Posts Tagged ‘motorcycle’

As most of you know, I have my own consulting agency, but I get most of my income by working for a mob boss. Uncle Joey and I have recently become more than employer/employee since he told the whole Manetto family that I was his niece. I’ve been calling him “Uncle” from the beginning, so it only made sense to continue the charade.

Now when he introduces me to his business associates, he always tells them I’m his niece, and they always look at me differently. I used to think it was bad to be his niece, given the mob boss aspect. But there are times when it’s pretty awesome. In fact, I probably enjoy it way too much – but I try not to think about that part.

We recently met with a used car dealer who runs a gambling business on the side that he didn’t want Uncle Joey to know about. The main reason for that was because he used Uncle Joey’s name, claiming Uncle Joey ran the business. Saying that gave him an edge, and made it lots easier for him to collect the gambling debts his customers accumulated. Of course, Kurt couldn’t keep that secret from me and my mind reading ability.

So yesterday, Uncle Joey asked me to pay a visit to his gambling establishment.

I usually don’t jump at the chance to work for Uncle Joey, but playing poker is fun for me because I always win. Being a mind reader has some really great benefits, and that’s just one I can’t resist.

Of course, it didn’t hurt that I was going with Ramos. He’s Uncle Joey’s hitman and let’s just say… he’s every woman’s dream; tall, dark and handsome with a little sexy danger thrown in for good measure – only he’s real. And he rides a Harley… what more can I say?

I met him in the parking garage at Thrasher Development. Since we were going on his motorcycle, I wore my black jeans, boots, and black motorcycle jacket. He waited by his bike, and my temperature rose just to see him standing there, decked out in black, and his lips tilted into a lopsided, sexy grin.

“You ready?” he asked, admiring my outfit.

“You know it.” I slipped on the helmet he handed me, and got on the bike behind him. The thrill of motoring up the drive out of the parking garage sent butterflies through my stomach, and I clutched him tightly around his waist. Yup. No matter what else happened tonight, this more than made up for it.

We arrived at the bar. After paying the requisite fee, we were allowed into the basement where the gambling took place. That’s when I got a little nervous, since I’d basically forgotten how to play Texas Hold’em. I didn’t play much on account that nobody liked playing with me since I always won.

Ramos picked up on my nervousness, but I just shrugged and told him that I’d forgotten how to play, but I’d pick it up pretty quick. By then we were sitting at one of the five poker tables and, hearing that, the other four players glanced at me with happy smiles on their faces.

After a few rounds, those smiles were long gone. I won’t bore you with the details, but I cleaned them out. By then, a crowd had gathered to watch me play, and a few brave souls had taken the loser’s places, eager to prove their worth.

The tension in the place rose with each game I won, and one of the players, who’d lost ten grand, began to get angry. After I cleaned him out, he jumped to his feet, shoving his chair back in his rush. “You’re cheating,” he said, pulling a knife from his pocket. The blade flicked open and he held it toward me, his hand shaking with menace.

Before he had a chance to follow up on his threat, Ramos stepped beside me. “What did you say?” His voice was low and held a challenge that wasn’t lost on my accuser, who took a step back and lowered his weapon.

“I’m just… there’s no way she can be that good,” he said, trying to explain. “Something’s going on, and I want my money back. This place is rigged.”

The manager in charge came to our table, and told my accuser to calm down. After glancing at Ramos, he decided the accuser was the least dangerous of the two, and gave him the line that the business was run by the Manetto Organization. “Dude, do you want to piss off a mob boss? Maybe you’d better think about that before you make accusations you’ll regret.”

I’d heard enough and stood, sending them both a disgusted frown. “Stop lying. I know for a fact that my Uncle… Joey Manetto… has nothing to do with this place. In fact, he sent me here to find out what’s going on.”

At their shocked expressions, I continued. “So I think it’s time we cleared this matter up.” I pointed at the manager. “You. Call your boss and tell him he needs to get down here right away to straighten out a disagreement.”

I glanced around the room at all the patrons, who had frozen at the mention of Uncle Joey. “If the rest of you want to get out of here alive, I suggest you leave now.”

Most everyone grabbed their chips and scrambled up the stairs, dropping a few in their haste to leave. The guy who’d accused me of cheating stood his ground. He didn’t want to leave without the money he’d lost.

“I don’t cheat,” I said, glaring at him. “So either scram, or answer to my uncle. He’ll be here soon to deal with Kurt Johnson and these bozos.” I gestured at the rest of the workers.

The guy let out a disgruntled breath, then hurried up the stairs. Under Ramos’s prodding stare, the manager made the call to Kurt who replied that he would be there in half an hour. The manager then left, taking the rest of the dealers with him and leaving us there alone.

“Do you think he’ll come?” I asked Ramos.

“I have no idea,” he answered. “But if he doesn’t, I know where he lives.”

“Okay… good.”

A few minutes later, footsteps came down the the stairs and Kurt appeared, his face a mask of confusion. Not one soul was left in the bar upstairs or in the gambling room down here, and he could hardly believe his eyes.

“Hello Kurt,” I said. “Looks like you have a problem.”

As the truth dawned on him, he turned white as a sheet and swore under his breath. Panic set in and he turned to run. Of course, he didn’t get far before Ramos intercepted him. Ramos grabbed his shirt and jerked him around before shoving him against the wall. “You’ve made a grave mistake,” he said. “And now you’re going to pay the consequences.”

I picked up Ramos’s desire to kill the guy, and alarm shot through me. “Uh… Ramos… don’t kill him… uh… yet.” Ramos worked hard not to smile, but he glanced my way, thinking I was doing exactly what he’d wanted. He turned back to Kurt. “It looks like you get to live a little longer.”

“I’m… I’m… I didn’t think… I’m sorry… I’ll do whatever you want. Whatever you want… it’s yours… just don’t kill me. Please.”

Ramos let him go, but locked gazes with him. “Shelby?” He didn’t look at me, but wanted Kurt to think I was in charge. Since I had no idea what to say, I listened to his thoughts and basically repeated everything he was thinking.

“Fine. As much as you don’t deserve it, I’ll talk to my Uncle and see if he’ll spare you life. Maybe you can make a deal with him?”

“Of course, anything. Whatever you want.”

“Okay. We’ll expect to see you at Thrasher Development at nine tomorrow morning. As of right now, this bar and your little… enterprise is done.”

“Sure, whatever you say.”

“Oh… and I need these cashed out.” I picked up all my chips and followed him to the till. Kurt practically threw money at me without counting it up, hoping that would make his life a little easier.

After tucking the bills into my purse, I smiled. “See you tomorrow… right?”

“Yes, yes. I’ll be there.”

Ramos followed me out, and we climbed on the bike and drove out of the now-empty parking lot. He was thinking that I’d taken to bossing Kurt around like a pro. Who would have thought? He could just see me taking over Uncle Joey’s organization someday, with him as my right hand man. It would be fun.

I entertained that thought for a few minutes, just for the pure indulgence of it. As soon as we pulled into the parking garage and I took off my helmet, I handed it to him with a smile. “That’s not going to happen.”

He grinned. “Yeah… maybe not now, but you never know.”

I punched his arm. There was no way that would ever happen. I was feeling way too guilty as it was for scaring Kurt so bad. On the other hand, it had felt pretty good to catch a liar, and I could do that any day.

So tomorrow… I think I’ll see if Dimples needs help… just to balance it out a bit, and keep me on the right side of things… just in case.

 

 

 

 

 

Not long ago, I tried to drive Ramos’s Harley. It was in a parking lot, but I had a crazy person behind me at the time, and I almost crashed into the back of a building. Luckily I was able to turn the bike, but I ended up underneath it because it was too heavy for me to hold up. The only good thing about it was that I just got a few bruises on my ankle. The bike didn’t fair so well, and Ramos had to take it into the shop and get it fixed.

After that, he suggested I learn how to drive a motorcycle in case that ever happened again, and he would teach me. How could I pass that up?

To be honest, I like riding behind Ramos better than almost anything, so driving a motorcycle myself kind of defeats that purpose. Still, I told him that was a good idea, even though I doubted it would ever happen.

Then just this morning after we’d finished up a meeting at Thrasher Development, Ramos and I left the office at the same time. In the parking garage, I glanced toward Ramos’s normal parking place and found a different bike parked there.

“Where’s the Harley?” I asked.

“At home,” he answered. “I just got this one restored and wanted to ride it today.” He wandered over to it, and ran his hand over the polished chrome with a soft caress. “This bike is a vintage classic. It’s a 1959 Bonneville Triumph. I found it when I was in Mexico, and managed to bring it home.”

“Wow. That’s great. It looks like an awesome bike,” I said, even though I had no idea what a vintage classic meant, except that it was probably worth a lot of money.

“Hey, this would be the perfect bike for you to learn on. It’s not as big as the Harley, so you’d probably be able to handle it. Want to try it out?”

“You mean…all by myself?”

“Sure. Now that school’s out, we could go to an empty school parking lot, and you could try her out.”

“Uh…are you sure? I mean, it’s a vintage classic, right?”

“You’ll be fine.”

“Okay.” Just the thought of trying to drive that bike sent shards of ice down my spine, but how could I say no to Ramos?

“Good.” He popped the trunk to his car and produced both our helmets and handed the smaller one to me.

As I strapped it on, I wished I would have been more prepared and worn different clothes. Since it was summer, I’d worn a pink tank top under a white linen shirt and my denim capri pants with sparkles on the back pockets. On my feet, I’d slipped on my denim sandals that totally matched. At least they were flat, and the top of my foot was covered, so that would help with the shifting part.

I climbed on behind Ramos, and slipped my arms around him, willing to try anything for a ride with him, and hoped for the best.

This bike was smaller, but I fit behind Ramos just fine. He took us to the nearest high school parking lot and pulled inside. We both got off, and he began to explain how to shift the gears to me, most of which I already knew from riding with him.

He took me through the brake lever and the shift lever, along with how to pull the handle to give it some gas. By the time he was done, I had a pretty good idea how to drive it, but that didn’t stop my stomach from fluttering with trepidation.

“Ready to try it out?” he asked.

“Uh…I guess.”

He took in my widened eyes and pale face, and his lips tilted up in a smile. “Want me to ride behind you until you get the hang of it?”

I let out a relieved breath. “You can do that?” At his nod, I continued. “I would feel lots better if you did.”

“Okay, get on.”

I straddled the bike and scooted forward so there was plenty of room for Ramos behind me. He helped me get it started, and told me how to shift into first, and let out the clutch while giving it some gas.

I did everything like he said, and we inched forward before it sputtered out and died. He told me I needed to give it a little more gas and try again. This time, I managed to do it right, and we started off across the parking lot at a slow pace.

He continued to tell me when to shift, and I got all the way up to third gear before we began to run out of space and had to turn around. I turned slowly, grateful that Ramos could keep the bike from tipping over, and then began to head back.

After a couple of times, I was getting the hang of it, and Ramos settled back into the seat, leaving me to use the handle bars by myself. We turned around to head back to the other side of the parking lot, and all that open space beckoned me, so I gave it a little extra gas and went a little faster than before.

Ramos grabbed me around the waist, and I laughed as we picked up speed. I even managed to get all the way to fourth gear. Since we were nearing the end of the parking lot, I let go of the gas to pull on the brake lever, causing us to slow more abruptly than I wanted.

The momentum caused Ramos to plow into my back, pushing me forward. That’s when I panicked and pulled on the brake, causing us both to fly forward even more. Ramos expertly reached around me, and took control of the bike. With relief, I pulled my fingers away and leaned back against him until we came to a complete stop.

He put his feet on the ground so the bike didn’t tip over, and swung his leg off the bike, leaving me on it alone. “What did you think?” he asked.

“It was great…until the end. I guess I lost it a little.”

He smiled. “You did great. Want to try it on your own?”

My eyes widened. “Uh…nope…not really. But I think I got the basics, so this was a good start. Besides, I don’t want to risk wrecking this classic bike, you know?”

He chuckled, knowing I was scared out of my mind, but he also thought it had been worth it to have his arms around me for a change. “Yeah. I appreciate that. Ready to head back?”

Now that it was over, I wasn’t sure I wanted it to end, but changing places with Ramos made it a lot easier. “Yes.”

Soon, I was back where I felt most comfortable. Still, there was a moment with Ramos’s arms around me that I’d felt a real thrill. It was great fun, and I wouldn’t mind feeling that again sometime. But, for now, riding behind him was even better.

So that was my first bike driving lesson. I thought it went pretty well, and if I ever get the chance again, I’ll take it…as long as Ramos is sitting behind me.

All of you know how much I love going on motorcycle rides. But after yesterday, I’ve decided that it’s mostly because of the person taking me on the ride.

Yesterday, I got a call from my friend, Holly. She told me that her husband got her a scooter for her birthday. I think it’s a Vespa. Anyway… I hurried over to see it and maybe take a ride. It was so cute … kind of a lime green color. And the thing I liked most, was that it didn’t have any gears you had to shift, and it was small enough for me to handle.

As you know, on a motorcycle, you have to do that whole gear shift thing on the handlebar and with your foot, which can be a little intimidating… at least for me. Plus, the motorcycle that I usually ride is pretty big. If I tried to take that out by myself, I’m not sure I’d be strong enough to hold it upright. Still, I’m sure they have smaller motorcycles that I could try, right? Plus it might be a good thing to learn how to ride one just in case… you know… something happened.

With that in mind, I totally jumped at the chance to try out Holly’s Vespa, just to get a feel for it in a non-threatening way. If I liked it… who knew? Maybe I’d want to get one, or try out a smaller-size motorcycle?

She drove it around first and showed me how it worked, driving it up and down the street a few times. Then it was my turn. The handlebars have a brake lever and the one on the right side is the one you pull toward you to make it go.

It seemed simple enough, and it kind of reminded me of the wave-runner I took out at the lake a few years ago. I had my two kids on it behind me, and we started out pretty slow. Then the need for speed hit me, and I twisted the handle. We took off and it was great fun, until the kids lost their grip and flew off behind me. Luckily they both had on life jackets, but I didn’t realize they were slowly losing their grip because of the speed, or I would have slowed down…

Anyway, I tested the brakes and then twisted the handle and started off. I was going pretty slow, but I veered to the left where there’s a two-foot drop-off from Holly’s driveway to the neighbor’s driveway. I was holding onto the handlebar so tight, that I forgot that I needed to let go in order to stop.

I managed to turn the wheel in time to avoid going off the edge, but it was close, and I heard some yelling going on behind me. By then, I had come to the end of the driveway. Luckily, I shifted my hand on the handle. With a deep breath of relief, I slowed in time to look both ways before pulling out and turning up the street.

I made it to the top of the street and decided to go around the block, since I wasn’t sure I could turn it around. By the time I’d made it back around the street, I was starting to get the hang of it. I’d even managed not to tip over or anything. But my legs were a little shaky from all the excitement.

With relief, I turned into the driveway and pulled to a stop in front of everyone almost like a pro. I even remembered to put my feet on the ground so the scooter wouldn’t tip over.

Holly smiled, but it didn’t quite reach her eyes. She reached for the handlebar, thinking how grateful she was that I’d make it back alive, and that I’d almost killed her brand-new scooter. She also wasn’t sure she’d ever let me ride it again.

It kind of hurt my feelings. Sure I’d sort of messed up at the beginning, but I’d made it all the way around the block just fine. Still, I knew it would take a lot more practice for me to feel totally comfortable riding around on it.

That’s when I realized that maybe having a motorcycle of my own wouldn’t be such a good idea after all. I really liked riding on the back much better than driving it myself anyway. Especially when I could wrap my arms around the one person who liked to take me on those rides… yeah… I think it’s safer for everyone if I stick to that plan from now on.

 

 

There are times when I can’t help being a little bit bad. Like the other day. First of all, it was a beautiful autumn day with the bright blue sky and orange & yellow leaves falling to the earth like feathers. The air had a chill to it, but the sun was still warm enough to take most of the chill away. I was leaving Thrasher Development and something just pulled me over to the corner of the parking garage where Ramos kept his motorcycle. I stopped and stared at it, feeling a rush of longing to go for a ride.

With a sigh, I turned to leave and found Ramos standing behind me with a lopsided grin on his face. “Babe,” he said. “Looks like you’re drooling just a little. Want to go for a ride?”

My breath caught and, even though I knew I shouldn’t, I nodded my head, grinning like a fool. See what I mean about being a little bit bad? I didn’t have any control when it came to Ramos and going for a ride on his motorcycle. What was worse, Ramos knew it. “I have to take a message to someone for Manetto,” he said. “But it shouldn’t take long.”

“Perfect!!”

He popped the trunk of his car and got out the gear I’d need, and I quickly put on the helmet and leather jacket. Before I knew it, I was on the bike behind him with my arms wrapped around his waist. As we pulled out of the garage a thrill went down my spine and my stomach churned with butterflies. We didn’t go far before stopping, and I was a little disappointed. But I shouldn’t have worried. After Ramos delivered his message, we got back on the bike and he said over his shoulder. “We’ll take the long way back.”

“Woohoo!” I shouted, and felt his stomach muscles wiggle with laughter. We left the city behind and took a loop around the University past some big homes with huge trees lining the residential streets. The leaves kicked up as we drove through them and rained down from above as well. It was a timeless moment, and I enjoyed every minute of it. Then we hit the main road and traveled back to the city.

Parking in the garage, I got off the bike like an expert, and stowed the helmet and jacket back in Ramos’ trunk. “That was awesome!” I said, grinning widely. “Thanks.”

“Sure,” he said, thinking it was the best part of his day.

“Me too,” I agreed. “So tell me… if you were going to a Halloween party, what would you dress up as? I think I’d want to go as a biker chick.”

“Babe,” he said. “I’d just go as a hit-man, then I could wear whatever I wanted.”

We both laughed and I was still chuckling in the car on my way home. Then it hit me that not too many people could say that, and here I was, a normal soccer-mom housewife…who’d just taken a ride with a real live hit-man. See what I mean about taking a ride on the wild side?