Bob had been riding his Vespa scooter for nearly six weeks before the encounter he dreaded finally happened. He knew it would happen. It was an eventuality, unavoidable. To be honest, he was somewhat happy he was able to go for as long as he had, but that happiness faded as the rumbling sound of a beefy chopper drew near. The guttural sound was unmistakable, and there he was, stuck at the stoplight with nowhere to go and an empty lane beside him. He closed his eyes, shook his head and smiled. At least it’s just one, he thought. At least it’s not a whole wannabe biker gang that’s about to roll up next to me. It was then he remembered his appearance, denim shorts and flip-flops, a pearl-white helmet that sat a little loose on his head, and a white t-shirt that read “Keep calm and Vespa on.” With eyes staring at the red light, a light that held the intersection hostage for no apparent reason, he steeled himself for the coming mockery he was surely to receive.
The motor from the bike behind him revved and then slowed to a rumbling idle. Whoever was approaching, they were taking their time before coming to a stop at the light. Bob knew the rider was already giving him a hard look, judging him, mocking his scooter. He sighed. In his periphery, he saw the front wheel roll next to him. Don’t look, he told himself, don’t look. But it was impossible. The wheel and rotor sparkled in the sun, and he could tell the machine had a custom paint job. Bob turned his head.
The bike was themed after a dragon with a front fender painted to look like dark red scales, including nostrils with tendrils of escaping smoke. Custom-made claws covered the brake calipers. The front forks were long and the handlebars rested high in the air. A large yellow eye, glaring with rage, dominated the side of the gas tank along with small horns that split down the middle. Every piece of chrome and billet aluminum was polished to perfection. The rear-end sat low to the ground and saddled over an extra wide tire.
If the bike was amazing to Bob, the rider made his jaw drop.
Her skin was a gorgeous olive and looked to be smooth as silk and kissed by the sun. She wore black leather pants that hugged her fit legs and struggled to reach above her hips. Her top was nothing more than a leather bikini top, also black, and her breasts had a faint jiggle from the monster idling between her legs. Her upper left arm and shoulder were sleeved in tattoos that looked to be skulls styled after Dia de los Muertos—the Day of the Dead. Large aviator glasses covered her slim face, and her long black hair was capped by a black half-helmet with one large spike on top.
Bob stared in awe as if lost in a trance, and the young woman, that motorcycle goddess, cracked off a half-smile that was nothing more than a smirk.
That smirk shattered the spell as realization came crashing into Bob’s mind. She’s doing it on purpose, he thought. I mean beyond the obviousness of it. She does this for fun, to torture men and boys alike. To torture soccer-moms and badass biker gangs, cops, clergymen, and those weirdos that go running in spandex pants. He closed his gaping mouth and looked to the stoplight. It was still red, but he knew exactly what he had to do. There was only one way to put a woman like this in her place. He glanced back at her, saw how she was sneering at his Vespa, and gave a quick head-nod. Then he revved the motor on his scooter. Even at high revs, her idling beast nearly drowned out the sound, and his bike sounded closer to a lawnmower instead of anything associated with motorcycles, but the smirk had been replaced by a mild look of confusion.
The light turned green and Bob twisted the throttle.
As his machine spasmed like an old chainsaw, Bob listened. At first he heard nothing at all, just his poor little scooter doing all it could to gain speed. Then a horrendous sound tore through the air. The dragon had awoken. Like a soul-consuming machine, the engine of the other bike roared as if a mechanical hell lived in its belly. In a flash, the woman zoomed by. As she did, she immediately let off the throttle, commanding her beast into submission and coasted on, still pulling away. Bob looked down at his speedometer and saw he was just now breaching 35 MPH. He held the throttle open and sputtered to the next red light where the beautiful woman was already waiting.
When he pulled beside her, she turned and tilted her head as if to say, Really? Bob saw the look and laughed. “Is that all you got?” he said playfully, revving his engine once more. She rolled her head in silence and looked straight ahead, revving her own engine again. The light turned, and she unleashed her fury once more, the fat tire leaving a wide streak of black on the pavement as she sped off. Bob shoved forward with his flip-flops to get more acceleration and chased after her to the next red light.
This time she never bothered to look, and Bob knew his silliness was working, as all silliness does on those who take themselves too seriously. She looked straight on while he revved his engine again and again. “Come on, hot-shot,” he taunted. “Best three out of five. You’re mine this time. If I lose, I’ll buy you a latte espresso. Tall. I know a barista who can make little hearts with the cream.”
If she heard him, she showed no sign. Once again, the light turned green, but this time the woman simply pulled away and turned onto the next avenue. Bob thought of keeping pursuit, but there was no point. He smiled in his victory. If only temporarily, the dragon had been slain.