Wordcarpenter Books
Excerpt from The Motorcycle Inn
 
Morrel's Wipeout 
  

Morrell was the first one to the deck, a bottle of Forty Creek in his hand half empty and spilled down the front of his shirt. Patterson behind him putting the case of beer in a corner on the deck followed by guys in lumberjack shirts who picked beers from the case. They slowly surrounded Mac, his face matching the hue of his hair.

"You finally got some bikes going here! ‘Bout time someone did somethin'." Morrell's gums were loose and unresponsive.

"You have any music here Legge? Be good to throw on the radio or something." Mac knew he needed some guidance to make the party a success.

"I can find something."

"Bring it out here if you can. Hear some good country."

Legge turned on the radio and music hummed across the open space. The clinking of bottles and the sounds of boots on the wood deck were soon lost to the sound of dirt bikes riding at different intervals along the circuit being born before them.

Faces Legge had seen working in town and driving trucks were there relaxing in the sun and watching riders buzzing across the open plain with lethal irresponsibility. Tendrils of youth within grasp momentarily ringing like bells at a cathedral, the pendulum of fortune zigzagging, the will of man unearthing treasures long hidden from the landscape. A group of Canadian geese and Sandhill cranes took issue with the disturbance of their summer home squawking and croaking until they took flight south toward Lake Huron and shores of Michigan. A rock shelf revealed itself along the giant slalom turn down to where riders were drinking beers under the cluster of mature poplars in the distant corner.

Morrell appeared with the jug of whiskey and passed it around with snippets of the Sammy Legge legend coming out in bursts, now taking on significance in their own right, stories within the story of a walk turned crusade from a contributor of local lore and custodian of local history. Nods of acceptance to Legge for bringing together a club of outlaws long past any notion of conformity, rebellion based deep within the structure of their lives. This act of riding on private property gave them expression for that exact thing they craved: being apart from the system. Here they could party without being ticketed, play without the strong arm of authority, separated from the tourists where they could ride their bikes and quads. It was a luxury surely they deserved living on an island apart from the mainland called ‘God's Island.'

Legge walked onto the field with Morrell following him with the jug hanging loose from his skinny arm letting the riders avoid them, trusting their agility and reflexes at their own peril.

"Everybody can see it but you!"

"What?"

"You can't even see it!" said with the harsh emission of rusted air from charcoal lungs. "You gotta a goldmine here man! Let these guys pay ya ten or twenty bucks a day to drink and ride here man. There's nowheres else fer these guys to go! They don't have a hundred acres like this. You think them guys have land to their name? Where can they ride? The track in Providence Bay sure, but that's a racecourse. Can't dolly ‘round there. Wreck the track. ‘Sides it's only open three days a week. But here they got good level trails with no stones or fallen stuff. His hands enveloped the entire scene, stumbling forward off balance from the weight of the jug. "You can sell this!"

When they made it to the cluster of poplars, Morrell had had enough with the jug and took the available dirt bike off its kickstand. He gunned it, a line of fine mud now partially covering the cooler.

"He's all right?" Nelson watched Morrell wobble loosely on the seat, his bum too small for the ripping backend of the CR250.

"Should be."

"That's a lot of bike for him, and I hope he doesn't screw up my gears." Then the screech of a chain grinding and the odd silence before the sound of the muffled scream, the quick end to Morrell's ride. The black leather merged into the mud on the trail, body limp except for a hand waving in the air, the arm defiant saying the wipe out was anything other than his fault.

"That didn't sound good." When he and Nelson reached Morrell he was missing a chunk out of his upper lip, it separating when he smiled at them.

"Damn thing just gave out on me. Heard it go screeeech! Sounded like the chain to me."

"Couldn't be the chain man. I tightened it yesterday."

"Then something's wrong with yer transmission McKeen Damn gear went only halfway down between third and fourth. Thought I mighta been light on the change so I hit her again without the clutch. Then she screeched like a son of a bitch! Damn, gotta a bleeding nose." Legge and Nelson looked at each other.

"You're bleeding all right," he said. The gouge couldn't be stitched because there was so much missing tissue. He put his head back to stop the bleeding from his imaginary injured nose.

Back at the deck where the boys were relaxing Morrell took in the applause with tremendous aplomb, a raggedy skin-and-bones sodden with filthy denims that emitted fresh smells of an uncertain origin.

"Trooper!"

"Take one for the team."

"Crazy man."

"Let me see that." Melvin steadied the drunken chin in his hand. "Keep still. That's a nasty gash you have."

"You mean my nose. Silly bastard." Melvin turned his head to avoid the halitosis.

"Something like a stick must have poked you here and took a good size piece of flesh. Hard to tell with so much damn hair."

"Can't see it?"

"Nah, I can see it."

"There's no hair where there's no skin."

"You might want to trim that moustache to minimize the aggravation of the follicles here." Melvin kept pointing to the same place on the tip of his upper lip.

"Do I need stitches?"

"It needs at least four stitches if you had that piece of skin lying out there on the field where you went down. You madman."

Morrell took the whiskey jug from Nelson putting the rim to his bloody lips. Only then did he scream out in pain. Swear words in an array of combinations only prolonged his excruciation.  

 

 

 

 

  
Note About the Text 

Morrel is a local motorcyclist on Manitoulin Island who Legge met while servicing his motorcycle at the mechanic's.

Throwing a party for the Scotsman Mac, they decide to ride their dirtbikes on Legge's 100 acres, but when Morrel borrows a dirtbike he wipes out and cuts his lip.

Morrel had been drinking the moonshine they found which belonged to Legge's grandfather Sammy Legge, who worked with Al Capone when Capone visited the Island in the thirties during Prohibition.. 

  
From Chapter 30 of The Motorcycle Inn  
 
 
  

 
 
 

 
  

 

 


 

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