Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Grave Robbers

Sinister clouds hung low over the foothills, threatening the hulking lifeless shapes at the junkyard. The churning sky painted gray watercolor shapes across the dull chrome, setting the old machines into stark relief against the dark dirt. Lonely reeds of brown grass waved timidly between rusty spokes and muddy frame rails. From a distance, it was a back lot full of corroding junk, but with the right kind of eyes, Ray’s Cycle Salvage harbored an Aladdin’s Cave of Treasures beneath the patina of decay. Joe and I ventured out into the threatening atmosphere on a lunchtime quest. We were hoping to find useable exhaust pipes off an old CB450.

We found Ray’s out on the west side of town where the suburban outskirts yield to the rugged terrain of the Front Range. The cold cinderblock garage sat hulking in the corner of the lot from which Ray emerged as we approached, a large ratchet clenched in his dark, oily fist. Ray has a wizard’s beard of white, a long ponytail, and sparkling eyes of pale blue set deep in dark sockets. His eyes seem to be glowing... illuminated from within like a jack-o-lantern. We describe the nature of our mission and he releases us to the yard to dig up what treasure we might find.

We found a lone CB450 lying forlornly on its neighbor. The tank was gone, the forks were gone, and the seat was slashed and torn. One of her gauges was missing, and she leered up at us with her one good eye. She looked ravaged and raped. Plundered. Joe and I were the next greedy pirates in line as we ogled the slender curve of her aged pipes. We hunched over her as hungry scavengers, pulling and tearing at her with our tools like metallic teeth. Someday, throbbing heat will surge again through these cold, dead pipes. Part of her will live, reborn. A Frankenstein resurrection from the boneyard.