Saturday, January 21, 2012

A little mid-Winter fiction

The streets of Salzburg were quiet as the rider steered his motorcycle sidecar rig through the three inches of snow which had fallen in the early evening.  The frigid weather coupled with strong winds whipping down from the heights dominated by the Salzburg castle had driven all the regular pedestrians into the nearest inn or restaurant and the rider had the streets to himself.


The gas lit streetlights cast his helmeted visage briefly in a yellow ghostly light as he transited the intervening pools of darkness towards his destination.  The strong headlamps on his motorcycle appeared as glowing eyes of some mystical monster in the darkness and the rig's engine sound reverberated as a muted example of a dragon's rumblings on the walls of the old buildings in the town.

The rider's garb was all black with muted insignia on each shoulder, his only concession to being visible being the reflective striping on the outside legs of his riding pants and a narrow strip of the same material laid horizontally across his broad back.  His helmet also was black with a black visor which was down in spite of the limited visibility caused by the falling snow and the late hour.

Headed towards the town's landmark castle, the rider felt the repeated blows from strong winds descending from on high.  Each gust driving sharp icy particles into his outer riding gear, but not affecting him in terms of cold or impact.  He did note that the snow was building up on his jacket and riding pants and welcomed it for the upcoming task.  Every few hundred feet, he wiped his left hand across his helmet to wipe off the snow and ice which built up on his visor, threatening to blind him as he started riding up the narrow one lane road to the castle.

His motorcycle's narrow beams of light highlighted the ruts in the snowy road ahead, illuminating the tight switchbacks that allowed one to gain altitude and intimating as to deep dark heights should one miss
a turn this night.  The snow level appeared to lessen as he gained altitude, most likely due to the strong winds which continued to assault him now from all directions as his rig twisted this way and that to follow the narrow road.

The rider stopped his sidecar rig a few feet off the narrow road, in a thick copse of pine trees thickly laden with snow and shut off the engine.  As he listened to the sound of the engine's ticking as hot metal cooled; snowflakes started to cover the rig.  He looked ahead and saw the glow of the light from the small structure guarding the final approach to the castle, just around the next bend in the road.

He dragged his rig further into the copse of trees, positioning the rig so that he could just drive straight out upon his return.  A few more minutes passed as he watched the heavy snow fall almost completely cover his rig in white camouflage.  He listened to his breath within the warm helmet, his visor now cracked slightly to prevent being blinded by fog.

He used this time to remove the velcro-backed reflective strips from his riding gear, rendering him a black shape in the falling snow.

Shouldering a small pack he'd withdrawn from the sidecar's trunk, he walked swiftly but quietly along the bordering trees of the narrow road.  Soon he was within earshot of the lone sentry in the guard house.
He could see the man huddled over a tiny stove, holding his hands out for the meager warmth it offered, his attention solely on staying warm that cold and wind blown night.

The rider saw that the guardhouse watched over a closed wrought iron fence ten feet high and as wide as the narrow lane he'd been riding.  Thick rock walls, perhaps eight feet in height stretched out from the gate into the darkness and thick snow drifts topped and hugged the walls making them an even more challenging obstacle.

Beyond the gate, he could see the castle lay just a hundred meters ahead, floodlit with lights and the parking area in front of the castle choked with Mercedes Gelandewagens and Range Rovers, with a mix of more mundane 4x4 SUVs and Hummers filling up the available spaces.  There was music and laughter softly reaching the ears of the rider and he smiled, knowing his target was holding court in the castle.

After making his way past the guardhouse unseen, the rider positioned himself along the wall on the perhaps 100 feet from the guard house.  The rider removed from his pack the gear which would allow him to pass through the closed gate undetected by the sentry.  His target, he knew, was highly selective of whom he invited to his parties.

A few minutes work as he deployed the gear between a couple of pine trees and he set the timer.  Stealthily, he retraced his footsteps in the snow and he returned to his sidecar rig.  As he waited, he mounted his trusty sidecar rig, after engaging the headlight and driving light cutouts.  Now his rig idled strongly but quietly in the falling snow, a snow-covered mass in the dark night.

Though he was expecting it, the sudden show of lights and loud conversation noises bursting from the area near the sentry box took him by surprise.  It seemed like a whole host of people were walking along the bordering walls to the castle!  The rider heard the door to the guardhouse burst open, the sentry rushing out in response to the hue and cry of his planted device.  The rider knew the guard's eyes would be fixated by the many lights that now seemed to bob along the wall of the castle.

Trusting on the distraction provided, he gunned the engine of his rig, freeing it smoothly from the accumulated snow and he raced towards the gate.  He stopped at the gate and as he worked it open, he could see the flashlight beam of the sentry shining in the trees as the poor man sought the source of all the lights and sound.

Riding his rig through, the rider secured the gate once more, erasing any evidence another vehicle had driven through.

He slowly made his way closer to the castle, the flickering light from the flame-topped torches mounted along the wall the only illumination into the parking lot.  The windows of the castle spilled light into the night but failed to reflect onto him and give his presence away to anyone who might have been looking outside.

He briefly glimpsed elegantly dressed women and men thronging about, drinks in their hands as they moved about socializing with each other.

The rider parked his rig in a dark corner of the parking area, squeezing in between two dark SUVs, once again ensuring he'd be able to drive out quickly if need be.  The cold winds and snow stung briefly as he removed his protective riding gear and helmet revealing a man in a tuxedo.  His riding gear stashed away in the sidecar, now looking for all the world like a party-goer, he strode confidently up to the main door and let himself in quietly.

He was immediately bathed in the noise and light of a full-blown party.  The few people who glanced his way as he walked in noted a handsome man, fittingly dressed as they were, and they briefly wondered who he was as they became re-engaged in nearby conversation.

Brushing off the flakes of snow which had landed on his shoulders, the rider deftly lifted a glass of champagne off the tray of a passing white-coated waiter and slowly made his way to the center of the main hall.  His confident brown eyes scanned the room and its occupants.  He nodded as if in quiet acknowledgement when he met a man's eyes, his eyes lingering a bit longer on the curves and shapes of the women in the room as he passed them by.

The rider took care to not linger in one place too long, always moving, as if seeking some lost companion in the crowd.  The sea of tuxedos and low cut clinging dresses was like an obstacle course as he neared the large roaring fireplace where his target sat entertaining his guests.

The heat of the fire was like a blast from a furnace but it paled when compared to the obvious heat and energy projected by his target as he held enthralled the nearest of his guests in some intricately described tale of adventure and romance.  His target was a large man, with short white hair and the world-weary eyes of what the rider knew as a fellow motorcycle rider.

Above, the fireplace mantle, hung in the place of honor was an oil painting.  The rider recognized the fire red BMW K75 motorcycle pictured in the painting but was unable to fully count the number of scantily clad women pictured clustered about it before he stepped in front of the target.

The target looked upon the rider in surprise as he sensed his nearby presence.  His blue eyes widened in happy surprise and recognition as the rider thrust out his hand and said: "Mr Riepe I presume?"


Author's note: Just a little fictional frippery for those of you locked in PMS mode due to weather and road conditions.  Hope you liked it.

5 comments:

Richard Machida said...

Pretty good, maybe time to start on your first novel. It held my attention pretty well.

Dan Diego said...

Good stuff!

Charlie6 said...

Richard and Dan, thanks for the kind words....

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Charlie6 (Dom):

Forgive me for not jumping on this story right away, but the internet hookup at the Castle Satlzburg is not up to my usual standard, and I had to get this at a nearby truck stop.

First of all, I deeply resent being the subject of anything deemed “fiction.” As near as I can tell, this story is unfolding exactly as I remember it. Now unless you plan to introduce another episode in which I beg for my life, I have no problem with you telling the truth.

The only hard-to-believe aspect of this piece is where you apparently “sneak-up” on my secret lair riding the equivalent of a three-wheeled hotdog stand. In truth, you could have driven right past the guard — with little more than a wave — had there been a placard on the bike stating you were a schnitzel delivery man.

Your attention to detail is astounding. A full-size portrait of my bike is hanging among the paintings of ancient Riepes, both famous and infamous, at my ancestral home, in Saltzburg, NJ. Woman attending my soirees traditionally wear diaphanous gowns that dissolve in moonlight, or if I simply breath heavy.

One error you may wish to correct regards the “Tuxedo” as standard Riepe party attire. My parties tend to skirt the edge of good behavior, so ATGATT (with a white Kevlar® shirtfront) is more in keeping with the spirit of things.

Now you did mention that the hack rig was “running smoothy,” which leads me to believe you were riding the Japanese species. Any references to the pre-WWII Amish Ural would have been more circumspect, I would think.

I was delighted and flattered to appear in your blog this way. So many stories about me begin with, “The police lineup shuffled past the one-way mirror with the mantle of guilt descending on the sole BMW rider...” Or, “‘You son of bitch,’ hissed the blond waitress, hurling the 38¢ tip to the floor.” Or, “What were the odds her husband would come home early, armed, and with a snarling doberman on a leash?”

Now, are we to assume that you are the “secret agent” protagonist and that I am the “diabolically evil international thug?” If so, that works fine. We might as well conform to characteristics previously established.

Fondest regards,
Jack/reep
Twisted Roads

Charlie6 said...

Hello Jack and thanks for your comments:

As to referring to you in something labeled fiction, you "larger than life" characters are so sensitive! I am still debating whether to proceed with the story line but there will be no begging from you I assure you. For you life, anyways.

As to sneaking up on the guardhouse, I'll have the character use the sign you recommend next time....now you got me thinking of schnitzel sandwiches...mmmmmmm

Point taken re the correct dress at a Riepe affair, ATGATT it is.

As to "smoothly running" sidecar rig, yes, it was Hirohito's Revenge that was featured, but was trying to keep things generic in the story....you're just too privy to the previous misadventures with the Ural.

As to your being chosen to appear as the main protagonist, who else is so well known in the blogger world?

As to your guess that I am the "secret agent type", the factor which eliminated me from being that character was the following clue: The rider was described as handsome.

I did kind of paint you as a "Doctor Evil" type didn't I? Do you find it suits you? :)

thanks

dom