The Solitary Biker by Artie I Hamlin
The floor is cold after dragging myself out of bed just as the sun begins to peak in through the shades on my day off. No lounging around today, for there is a mission to complete, a task not pleasant, but one that must be and ought to be done. Today I say goodbye and thank you to one of our nation’s fallen heroes. Cut down in the earliest prime of his life by an enemy’s metal, an enemy that hates the very freedom that I love so dear. Such freedom that is one reason that I ride my motorcycle…closest to being a free bird that I can achieve, with constant smells, constant temperature changes, and the freedom to go east, the freedom to go west, my choice. Not today though. No time for flower sniffin’-a hero’s final rest awaits him as well as my salute and thank you.
Grabbing a light breakfast for the road—I don’t want to get sleepy from being stuffed. Today is a day toroll on, racking-up mile after mile as my meeting with another’s destiny awaits. A hot shower that erases the last vestiges of sleep from my body, and then the process of dragging 50lbs of cowhide out of the closet. Many think we wear the leathers to look “Billy-bad ass” but those of us in the know of the inner circles truth, know it is to protect from the asphalt in case of mine or someone else’s misjudgment, or more importantly today, to keep the chilling wind away from biting my body, robbing me of comfort, of the karma of riding, and of my very strength to ride. Layer after layer of wool and cotton go on before the leather, quietly and deliberately, as I consider the events of the day that will unfold before me, as they have a thousand times before. The flag draped casket. The color guard with exquisitely shined brass festoonments and spit-shined shoes all moving as one person with deliberate slowness, a type of professional tenderness of respect and extreme care as they handle the casket with their fallen comrade inside.