Fourphukenever! (WBL 09 # 2)

The warp and woof of the WBL, whether in days of weal or woe, has always been the heterogeneous medley of diverse pedal bangers that roll in from hither and yonder to form the multivalent admixture of our little pedal-whirring group. We are a study in egalitarian equality, at least until the pedal-rotating begins. We begrudge no one because of race, gender, religious affliction, or sexual affectation, though we do spread lies and innuendo about wheel-suckers, whiners, ginormous-gear mashers, Canadians, Kalifernians, and anyone from anywhere remotely close to Not-so-Hotlanta. And we would never impugn the integrity of any person with an infirmity. For example, John Best’s erectile-dysfunction-disjunction-conjunction-malfunction-at-the-switching-gate malady does not make him any less of a Zealot in our eyes. We consider ourselves an “impotent neutral” organization, though I do admit, if I was inflicted with that dastardly disease, I’d place my head in a lion’s jaws and pray to the high heavens that he clamped down decisively, cleaved me in twain, and ended my miserable, lonely, depressing existence in one swift bite. John Best is a better man than me in most ways but one, even if I am in the middle of a season-long slump.

The WBL is visited by a whole host of variegated personages, who on this grand spectacle of a day, included iconoclasts (Jason Bewley), rabble-rousers (Rebecca Larsen), horse swindlers (Ryan Bertram), table-top dancers (Anthony Hergert), sex-fiends (Eric Murphy), lowdown, despicable drunks (Bill Loeffler), cuckolds (L---, J---, F--- and H.C.), Waffle House patrons (Jeff Shapiro), penny-pinchers (Stephen Dean), guttersnipes (Dustin Mealor) and closet metal-heads (Chad Stanton). Hale, we even allow Jews to pedal along with us, especially if they are the ilk of the lost tribe of wandering gypsy-Jews from the African desert (Erin Winter): They like to hammer! But Erin’s husband Jeff?—I don’t care one lick for that grumpus. (If you ask me, that boy’s gonna roast in the halefire flames below while I’m perched high atop the white walls of the Great Beyond flinging down rose petals one at a time. I’ll be counting all the ways I told him so with each leaf I flutter down into the flame. I’ll probably be sipping white lightning at the time, and maybe watching Nascar on my new flatscreen t.v.)

But when it comes to the field of infirmities, Clever Cleve Blackwell presents a knotty conundrum for the WBL. Clever Cleve Blackwell has man-boobs, bottom line, and he showed up without wearing a sports bra to the second WBL event of the year, the Bowman Ballbuster, on 13 December 2008. If there’s one type of ill-mannered stable boy that goads Carney’s goat into an unbridled rage, it’s one with sagging man-boobs that refuses to swaddle those suckers up on a bike ride. The last thing Carney cares to see when he’s training on his metal-pedal machine is another guy’s man-boobs swinging like two chandeliers in a gale force tempest, especially when he’s knee-deep in the middle of a seriously-stylomatic, soul-spelunking, jaw clenching, white-knuckle, WBL whirly-g?rg on wheels. I feel the same way. So, when I saw Clever at the start of the WBL ride in front of Sunshine Cycles with his two giant gumpers falling out of his jersey, and I simultaneously witnessed the horrible visage of his long, hairy, white, flyspecked legs, I turned redder than a cherry tomato. But I played it cool, like Coltrane.

I was walking towards the registration table, and from a distance of ten paces, I spied Clever Cleve leaned over and signing in with his jersey unzipped. I accidentally looked down his open jersey and witnessed the unholy sight of his massive cleavage with my own two eyeballs. Both of his gumpers were dangling down like water-weighted gourds. “Jaysuz,” I said. I nearly jumped out of my skin. I was in disbelief. I’d heard about these magnificent melons, but I’d never actually laid eyes on their flesh, even if I could only see the top half. Both gumpers were so prestigious that the lower half pressed flat against the registration table from half-a-foot away! He looked like some kind of high priced, Jackson County whore. It was an instant buzzkill.

I gathered my wits and walked up to him. His was still lying all over the table for no reason (he’d already signed in), and his big man-boobs were still pressing into the table like two great mounds of tacky dough. That fruitcake was even waving his ass in the air. The nut thought he was some sort of sexy southern Madonna, like the bodacious gal washing her car in Cool Hand Luke. Even then I thought, That boy’s not right in the head. (At the time, I did not know that Clever Cleve does in fact have a metal plate lodged in his head.) Many of my friends think me a magus.

I walked up to registration and said to no one in particular, “I guess somebody forgot to wear their man-boob bra.” I exhaled loudly, turned my head and feigned disinterest, and nonchalantly rubbed my chin. I played it cool, like Coltrane.

The next thing I knew that big, burly bastard was on top of me pummeling me. All I saw was swinging elbows, furious fists, and his giant man-boobs swinging helter-skelter, like two hanging ferns whipping wildly in the wind. Foam was flying from his mouth and he sprayed spittle in my face each time he punched. I landed one good sucker-punch with my right fist on his left man-boob when he hesitated for one split second to wipe snot off his nose. I could tell I scored because I saw him grimace. Afterwards, he proceeded to beat the shazaytal out of me. But it was worth it. The only good thing about this beating was that at least I was getting pummeled by a guy with man-boobs, if you catch my backwards drift.

By the time they pulled that big, hairy baboon off of me, I had a black eye, a bloody nose, a bruised neck, a very sore fundament, and I had lost two great gobs of hair. Also, my pride had taken a pounding. Tears were streaming down my face. I looked at him and screamed, “You are gonna pay for this, you big-breasted sunofabitch. I hope Obama takes all your money, you rich, stuck-up, country-clubber. I’m gone have your ass barred from the WBL—fourphukenever!”

I looked around for Carney, but the ride was about to leave. I had to getty-up and go.

Oh Sirius Sweetapple Sausalito, strike up the band, because the second event of WBL 2009 turned into an old time jamboree and a come-to-Jaysuz jubilee—a cherry pie on wheels with ice cream a la mode—a sweet time in the South on a clear but crisp December day. The Zealots’ steel steeds were firing on all cylinders, the pistons were hot, and the pack mastered the irascible and deceptive roadways at an average speed of just less than 21 miles per hour for the totality of the day (80 mules/4 hours). From the firing of the starter’s pistol until the final bell clanged, the pack drovers at the head of the bunch lowered their skulls, up-thrusted their chins, pinched their elbows in tight, dialed in the cruise control, and motor-scootered down the roadway like they were fever-blasted out of a cannon’s snout. The drovers were definitely not dishing out a heaping helping of good tidings and cheer. In fact, they had clearly come with scandalous intentions. The long line of pedal-bangers, at times, was nothing but pumping knees, flailing elbows, teary eyes, and two-foot long strands of drivel and drool. Oh Sirius Sweetapple Sausilito, somebody call the damn doctor.

Even though Zeus hurled thunderbolts from high atop Mount Alto all week, by Saturday, the skies changed to Iowa-cornfield blue and the golden pearl of the sun occupied the entirety of the clear, cold sky. But by 10 a.m. in the morning, the sun was already bearing down on the day, especially in the eternal microwave oven in front of Sunshine Cycles, where the temperature quickly accelerated to 40 degrees. But how many times has some poor, unsuspecting slob been roasting in the sun in front of Sunshine, only to round the corner after the whistle has warbled, and be clobbered in the chest by a demon-force buster? Let me count the ways, for I am the aforementioned poor and unsuspecting slob. The difference is that now that I know, I’m too old to care, but still too dumb to do better.

But 13 December 2008 was not one of those devious or deceptive days. This was one of those godsend days of picture book lore. (For example, the picture book titled Playboy, specifically “Southern Girls” edition, circa 1984, my senior year—the cobalt blue skies in the background in those photos have made my jawbone hang loosey-goosey on multiple occasions over a 24 year period…and counting). Gazing upwards as we bolted out of town, it seemed as if the big hard sun might shine fourphukenever. Yes, this was one of those glorious days when we Zealots have it made in the shade. In other words, the gang was all grinning big toothy smiles.

The pack hurdled out of town to the east, and was free and clear of any and all hindrances within 5 miles. The helmsmen opened up the throttle and let her rip, causing consternation in the thighs to those worry-pedaling behind. Carney, in an interview in Cigar Aficionado after the ride, explained his logic: “When we are departing town and we first are rid of the traffic-jam-obstacles, my man-servants must go the front and up-tempo the pace for security reasons. If there is an assassination attempt on my life, it will happen at this point. It is best for the rest not to ask questions and simply stay out of the way. Duck if you here gunfire.” Riding with Carney does have its risks.

The group settled into a quick tempo early on, and the gentle rolling terrain helped keep it there. Rolling through Colbert and across the wide ribbon of the Broad River, the pack was constantly reminded that life has its ups and downs: At times, the ripples came in quick secession, but no sooner did a pedal-masher think his legs were about to lock up, than the road would fall away at a most pleasing angle. During long stretches in Oglethorpe County, and on Parham Town Road in Elbert County, the group clipped along at 30 miles per hour even though we were only gently tapping down on the top of the pedals. This was pedal-hammering at its finest. This was living. If I ever have a biographer, I hope he titles the book: “Long Live the Big Ring!”

At the store stop in Bowman I recruited a few fiends to help me beat the stoodle of Clever Cleve. It wasn’t hard—folks were disgusted. His man-boobs were jostling and jouncing all over creation. They were sweating profusely and had left two wet stains the size of giant sand dollars on the front of his jersey. When he pedaled, his knees would bump against his low-hanging boobs. It was impossible not to stare, and even more difficult when I was forced to turn around and try and pick him out in the long line of weaving pedal-mashers. I hired Team Type 1’s Junior Southerland, despite his protestations about his new leaf, Nick Knuckle Head Reistad, Michael Stone, Kyle Shipp, and Andrew Smola among others. Hale, people were offering me money to join in the fun. I started to offer “A good swift kick in the shin” for five bucks. When everything was said and done, I had 77 people signed up and had pocketed nearly $150 bucks cash. I even had a few IOU’s. Seemed no one cared for Cleve.

On the return trip home, the pack drovers showed no mercy for the stampeding herd, but brothers, they needed none. The grupetto sailed back west, towards A-Town, with the likes of Danny Boy Larsen, Tim the Rock Stone, Don Gianinni, Keith Mr. Melody, Nicky Attaboy Arroya, Billy Boy Bray, Steve 6 Gun Sevener, Mr. Thomas Brown, and Adam Hit Man Fancher leading the charge. The group kept the speed-pedal pressed to the floor as it sailed through Carlton, proceeded with caution across the covered bridge, and cut a blistering beeline back home. The group continued to rip across flattish roads while they were homeward bound and arrived at the terminus of the day’s peregrinations with a zippity-do-da-day and a yodel-me-stout deposited into their mileage account. Carney was thrilled and gave the group the grade of an “A.” I was stupendified.

Ride summary:

In the parking lot after the ride, I found the farrago of disreputable folks who agreed to beat Clever Cleve to a blood stew. There were 78 of us, including me. We all walked towards Clever’s car in the far corner of the parking lot. I stayed to the rear—I’d be nearby if needed. We were pounding our fists into our hands. That fruitcake was about to get his cranberries shoved right up his safety spout. He would be shittin prunes come Monday morning.

We walked around the back of a bus and suddenly there he was in all his mind-blowing brilliance. We all hid behind the bus and gaped. Clever Cleve was trying to take off his turtle neck sweater, but his massive, concrete-blocked-shaped skull was pinched tight in the head-hole. His arms were still stuck in the sleeves and he was flailing them above his head. He looked like the headless horseman. The avoirdupois of his two-ton gumpers was on full display. All 77 of us were as silent as dead people, as if in the presence of a deity. We were all mesmerized by those two mythopoeic lodestones, especially Clayton Kendricks, Nick Arroyo, and Ryan Bertram, who dropped to their knees and kissed the ground of the parking lot.

“Bejeevers,” Eric Murphy whispered.

“Sweet mother of mysteries. Them two gumpers make my knees wobble-knock,” JJ Wadkins added with a nervous grin.

“Those are the biggest, free-standing boodle-boppers I’ve ever seen in my whole entire life,” Nick Knuckle-Head said, obviously awestruck. “I wonder what they touch like.” He narrowed his gaze to a lizard slit.

“What?” Hunter Garrison asked, but Knuckle-Head couldn’t hear him. He was in a place far away.

As Clever continued to struggle with his obstinate turtle neck, Ryan Bertram’s Adam’s apple crawled up his throat as he slowly swallowed, then it plunged back down to the bottom of the thick tubular vein in his throat like a widget on a greased track. Little beads of sweat pricked his forehead. His mind was a swirling cesspool of sin, a miasmatic dump of lascivious longings. He suddenly realized that he’d stopped breathing. He looked around to make sure that no one noticed.

We all just stood there, our feet glued to the ground in utter silence, our mouths hanging open, staring like idiot savants at those two earth-shaking boodle-boppers. Presently, Nancy Jones had the fortitude to utter aloud the words we’d all been thinking in our heads: “They’re magnificent.”

Clever finally managed to wrestle the turtle neck over the five gallon slosh bucket that sits atop his shoulders. He saw us eye-ogling him from behind the bus and covered up what he could, which wasn’t much. “What chall want?” he yelled.

Erin Winter stepped forward: “Show em to us again,” she demanded.

“What’s in it fer me?” Clever protested.

“We won’t beat the ever-livin stuffin out of ye, that’s what,” we all said. “And you can stay in the WBL,” we all added, suddenly struck with a divine afflatus.

Clever dropped his arms to his side and smiled. We all fell to our knees and barked at the moon.

“How long am I in for?” Clever Cleve wanted to know.

“Fourphukenever,” we yelled back in unison.

This week’s photos:

I was so glad to be finished with this week’s ride story that when I was done I started dancing and singing in the basement of my hovel. I was skipping and twirling and moving to the music, and just when it hit me, somebody turned the lights out/Shouted play that funky music white boy. I was singing one top 40 song after another, banging on walls, shouting at times, and kicking up my hills. I was making a real racket.

For some reason I started singing: Knock three times on the ceiling if you love me, twice on the pipes, if the answer is nooooo. I don’t know any other lyrics to the song, so I kept repeating the same verse over and over and over. I was having a swell time. I was imbibing on a grandiose scale.

Abruptly, I heard two hard knocks on the pipe, like an oversized monkey wrench clanging on a copper pipe, and my wife yelled out, “THE ANSWER IS NO. SO WOULD YOU SHUT THE HALE UP YOU MORON!”

Instant buzzkill. I sat there stewing in silence for minute, but I played it cool, like Coltraine. Then I shouted at the ceiling, “How much longer?”

“Fourphukenever” was the one word reply.

Humble C. (12-15-08)