Low Rider

Looking for bad-assed bikers, we instead find people with bad asses

"Craziest thing that's ever happened?" he repeated to give himself time to think, his heavy-lidded eyes glazed with indifference. "Old men fighting over a fat chick."

Meanwhile, Steve was babe-shopping from the dance-floor showcase. But he wasn't buying.

"The one with the black hair has a good body, but she dresses tacky," he said, assessing the woman whose narrow hips were wrapped with a gypsy scarf, slender legs ended in suede ankle boots, and ridiculously enlarged melons were hammocked in a halter-top.

With conversation like that, it almost made Tony's return welcome.

"I'm a financial negotiator and a world-class juggler. I'm the guy you don't want to sit across the poker table from," he said as he pulled at the front of his conservative plaid shirt. "Oh, and I was an announcer at a strip club."

"Is there anything you haven't done?" I asked as a Santa-looking biker with a big belly and white beard pushed up to the bar.

"Haven't jumped out of an airplane," he confessed at top volume and launched into another story. "But I've bungee-jumped. I've even reverse bungee-jumped."

Unless I was talking to Tireless Tony, conversation was nearly impossible, so I sized up the crowd as I resisted the urge to elbow St. Nick, who kept bumping into me. Pretty much a 30-and-up crowd with a lot of bikers, the place was somewhat diverse — if you count the fact that many were also car or truck people. You could tell by the hair: too tidy to have been in a helmet or exposed to high winds.

I amused myself with the array of bad dancing, including a woman in fruit-striped pants who spasmed in time to the Bon Jovi song the band was playing. I gently elbowed Steve instead, nodding toward a dancing threesome, where two aging bikers — both with vests I was prohibited from asking about — had a woman sandwiched between them.

Steve shook his plaid-capped head.

Tony was back once again. This time, it would be a parting exchange: "OK, you'll love this. Knock, knock."

"Who's there?" I grudgingly offered on our way out.

"Fuck."

"Fuck who?" I said, pretty sure I was walking into a come-on.

"No, fuck whom!" Tony sang, delighted.

It was far from the night of bourbon-slinging badasses I had expected. Sure, there were tattoos and leather and lots of graying ponytails and beards, but I'd expected some danger — even if I kept my poking fingers and nosy questions to myself. On our way out, I wondered aloud if there was such a thing as a young biker. And Steve just laughed.

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