Harley Heaven

Harley Heaven

In 7th grade, Tom Tavermina moved across the street. He was in high school. My parents didn’t like him. Mom said he was a bad boy, never said why. That made him even more intriguing.

One spring day, we were hanging out in my barn.  I thought his motorcycle jacket was hip. It was black, worn, fit him like a glove. He lit a Marlboro. I wanted to say something about safety, all the hay and stuff, but that would’ve been uncool.

I could hear the chickens clucking in their pen. A baby calf mooed.

He said, “Wanna hit?” His dark, wavy hair hung over his forehead.

I nodded, took the lit cigarette. My fingers shook. I drew in a breath, trying not to grimace. Wondered what would happen if mom walked in on us. Blew out the smoke.

“Nah, that’s not right, man. You didn’t inhale.” He showed me what I did, then how to do it. I understood the importance of getting this down. The first few times it burned and I coughed. My lungs screamed.

“Try again,” he coaxed. Stone cold expression.

Finally, it worked. “I did it!”

He patted me on the shoulder, I could smell the leather. I felt like a million bucks.

After the cigarette, he said, “Let’s go for a ride on my bike. Wanna?”

We slipped across the street through a copse of trees on the edge of our property.

He had a Harley Chopper. The license plate was missing, but it was all back roads. He rolled it out of the garage.

“Get on,” he ordered, and I hopped on the shiny chrome machine behind him.

He rolled his head toward me as the engine growled. “Hang on tight.” He revved the motor. I gripped the sides of Tom’s leather coat, feeling the power beneath my legs.

We peeled out of his driveway, asphalt flying.

I was in heaven.

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About Robert Vaughan

Originally from NY, published author, editor, and workshop leader, his poems and fiction are widely found in over 500 print and online magazines, such as Necessary Fiction, BlazeVOX, Connotation Press, BlazeVOX, Thrice, Literary Orphans and Smokelong Quarterly. He is Managing Editor at (b)OINK magazine and leads round- tables for Redoak Writing. He is a six times Pushcart Prize Nominee and his fiction and poetry have won awards, including a Micro-Fiction runner-up (2012) and twice a finalist in the Gertrude Stein Fiction Award (2013-14). His collections are: Microtones (Cervena Barva Press); Diptychs + Triptychs + Lipsticks + Dipshits (Deadly Chaps); Addicts & Basements (Civil Coping Mechanisms); RIFT, co-authored with Kathy Fish (Unknown Press), and FUNHOUSE (Unknown Press).
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9 Responses to Harley Heaven

  1. kimberly says:

    i can hear the engine running and smell the asphalt….where are they going?

  2. Andrea says:

    Totally hot!

  3. Dr. Crunk says:

    How this reverberates with every kid’s balancing act in adolescence between obeying your parent and wanting to taste forbidden fruits. Insightful in distilling that tension into such succinct prose!

  4. tomfroehlich says:

    I agree with Andrea. Very sexy! I could feel how enamored he was with the older boy. You may want to rethink the word “peel”? Maybe just go with “Asphalt flying. I was in heaven.” We know you “peeked” because the “asphalt flew”. As I have said in the past I like it best how you tell the story with out telling it.

  5. Shari says:

    I enjoyed the rural setting and the ritual with the protagonist, the rite of passage (if you can call smoking that!) told with finesse, and then the thrilling moment of Harley surprises at the end. I wondered what color the motorcycle was? Or did all of that chrome overpower a detail as small as color? But I was right there from the word go, or in this case, ‘In 7th grade…’

  6. Don says:

    Nice job, Robert, boy could I relate to this kid. Just the right tension in the piece.

  7. david says:

    did you mean the CORPSE of a tree?

    is this the one I will like?

    yeah been there, done that.. smoke the t-shirt…

    well done..

    thru the windows of Clippings…..

  8. G says:

    I am not sure hot is how i describe this. It made me shiver and i am glad you ended it where you did. Where might this have gone i don’t think that i would like to find out. The power of this writing is gripping. keep it coming. Love to read your words, thoughts, your fantasies and all you pour out on paper.

  9. Gloria says:

    This describes the bad boy in you and you’ve done it so well.

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