Send the Money - Bowman
Send the Money Bowman (# 3)
The Wall Street Journal reported that Carney, elegant as ever, speaking before a packed press room, leaned into a tangled ball of microphones and said: “The lives of most are spent in a quixotic quest to make more money with as little expenditure of energy as possible, the goal to glut oneself on all the latest gadgets and gizmos, all the frill and finery, that signify entrance and acceptance into that upper echelon of the social stratosphere which bespeaks comfort and luxury; and to reach that lofty plateau, most take the path of least resistance, ladies and gentleman, the waterslide down the hill, flat on one’s back, feet and ass pointed at the heavens. Most are never sated, their lust for the trinkets and baubles that adorn the flesh of the lost and the lazy never slaked, their craving for the fustian of the shallow and the furbelow of the superficial never satisfied. And that’s where, and why, the WBL enters the fray: We are low paid tour guides offering cycling adventures to the inner paradise of pain and suffering. We travel along the paths of greatest resistance, the vertiginous slope straight up the hill, proving that if one chooses to join us in this heuristic trail of self discovery, then one can also aspire to be a low paid, cynical tour guide too, just like us.” The paper didn’t indicate whether Carney had made the last statement in jest or not.
I cried when I read Carney’s quote—the man speaks with such brutal honesty! I thought he was a zillionaire. I’ve reversed my opinion of him—Carney is a prophet. He is the Oracle of Boulevard. I am sending him all my money. You should too. You can just mail the money to Crowe. He’ll get it to Carney. He’s a lawyer, so he’s gotta do stuff like that or he gets into trouble with the State Bar—Crowe that is, not Carney. In reality Crowe’s a figment of my imagination, and Carney’s a product of his. His contact info is on the home page. (But don’t call Crowe after midnight unless you can drive the money over right then and there—and it’s gotta be cash! And none of this mumbo jumbo b.s. about bringing the money later, or “My friend’s got the cash,” or “You know I’m good for it man,” or that “We’ll make the other side pay” garbage because Crowe’s been down that road before, and if you wake his ass up that late at night, you better be carrying cash on your corpus.)
When I signed in for the Bowman Ball Buster on 16 December, 2006, I took all my pearl necklaces, my collection of silk scarves, my felt haps, my 1 mink stole, my 17 pair of patent leather shoes, all my 14k gold cuff links (that really hurt me), my cash, bonds, stock certificates, safety deposit box contents, checking and saving account funds, unused stamps, spare batteries, extra tubes, aluminum cans, tools, junk cars, hubcaps, unburned mattresses, my roller skates, an open bottle of Pete’s Hot Sauce (extra spicy!), all my inamorata’s battery operated love making aids, a slightly used enema (enema used as a noun, not a verb), some broken fingernail clippers, and a rusty shovel, and gave them all to Carney. He has a dump truck out back for all the big stuff. You can do the same. It’s a tax write off. I also gave him a power of attorney so he can execute contracts and borrow money in my name. I think that’s what those registration papers are at the WBL rides that everyone signs—a power of attorney. The registration everyone signs before the rides also allows their paychecks to be electronically deposited into the WBL checking account. But I trust Carney. And you should too. Give him your stuff—all of it. You will have many great rewards in heaven for doing so. The more stuff you give him, the greater your rewards on the other side. Trust me. You should also name him as executor of your estate.
Last week in the WBL (Monroe), the most frigid temps in two years bit into the early morning backsides of the Zealots like a steel trap with serrated teeth crunching down on a brittle rabbit leg. Yeeouch! Even the clouds froze. In the wee morning hours last Saturday when only the most malignant of malefactors were roaming the streets, the temperature plummeted to 19 degrees. Oh what a difference a week makes. During this week’s Bowman Ball Buster on 16 December 2006 the Zealots were treated to temps on the opposite end of the mercurial scale as they feasted on the warmest skies on record in the WBL this deep into December. Before day’s end, the mercury would spike past the 70 degree mark. King Sol loved us once again. But let’s be real—Old Sol may be a merry ole soul, but he’s just another fair-weathered friend as far as I’m concerned, like Thomas Brown.
60 or so Zealots signed in for the Triple B and earned another 3 points on a day that would see many records fall. On the 2 rides to date, all Zealots have been given an extra point (3 points) for both rides. (1 “good vibe” point and 1 vague “weather” point for weeks 1 and 2.) The 30 or so Zealots who had attended (and signed the power of attorney) the first two star-studded events had a total of 6 points entering the Triple B ride. The Zealots present and accounted for on this fine day also earned an extra point on the day due to the record breaking high. Carney said, “Anytime I can see that much flesh, there will always be extra points.” There are now 16 Zealots who are tied for the Overall Lead in WBL 2007 with 9 points as a result of attending all 3 events so far this year: Chris Andrus, My Boy Brian Bibens, Tony Fahey, Jeff Ford Truck, Doug Gilfillan’s Island, Jeremy Wadkins a.k.a “The Firestarter,” Eric Hollifield, Big Bad Bill Harper, Todd Henriksen, Jack Howland, David El Prez Nixon, Shireymania, Boots, Len Slote, the Forked Tongue Ambulance Chasing Man of Double Speak and Vexing Hyperbole, and me, Humble C.
Departing Sunshine Cycles, the temperature in front of the shop, the warmest spot in Athens, was a smoldering 86 degrees. However, upon turning the corner onto Pulaski Streetonly 10 feet and 2 pedal strokes into the day’s peregrinations, the temperature immediately plunged 30 degrees. But within 5 minutes, the temperature climbed 4 points up the scale and rested at a comfortable 60 degrees. All was well in the WBL. The pack cruised out of the county via the long, undulating upslope of the Nowhere Road Viaduct. Chris IcePic, assuming the role of drover, went to the front and set a “talking tempo,” a pace that allows the group members to talk trade with their neighbors. The sun was bright, the skies crystal clear, the pack full of liars and fabulists, and the collective mood in the bunch soared. Could this be one of those rare days in the WBL when peace and harmony reign supreme? All it takes is only one misstep, one bit of billingsgate lobbed into the mire, to shatter the silence and begin the beating of the drums of war. The drums, at present, were silent, like a gun in a drawer in Act 1 of a play.
Ice towed the group through Sanford Community, across the Neese-Commerce Road, and on to the northern terminus of Nowhere Road. 45 minutes after leaving the downtown district of A Town, he finally pulled over, went wheewwww, and turned over the reins to Jon the Kid Murphy and Todd Babyface Henriksen. During this duo’s dastardly turn at the front, they would launch a surface to air missile—so much for peace and harmony. At the end of their pull, otherwise peaceful persons would be looking for Carney—they wanted to inflict mischief upon his personage. Carney could not, and would not, be found. Carney is invisible when he wants to be.
The Kid and Henriksen pulled the pack in a double duty line around Danielsville and over to wicked hummocks of Highway 191 in Madison County. From there, they bent back north at a 90 degree turn onto Wildcat Bridge Road and began heading for the wide lanes of the eponymous bridge (circa 1961). Heading down the hill towards the purling brown waters of the Broad River, the 2 young lads pressed their noses to their handlebars and pedaled quick circles in a hateful fashion. To an observant Zealot, this was a clue of what was to come. I ducked to the rear and suddenly came up gimping. I hopped in the van—my day was done.
A better clue to what lay in store was the 400 foot brontosaurus ridge on the other side of the bridge, and the road, which climbed up onto its bosky back. On the verso of the bridge, the black thread of the road bent up the ridge at an uncomfortable angle, then curved round a corner, ever climbing upwards, and faded from sight. The ridge is lovingly named “Godot” because it, like its namesake, can cause a reshuffling of priorities. There is no way around the fact that Godot must be crossed.
The Kid and Baby Face rocked up the lower slopes of the incorrigible hill with the greatest of ease, pressed down on the pedals in angst in the middle section, and stood and stomped up to the spine to the top of the ridgeline. The entire climb consisted of 4 minutes of soul searching in the backwaters of one’s psyche. 3 minutes in, there was an explosion at the rear.
As the majority of the pack crested the hill in a speeding but contiguous line, another minority of riders was picking up the pieces at the rear—there were gaping holes filled with several hundred yards of unoccupied real estate. But the Fat Boys’ Brigade, lead by Fat Cat Crowe, put their heads down and pushed ahead. At the front, the vanguard was waiting for no one. Onward they pushed: Keep up with the herd or the vultures will feast. Those behind were pedaling as if their lives depended on catching onto the bobbing tail. It did. At this point in the day’s festivities, all luxury items were tossed overboard.
But Fortuna rolled snake eyes—the main field missed a right turn onto Parham Town Road. And when the body politic finally realized its tactical blunder, the Fat Boy Brigade had already made the right hand turn and was 5 was minutes down the road, wind at its back. Sometimes, Good does triumph over Evil. Other times, those left for dead simply get lucky as hale.
The misfortune at the front was the best of circumstances for those lopped off the rear. After flying down the long, flat, slightly downhill run of Parham Town Road, the main group turned east (left) on the Bowman Road (Highway 172) and stroked a little tempo 2 miles to Bowman. The group was halfway home. At the present, it felt as if it was 112 degrees. At the stop, Coca-cola was the beverage of choice.
The group was traveling due east up to this point in the ride. After the store stop in Bowman, the group arced back south, then west, as it pedaled about 15 miles through the flat, pastoral farmland of rural Elbert County. Other than the chatter of the pack, the environs was silent—a beautiful thing. Cars were scarce, cows and barbed wire fences and grassy pastures weren’t. Falling down shacks and barns were around every bend. Beef cows dotted the field, raising their nose from the ground and momentarily gaping as the multicolored pack of yokels zipped right on by. Buzzards circled the skies just above the tree line searching for death in the heat of the day. Mighty hawks stood on wires surveying the scene and scanning the fields for a flicker of movement. They nervously twitched their heads as the pack rode under, always cocking their necks in order to peer down on the sinners below. The occasional farmer stopped, stood and stared as the Zealots rode by with a wave of their hands and a hoot and a holler too. Small kids shouted back and sprinted towards the road waving their arms. This place is neither the lap of luxury nor the land of plenty. These are the hard scrabble, blue collar roads of the WBL. Send money now. Remember—rewards in heaven.
The roads in this section of the Bowman adventure are smooth and cut at gentle curves, allowing the pack to zip along at light speed without the slightest trace of discomfort. The average speed, hovering around 19.2, began an assault on the 20 mph mark. During this long exultant stretch of roadway, several workhorses shared in the load: Malachi Peacock, Bibens, Nixon, Stukes, Erik Noschka, Arroya, Howland and Hollifield all gave big turns at the front, skittering down the runway with the entire field in tow. These workhorses of the peloton pulled the group all the way to Highway 72. On 72, the Zealots went single file and efficiently crawled into Carlton. Once in Carlton, the group crossed the railroad tracks, hopped onto the frontage road, and began its assault on the average speed anew.
The pack tiptoed across the Watson Mill Covered Bridge in Watson Mill State Park, then dropped the engine back in the waters and fired her up again. 3 hours in, with 1 hour to go, the group was sitting on a 20.4 miles per hour average. Frank Trevisio, E. Keim, Pomeranz, Noschke and Jay Wansley continued to pour it on. The Zealots flew past the equestrian farms in Oglethorpe County, skipped down Beaverdam, shot up Smithonia, and whistled all the way into Winterville. Other then the dog that attacked the pack late in the day and was then run over by 37 cyclists, there were no casualties. At the finish, the temperature registered 73 degrees. All agreed it was a grand day in the sun. But, we still needed cash, so I put my hat in my hand.
After the ride, I rode around the parking lot making sure everyone understood that Carney is a prophet, and that they should send him their money.
Parking Lot Scene: Act 1
“Hey Stukes,” I yelled, “Carney’s a prophet.”
“What?” He looked confused.
“I said ‘Carney’s a prophet.’”
“Give him your money.”
“I said ‘Give him your money.’”
“Are you ok?”
“Forget it, just bring him, um me, a six pak. OK?” Dumbass.
I thought I’d try a more subtle approach with the next victim of my good graces and charm.
Parking Lot Scene: Act 2
“Hey Kari, Hey Glenn. Wow, the Bradleys. Great ride.”
“Yea, that was great. What a fantastic ride! Garble, garble, noise, hum.”
“Garble, garble, noise [mouths and hands moving] garble, cluck-cluck-cluck.”
“Yea, all that crap is great, but have you read Carney.”
“Carney, you know, the CEO.”
“He’s brilliant. He wrote Common Sense, his opus maximus. Give him some money. He’s broke.”
“GIVE THE MAN SOME DAMN MONEY, WHAT THE HALE IS THIS WITH YOU PEOPLE. GEEZ, LOUISE! DO I STUTTER?”
I think I frightened them. They didn’t say anything, but looked at me as if I had lost my mind. I felt myself unraveling ever so slightly, but I wasn’t even close to losing my mind. I know what that little electric charge feels like and I had a long ways to go before I got there. I wasn’t even buzzing. It’s just that Carney told me he was broke. He put his head on my shoulder and wept. I gave him everything. What was I to do? The man is a misunderstood genius. He also confirmed that Crowe is a drunk, and that he has spent all the WBL money on drink and other pleasures of the flesh. Bastard! Libertine! What must his wife think? She must be terribly humiliated. What a martyr she must be!
Parking Lot Scene: Act 3
“Hey, Tommy Maddox, you’re fantastic! And smart too! Would you pay in the future to read my chronicles.”
“Um, sure Humble, yea, right, you bet I’d pay. Just not much.” He laughed and slapped my shoulder.
I wasn’t laughing.
“How many of my stories have you read, total?”
“Gosh, I’ve read 3, I think. I’m not sure I finished them, you know, sometimes you get a bit windy. But in a good way. You seem to go off on tangents at times though. But hey, my insane brother does too, so no worries.” He laughed again.
I still wasn’t laughing. This was very, very serious. Super serious.
“I’m selling my stories for a dollar.”
“Sure, you bet, I’ll give you a dollar. Here, take 2.”
“Ok, here’s 3 bucks.”
“What about a tip.”
“O…k…here’s a dollar.”
“Cheapskate.” I lost my composure at this point, I admit. I told Tommy he’d burn in hale, and as for any reward points to cash in at the pearly gates, he could “F------ FORGET ABOUT IT!” I shouldn’t have said that, and Tommy can have all the rewards in heaven that he’s already purchased for 1 more lousy dollar. I don’t think you people understand the pressure we are under here. DO YOU PEOPLE THINK I CAN EAT THESE LOUSY STORIES! Send the money!
By day’s end, I had collected $13.83, and the promise for another buck and a quarter. I also was given a used inner tube (Tony Fahey), some broken sunglasses (Glenn Edridge), some hemp based suntan oil (George Drewry), a bungee cord (Sam Haygood), a left hand glove (Ernesto Morales), a Back Street Boys CD (Jhade Woodall), some chain lube (Buck Kirkland), a Kroger Card (Chad Stanton), a screwdriver (Richard Saunders), a pack of matches (anonymous), a dirty pair of underwear (anonymous again), a yellow sock (Lance), a white pill with dog hair on it (Tyler), a handful of peanuts also with dog hair (Mr. Peanut), some air freshener (Carney), and a magic rock for good luck (Crowe, see Cranberry Diaries, Chapter 2, Day 8). Crowe showed up and took the bag of booty home with him. I’ll pick it up later. He’s a lawyer, so its all gotta be there. Or I’ll report him to the State Bar.
Let’s review: I’ve given everyone several different methods to get your money to us here at the WBL: You can mail cash, checks and money orders to Crowe—he’ll get them to Carney. You can bring large gifts to the rides. You can also give me cash at any time. Or you can mail it to Skid Row in c/o the Humble Chronicler. If you call Crowe after midnight, have cash. Call me and I’ll come pick presents up, especially if it’s cash. Only a moron couldn’t figure out how to send us the money. So, Send the Money. Now. And “No!” we will not forget about your rewards in heaven.
The Humble Chronicler