
I let the hose-nozzle snap shut and looked at Hal, across grass glistening from the repeated labors of my automatic sprinkler system, which comes on every… I have no idea when. Hal was a chunky guy about eight years younger than me and just retired. His wide, slightly double-chinned face, usually smiling, looked more than slightly alarmed.
Hal, as a driver, is the reason residential subdivisions install speed bumps. I’d seen him driving through the neighborhood. I watched the kids scatter off the street like leaves in front of a blower.
“A ticked off biker followed you back home?” I said.
From just across the street, another neighbor, Joyce, who is about 10 years older than me, but hears stuff way better, yelled, “Hal. Are you telling me you let some marauding biker bandit followed you back to our neighborhood? Down this street? Past my house?”
Hal kind of shrugged and kept his eyes on a particular blade of grass, close by his foot.
I said, “Wait a minute, Joyce, we don’t know what kind of biker, or person, this was. It could be, maybe, this was some friendly biker.”
Joyce just snorted, “What kind of biker or gang is friendly?”
I said, “Maybe he belongs to the Aficionados.”
“The Aficionados?” Hal said. He brightened up some.
“Sure,” I continued, “It’s a motorcycle club right here in New Smyrna Beach. Maybe that fellow was just heading home behind you, and he lives down the street somewhere.”
“I’ve never heard of the Aficianados.” Hal said.
“That’s because it’s a load of you-know-what,” said Joyce.
“No,” I said, “They ride their motorcycles around here. I see them on weekends when my wife and I go to the farmers’ market. Very well-behaved. They seem to be looking for the perfect heirloom tomato. They like to go see Simon and Garfunkel tribute bands. Or maybe it was Peter, Paul and Mary. The soothing, laid-back type groups.”
“Hah!” shouted Joyce and waved her mail at me like she was shaking her fist.
“What does that even mean,” Hal said looking a bit confused.
Joyce said, “It means you better sell your house and go into witness protection. That’s what it means, Hal.” Joyce turned away from her mailbox and marched towards her front door. She was mumbling about something and shaking her head.
Hal looked at me.
“Maybe some place like Antarctica where they don’t ride motorcycles,” I suggested.
At this point my wife announced from our front door, “Would you leave Hal alone? And get yourself ready. You are taking me to the Farmers’ Market on Canal Street.”