Since you have followed me this far, then you should know some of the rest of my story, and my life. On a cool October evening, I walk out to my bike. I straddle her, and look her over. She is midnight black, sleek, fast, and I know every inch of her. I know her better than a husband knows his wife. I tell her things that I would tell no one else. She keeps my secrets, and whispers them to the wind. She is beautiful.
"She" is the only female who will go with me this night...only men are allowed in the "clubhouse" this night. I would crawl on my hands and knees over broken glass to get there tonight. Tonight, I become one of the few; I become a full-fledged BIKER. You see, tonight is the end of a year-long quest. MY QUEST. Tonight is my initiation, I can't miss it.
Key on, fuel-tank petcock valve on, two twists of the throttle, and then I come down hard on the kick-starter. The engine coughs, and sputters. Damn, fuel mixture is too rich for the cold air. I'll fix it later. Two more kicks, and the engine roars to life, shattering the silence of the evening. A full 1,000 cc's of Milwaukee Iron coming to life with "shorty" pipes, and no mufflers. No words on Earth can describe the feelings I have at that moment. I pull out into light traffic.
At the clubhouse, everyone is there, waiting for me. Normally, everyone would be drinking, smoking, whatever. Not tonight, at least, not yet. Everyone will be sober for this occasion. There are 25 men here, men who are my friends, men who I have worked with, drank with, smoked with, men who I look up to. Only one man here will not hit me this night...for the others, their job is clear. They will try to make me walk away from this life. "Nervous" is a realative term this night.
They line up, twelve men in two lines, facing each other. Each man has a long leather strap. If I can WALK, not run, through these 24 men hitting me with these straps, and not quit, or give up, then I am in. Each man can hit you as long as he can reach you, without him moving from his spot. These men enjoy this part of the "ceremony". The only thing that keeps my fears at bay is the knowledge that I will truly be one of them after this....and the fact that I can get as drunk and as high as I need to to ease the pain afterwards.
I start down the rows of my fellow bikers. The first of many blows hits me across the back. It feels as if someone has just opened my skin and set fire to me! Another blow lands, then another. I grit my teeth, and wince under the pain. Any hopes I had of my friends "going easy" on me have been erased. This is how they got in, and they do not take it lightly.
To spare you all of the grisly details, I made it through. I didn't stumble or fall. I did stop once, and figured out quickly that was a bad idea. I won't say that I came through like a champ, but I came through.
Was it all worth it? I think it was....but then, I am made of different stuff than other people. The one man who didn't hit me? The leader of the club, "the prez". It was his job to tell me if I made it or not. He said the three sweetest words in the world to me; "You made it".
"Holla' If You Hear Me!!!"