I was a student at the University of Buffalo in 1968.
My two best buddies at UB were freaky, to say the least. Stu and Phil. (I'm the handsome one).
I was walking on campus one day when I heard a loud roar along side me. That was Phil. Actually, it was Phil’s motorcycle. He had just bought an ancient Harley Davidson. “Hey, dude,” he said as he pulled to a stop next to me.
“Phil! Is that yours?” I asked.
“No, it’s my mother’s, you dork.
“It’s an old Harley, dude. 1,200 cc’s,” he added, whatever that meant. “Built in 1949.”
“Where’d you get it?”
“Bought it from a dude who rides with the Road Hogs. I guess he needed the money more than the bike.”
“Really? How much?”
“Ready for this, dude? 75-bucks! So here I am, ridin’ a Harley Beast! Gotta split,” he shouted as he took off in a roar, smoke belching from the pipes.
A week later, I’m sitting out on the second-floor porch of my apartment on Bailey Avenue, a mile south of the old Main Street campus.
And there’s Phil, pulling up on his Harley. Without noticing me up on the porch, he climbs off the beast and heads for the stairs leading up to my front door. I hustled inside to thwart his customary two knocks.
“Who is it?” I shouted.
“Who do you think, dork? It’s your momma! Now open the door before I kick it in!”
“Want a sandwich, Phil?”
“Balogna, Balogna, or Balogna.”
“Okay, I’ll have Balogna. But don’t forget the Mustard.”
Suddenly, two more knocks at the door. We looked at each other, eyebrows raised, knowing who it would be. Then, a muffled shout from the hallway.
“Hey, you guys, open the door, will ‘ya?”
“Must be Stu,” Phil grinned.
I got up and opened the door, Phil following close behind.
“Took you long enough!” Stu complained. “You guys hidin’ somethin’? Or, someone?”
“If only,” Phil mumbled.
We three sat on the porch to peruse the chicks walking down Bailey Avenue. There weren’t any. Looking over the railing, Phil pointed at his old Harley.
“How would you like one of those? Only better!” he challenged me.
“What’re you talkin’ about, man?”
“Just shut up and listen, dork! The Road Hog I bought mine from? He’s got a line on another one. Wants to buy it at auction, sell it quick, make a buck or two. Needs more bread, I guess. A hundred-seventy-five bucks and it’s yours. But I’m gonna need the cash today, dude!”
“Jeff, you gotta see this Hog!” Stu piped in.
“Hog?” I pondered stupidly.
“My bike may be a Beast,” Phil chimed in. "But a Hog is outrageous! 1,500 cc’s. More power than some cars. And it’s in mint condition, dude. This is one of those once-in-a-lifetime deals.”
Shame on me, but Phil had my attention.
“Where’s the auction?”
“Police Garage,” he replied with a grin.
“Stolen?” I pressed.
“No way, dude. It’s a retired Police Cycle! Built in 1946, only 20,000 original miles. Knucklehead engine, still got the siren, flashing lights, single cop seat. And suicide shift.”
“What the heck’s a suicide shift?”
“You dork! It’s a stick shift, on the tank. Clutch on the foot pedal. Thing’s a monster! Double roll bars. Must weigh over 650 pounds.”
I stood there, looking over the balcony, taking in Phil’s beast in its full glory. The more I looked, the more I was hooked. Without even realizing my lips were moving, two words slithered out of my mouth.
Phil and Stu laughed loudly, patting me on the back with a sense of misplaced pride in my decision. I rode Hog for about a year, then passed it on to Stu.
Yeah, friends for life!