In the dead of night and with a light drizzle falling on the city of Albany, Blues and Skip, wearing their Skuldmen colors, wove in and out of traffic on their Harleys, side by side. They were oblivious to the people they passed in the cars around them. When they pulled to a stop at the traffic lights, they were equally oblivious of the pedestrians, who cheated glances at the men as they crossed the intersection under the protection of their umbrellas. The two bikers were in a world of their own, they were men on a mission.
Sitting on the far corner, was their destination. Misty’s Sunshine Bar & Grill was a sleazy bar that had seen better days. The standard neon beer signs glowed behind the window in front of faded and stained curtains. A black delivery van and six Harleys were parked out front, and a number of cars occupied space in the parking lot next to the bar. Standing at the door to the bar, trying to stay dry were two prospects paying their dues keeping watch over the machines at the curb.
“You know that this is fucking suicide, Blues.”
“This is fucking personal. You didn’t have to come,” Blues responded.
“I’m with you, Brother. Always have been, always will be” Skip said.
Chapter 3, page 27 from The Moon Upstairs: A Biker’s Story (Book 4 in a series published by Blockhead City Press released on December 12, 2012. Available through bookstores everywhere, Amazon.com, and B&N.com.
“Woody was one hell of a brother. One of the righteous few, and a good man,” Big Keith said, before leaving Jake to rejoin the other Skuldmen.
The title of righteous was not one that was tossed around lightly. This was something Jake had learned early on in his riding days. Righteous was a mantle that was earned over time, awarded through action, made by honor and held in high esteem by ‘brothers’ who followed the silent code of a secret society. To be considered righteous, you earned it by being there for others at a time when no one else could be found. It meant that you gave your last dollar to someone who needed it for food, gas, or drink; or you took a part off your bike for a brother who was stranded on the side of the road and then you both limped home together. A righteous brother would be the first to come to your side in a bar fight and be the last man standing next to you.
Chapter 21, page 140 from The Moon Upstairs: A Biker’s Story (Book 4 in a series published by Blockhead City Press released on December 12, 2012. Available through bookstores everywhere, Amazon.com, and B&N.com.
Back in the summer of 2012, I wrote about the Brotherhood of our lifestyle, and how I was getting a little disillusioned by it all. And that’s still true today.
But there’s a difference between Brothers and Brotherhood. And I have two of the best examples in the world. Sure I have two brotherhoods, the riding one and the writing one. In the writing one, I have the best brother in the world in Ed Winterhalder. No one could ask for a more supportive and collaborative writing partner.
Having said that, I have two Brothers that make my world, make this journey, better. So much better, because I know I can rely on them, that they are there 24/7/365, but are not in my face 24/7/365.
And there is a difference.
One Brother I have been riding with for just over 25 years. He came to this lifestyle a bit later than I did. But once he did, we bonded early and we bonded strong. On the road, we’re known as Butch and Sundance. When we ride it’s like ballet. There is only one other that I ride with, besides Sundance, that I can spend hours on the blacktop from Boston to Vermont to New York State, side by side, at 70+ mph and have it feel like it’s a walk in the woods.
Sundance knows me through and through. He knows my secrets; both good and bad. I know that he’s got my back at the drop of a dime. I trust him, completely. At one time, we rode identical scooters. Whether we were side by side, or one in front of the other, we were a pair. We’ve helped each other out of several jams more than once. He also knows that I have his back. No matter when, no matter what. I am there for him. I help him, I counsel him, I protect him. In turn, and not for any reason other than it’s what brothers do, he helps me, he counsels me and he protects me. I wouldn’t be ‘Butch’, if it weren’t for him. He knows it, and he knows how much that means to me.
The other Brother I’ve known for just 15 years. PC is a major force in motorcycle rights in the Boston area. He gets shit done. When we were on the Board of the Massachusetts Motorcycle Association he could ride up to the State House, and walk in and see any number of politicians and talk to them about legislative matters intelligently, and effectively. 14 years ago when he was organizing a fund-raising ride for the family of a fallen rider, he reached for help. Studly called and I said yes, because of what he has done for the community. In the meantime, his commitment to our community has inspired me to get involved in our Motorcyclists Survivors Fund, a charity that helps. I joined in because he stepped up. He’s a Brother in the global sense to all of us that ride in New England. The whole MC community is better because of him. And in the ensuing 15 years, we too, have bonded, like Sundance and I, only different. Sure, we go out, we drink until we are just shy of silly, and include anyone that wants to partake of our journey. But he and I have connected in ways, intellectually, that is amazing. When Studly has a plan to organize something, we frequently talk about it. And in many cases, I am “Consigliere” to his “Godfather”, and neither of us are Italian. I support him, I respect him; and when it comes to my writing, he does the same for me. The funny thing is, in those 15 years, we’ve never ridden together. Not once. But we each know how the other feels when you’re sitting on a machine clearing the cobwebs out of your brain at 65mph on a winding mountain road in the middle of New England.
So much the same in my life.