I killed a chicken with my tour bell yesterday. I'll call the hapless victim "Kenny" for slightly twisted reasons of my own. Before anybody writes me to tell me that "tour bell season" was last month and accuses me of chicken abuse (this month is clearly bazooka season), let me just say it was an accident…or maybe suicide. Doesn't matter anyway, Kenny had to die to save his friends.
For those not familiar with them, tour bells are an old tradition for touring motorcyclists. Typically a small heavy brass bell (Tibetan Prayer bell) is attached to the bike low and forward. This is reputed to ward off gremlins and other hostile spirits, and is surprisingly common among the distance-riding crowd. I am not sure where or when it started, or even how effective it is (other then I know it works on chickens), but I've carried one for years.
I had spent the afternoon out at the family farm where I keep the majority of my "manly" tools such as my welder and plasma cutter. I had some work to do to the bike for this summer's Alaska trip and had let the wife know that I was headed out there after work to "get my bike ready" for the trip.
That evening as I was headed back from the farm I spotted (just a little too late) about a dozen fowl of various varieties standing in the road. Here in Texas anyway, there is just not that awful much to do in the middle of a road so they were just milling around aimlessly. Frankly I figure they were probably standing there debating that eternal chicken question, "Just why the hell should we cross the road anyway?" and like any good executive committee they were spending far too much time on a completely pointless issue. Again, like any good committee instead of actually doing anything, they were locked in mindless debate of the eternal question and so were completely ignoring the real world. Ignorant to the last, they did not yield the right-of-way. In the very end…I think…just for a moment…Kenny knew.
Normally I am polite and courteous to others so I really did not want to rudely interrupt their meeting…especially by piloting half a ton of screaming black and chrome machine through their midst. I tried, really, but despite the maneuverability of the big Valkyrie cruiser I just simply couldn't miss them all.
KBwwwaaaaawwwkkkkk! PING...Ping...ping..ing. One chicken meets one Tibetan Prayer bell. The bell used to hang from my right lower highway peg but alas, no more. I am sure the bell perked up just as we approached the group, saying to itself, "Man! That's the biggest friggen gremlin I ever saw!" and then, "I regret that I've only one life to give for my Valkyrie. Remember me! BANZAIIIIIIIIIIIIIII!!!!!"
Bet that was the first 80mph Tibetan Prayer bell that chicken ever saw…it was definitely the last one.
Meanwhile the executive committee continued to ignore reality. As I looked in the review mirror I could clearly see the group of birds in the road. The acknowledgement that I had even passed through was brief. As a group, they looked at me, looked at Kenny, then back at me. I swear I could clearly hear one of them scream, "Oh my God! They killed Kenny!" Others responded, "Those bastards!" and that was it. Back to the meeting they went, gathering around the more or less subdivided Kenny and continuing to discuss the issue at hand. I figured the dump truck about a half a mile behind me would have slightly more ur…impact on the committee than I did.
Yep, in the end, Kenny knew the answer. Pity he didn't have time to pass it on. I am quite sure it would revolutionize the chicken world.
Later, the wife stepped into the garage and eyed the blood all over my right boot. She watched as I began to wipe it off the right-hand chrome pipes of my big cruiser. With a raised eyebrow she grimaced at the rather large quantity of blood on the bike and asked, "What've you been up to?"
I paused in my labor, tossed the bloody rag aside, and grabbed a fresh one. I looked up at her and smiled, "Just getting the bike ready for the trip."
She gave me a rather odd look, gingerly handed me my glass of iced tea, and slowly backed into the house. Not sure what that was all about, but then I've never claimed to understand women. I must've done something right however, she's been really extra nice today.
As for me…well…I'm hungry. Think I'll have dinner. Chicken sounds good..
I'll see you on the road.