Who says bikers don't drink Pernod

Robert Harper

Sixty Euros on the meter and heading out further into the sticks with three drunk bikers in the back seat. They are drinking a bottle of red wine each. The bearded one says a man is not a man unless he can take a punch straight on the nose and not even blink. I roar my approval at this eminent thought, and from the hilarity in the back seat, I think I have just saved myself from getting a broken nose.

We pull into a bikers bar for Pernod. Pernod how french and sophisticated I muse, for that I get my head trapped underneath someones hairy armpit and my bald head gets patted, then slapped, then knuckled. Better than a broken nose I think.I am offered a drink. I ask for coffee. I pretend to be hard and have it black with no sugar. It comes in a paper cup. Should I have expected more?

Pernod is exchanged for vodka. Outside the taxi meter is ticking. The bikers are in no hurry to move on. There is an argument between the bearded one and the bar-maid. I surmise they are man and wife. She wants him to stay. He wants to go to another bar and drink more Pernod. He gives me 60 euros to cover the trip so far.

While the argument is raging his two mates drag me out to the taxi and we drive 20 kilometers down the road to another dive. On the way the bearded one phones his mate in the front seat demanding to know why we left him. He wants us to turn back and pick him up. His mate tells me to drive on. There is a screaming match. TURN BACK/DRIVE ON/TURN BACK/DRIVE ON, and so it goes until I arrive at the new Pernod pub.

The biker in the front seat pays for the whole trip, and tells me to now go back and pick up the bearded one. Sure I say, but think, how will I ever find the place again in this forest wilderness. He gives me an address and I key it into the navigator and drive back to the first bicker's bar.

The bearded ones wife sees me pull up, and she swings out the door to meet me. She asks for the 60 euros her husband gave me, cos he is going nowwhere. I sympathise with her, and size her up, and reckon she could not break my nose but her husband could. I insist on returning the money into her husbands hands. She does not like this idea, cos he will only spend it on more Pernod.

I give him the money and get a bearhug, a backslap, and a skull-knuckle in very short order. He offers me a Pernod. I decline. He gives me a big tip for my honesty, and I am out of there faster than shit off a hot shovel, and before somebody has a chance to pick a fight, or get into another intellectual discussion about blinking and broken noses.

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