I was 19, full of the awfulest blend of energies and possessed by the twin demons of speed lust and freedom fever. I'd traded a VW bug which I'd come to hate with all my passion for my first motorcycle: a savagely over-juiced Suzuki water buffalo.

As mentioned in previous posts here, it was a '72, silver paint, red twin-lamp fairing, chrome J&B Power Pipes, K&H filters, ported & polished guts. For the unfamiliar reader, the Suzuki GT750 was a three-cylinder, two-stroke water cooled monstosity of 847 dry pounds and around 67 hp. An absurd and radical concept for a motorcycle.

I'm sure I ran the loudest expansion chambers modern science was capable of engineering, with each power stroke resonating like the firing of a 20-gauge shotgun down a long culvert. Any townies who didn't adore that three-banshee proclamation surely considered me Public Enemy No. 1. Yes, a first-class redneck dickhead was I.

At the time I lived in Sylvan Lake, in Central Alberta. One day while riding foolishly, I got flashed down by a Mountie cruiser. I had just been doing 85mph through a school zone at 3:15 in the afternoon. I was a bit drunk, a little stoned on weed, my bike had these cheap little mirrors on the bar-ends both of which had stripped threads, meaning they swung in the breeze. This was from dropping the bike in the spring breakup swampway that led to the farm I rented. I had no motorcycle license, no insurance and the papers were still in the previous owner's name.

Luckily, the cop who nicked me was a attractive female whom I sort of knew from previous motorized encounters, and I had the presence of mind to flirt in the most respectable and humourous fashion I could muster. She was laughing in a 'you cannot be for real' way as she flipped the pathetic mirrors around in circles. I told her I'd replace them tomorrow. She asked about the speed. I said something about two-strokes' power bands 'just kickin' the heck in without no warning'. She asked for my license, I told her I 'didn't receive it yet from the ministry', a reasonable white lie, because I was intending to get one -- though I did not do so until 2009. She asked about insurance and ownership. I said I had no idea where they were -- a truthy sort of lie, since neither existed. She asked if I knew it was school hours in a school zone. I grinned weakly and said the kids were all giving me the 'do a wheelie sign', which was true -- people did that wherever I went with this bike.

She went back to her car with my license to check me for warrants.

I was clean in that regard, but guessed I'd be locked up for this multi-offence clusterfuck. Still, I kept my head held high and whispered promises of contrition should I be let off.

She came back, looked me over in the serious way cops are good at... and then told me to go home, and to get the mirrors fixed. I promised I would -- and did the following day. I thanked her, told her she was one in a million -- that was no lie -- and rode as calmly on my way as one can on a bike of such.


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