The motorbike drove up to the porch of the lodge, “this is going to be…interesting”, I thought, my bag a looming Everest which dwarfed me and the driver who appeared as tiny specks on a vast mountainside. “So, are we riding the bike or are we riding the bag into town” the driver asked, getting off the bike and looking equally divided between the two. “The bag will be more comfortable” I quipped, “though the bike will probably get us there faster”. The driver revealed a large toothy smile that quickly evaporated as I got on the back of the bike and the suspension dropped about a foot. “I am Joru” the driver said as we inched forward, moving so slowly that we had to have our feet out to balance ourselves…”Maybe I should just ride the bag after all” I said trying to elicit a smile. “Maybe you should”, he grated irritably. We wobbled another few meters and then growing tired of my pansy-assed “easy, okay now slow down”s he gunned it. “AAAAAAAAAiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiieeeeeeeeeeeeeeee…” I could hear the receding laughter of the villagers and feel their amused eyes on my back as my crazed scream disappeared over the rise of the hill…
The bag threatened to topple with every bump and jostle of the uneven road (and the road was VERY uneven). I would sway and suddenly the whole bike would be dragged in my direction until we were nearly run off the road. Even over the whipping of the wind I could hear the grinding of Joru’s teeth and his menacing growl as his muscles flexed and his iron grip on the steering fought the bag at every turn. Despite the fact that the bushes were distant we rolled towards them inexorably as though that was our intention all along, it seemed to take the length of a runway to fight back control from the momentum generated by the bag. “I hate you War and Peace”, I muttered under my breath as it shifted at the top of my bag, knocking me in the back of the head. “If I can only tame War and Peace, maybe the rest of the bag will fall into line” I thought, as I saw out of the corner of my eye the Meganovel acting as a vanguard for the rest of the bag into the bushes. The whole process was extremely painful, like watching a man being crushed by an extremely slow moving cement roller, seemingly avoidable yet inevitable all the same. Though Joru’s face was shaded by the helmet I could see him occasionally turning his head to look in the mirrors to counter the movements of the bag like some kind of ridiculous chess game. Though I’m sure no small part of him was also trying to bore a hole into my head with his eyes.
Joru: Knight to C4
Bag: Queen takes castle
Joru (with menace): You’ve won this round Bag!
As we continued on I just prayed that the sweat around my loins wasn’t seeping through into his pants. My thighs shuddered with the effort of trying to hold him in this bizarre Kama Sutra position. They clamped about Joru’s waist in such a vice like grip that he was continuously squirming about the seat trying to extricate himself. It was the clumsiest of dances between me, Joru and that fucking, Fucking bag!
We both breathed an exhausted sigh of relief when we had to pull over due to the flooded road. I looked at my watch, we had only been going for 15 minutes! My God but this was awful! I looked ahead at the flooded road and drowning car. Two women and the driver stooped beside the slowly sinking vehicle, marooned. “Can you help us push the- Paul?” I looked up and saw two travelers that I had met at my hostel back in Georgetown. I quickly covered the sweat stains around my crotch lest someone jump to the wrong conclusions. “Y-Yes” I said hesitantly, trying to put a name to the face. We exchanged pleasantries, and then me and Joru helped push the car, totally ill-equipped for dealing with these backroads out of the quagmire. “You ready to go again” he smiled weakly, the anger popping vein in his temple giving away the lie. I echoed his blank smile, my gut so convoluted it would have put a Rubix cube to shame. “You know, motorbike is really the only way to travel out here” I said to the ladies in a way that I only realized later probably made me out to be a total prick. And to compound the bad impression I left, my haphazard wave looked more like I was flipping them off as me and Joru took off across the water, weaving drunkenly. The water level topped the tires and again, like frogs in amplexus I clung to him nervously, holding my bag as high as possible. I would have been embarassed if I wasn’t so concerned with not falling off. The women watched us go…almost into the bushes, before we righted ourselves and finally sped from view.
We took numerous breaks along the way and I was certain that Joru was cursing ever having decided to take me. Half way to town Joru had had enough. He slowed to a stop. “Take off that damn backpack” he said, massaging his crushed hips. I slowly did as I was told and he mounted it to the back of the bike using what looked like an old innertube. He wrapped the pack fastidiously but the moment it left his grip I could already see it shifting under its own weight. He grimaced, rewrapped it…kicked it a bunch of times…then heaved it high up onto the back seat. He eyed it suspiciously. It was more precariously balanced than a ten person highwire act, but he got on the bike and motioned me to do the same. Now that the Bag felt like a third passenger it pushed me even further into Joru’s back. “Think unsexy thoughts, think unsexy thoughts” I told myself as we took off anew, the bag teetering. We drove about 5 minutes before the bag started getting caught on the rear tire, we swerved even more dangerously than usual, which is to say that we completely left the road, hit a rock, were airborne for a few hair raising seconds in a scene unnervingly reminiscent of E.T. flying across a full moon and then landed like only two men and a 77 pound sack strapped to a fucking toy bike can land…that is, very, very painfully. We stopped. Nursed our wounded buttocks, re-strapped the bag and drove on.
We arrived…at last and despite the agreed upon price of $15, even a very stingy me tipped Joru…($5). Though he was still very appreciative. I had barely thanked him before he drove off at top speed, the freedom pasting a heavenly smile on his face.
My mind swirled with the past few days, mosquitoes, ants, “The Flood”, ‘The Great Potato robbery”, and that surreal motorbike ride that felt like a drive through some fetishist’s wet dream. I shuddered with the memories…”it’s all over now Paul…it’s all over”…I whispered to myself, cradling my knees in a foetal position. Now I just need to make it home…on an expired Visa…