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Boar's Nest Westis a deep and wide bar, with bare-bones, beer-advertisement décor. When I visited one night last week about 8 p.m., slathered in makeup and leather, a few scattered groups of manly men with bountiful sprouts of facial hair were sitting side by side around the large central bar. They held their beers indifferently and spoke to one another without turning their heads. Out front were several road hogs.
At the back of the bar (381 W. Prospect Rd.), one of my companions, Betty, introduced me to Drew, a medium-height bulky man with wild black hair. He was wearing a sleeveless leather vest and had an eagle tattoo running down his shoulder and arm. He gripped my hand and said, "I like tall women." He took off his baseball cap for a moment, and upon second glance, his broad features and shiny black eyes cut an imposing, even handsome, figure.
He smiled at me as he gripped his pool stick and said, "Short women seem to like me, but I always worry that I'm going to break them in half." He nodded for emphasis.
Smile and nod, just smile and nod.
Then Drew walked back over to the pool table. I began throwing Michy Lites back like Kool-Aid while playing game after game of darts with Betty and her friend, Slick, a writer of sorts. I wanted French fries, but to my dismay, I learned there was no kitchen.
Sometime during the two hours that we played, Johnny walked up behind us and leaned on the wooden half-wall that sectioned the dart room off from the rest of the bar. He was a sturdy silent man wearing a leather vest like Drew's and a bandanna on his head.
When I stepped into the parking lot, Johnny had his Harley cranked. Big Game Bar and Grill (2935 N. Federal Hwy.), I had heard, had spicy curly fries, so I put a hand on a hip and asked him for a ride. He gave me a silent nod and handed me a pair of sunglasses. Soon Drew, the merciless flirt, walked out of the bar and started giving Johnny a hard time about stealing me.
Johnny said, "You're too popular for your own good. You're in there talking to people while she's out here looking for a ride."
Drew grumbled playfully as he put his shades on, and before I was quite prepared, we were pulling out into traffic. We shot out onto Prospect and made a U-turn, then stopped at a red light. Drew pulled up next to us and said, "We have to make a pit stop."
I was suddenly hyperaware that I'd been separated from my escorts, Betty and Slick.
Over the roaring engines, Johnny started joshing about what it will be like when Drew has his way with me. What he said exactly, I could not hear, but Drew disagreed, saying, "No, it will be more like a symphony."
Teetering between amusement and fear, I chose the sunnier of the two and screamed happily as we started tearing through the quiet night. Though I was terrified of approaching cars and intersections, I couldn't stop smiling. I yelled to Johnny: "How long have you been riding?"
"All my life," he replied. "I used to do drugs up until six years ago, but this is my drug now."
That made a lot of sense to me, because this ride was certainly mind-altering. I know this city pretty well, but we were flying through neighborhoods and down back roads that passed too quickly to be recognized. My arms were resting on the crest of Johnny's belly, and I was comforted by the manly mass of him, happy that my fate wasn't balancing in the hands of one of those waifish men who are so in vogue these days.
Then all of a sudden, we were sitting at a stoplight on Federal Highway. We shot across to Boar's Nest East (4520 N. Federal Hwy.), and Johnny said not to get off on the right side 'cause his pipes would burn right through my pants and skin. So I dismounted on the left, and we went into the small dim bar and ordered another drink. I'd given up on the fries, having learned that bikers like their alcohol undeterred by a nourished system.
Johnny ordered me a Smirnoff Ice, very gentlemanly, I thought. Then I slipped off to the bathroom, where a girl was bent over the toilet. She stood just as I was coming in. I asked if she was all right. With a truckload of attitude, she replied, "Yeah, I'm all right. Are you all right?"
Not wanting to get a bottle over the head, I silently went about my business in the doorless stall.
Then Johnny and I went outside, again on a quest to find another bar. Drew, who had arrived after us, was sitting at a table and having a serious conversation. When Johnny stood up to leave, the question of whose bike I was going to decorate came up again. What it means to have a girl ride on your bike, I did not know. I did not inquire.