Cycle of Addiction
By David Rusk
I feel their eyes upon me.
My chair squeals embarrassingly loud as I stand, awkward.
My name is David, I’m new here and I am an addict.
Traditional to such meetings, as a group, they speak.
Hello David, welcome.
The creak of wooden pews in the silence terrifies me as I white knuckle the lectern and begin my story.
It was back in ’73 when I first heard them, madmen on two wheels. From out there beyond my bedroom window they sent a spike full of howling exhaust straight into my brains pleasure circuit.
Soft murmurs of agreement and an uneasy rustling from the crowd and my death grip loosens.
Later, I found myself alone in the dark recesses of a corner store when I first opened a cover. My trembling hands revealed Eddie Lawson flying high on just one wheel with four pipes puffing blue smoke as he chased a shady character named Fast Freddie. Who were these carbon fired freaks so full of fury and discipline, those roaring speed junkies. I was holding my breath and before I could exhale a trellis exo-framed monkey clamored onto my back and sunk its radial mounted claws deep.
First it was the glossy pictures but the words soon followed, promising knowledge of a world I knew little about and after that, well I was hooked.
Half heard sobs and words of encouragement from the crowd now, their momentum was building.
Addiction began with what seemed like a measured attempt, the common hook of 400 cc’s across the frame. The experts say its a gateway drug and of course, they were right. But oh, the fun we had Seca and I, laughing as we saw the world together.
Gratitude from them as memories rushed in, their first time re-lived.
The innocence was a ploy and as I spiralled down Yamaha waited to push it’s exotic 500cc V4 into my veins. Like all addicts I began to explore where nirvana lurked, out beyond any reasonable level of skill or sane recourse for law and life. Oil injection had drove me insane and I was tossed aside like garbage to watch my RZ die at the roadside.
Whispers accusing craziness just out of reach.
From there my life spiralled out of control. A second oiler from a dealer named Suzuki, who pushed the precisely measured charge of rotary disc valves and as promised, the RG was even more addictive. A vicious circle of blue smoke, used rubbers, wheelies, speed tickets, weeds and broken bones shot me straight into depravity. I was lost in a adrenaline fueled race to the finish line. A death run, burning high grade, uncut speed that was pumped straight into the mind of a frenzied youngster.
Concealed looks of shame or maybe it’s rabid hedonism. Deep into it now, I don’t care.
We all know how the cycle goes, that first rush and then a lifetime trying to reach the same high. All those blurred early mornings and straight on until evening runs, chasing a dragon’s tail. How the sun was so bright we hid behind dark visors and cursed the shadows across our path. It was so hard for us to see the danger’s but we still cranked our right wrist and risked it all.
Cries of agreement barked as the currents of turmoil roiled, the crowd was ready.
Then it happened, at over 200 I crashed. It’s funny how addicts will spring to their feet and run full tilt back to the beast that almost killed them. Mindlessly and with no concern for broken bones or the dreaded rash we try to pick up the pieces and will our dead machine back to life.
Silence. I try to find my lost voice in the void.
I’m sorry, I don’t think I can go on.
Frightened faces begging me.
I ran to the smashed machine, it was so far into the forest. Ghastly it stood propped against that birch tree surrounded with broken body parts. I can’t help her, I can’t pick the pieces up, my hand is broken. I can’t…..I. She’s dead. I am lost, returned back to the scene.
Murmurs and undertones of encouragement pulse from the audience. I quickly wipe a tear away and smile.
When I zipper that leather and armour to my body and lower the dark visor against the sun, I am home. I was made for this!
Raucous shouts and applause. I look close in and the grizzly Harley rider in the front row has tears streaming down his cheeks.
Looking back, I am surprised to be alive. Such stupidity and with no regard for the law, I raced so fast through my supply as I freely poured the luck on the pavement with no concern for when the bag would run dry.
Squids, wannabes, racers, one percenters and iron butt long haulers, they were all crying now.
Hello, my name is David. I’m new here and I am an addict just like you.
My original intent was to publish just the above piece as my introduction to you but I realized the January Show demands my words too. So, read on and find out why I go to motorcycle shows and perhaps, a big part of why I am an addict.