“Did you have a good weekend, Lucifer?”
“Yeah. Really good, actually, OhSeeDee.”
“What did you get up to then?”
“I was down London.”
“Hmm. Don’t like Southerners much. What did you see while you were down there?”
“Mostly I saw this bloke’s arse, wearing very tight tweed pants.”
“That’s Southerners for you. Why were you looking at his arse, Lucifer?”
“It was in front of me.”
“Right. Did you know this bloke then?”
“Sort of. I met him on the internet.”
“Yeah. He let me stay at his place for the weekend.”
“You should have been watching your own arse, not his.”
“No. I was following him around London. His arse was in front of me because…”
“Is that why you’ve got a moustache?”
“Well, yeah, but…”
“Did he have a moustache?”
“A little one, yes, but we weren’t the only ones. You see…”
“I do see. Bet your wife is well fucked off.”
“Look, it’s not how it seems. Lot’s of us had moustaches, and…”
“You look like a puff, Lucifer.”
“What? How’s that work then?”
“That bloke from the Village People had a tash, you’ve got a tash, he was a puff, you look like him, you look like a puff. That’s how it works.”
“Village People? That was thirty fucking years ago! Moustaches are very fashionable at the moment. You wait till Christmas. Everybody will be wearing moustaches.”
“Aye. They’ll have got them out of a cracker.”
“Oh, just, just…. fuck off.”
The Tweed Run.
I missed last years.
I was sick to miss it, but there was no way I was going to miss this one.
That’s how I found myself outside King’s Cross Station with a bike, a bag full of raw meat and a moustache the size of a large finch perched on my lip.
I was waiting for my man.
He rolled up late.
I’d never met him before, but it was obvious he was the guy I was waiting for.
A titanium fixed gear bike, a vast bag strapped to his back, a lazy grin lurking beneath a pencil moustache.
The start of a beautiful friendship.
“I just need to drop this lot at your place, James, then…”
“No time, Lucy. We’ve lot’s to do. Bring it with you.”
“What about the sausages, the bacon?”
“Look, I’m not having some Northern Monkey fucking up my plans! Let’s go!”
He said it with that same lazy grin.
I don’t know why, but I wasn’t offended.
I suppose I just like straight talkers.
James took a quick look to the left, hopped on his bike.
He dived into traffic like you’d dive into a river.
I dipped my toe in.
The water was hot.
I wobbled between two cabs, avoided a pothole and got my foot down.
I caught up, he set off again.
I found my rhythm, increased my speed, settled down.
James chatted, very casual.
I gawped at the streets, the architecture, the people.
Late Friday afternoon traffic hummed by us through thick, warm air.
Cabs bumbling past, huge bees looking for pollen.
Wasp-like mopeds attracting James’s quick wrath.
Our attention grabbed by the glimpse of a beautiful blonde butterfly.
James flashed another of those grins.
He didn’t need to say anything.
This is London, my friend.
I caught my breath when we finally arrived for the marshals meeting.
The sun dipped lower, the warmth remained, excited chatter filled a spacious courtyard.
I felt foolish saying ‘hi, I’m Lucifer’.
“I said ‘hi’, talked about bikes.
Teddy spoke up.
Tall and sharp, requesting our attention, not demanding it.
Jacqui, however, demanded it.
I didn’t mind.
She must be sick of being compared to Sigourney Weaver.
I felt like misbehaving just to be get a good telling off.
Then again, I’m kinky like that.
Last minute plans, any questions?
We were off.
Two hours of high strangeness ensued.
We weaved slowly through early evening traffic, blocking junctions, getting in the way of buses, trundling at low speed across hectic roundabouts.
I forgot the straps mauling my shoulders, the potential for food poisoning from the raw meat in my bag, and enjoyed the dream-like drift through the capital.
“I don’t want to sound like a cock, but that’s Buckingham Palace, isn’t it?”
That lazy grin.
“Yeah, Lucy. It is.”
“Thanks, Just checking.”
“Fuck me! That’s Picadilly Circus!”
“I’ve just seen the Gherkin!”
James just laughed.
The light dropped, the air cooled, LED’s sparkled in a sedate snake through a park.
“Lucifer, we’ll need to get off soon. We’ve got ribs and burnt bits to eat.”
James, Jason and I peeled off, the bells of the marshals tinkling farewell.
Our speed tripled.
Jason sang ‘Bodeans’ to the tunes of Dolly Parton’s ‘Joleen’ while James and I cackled.
We were starving.
We locked our bikes in a Houdini-proof tangle against railings and hurried into the restaurant.
Ollie was holding the table. He looked ready to eat his own arm off.
A table for twenty became a table for four, but we didn’t mind.
We ordered enough for twenty anyway.
Moosehead beer and beef bones clattered across the table, burnt bits were orgasmed over.
Not quite literally.
The Canadian waitress took our banter in good spirits, and let our spare tables to a dozen greedy punters.
We belched, paid the bill, and stumbled into the cool night.
Soho was lively, but we had to keep our powder dry for the big day that was in the back of each of our minds.
Bikes unlocked, we took to the road.
Just James for company now.
Fast pace, aggressive positioning in the road.
A Mercedes tried to intimidate.
James chased, screamed at the driver, slapped the car’s bodywork.
It scuttled away to safety.
James dropped back.
I thought he was furious, but no.
That same lazy grin.
Back at his place we stowed the bikes, settled at his kitchen table and chatted, sipping whiskey.
So little in common, yet so much.
Not the background, perhaps, more the outlook.
We drained our glasses and said our goodnights, hit the hay.
In my room, I didn’t lock the door.
Dancing James had watched my back for the last eight hours.
I’d trusted him on the road, so I trusted him completely.
My fear of being bummed and eaten by Londoners had disappeared.
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