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And Then There Was Burpy

The other day when I was out riding my bike through the woods I came upon a felled tree that had smoke coming out of it. I pulled the bike over, dropped it, and made my way over to see if it was some kind of fire. As I drew near, I noticed a strangely familiar smoky smell and heard some tiny coughs that seemed to be coming from the same area as the smoke. I quietly crept around the side of the tree and to my surprise there was a very small raccoon. He was wearing a tiny little biker hat, with a corncob pipe in his mouth and holding a bottle of Wild Turkey in his paws. I wondered to myself if I was having some kind of flashback, or if I was in a dream. That’s when the little fella looked up and made eye contac. I don’t know what kind of experience you’ve had with animals in the woods, but usually I try to steer clear.

He looked at me for a long time, then opened his mouth and let out a pretty impressive burp. Long. Like seven seconds long. Like burping the alphabet long. After the burp, he licked his lips, took a pull off the bottle and started puffing away on the pipe. I wasn’t sure if he saw me or, again, if any of it was really happening, so I started backing away. I must have said something to myself at this point (I have a habit of talking to myself pretty much all the time) because he looked up at me and said, “Speak up, din’ your mother ever tell you mumblin’ was rude.”

At this point I was pretty sure that none of this was actually happening, and I sort of got locked in a stare with the little dude. (Staring is another bad habit of mine) “First you mumble now you starin? What is wrong with you? You some kind of dip-shit or something?” and when he said the words “dip-shit” he really hit the “p” sound and the “t” sound, so it was really aggressive sounding. “DiPP-shiTT and spit flew out of his cute little mouth and landed on my shoe. None of this snapped me out of my stare, I just stood there, slack-jawed and ruby eyed, trying to get a hold of myself. Then he stood up.

That snapped me out of it. I told him I was sorry and he sat back down. He patted the ground next to him and nodded. I’m not sure why, but I walked over and sat next to him. He handed me the bottle of Turkey and I took a swig. He handed me the pipe and I smoked a bit. We just kinda sat there for a bit smoking and drinking and I started to relax and the whole things sort of stopped feeling so weird. It got quiet, like the kind of quiet it only gets when you’re out in the woods all alone and the trees are still and there’s no wind. Peaceful. He noticed my Pug and asked, “That your ride?” I told him that it was. “Pretty big tires.” I told him no shit. “Can I ride it?” Now where I come from, if someone asks if they can ride your bike, you say yes. It’s just how I was raised. I love my bike(s) so much that I always want everyone else to feel the same way. So I told him he could ride it. He handed me the pipe and the bottle and made his way over to the bike. Jumped on it, which was way to big, but somehow he made it work.

And I’ve got to tell you that little dude could rip. He rode the shit out of that bike. It made me feel like my bike would never be happy with me on it’s back again. He was doing wheelies and nosing it, he was shredding the trail and weaving in and out of trees and bushes, jumping that bike higher than I ever thought it could go. He rode it back over to the hollow tree and skidded it to a stop showering me with dirt and tiny rocks. He jumped down off the saddle and plopped himself next to me on the ground. “Sweet ride.” I told him thanks.

I asked him his name and how long he’d been riding. “Wenslus Burthpold, is my name but most folks call me Burpy. I been ridin’ longer than I can remember. I love me some bike. Don’t like much else, ‘cept for Turkey and the smoke, bacons good and pizza ain’t bad either. Most other shit I hate. People and their obnoxious habits, nose pickin’, drivin’ their automobiles all around the place never stopping to have a drink, always bitching and moaning about every damn thing, always complaining about not having enough money or not having all the shit they want or how they can’t go on some stupid fucking cruise to some stupid fucking place and see the whole thing from the safety of their stupid fucking cruise liner with it’s midnight buffets and assholes who play songs on crystal cups, always making excuses for why they don’t do anything that’s good for them and then spending all their time watching TV and all their money on vacations in Vegas, which is the worst place in the world for anyone who has even a drop of genuine altruism in their worthless hide. But bikes are cool”

I sort of sat there and stared at him for a minute, blow away by such a giant rant and such incredibly foul languages, coming out of such a tiny little critter. Once I wrapped my head around the whole thing I naturally offered Burpy a job at Surly. He said he’d think about it, so with any luck he’ll be doing a bit of blogging for us in the future, and maybe a bit of traveling too. Watch for it. After a bit, it started to get cold I said good evening and hopped back up on my Pug and road out of the woods. As I roe away I heard him shout to me, “You’re good people there fatso. Come back again, and next time you bring the whiskey and smoke.”

So I guess next time I will.

In the meantime I’ll keep riding, and you should too.

Gern Blanston's avatar

About Gern Blanston

A rider-slash-Surly fan who somehow bounced like a quarter at a drunken college mixer into what he thinks is pretty much the swellest job a fella could have, it is Tyler’s job to determine how Surly should seek attention to its products and itself generally. He has an extensive background in children’s theater, which is, perhaps not surprisingly, a good fit for the marketing manager of this company.

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