|Chronicles of the Cake Stop|
|Vol I No. 1|
|The Game Begins|
|Gunner Rodgers |
Looking back over my shoulder, I see the OCR Team Replica leaning against the wall, resplendent in its glory, a thing of beauty, amidst so many other fine machines.
Stepping into the gloom of the Cafe, known by its gaudy sign as 'The Cake Shop', I see Derall in the corner, alone at a table, reading poetry by Auden and sipping cautiously at a glass of Port.
Stoolman, glances up, angry to have his lecturing of a group of mid 30 year olds
interrupted, his blonde flat top reminding me of that guy in the streetfighter video game.
A babe, slim and attractive, makes eye contact with me, her pupils unable to hide her delight at my Adonis like frame, she shows me her elbows, unable to hide her interest in me from the guy she is with, this must be Kitzy, surely, and the guy must be Thenatoss.........
Are you in the 'Cake Shop Cafe', where are you sitting, what bike is outside, who are you with and how far have you come.............
"If I could turn back time"
I sit in the corner quietly, strumming an old acoustic guitar that was leant against the wall and play a montage of tunes old, new and just plain bizarre.
Up-hill is discussing his latest tablature with me as I look at my beautiful metallic blue Italian racing steed outside.
I have cycled a long way to get here and I may not get back home tonight.
Suddenly the air is punctuated with a shrieking banshee like voice.
Someone has tried to short change Ravenbait....
There is a wooden "clunk" as the young simmo places the chess piece so superbly, wiping the smile off the face of a smug Si Davies.
Posts don't matter in "The Cake Stop", and young or old, all are welcome.
The Giant OCR has brought me, and stands outside, but not next to Gunner's - for fear of being overshadowed.
Si Davies resigns - then realises that FatBloke ate his bishop!
'It's all in the mind' - RJLH 2000
The cafe hums with the voices of the massed cyclists within. Rigby, elegant in paisley lycra and a shoestring tie leans nonchalantly on one corner of the bar twirling his fine moustache and pausing only to raise an eyebrow at Clare the barmaid, signalling that he'd like another hi-carb'n'sarsaparilla please. On the stage, Kathy Pike dances to Olde Englishe Folke Tunes. Like a Virgin, Beat It and The Cheeky Song (Touch My Bum). Her skirts flail and flutter as she whirls and gyrates, revealing legs as fine and perfectly formed as those of the ferret
who sits on the edge of the stage crunching organic porky scratchings. In a dark and shadowy corner, Ravenbait sings her own versions of the jukebox standards. Like a Virgin Sacrifice, Beat It (Or I'll Hex You) and The Cheeky Song (Touch My Bum If You Dare) and defies anyone to notice that when she plays pool there appear to be two black balls on the table...and she always wins.
Behind the bar, in the wreckage of a thousand crisp packets, a FatBloke dozes contentedly under the Stella tap, dreaming of drips.
It is a happy scene. Merry chatter fills the air over the erratic clicking of KP's SPD slingbacks on the boards. No-one is expecting trouble. Not here. Not now.
KERASHHHH! The door flies off it's hinges, hurtles across the room and flattens the Cafe kittens, Kitzy and Thanatos, who are, were, playing so cutely with a packet of knobbly ribbed ticklers they found in the Gents. Everyone stops and turns in horror. There, silhouetted in the doorway, stands the sinister
OH, sorry. You said Sinister and I thought you said Sillier!
I'd be round the back trying to sneak in a cheeky smoke.
RIZLA+: riz - la croix
The la Croix family, hence la+, made the first such papers. rice papers. hence riz. ---->hence Rizla+
Someone else has to write Part Two, ending on some kind of cliffhanger, before
passing it on to another author for Part Three etc etc. Any literary style is allowed.
Come on folks, a story relay! Let's at least get to the bit where all the babes on the Forum are clustered at my feet staring up adoringly at my enormously manly paunch.
Over to you guys...
I lean my sky blue Raleigh Chopper, complete with spokey dokes and football cards, held on with pegs, on the wheels against the wall. Try to sneak into the cafe to order my full fat Cappaccino with extra chocolate sprinkles and a muffin with out Estie spotting that I am cheating on my diet. Nod to Chuffy in the corner who is chanting his tantric mantra 'black shuck, black shuck........' before crossing the room to join Fat Bloke at the table to show him the scar and lump I have on my ribs from the last time I played at his old rugby club.
The juke box starts up with the opening chords to the all time classic 'Town Called Malice' by The Jam, I smile to myself thinking of a night out with the lads when we played it 12 times back to back. Yenrod joins us asking if anyone fancies a game? 'Sure' we say, 'you start', 'Coffee', 'Cup' pipes up Fat Bloke, 'Bra' I say, Yenrod smiles...............
Late as usual having joureyed far, I arrive on the StreetMachine, I balance helmet and gloves on the windshield and kick out the side-stand like a wannabe Harley owner. Nonchalantly side-steping whatever Kitschy and Thermos are up to, I saunter over the the counter. No need to ask for anything, my new shirt (just arrived this morning) announces that I'll have toast and marmite. (A mug of tea with it though Gunner, Port doesn't go with Marmite so well. Besides with the gout the port's a no-no these days.)
I'll sit in the corner though, (but with Eliot rather than Auden). Two small cases beside the table. Mah-jongg tiles if there's enough interest for a game, otherwise the Backgammon board will come out for any challengers. Until then, I'll just sit and observe the goings-on.
I'll be taking notes for later…
i walk over and kick derall in the face for spelling mine and kitzy names wrong
You're not your job. You're not how much money you have in the bank. You're not the car you drive..... the only thing is what frame you ride
In a corner stoolman is sitting. His steelman is chained to a rail outside, its beauty hidden to the uninitiated, while its master orders one espresso after the other. Every now and then taking a sip from his hidden bidon to keep the filter up, dreaming of things better not dreamed.
I stop my rather wayward throwing of darts at the nearby wall at this disturbance. At last I have an excuse for putting the last dart out of the window and into gunner's rear wheel, how dare they cause such a rumpus. On taking it outside a book opens. The odds seem to indicate a near certainty in the outcome, though Thermos may yet come up trumps bearing the colours and honour of his fair maiden.
i move the fight in the the open as timcpike is not happy with me fighting in the pub, i move out the way of deralls punches(ahh those years of kickboxing final come to a point)
I block young Thermos' blow, take him by the collar and throw him out the door.
Gunner has taught me well in the noble martial arts.
i pick myself off the floor ....i have lost. i must go find an old master of war and martial arts and do training with him.... I will
be back derall... I will be back.
i walk off in the shadows...
Meanwhile in one of the remoter corners of Somerset David2 in scratching his head over a copy of Landranger map 185 "I'm sure it's round here somewhere" he mutters under his breath. Surely it's not pure coincidence that yet again he's recorded the grid referance of the rendezvous wrongly.
He lowers himself back into the comfort of his M5 20/20 and heads west.
"Wow this thing feels so good I'll worry when I get to lands end."
I stop my dancing, wondering if it was such a good idea to have two pints of cider to refresh myself after the ride here. Through the mist in front of my eyes, I am vaguely aware that the ferret has run off, with an empty bag of pork scratchings wedged on its head. Oh well - it was probably a mistake to bring him on this trip.
I stagger down from the stage, wondering if I'll be able to find the little girls' room without my glasses or (since the cider kicked in) any vision at all. As I stumble across the uneven floor, an Adonis-life figure swims into focus, and touching my elbow gently, he promises to look after me. Hoping that this may reasonably translate into "chocolate cake", I decide to follow him, and he leads me over to the company of his friends. One seems to have lace
cuffs and a cravat over his paisley lycra, and flutters his long eyelashes at me, whispering a promise to take me away from all these ungentlemanly ruffians. Another seems to have pink hair, and pointy ears, with which he is listening for any sign of what he calls "The demon that is Word Association". As we lean on the dark, stained table, I realise that a fourth, rather portly cyclist is awakening, and beginning to mutter "pies".
Tim returns from umpiring the fight between the Thane of Thermos, and Duke Derall, and brings over a deck of cards and a crib board. Anyone for doubles?
"Doubles? Make mine a rum if you're buying."
Nutty. The scrounger has arrived..... (wreck of a bike is lying tangled outside, a car wing mirror wrapped amongst the brake lever again)
It's late when I arrive. I've been in some seedy joints before now, and will be again - unavoidable in my job - but this joint is seedier than a garden center in spring.
The music dies and the dame with the spectacular pins comes to a stop and looks up.
The barmaid gives me the once-over - twice. She's been round more blocks than a cardiac surgeon. She smells trouble and she doesn't like it.
Trouble's my bike by the way, and it does smell. But it gets me round these mean streets without any hassle, and I don't need to lock it up.
I recognise some of the faces from a snapshop the client gave me. They were assembled outside a trainstation for a 'ride'. Names like 'Flying Monkey', 'Nutty Cyclist' and 'Phil' were mentioned. I didn't have to be told that this was a weird crew. But in the flesh I wonder whether even I might have bitten off too much this time.
I see the Mah-Jong tiles scattered on the floor. There's blood on them. It's always the way. These kids with their marmite and expressos - when will they learn?
I'm heading to the bar to squeeze the squeeze for some answers when out of the corner of my eye I see a figure, and boy, what a figure! It's attached to a head - in the conventional way - but there's nothing else conventional about this one.
Before I can open my mouth, though, somebody turns out the lights on me. As the floor introduces itself to my head I hear the words "Shimano? On a road bike? Not in this bar mate!" And then it goes dark...
...David2 sweeps down the steep hills into Falmouth, only to be confronted by a spindly but unmoving figure in the middle of the carrieageway, one arm outstretched and palm held vertically. The recumbent swerves and breaks traction and D2 finds himself diving for cover.
Lying prostrate on the road he struggles, breathless wondering if anything is broken and imagining by the pain and shock that it very well might be. Suddenly, a dark, then shape blocks out the shining sun.
"I am Thermadore," a voice from above him says. "And you must teach me the wierding way that I might kick derall's arse for spelling my forum name wrong."
"Ah, well it starts here..." stutters D2, still struggling to catch his breath. "You steer from under the seat..."
I say: "First try the litany against fear:
'I shall not fear. Fear is the mind killer, the thousand little deaths that lead to total obliteration. I shall face my fear, I will let it pass over me and through me. I will turn to watch it pass, and only I shall remain.'
I find it particularly good on tricky descents.
Next week, the finer points of 'voice' - or how to make derall lose control of his bowels with a single word. Then we can start to think about mastering riding Shai-hulud."
"i will call my army of the fremen for i shall become equal to muad'dib," says thermos.
Once upon a morning cloudy, I set out, still with head so drowsy,
In search of legends known to some - the Gunner, Kathy, the mighty Si,
At length is heard the sound of squeaking, then a breathless voice is speaking
A tall girl pulls up, nearly reeking, reeking from her valiant ride.
"'Tis some visitor," it seems, "seeking all of those inside"
"Is this Cake Stop?" I replied.
"Unclip thyself from thine recumbent,"
Such disapproval surely unmeant?
Still questioning as one went, through the door and being eyed.
Worrying of little matter, flapjacks laid on yonder platter,
Forsooth a dish ne'er lush or fatter, fatter from the sweet inside,
Yet seeks to view heroic roadies from whom mortals cannot hide,
The Cake Stop group grows ever wide.
Very well. You shall be... Steve Muad'dib that is Usul among us.
I recommend though for true kickass credentials, try the long and tortuous route to Newcastle, where you might find the (Flying) Monkey God weighed down by a mountain of Brown Ale bottles where he was trapped by the angry forum gods for breaking emoticon etiquette, and hasn't been seen since. He might help you find some dull Buddhist scriptures but he's more likely to just smack everyone in Cake Stop with his magic stick.
As I slowly approach the 'Cake Shop' resplendant in my new C+ cycle jersey...... I think what if we are all wearing the same jersey. Surely not ,judging by the fine assembly of steel, carbon and aluminium each carefully displayed to catch the eye of passing mtbrs. Best take a peek through the window first.
I manage not to unclip my shoes again and rest a palm against the window frame a look at the assembled ....... Thanatos flies through the door and comes to rest at my front wheel, looks up....."He's wearing a C+ jersey"
As one the cafe looks to window as sees a guy with black painted eye-brows and moustache... with two honks of his brothers horn, he's off....
Who will give chase? And will they catch him?
"why do people keep hurting me ..."
im going to cry in a corner
Through the door slips a man, dressed like none other at the cake stop.
No lycra can be seen on the frame of this handsome buccaneer, wearing a cotton trousers and resplendent and finely cut jacket with gold buttons to boot.
Instead of SPD shoes, he wear black leather boots, right up to the knee.
No MET or Specialized sits upon that noble crown, instead a felt hat to keep out the weather.
But strangest of all, instead of a left hand, exists only a hook.
The "Jolly Roger" was moored outside, a fine looking vessel from the Dawes shipyards but customised to allow a barend gear level to be operated without that hand.
In the half-light, in the not-quite-corner, somewhere on the dark side of the room, the shadow of a book obscures a figure.
Perhaps it is A Radar History of World War II? perhaps the maintenance manual for the Sony DVW-A500P? perhaps Douglas Adams or J K Rowling?
It matters not: The figure is not reading but watching the fray through hooded lashes, waiting for a cue to join in... ...or get out.
After the scuffles die down she returns to the book, but the moment has gone. She looks around, and eventually sidles over to the poetic Arellcat to compare notes...
Three miles from the legendary cake stop, I languish by the side of the road. I am now on my last puncture repair patch and have already used my spare innertube. If I can just get to the cake stop, maybe I'll be able to phone for a taxi home.
.....the screech of metal being crushed outside alerts the occupants to a dark, lycra clad figure running over a Giant TCR on a monstrous 62cm racing bike of unknown origin. A menacing double click can be heard as the figure uncleats, clips covers over immaculate Sidi Energy's and stands in the doorway. The menacing bulk of the figure blots out most of the light as the eyes, hidden behind almost opaque black Rudy Projects scan the room.
A scantily clad, rather drunken dancer gazes wantonly at a dandily dressed gent, whilst a young boy, beaten black and blue lies in a corner trying to recover from numerous injuries. Over in the other half of the cafe stands a scarred and battle-worn figure in olive drabs, the name 'Rodgers' on his combat jacket breast pocket. At the bar a mystical looking figure, inspiring fear in all who gaze upon her, toys lazily with the celtic charms hanging from a
chain on her black garb. Behind the bar, a young girl, barely sixteen, attends the beer pumps, pushing past a prone individual on the floor, surrounded by empty Stella glasses and mumbling "Red is Fastest."
The figure moves purposefully towards the bar, shaking the floor with each step, removing the Met Straddy to reveal close cropped hair and loudly announces:
"Alright wimps, Macleach is in the house, stand by for some very serious hellraising. You girl, get me 15 pints of Stella and some absinthe chasers now! And shift off of that bar stool, witch, I want that."
Suddenly 'Rodgers' starts approaching Macleach snarling something about a mangled Giant TCR, whilst in one of his 15 pints of Stella, a single glass eye was floating its way to the top.
"Ulp," Macleach says. "In that case, er, Madam, instead I would like half a Cherryade and some fairy cake for myself, a round of whatever these nice people are having and a Giant TCR for my new friend holding the K-Bar knife to my nether regions. Additionally, if I could have the curse removed by yourself Madam, I would be delighted to return your bar stool to you."
With peace restored, Macleach sits down with his new-found associates from the League of Gentlemen Cyclists, duly chastised.
"I know," he says. "Let's play a game: Word Association".
His blood freezes as the assembled crowd turned to face him, intent on trouble..................
2 years of searching and my quest for the fabled cake stop cafe may be at an end. Through the mist on the road peels of laughter drift towards me....I must be getting close. Wait. Is it laughter? There is some somewhere but the main noise reaching me seems to be a moan. Is it a moan of pain? Pleasure maybe? If I can just carry on a few more meters the mist may clear. To my left some I hear some curses. Curses I haven't heard since before my quest began. Could there be someone Scottish by the side of the road? I throw a couple of glueless patches down as I realise its Banjowarrior punctured again .I cannot stop to help I have
waited to long. I'm almost there I can see the black and red of the C+ shirts in the distance.
The source of the moans becomes apparent. Oh **** Sam has arrived and has gotten hold of poor thermos. I don't know what she has brought up with her from the 7th level but poor thermos didn't really stand a chance. Still he was warned.
Finally I'm there and what a motley crew greets me. The usual suspects are there ranting in the corner drunk on local cider and real ale, scoffing muffins and calling for marmite. I take my seat to watch for a while. How long have they been here? Too long in most cases.
I have arrived.