Chapter 18

The Sound: The Police – Message in a Bottle, Edgar Winter – Free Ride, Steely Dan – Reelin in the Years, Focus – Hocus Pocus, Guess Who –Sugar, Sweet – Little Willy, Brownsville Station – Smokin in the Boys Room, Cool and the Gang – Jungle Boogie, Carly Simon – Mocking Bird, Redbone – Come and Get Your Love, The Hollies – The Air That I Breath

Boomer then announces that “this is the Skull Crunchers…an MC Baby – you know the rules.”

All of the men are well over 6 ft tall (I later find out that it is a pre-requisite of the club). They all also have long hair, many in braids, many wearing bandanna’s tied up like sweat bands, there’s every length and style of beard you can imagine and I think I even see someone with little wee skulls hanging out of his.

They are all wearing leather and jeans with big silver rings and chains, wallets on chains, chain link belts and there’s more tattoo’s here than I’ve ever seen in my life, and I am reminded of my friends at home telling me of the old biker adage that says: “Canadian bikers talk about doin it, while American bikers are doing it….whatever “it” may be”.

I look around me and realize that truly this is a large group of larger than life men and there standing right in the middle of it all is Robert, big as you please, with a grin on him like a Cheshire cat.

Just as I get to the point where I am completely overwhelmed the woman called Old Rosie (who’s not really so old) elbows her way through the crowd and tells me that I look terrified.

“I am” I gulp.

“Ya” she says, “they may look tough, but they’re all pussy’s when they want some” she grins at me. There’s all manner of disagreement in the responses to Rosie’s words and the male cacophony of noise intensifies to a level that truly should inspire fear.

I am either too stupid or too tired or even too hung over to go there .

She takes me by the hand and begins to elbow her way back through the crowd leading me towards the old house. She allows as she’s “Old” cos her daughter was “Young” and she’s “the owner of all the pygmy’s” as she points to the tiny goats.

“Rosie!” Robert hollers and she stops in her tracks.

“You take care of my Canadian Baby….make sure she’s safe and sound now!…don’t be too long though…she’s got her some beer to drink!”

Rosie turns to question me and the look on my face more than tells her how I’m feeling.

“Robert you old goat…don’t tell me you pulled the ‘one can of beer’ line on this poor child!” she hollers at him. All the men begin to laugh as Robert allows as he has.

“Men…the eternal conundrum”, she mutters and I am shocked that this seemingly dumb blonde knows a word that large. I do however have the presence of mind to keep that thought to myself but I’m unsure if it’s because I’m afraid of embarrassing her or embarrassing myself.

“Stop judging books by their covers” I think as Old Rosie escorts me the rest of the way through the crowd. As we walk towards the house she explains some of the set up there, that the barn is for “wrenching” that they (being the men in the club) build their own rides and restore old cars (she points to a truly beautifully refurbed Cadillac convertible complete with white leather interior and a beautiful new white rag top)

She continues a litany of rules for me to remember…the do’s and don’ts of living at “the farm”. She tells me that “the boys” make all the decisions and I need to remember three things to get along there: 2.Shut up. And 3. Pay Attention. She says Robert lives in the house and most everyone else along the tree line. She allows as most people don’t get to go into the house and that if I’m smart I’ll just wait there till someone is sent for me.

All of which, I pretty much immediately forget…all that is, except the part where she says “number one….no matter what happens, no how, never – never ever ever make the mistake of calling Robert anything other than Robert. He’s Robert, not Bob, not Bobby, not Rob or Robby….Robert, not Large Robert, Robert not Fat Bobb… He’s just plain Robert…..”

This portion of the litany is delivered with such vehemence that it burns in to stay.

We head into the dilapidated old house and once through the door the immense luxury inside hits me like a physical blow. Black leather couches and ottoman around the big white living room, mirrors and glass and long plush white pile carpets, (white?) chrome and pewter candelabras and a chandelier that would rival the one in my grandmother’s formal dining room.

Rosie drags me willingly through the room to the hall leading to the rest of the house.

She takes me to a bedroom with a huge wooden “Paul Bunyan” 4 poster bed that looks like the Jolly Green Giant should sleep there….and advises that I should likely have a nap.

I try to ask questions “who’s room is this?” “why am I napping?” “what time is it?” “how many people live here?” “how long have you been here?” “why don’t they fix up the outside too?”….but she just shakes her head and closes the door as she leaves.

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