Title if News Headline: “Valkyries Reportedly Attract Naked Women--Honda Sales Up 3875%”
I was headed north . . . just north, and I was moving fast. I am not being vague, “north” was the extent of my planning for this journey. In fact, I had not planned this journey at all. I had left work in downtown Dallas, donned my riding gear, mounted my Valkyrie and hit the highway. I had actually been headed home, but could not bring myself to make the exit. Not now. Not today. I was tired, very tired. I was mentally burned out, and too much had happened.
There is a certain magic to the Valkyrie. Any that own one probably already know. Nicknamed The Dragon she carries me effortlessly to anywhere I wish to go. I have ridden many machines, but none like this one. None have ever fit me so well in size, personality, and temperament. I ride other machines, I become The Dragon. Smooth, fast, and powerful, with a mystique all her own, she both carries me and becomes a part of me. An expansion of my awareness. An extension of my blood, bone, and muscle. With the smooth power and aggressive rumble of this superb machine below me, after a few miles of riding, the machine, and through her the road, become a part of myself.
There are times when you just have to ride. Anyone that does or has ridden a motorcycle knows this. It is both an addiction, and it is a cure.
It is an addiction in that when you are not riding you are thinking about riding. When you are not on a road-trip you are planning the next one. I have returned from a two thousand-mile excursion, only to look back out at the road and sigh. I want to go again. Now. Not at some later date. Now. Those of us in the extreme stages of the addiction become mildly upset or feel that we have somehow failed when we actually take the “cage” (car or truck) somewhere instead of the bike.
For all it demands as an addiction, riding pays you back many times over by being a cure. Riding will lighten your mood, and curb your anxieties. It will calm you, crystallize your thinking, and organize your mind. If everyone rode, there would be no need for psychiatrists . . . and probably much less need for lawyers.
Today was one of those days when I needed all of the benefits of riding. And I needed them badly. Work is always chaotic . . . I work in the Information Technology portion of a major newspaper . . . effectively combining two of the most stressful jobs known to man. We start with nothing everyday, and then apply impossible deadlines and throw in a critical crisis or two just for good measure. In my case, work demands far more of my effort, concentration, creativity and . . . well . . . my soul than I can continually give. Without some sort of balance, it can eventually destroy you. Every once and a while life and work fall out of balance, it just catches up with me.
Today was one of those days. I love my job and the people I work with, but fourteen hours of this place will drive anyone to want to get away. Multiple crises and impossible deadlines . . . again. I had had enough. There was nothing left within me to give. I dropped what I was doing, logged out, and left the building. No need to explain to the boss, I got here long before he did, and he was already gone.
When I stepped outside I found the weather absolutely perfect for riding. It was about 75 degrees, breezy, and a bit humid. The sky was clear and there was nearly a full moon. This sort of weather is fairly normal for a night in Texas, but not so common in January. Shirt-sleeve riding weather in January . . . man I love those Texas winters.
Nights like this stir certain feelings within me, and practically demand that I ride. The feelings are deep and primal, originating far within and infusing my entire being. They are not controllable or suppressible, and are quite unlike anything else I ever experience, and that makes them very hard to effectively describe. I think “horniness” would not be too far off the mark, although that is not quite it. Definitely related though.
Traffic had been light, and the freeway had really been moving. I was headed north out of Dallas on US 75, passed my exit, and simply just kept going. Twenty-some miles later, just north of McKinney, I could make out a long line of brake-lights and some flashing police lights ahead. Something had happened and shut the highway down. Nope. I needed to ride--this would not do at all. I pulled a hard right and caught the exit I had nearly passed, scattering gravel from the shoulder and spinning off onto US 121/Texas 5. Shortly afterward the two highways separated and I took the highway 5 branch, simply because it looked darker in that direction.
I passed through Melissa, which is a one-horse town with delusions of becoming a two-horse one someday soon. Their abortive attempt at having a police force and town services funded by highly questionable speed traps brings the campy 70’s show “The Dukes of Hazzard” to mind, and is legend in these parts, but that is subject for another story.
I know this area somewhat and am aware that after some miles of empty road follow the towns of Anna, Van Alstyne, Howe, and then the city of Sherman. Sherman is still about 40 miles ahead of me. Somewhere in there I will need to stop for gas. An inkling of a plan begins to form . . . maybe I’ll grab a bite to eat in Sherman and then, if my mood will allow me to . . . I’ll head home. It is still not a certain plan, as I am still not sure why I am even out here to begin with . . . other than to ride.
I am finally beginning to relax. I am somewhere between Anna and Van Alstyne, and find myself amazed at how tense I am. The best way I can describe it is that I felt sick in my soul. Stretched thin. I was having difficulty imagining how I could return to work. Not only how I could, but why I would. I have many dreams for the future, and my job is necessary at this time to further them, but I am just not ready right now. It does not seem worth it.
I am pulling 80 MPH or so, and am reveling in the beautiful night air, and in the sensations of the powerful machine that has now become an extension of my being. It helps, but somehow, tonight, it is just not enough.
Motorcyclists are generally very alert to what is going on around them. They are sensitive to the road, the traffic, and the machine they have become a part of. They are also really hooked into life in general and the world around them. Just being has become an intimate experience.
Adult males are also naturally and inevitably sensitive to certain things. There are objects in this world that immediately and without fail, attract and hold the attention of a male.
Powerful and undeniable, these two forces normally do not combine. Tonight was to be different, and given the circumstances outlined above, make some of the following events inevitable.
I was on a lonely stretch of road. There were no lights other than the moon and stars, and I had not encountered any traffic in at least 10 minutes. Far ahead of me a figure stepped out of the brush and stood on the shoulder of the road. The figure was still far out of my headlight range, but was visible as a stunning and marvelous silhouette in the bright moonlight.
Several things were revealed to the hypersensitive motorcyclist and/or the male within me. The figure was a she, she was shapely, and she was nude. I immediately took my hand off the gas and began to decelerate.
The following is a “conversation” between several sides of my brain. All this happened in a micro-second, and is probably completely pointless, as apparently the decision to stop had already been made. I was already slowing down, and she was just beginning to come into view in my headlight.
The Analytical Brain: “Whoa guys, get off the brake get your hand back on the gas. Something is wrong here.”
The Motorcyclist: “Somebody is standing beside the road. She may be in trouble.”
The Texan: “She needs help. Let’s stop.”
The Male: “There is a naked women beside the road. We’re stopping.”
The Analytical Brain: “All I’m saying is that something is up. We should go on. People just do not step out into the road. This could be a trap.”
The Motorcyclist: “There is no sign of an accident, and we have not passed any broken down cars. There are no houses anywhere near here. Maybe he’s right, something is up.”
The Texan: “She needs help. Let’s stop.”
The Male: “Did you guys not hear me? There is a naked women beside the road!”
The Analytical Brain: “We’re not stopping. This is some sort of ambush. Wait . . . did you say naked?”
The Motorcyclist: “No sign of anybody else around. We really should go on. Um . . . naked? She really is naked?”
The Texan: “She needs help. Let’s stop.”
The Male: “Naked. As in nude. And she’s a redhead! Oh wow, a natural redhead!”
The Analytical Brain: “Stop.”
The Motorcyclist: “Stop.”
The Texan: “Stop.”
The Male: “Yeah, no shit.”
I pulled to a stop beside the woman on the road. There is not a red-blooded male . . . no real man on the planet . . .that could have done otherwise.
She is standing there, a hand half raised to wave me down. She is healthy, shapely, and toned. Curvy in all the right places. Just over 5 feet tall or so. She has long dark-red hair done in a large braid, and hanging down to the small of her back. As the male in me noted as soon as she was visible in my headlight, she is actually a real natural redhead. She has green eyes, and they are very vivid considering they get my attention in the light of the moon . . . and despite other, more obvious distractions. By the standard societal illusion of beauty, her breasts are just on the small side. The have a little sag to them, indicating that she is not just barely 18 or pumped full of silicone. Her nipples are erect in the night air. Her face is a little square. Her eyes are framed by a few stray red hairs. All combine to make her a startlingly beautiful woman.
She is standing there almost proudly, maybe defiantly. She is not ashamed of her nakedness, and is not at all trying to hide it (which would have been pointless and slightly ludicrous) but still manages to look slightly flightly . . . a little unsure of her situation. Not really fear, but maybe caution, tempered with confidence. Her bearing, along with her obvious attributes combine to render an impression that is remarkably sensual. I would place her to be about 30, and her bearing and obvious health shows she is not a prostitute or addict.
I do not know her story, but instinctively know it is not a typical one.
I hit the kill switch on the bike and remove my helmet. A detached part of me notes that her feet are bleeding a little, and I can see the footprints where she stepped onto the road. Cross-country in Texas scrub-land, or on asphalt and gravelly highway shoulders is no place to walk in bare feet. Another detached part of me is amazed that I am noticing anything at all other than the rather obvious. She really projects . . . well . . . life, and sensuality.
We size each other up.
Her beautiful green eyes look intently and unblinkingly into my blue ones.
“Well?” She asks liltingly but defiantly. She has a mild and interesting accent . . . hard to identify. Maybe Irish.
“Nice night for a walk.” I say easily. The situation is obviously odd, and we both know it. Given a perfect world, neither of us would be here, in this situation, at this location, right now. It is unnecessary to point it out.
She seems somewhat relieved. Apparently I have passed some kind of test. She waits, content to let me make the next move. Being a typical guy, I could wait too, being perfectly content to languish there just taking in the . . . well . . . scenery, but I feel the need to move on. I am still not really ok inside.
Carefully I ask her, “How can I help you?” Again it is obvious that she needs some help. No real need to ask anything else. She will tell what she feels she needs to.
“I do not wish to disrupt your plans, but I need a ride to the lake if you please.”
“The lake” was obvious. She was talking about Lake Texhoma, one of the largest man-made lakes in the country. Lake Texhoma is about 20 miles north of Sherman, and is huge. It is long and skinny, running several hundred miles in length from east to west along the border between Texas and Oklahoma. The dam, which is on the east end, is just north of Sherman. A ride to “the lake” from here could be as short as 30 minutes, or as long as 5 hours, depending on where she needed to go. I vaguely indicate the cell phone on my belt. “Sure you do not need me to call the police?” And as I motion toward her feet “Or perhaps an ambulance?”
She laughs lightly. She has a nice voice, and beautiful laugh. I am pleased to see her smile. That indicates that whatever has happened, it probably was not horribly serious. “No. I have not been harmed. And these are just scratches. The last thing I need is for the police to show up. A very few may understand, fewer still would help. Most are just school-yard ruffians.”
My respect for her climbs another notch or two. Her opinion of the police mirrors my own, and many women in her situation (whatever that may be) would be hysterical.
She looks at me mischievously, “I have no money with which to pay you . . .”
Well . . . that at least was obvious. It is my turn to laugh. “I guessed as much, and money you do not need. You are in Texas, and I am a Texan.” I wave toward my bike and myself with a flourish, “For beautiful naked women, rides on the Dragon are always free. No strings attached.”
She smiles at me, and her eyes shine in the moonlight, “Somehow I knew.”
I grin back. “I’m Daniel by the way. Nice to meet you.”
“Hello Dan-ie-yel” Her accent rendered my name musically and with three syllables. “I am Cat.”
Cat . . . It figures . . . It fit.
I kick the stand down and climb off the bike. I remove my leather jacket. It has really been too warm for it anyhow, and I have been riding with it mostly open. As I help her into it I cannot help but again admire her figure and her bearing. The male in me is wide awake and obviously so, but the Texan is in charge. This is going to be a long night. TANJ.
I am a big guy, and my leather jacket swallows her nearly down to her knees. The night scenery suddenly gets a whole lot less attractive. Sigh. I had almost left the jacket home that morning.
She indicates the Valkyrie. The big cruiser shines and makes a unique statement, even in the moonlight. “The Dragon is she? She is gorgeous.” She eyes me critically for a moment. Nods. “She suits you.”
My respect for her climbs even higher. “Have you ridden before?”
“Yes.” She looks wistfully at the bike, then back at the road. I know the look. She is seeing different times, other adventures. She brings herself back to the present. Smiles again. “It has been a while though.”
She belts the jacket closed. It is too big on her to just zip it up.
I mount up. “Climb aboard then.” I pop the passenger pegs down, and warily eye her bare feet and legs. “Watch the pipes.”
She smiles again. “I’ll be careful.”
I give her the helmet and she climbs aboard. “I’ll have to stop for gas soon.” I tell her as I start the engine.
As I pull back onto the road and accelerate she hugs me around the waist and says, “Perfect. I’m famished anyway.”
I push it up to about 80 and rocket into the night, again reveling in the power of my mount. Slowly I become aware of a sensation being transmitted to me from her. First I thought she was trembling. She could be cold, although the night air was really quite comfortable. I finally realize that she is singing. I wish I could hear.
Between gusts of wind I hear a snatch or two of her song. One recognizable verse resolves itself,
“ . . . before the lightening fades and you surrender, you have a second to look at the dark side of a man . . .”
She has a nice singing voice. I recognize the tune. One of my mydrid of favorites. I almost slow the bike, so I can hear more clearly, but somehow feel that would be intruding.
Nothing obvious presents itself for a decent place to stop in the next few miles. About 20 miles from Sherman the Valkyrie begins to lose power, and the engine changes tone. I reach down and switch the big bike to reserve. The power immediately comes back and we continue to roar into the night. The Valkyrie has about 1.5 gallons of reserve fuel . We still can go a long way before fuel is a problem.
We finally approach the lights of the city. Sherman is a mid-sized town, so has plenty of places open after typical hours. I pull into one for some gas. She lithely climbs off the bike saying “I’ll just be a jif.” Getting off the passenger’s position on a Valkyrie without so much as brushing the hot pipes with your bare legs and feet involves several acrobatic and quite revealing moves when you are wearing a very large and loosely belted leather jacket with absolutely nothing underneath.
With a start, and a loud clatter, the guy in the orange Ford pickup at the next pump drops the gas hose and his gas cap. As he reaches down to pick it up, all the while looking at Cat . . . while trying not to look like he is looking at Cat, he bangs his head on the concrete filled pole that protects the pump from errant cars.
Cat smiles at him and winks at me as she heads off to the ladies’ room. As she passes the guy in the orange Ford, her loosely belted jacket flaps open briefly.
Muffled cursing comes from the guy from the orange Ford as he again drops the gas hose and bangs his head on the same pole, but I ignore it. I can identify, watching her out of sight and thinking that the name “Cat” really does suit her.
I sigh, and after a moment fumble around in my wallet for my credit card. Before I can slide it into the pump, the guy from the orange Ford slides his own card through the slot. He is smiling.
“Allow me to buy, you and The Lady have just made my night. Perhaps my month.”
I eye the already obvious bump growing on his forehead. I would bet he is going to have a heck of a black eye. “You sure you’re all right?”
He smiles again and rubs his head as Cat approaches. “Never better. Take care of Her. Have a nice night.”
As he walks away he says back over his shoulder, “Nice bike by the way.”
Hmmm. Nice guy. Must be a Texan.
I top off the bike, switch her back off reserve, and look at Cat. She is looking back at me. Finger toying with her bottom lip.
“You hungry?” I ask her.
She takes a deep breath. The resulting motions are mind-boggling. “Absolutely famished.”
“Where would you like to eat?”
She looks slightly confused, “I know not. Anything. Anywhere.”
There is a Denny’s just up the street. I know they will be open. For those of you not familiar with Denny’s, they are a nationwide chain of short-order restaurants. Their main claim to fame is that they are always open. The food is not particularly good or bad, and the service is usually mediocre. For some reason the pot roast is spectacular.
We move to the Denny’s. There are not many customers, and the hostess warily eyes Cat, but seats us nonetheless.
The waitress comes to take our order. “Something to drink?”
Then she notices Cat’s bare feet and revealing dress. With false sweetness the waitress looks at me and says, “I’m sorry sir, store policy says no bare feet allowed.”
I look at Cat wondering what she wants to eat. She is looking at me and smiling. She seems to know what I am thinking. “I trust you.” She mouths silently.
I look back at the waitress. I have played this role before. I am 6 feet, and nearly 300 pounds. A fair amount of that is muscle. I will not be moved involuntarily and the person that can intimidate me has yet to be born. “That’s nice dear. We’ll both have iced tea. Thanks.”
Flustered, she retreats. I can see her talking to some guy in the back. Probably the manager. I see him look our way, then do a double take when he gets a good look at Cat. Our iced teas arrive (via the manager) in record time.
“What’ll you folks have?” He asks pleasantly, all the while trying not to look at Cat. He could have saved himself the trouble. Cat is worth looking at, and it doesn’t seem to phase her.
“Two orders of pot-roast. Mashed potatoes, carrots, and we’ll have ice cream sundaes for dessert.”
“Good choice. We’ll have it up shortly sir.”
We proceeded to have the best meal and best service I have ever encountered at a Denny’s. We talk of many things. Life, the world, and the differences and dependencies between men and women. As I attempted to pay the check the manager took it from me. “It’s on me sir. Take care of the lady. You folks have a nice night.”
On the way out I grinned at Cat. “I am going to have to take beautiful nude women out to dinner more often.”
Her delightful laugh is my reward.
Following Cat’s somewhat vague directions we wound our way out of Texas to the north side of the lake, and into the back roads of Oklahoma. Eventually we approached a large home that was situated right on the water. It looked like something out of a fairy tale, close to a castle. It was mostly white granite block and lacked only a drawbridge to make it at home in the mountains of Europe. A spectacular white granite block wall surrounded the entire grounds.
The grounds were well lit, but the house itself looked deserted. We passed through the gate, parked near the front door, and dismounted.
I catch my breath as Cat removes the jacket, hands it to me, and stands proudly in front of me. There are prettier women . . . at least by society’s definition of beauty. Pick up any magazine and you will find a picture of one. But beauty is as much an attitude as a look, as much a presence as a body type. Cat was sensual, pretty, and alive. She was so, because she knew she was. And that makes all the difference.
She moves forward. Embraces me, standing on her tiptoes, her cheek touching mine and her mouth near my ear. “Thank you Dan-ie-yel.” She whispers. “You cannot know how much this has meant to me.”
I find that I am trembling. She knows my desire.
“Come in if you would like.” She whispers. “It would be my honor and pleasure.”
I stand frozen. My voice seems to catch in my throat. I roughly whisper, “Cat . . . I want to . . . I need to . . . but . . .”
She finishes my sentence, “But you cannot. I know. You are a man of honor, and have other commitments.”
I draw upon strength from a place I did not previously know existed.
“Yes.” The word barely escapes my lips.
Again, placed in my exact situation, with my honor and commitments, there is not a red-blooded male . . . no real man on the planet . . .that could have done otherwise. Sometimes honor sucks.
She kisses my cheek and backs away. “We will meet again Dan-ie-yel. When the time is right and we need each other again, we will meet.”
She turns and enters the house.
I sigh, take a deep breath, and mount up. I am still trembling. I shrug and turn around and head down the driveway. As I approach the gate a lady with dark hair and smoldering dark eyes steps out from behind the wall. She is clad in a t-shirt, jeans and a leather jacket. I get the immediate impression that she can be very dangerous should the occasion warrant.
I halt the bike and remove my helmet. She stretches up and kisses me on the cheek. “Dan-ie-yel.” same accent. “You have brought Cat home. For that we thank you. She has come a long way.”
Curiosity finally starts to get the better of me. “Why was she out there? What happened?”
The dark-haired girl grinned. “She was out there because you needed her. She was out there because she needed you.”
Well of course. That explained everything. Yeah right.
“I do not understand.”
“It is a very wide world Dan-ie-yel. Trust in it.”
“I still do not understand.”
She looks at me for a moment appraising, probing. Nods. She is kind of peering at me sideways. It suddenly strikes me that she and Cat are related. It is evident in her eyes and her bearing.
She takes my hand, “To paraphrase Shakespeare—‘There are more things in Heaven and Earth Dan-ie-yel, then are dreamt of in your philosophy.’”
I still really did not understand, but somehow it didn’t matter. “Will she be all right?”
Still smiling, the dark haired girl nods. “She is fine. And you two will meet again.” She steps back away from the bike. “Have a nice life Dan-ie-yel.” With that she heads toward the house.
I put on my helmet and head for home. I mutter “Miles to go before I sleep.”
As I rocket down the highway and into the night, I note how lifted my spirit is. How good I feel. How ready I am for whatever comes along. The world is wide, magical, and interesting. I am very glad to be involved in it.
I had thought I was helping Cat. Maybe she was really helping me. Maybe the dark-haired girl was right, we were helping each other.
Maybe someday I would understand.
I arrived home, surprised my wife with a particularly strong “I love you” and a particularly intense episode of lovemaking, then fell into a deep sleep.
For those skeptics out there, I was ready to dismiss the entire trip as the dream of an over strained and tired mind. I would have except for two things. My uplifted attitude and revived spirit are sustained to this day, and there is the small matter of the card I found in my jacket pocket.
It was dark red, the same color as Cat’s hair, with a single cat’s eye, a green one, printed in startling vivid color on the red. On the back, embossed and preprinted is a message:
“Daniel, the honor was mine. When the time is right, and we are both ready, we will meet again. Love, Cat”
Yes there is a certain magic to the Valkyrie. I like to believe that they attract naked women. Sigh.