"There's a major element missing in your book, dammit," Buster said, pushing another Jack on the rocks under my nose. "There's no girls in HOT BIKE. What's up with that?"
I looked into his glaring, half-blitzed eyes, at his stocky form, and the rainbows of ink running down his arms. "Women are everything," he continued. "We ride and build choppers with women in mind, right?"
I looked past him to the tall, smiling blonde barmaid bending over the deep sink wearing a low-cut, soft knit top revealing gigantic, soft-as-clouds curves of a fresh set of bolt-ons. He was right, but just before leaving the vast HOT BIKE headquarters, a tightly wound woman recognized me in the chromed elevator.
"You're Ball, right," she snapped. I looked at her business suit that fit like a cop's uniform. "I know about you. Don't put women in my magazine." I noticed that she was wearing a gold Harley pendant around her tight muscular neck. I moved around her as if she was a hired assassin and I was her target. Hell, I'd only been on the job for a week.
"Are you paying attention?" Buster snapped.
"Yeah, I'm paying attention," I said, looking at the blonde whose smile made my heart shift gears.
"Well, whatta ya think?" Buster said guzzling his beer.
I thought long and hard while my eyes traced the bartender's every voluptuous curve. She was so hot, ice-cold beer boiled before her hand left the bottle. He was right, but HOT BIKE had avoided girls for seven years, and plenty of riders read it. I couldn't turn the whole applecart upside-down in one issue.
"What the hell is there to think about?" Buster pushed. "Women and motorcycles go together. Building a chopper is all about turning a dull, lifeless stock bike into something sexy, like a woman, get it?"
I took a shot of Jack and squinted through the dim lights and smokey haze of the bar. I heard motorcycles roaring up outside and in walked a short, slender woman wearing a full-on, tailored black leather outfit, carrying an all-black, polished full-faced helmet with a yellow 2-inch fluorescent stripe running down the center. Her hair was closely cropped and she had dark eyes as sharp as bar darts. It was the elevator assassin. She'd come to find her mark. Dammit.
I looked at Buster and began to point, while I thought about Bree's hot file resting precariously on my teetering desk. The file contained this feature and Bree, the hot schoolgirl model who posed for Performance Machine, motorsports covers, calendars, and for John Covington of Steed Muscle Bikes in Phoenix. She was as hot as an August run to the Badlands. And she looked just right aboard John's 300 Avon-based performance muscle bike with the red devil girl painted on the tank. It all seemed so nasty and appropriate in the same blistering image. That's two sexual goddesses against one bad-assed chopper.
"It's you," the assassin women spat. "Did you hear what I said on the elevator?" She was surrounded by a large group of uniformed riders.
I looked at Buster, who looked at her.
"Do you agree with me?" she asked directly, her dart-like eyes boring into me.
"About what?" Buster stammered. He was downing his sixth beer.
"No women in my magazine," she said, as if it was an order.
"What magazine is that?" Buster questioned. "Cops On Bikes Monthly?"
"HOT BIKE, dammit," she snapped.
Buster was an old-school boy from the Los Angeles street gang scene. He didn't back down to anyone. "Wait just a minute," Buster shoved his mug of beer aside and stepped nose to nose with the equally short woman, although he outweighed her by 100 pounds. "HOT BIKE has been without women for seven years. That's long enough."
I could smell a fistfight brewing and I didn't like the odds. The assassin and 15 uniformed riders, against drunken Buster and me. I looked at the blonde package behind the bar and thought about Bree aboard that bitchin' stretched performance motorcycle.
John's been in the business for 20 years, building bikes in the desert, and he focused all his attention on bikes with a muscle-car flare: all performance and reliability. She was straddling one of John's Steed, 300-VM Appaloosa choppers. It's an all-new '05 Steed muscle bike with a Steed trademark single-shock Monoglide suspension on its proprietary 300 Avon tire chassis. He runs an All-American drivetrain, featuring an S&S 111-inch engine, a Baker RSD six-speed transmission, heads-up digital instruments that include a tach, speedo, odometer, trip-meter, and all indicator lights hidden in the mirrors. This bike was special-ordered with red powdercoated rims on 60-spoke wheels, among other Steedly details, including the graphic paint by Steeds artist Rick Wescott.
"You bastard!" the assassin snapped at Buster and the pushing started. I stepped between the pair and her army. I had to back his play. One on one is the code.
Something on her shiny leather coat caught Buster's eye. "You ride a Sportster?"
"Yep," she said, still fuming, but the cold wind lifted from her taut sails. "Do you?"
"Yeah, an '02 883," Buster said, and I could swear that in the dark bar I witnessed chemistry in their eyes.
Her leathered army turned and headed toward the bar. I turned back and the two bantered like old pals about Sportster mods and weekend rides. As I sipped my Jack, one of the muscled riders picked up the bartender, and Buster, with his new friend on his arm, slipped out for a ride. I was alone with a few cubes of melting ice, a shot of Jack Daniels and my thoughts of Bree and John's chopper. Whatta you think?
|Shop Name||Steed Motorcycle Company|
|Shop Phone||(480) 661-1990|
|Make/Model||Steed Appaloosa 300-VM|
|Fabrication||Steed Motorcycle Company|
|Assembly||Steed Motorcycle Company|
|Flywheels||S&S 4.1-inch stroke|
|Pistons||S&S 4.1 inches|
|Heads||S&S polished elec. comp. release|
|Rockers||S&S Roller Rockers|
|Rocker Boxes||S&S chromed|
|Air Cleaner||Steed Hypercharger|
|Ignition||Crane Hi-4 |
|Primary Drive||brute III|
|Final Drive||1-1/2 belt 32/65|
|Year/Type||'05/Steed 300 Monoglide|
|Stretch||5 out, 8 up|
|Swingarm||Steed 300 "Cobra" |
|Year/Type||'05/Steed/CGB Inverted legs|
|Year/Type||'05/Steed Monoglide |
|WHEELS, TIRES, AND BRAKES|
|Tire Make/Size||Avon 120/70x21|
|Tire Make/Size||Avon 300/35x18|
|Graphics & Artist||Rick Wescott|
|Chrome Plating/Pol.||Royal Plating|
|Front Fender||Steed Appaloosa|
|Rear Fender||Steed VM|
|Gas Tank(s)&Cap(s)||Steed VM Chopper|
|Oil Tank||In Dyna Transmission|
|Handlebars||Steed Fatty Streetbar|
|Mirrors||Digital Heads Up Display|
|Hand Controls||Mustang 96+|
|Turn Signals||LED Louvered light|
|License Mount||Steed, brake anchor |