The Narrow Margin by Grumbler

It was a cold winter night. Just the way I liked it as there'd
be little or no traffic. Full leathers, engineer boots and a thick
watchcap anchored by goggles kept me warm. Had fired-up the
big Shovelhead a couple of minutes ago. Was good to go.

We took the Hellyer Ave on-ramp to northbound US-101 and, after
seeing no headlights behind me, gave the throttle a big twist.
The slashcut glass-packs boomed louder and louder as the revs
climbed. It never failed to send shivers down my spine.

After several miles the I-880 exit loomed up. It seemed almost
criminal having to slow down. The 3.50x19 and 5.10x16 Avon Road-
Runners carved smoothly through the on-ramp to Milpitas. At this
time of the night I-880 was usually deserted.

Here, I unleashed the reins and let the 74-inch motor blow-out all
the carbon at around 80mph. The wind caressed my face in an icy
embrace. It was intoxicating. I was Paul Bunyan on Babe, the
blue ox ... a larger than life sensation that mere words cannot
describe. We crested the overpass at Brokaw Rd and, a mile
or so down the road, saw two vehicles driving side-by-side.

As I homed in on them, could discern that there was a white Toyota
pickup with solo driver on right lane and a black or midnight blue
Chevrolet Monte Carlo on the left occupied by two passengers. Both
vehicles remained in their positions as the seconds ticked by almost
agonizingly. Both were locked in at about 55mph.

Slowing down was not an option. It has always been in my nature
to relish a challenge. No comfort zone buffers applied here. It was
either do it right or spend a sleepless night in bed. I needed my

Suddenly, I was upon them as my headlight shone into their rear
windows. My chest almost exploded with the adrenaline rushing
through my heart as I aimed for the narrow margin between the
two vehicles - an arrow seeking the bull's-eye.

Just then the Monte Carlo moved right, attempting to cut me off.
You fools, I screamed to myself, knowing that I was going to slam
into their trunk and slide down onto the road. In a nanosecond,
I could see my beloved FLH careening on its side grinding metal,
chrome, paint and rubber as gasoline spilled out. A spark ignites
the leaking gas. The explosion sends a burning fireball streaking
towards the stars.

While all that was going on in my mind, the white Toyota pickup
jerked to the right, opening up an escape route between it and
the Monte Carlo. I didn't have to think, it was instinctive much
like a timber wolf skirting around a trap. I blew through the
narrow margin with a thunderous roar echoing between the
vehicles. And then, the silence of the night enveloped me.

I glanced into my rear view mirror and saw the Monte Carlo
angrily flashing its lights at me. A smile formed on my face.

After putting some distance between myself and the Monte
Carlo, I grabbed the CA-237 exit and pulled into the parking
lot at the local 7-Eleven store.

The clerk eyed me warily. I was used to getting those kinds of
looks and nodded to her. She almost laughed when she saw the
items I placed on the counter; a package of oatmeal cookies
and pint of milk. I slept very well later that night.

True, it had very nearly become a disaster and might have cost
me my life, but I had survived. Seems as if it happened just
the other night although it was actually back in 1978. It was
not just another ride - it had been a memorable one.