Harley 1937 Flathead Chopper

Gator was obsessed with motorcycles early in life. He would gaze at the ads in National Geographic for the Harley’s with clean cut drivers rolling down the road, the open road with the wind right there in their face. Jack could almost smell the hot exhaust and the sound of power. Up to this time, Jack had driven an older friends Sears Moped. It was a heavy bicycle frame with a small lawn-mower engine that was kinda neat and Jack would wonder why this slightly older man would allow Jack to drive it.

No problems really with the hunger that man had for friendship. He was a loner and not deviant as you already may be thinking. He was a bit odd like Jack and had no friends to speak of. The Moped was the man’s path to friendship but Jack did not respond to that so well. Jack had three friends that were troublesome as was Jack. The usual. ‘broken home’ was the whisper around the neighborhood and as a puzzled and angst driven boy, Jack joined his friends in trying ropes around burning barrels that people had near their garages and anticipating the flaming collisions as the barrels would swing back on the car.

Jack got caught by his father on that one and as per usual, was beaten in the basement with a wooden dowel rod. “Don’t cry, I’ll make it worse!” Stalag 17 in a North Minneapolis stucco house. Jack’s father had to take the heat from the neighborhood but Jack didn’t give up his accomplice. Besides, the other guy lost an eye when a .22 cartridge in one of the barrels went off. Enough pain for him for a bit.

So one day, another older guy drove into Jack’s alley and rolled up with an old Harley flathead 74 and asked Jack if he would buy it? Hundred bucks. By this time Jack’s father had been tossed out by the court and Jack immediately sold all his ham radio gear and bought the old bike. Investing the rest of the money in Ape hanger handle bars, Chrome plating the spring style suspension and putting on up-swept megaphone mufflers along side the chopped rear fender, Jack was ready for his version of Marlon Brando’s ‘Wild one’ and it was just in time for Jack’s senior year in High School.

It was loud and showy and the suicide clutch and the kick starter completed the image. Jack was despised by the staff and student body at his high school. Straight A record in Quadratic equations, solid geometry, physics and so forth completed the image. Jack may as well worn hair shirts and sandals and no one would have noticed. After all, Jack had a hook-his mother was attendance clerk down stairs next to the assistant principles office. She was a blond looker, single and ample insulation for Jack to be a bit outrageous. Grace was given. His mom had the assistant wound around with her typewriter ribbon and a reduced sentence was given for Jack now and then. Mom knew the score.

Jack drove the chopper to the graduation party way up north and on the way thought he was pursued by a flying saucer. It had a yellow light that lit up the highway and it made no noise whatever. Parked on the side of the highway, all Jack could hear was the tink tink of the cooling exhaust pipes. The old Harley had a top speed of about 80 and gas was cheap back then. Usual party. Keg of beer and lots of odd behavior and now they all were ready for the world. Right. The chopper got sold for the gas to get out to San Diego where Jack and a classmate tried to sell encyclopedias, dressed in their graduation suits.

They Ate stolen oranges and grapefruit from the neighbors trees and never sold anything. Preparation for life. The Lord was watching the comedy and already preparing Jack for his destiny. Basic training in San Diego was next and the Asperger child found a way to perform what was needed. God is patient. It’s pretty good.

Jack Gator

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