PART TWO ~ Snow Riders
The wind whistled an eerie tune as the cafe doors swung open and a wave of snow that had piled up outside crashed in. Ron bent his body into the gale and stomped his way into arctic world outside, Dazzle followed and pulled the door shut behind him. The wind was muted and the warmth filled back into the room. Moonshine sighed and curled up next to Dazzle’s crash helmet wishing he’d stayed at home.
Around the corner from the cafe and hidden beneath what was now nearly two feet of snow was Ron’s motorcycle. Using their hands Ron and Dazzle dug the bike out of the white stuff then Dazzle stood back in amazement. Before him stood a battered old Kawasaki shafty, a typical despatch rider machine from decades past, same as his Old Man used to have except this one was a bit different. Around the rear tyre Ron had fitted a spiked snow chain that looked quite lethal, but la piece de resistance was the marvellous bit of engineering at the front of the bike. The front forks were there as standard but strapped to the wheel was what looked like a snowboard!
“This here is ‘Boreas’ named after the North Wind” Ron beamed “This is my secret weapon.”
“Very well done Ron, it’s a piece of genius,” Dazzle replied.
“Well they say that necessity is the mother of invention and all that. See I first got the idea from them snowmobiles on James Bond, so I got to work in me shed. A few hours later and I’ve added spikes to a set of snow chains and strapped my neighbours snowboard to the front wheel.” Ron may have been a little strange but he done a sterling job of putting together a makeshift snowmobile.
“You know Ron; I wish I had thought of that. I’m supposed to be back in Bobbershire for a big party tonight and as it is I’m stuck here. If only I had something like that then I’d get back in time no problem.” Dazzle was testing the water.
“No need to be coy with me ladeo, I knows what you’re getting at and I’d be happy to help.” Ron replied.
“You’re a gentlemen Ron, where do we start?”
Service stations may be the outposts of hell, but they are stocked with amazingly useful stuff. Normally you’d wonder why on earth the gift shop would have a ski section, but this time it proved very useful indeed. The golf section was raided too as a hundred and five golf shoe studs were pushed through an old motorcycle tyre that was found lying beside the bins. Dazzle couldn’t help but hum the A-Team theme as he deflated his rear tyre and squeezed the newly studded skin over the top. Ron was doing his best to convert a shopping trolley into a cradle to hold the front wheel to the snowboard; it was a skill that made the contestants of Scrapheap Challenge look like kids with Meccano. Within an hour the conversion was complete, ok it wouldn’t win any beauty pageants but as long as it got Dazzle and Moonshine home it didn’t really matter.
“Cheers Ron, you really saved my bacon. Listen what you got planned for the rest of the weekend?” Dazzle enquired.
“I didn’t have anything planned really. Well, I was hoping to head to the supermarket for a bit of sprout spotting. I hear that with the relaxing of them silly European laws they’ve got some very odd shapes in there at the moment that would really complement my pickled collection.”
“Right” Dazzle replied slowly as he raised one eyebrow. “Well if you can tear yourself away from your sprouts then you’d be more than welcome at the party tonight. There’s no need to worry about a hotel, I’m on very good terms with the landlord. So as long as you don’t mind sleeping on a comfy leather sofa in front of an open fire then you’re welcome to crash in the bar. The place will be full of genuine good folk that will make you feel welcome. What do you say?” Inviting Ron to the party was the least Dazzle could do, Ron had really handed him a lifeline.
“It’s a very kind offer…” Ron thought about his sprouts “…but, oh what the Hell. I don’t get invited to parties much, what with being on the road all the time. I’d love to come.”
Ten minutes later Dazzle, Moonshine and Ron were on the road. The blizzard was still raging but The ‘Snow’ Goblin made easy work of the tundra. They stuck to the unsalted B-roads as it meant that no one else was attempting to use them and they made better time than they would have on the busy motorways. Anyway, riding these machines over virgin snow was much better than competing with cars and lorries, in fact it was bloody good fun. Underneath his winter scarf Dazzle was grinning ear to ear, Ron followed shortly behind on Boreas his Kawasaki, hooting like a train as he raced along. Moonshine however was not impressed. Clinging to his tankbag nest couldn’t wait to be back at Boneshakers, lying in front of the open fire.
In no time at all they were on the borders of Bobbershire. Soon they were passing through the streets of Pistonhead; people looked on in shock as these two bizarre machines glided through the streets. Pistonhead was a ten minute drive from Cobblestone, so they were nearly home and dry. Moonshine couldn’t wait and started to relax and wave his tail at the thought of lying on his back spread eagle in front of the fire. It was all too good to be true so what happened next was really quite inevitable. As they rounded the final corner before entering the village Sgt MacDonald and his sidekick PC Sloth were waiting in their police van. PC Sloth signalled for Ron and Dazzle to pull over, Sgt MacDonald let off a satisfied grin.
“’Ello, ‘ello, ‘ello. What do ‘ave ear then?” asked PC Sloth in a false cockney accent. It was quite pathetic really, he was born and bred a man of York but he had watched far too many episodes of The Bill in his younger days.
“Just so we’re on the same page, was that a rhetorical question or do you really want to know what we ‘ave ear then?” Dazzle replied. He didn’t particularly have a problem with coppers, but PC Sloth was a twat and deserved to be treated as such. PC Sloth’s face went bright red as he struggled to react, but Sgt MacDonald intervened;
“Now, now Mr Boneshaker, that’s no way to talk to an officer of the law. My young colleague here was merely trying to establish if you have the correct documentation to validate that machine you are riding?” Sgt MacDonald was a nasty piece of work. An old school snide who’d try every trick in the book to get a nick. Dazzle, aka Mr Boneshaker, had been on the receiving end of MacDonald’s law several times before, but over the years he’d learnt a few tricks himself and was getting better at staying one step ahead of the long and twisted arm of his law.
“As a matter of fact Officer I don’t. Not with me at least, but I can drop them by your office next week if you like?” Dazzle replied.
MacDonald’s left eye twitched, it was a sign that he was already tired of the friendly banter and was now looking to make a bust. With stiff legs and his hands clasped behind his back he walked over to Dazzle, if he’d raised his feet any higher he’d have been doing the goose step. He fixed his eyes on Dazzle’s before bending over and whispering in his ear; “Listen here sonny I’ve got my eye on you. Now if I was to conduct a full inspection of your, machines, I am willing to bet I would have you on invalidation of motor insurance wouldn’t I? Ah, no need to answer you know it as well as I do. Now I know you’ve been on a special errand for that rich Arab and I may be willing to turn a blind eye on this matter were the Pistonhead Police Constabulary to receive the benevolent gift of say that green bottle I see poking out your luggage.”
Dazzle wanted to chin the bastard there and then, but that would only end up with a spell in the nick. As much as it would make him feel better he restrained himself from flooring the Sergeant and his deputy. Instead he fixed the copper a steely look in the eyes and mouthed “YOU BASTARD”. The greasy copper smiled and nodded in agreement. Dazzle backed off, folded his arms and shook his head in frustration.
“How did you know about that?” asked Dazzle.
“Word gets around in a small place like this Mr Boneshaker,” replied MacDonald. Dazzle sighed before producing an ancient looking green glass bottle from his luggage and handed it to Sgt MacDonald.
“Ah, what’s this, a present for me? You shouldn’t have. You should be careful mind; PC Sloth here might think you’re offering me a bribe.” MacDonald really was an arsehole, PC Sloth giggled like a schoolgirl at his superiors joke.
“Are we done?” Dazzle asked.
“Yes, I believe we are.” Replied Sgt MacDonald.
As Dazzle walked back to his bike Ron gave him a puzzled look but Dazzle shrugged his shoulders. You win some you lose some, but Dazzle was just thankful to not still be stuck at that service station. He mounted his bike and The Goblin’s engine roared into life. In a few minutes they would be pulling up at Boneshakers Bar and Grill and Bunny would have pint of Boney’s Best Ale waiting for him. The party would probably already be in full swing and Captain Coldicott would be sat at his table telling stories of his worldly adventures. To Dazzle, it was home.
…to be continued
[Part One] ~ [Part Three]