|Dog Day Dreamers:
It's sad, I suppose, but Labor thrives on conflict. Without rancor, acrimony, harsh language -- what some dismiss as mere "smack" or "trash" talk -- Labor would shrivel up and fade away, sort of like Democracy. Labor lives for the showdown on and off the bike. If Labor doesn't have enemies, we either create them (a trick we learned from Christianity), look deep inside ("we have met the enemy and he is us"), or we just search a little harder (a commie behind every bush). This sounds juvenile, and I probably wouldn't encourage my son to behave this way, but heaven help me MKA really doesn't want to live in a world where "everybody gets along."
Too boring. This is not an orginal thought. MKA has read all the Great Cliff's Notes Classics from Sir Thomas More to Voltaire, Asimov to HG Wells, Ayn Rand to Bruce Bopper. What I remember from the Notes was that Utopia looked great from the outside but once inside for a few days you couldn't wait to bust out where danger, barbarism, cruelty, sadism, and all manner of wickedness was just a happy heartbeat away. So forgive Max Kash the bitterness. It can't be helped, on account MKA was wired to thrive, not die on the vine.
So we're on our way to San Pedro. Something's wrong. Can't get Sting's "Brand New Day" out of my brain. Happy thoughts percolating. Danger! Must terminate with prejudice. Adrenal glans beginning to wither, muscles starting to atrophy. As I live and breathe, with the heaving, squirting, spewing throngs of humans multiplying like fruit flies all about me, there is no room for glee. Banish it.
Good, we're coming up on the old Todd Shipyard, where thousands were poisoned with Satan's fire-retardant silk. Let me ponder man's cruelty towards man. Let me ponder the cheapness of human life when measured by the petty profiteers. Let me ponder the monumental suffering, the shameful waste, the wanton disregard. And let me plot my revenge. Wait! The shipyard has disappeared. Those Japanese bastards have paved it over. Where once thousands of Swedes, Slavs, Scots, Poles, Hungarians, Philipino and Mexicans slaved away below decking choking on the aeroslized daggers, now sits the Yang Ming Line container terminal. What if the Germans put up a Pizza Kitchen at Krakow or Auschwitz? What if we put up a Super Slide at Gettysburg? It's not right. The Boys from Todds deserve Monuments, Plaques, Museums, so we can remember to be both irate and vigilant.
The bitterness is mounting. But MKA needs a segue. How to cross over from work to ... bike racing? As far as I know, neither the Cumdinks, Soylent Green Meanies, LA Wingdingers nor anyone else are sponsored by asbestos companies. In fact, MKA admits to even liking his adversaries -- which may explain his subpar results this year. So we're milling about when lo and behold former Laborite Evander Testicles saunters up with his short legged yapper, a Jack Russell Terrier goes by the name "Pogo." MKA is shooting the breeze with Hoosier Daddy and the wives, admiring the dilapidated hotels, the boarded up union halls, and musty antique shops. The ever pesky Buck Bear is antagonizing "Zowie," a runtish Boston terrier with a face looks like in his formative years he nose-coned off a roof. Your basic genetic underdawg. Zowie belongs to HD and by default just happens to be the Labor team mascot -- at once revolting and huggy-wuggable. She also loves to tease.
Now maybe it was the Buck Bear's agitating, or maybe it was just the Labor territorial imperative, but Zowie had grown attached to the particular spot on the sidewalk next to the abandoned "Whale Bone" tavern and didn't take kindly to strangers. She went to sniff his, and Pogo went to sniff hers, and next thing you know Pogo's got a lip lock on Zowie's jowls so tight that when ET grabs Pogo by the hind quarters and jerks him skyward we've got Zowie dangling a few feet off the ground, feet splayed out rigidly, with big fierce black eyes that say, "This may look bad, but actually I got Pogo just where I want him." Of course leave it to Hoosier's pregnant wife to pry them apart with one karate chop that sent them both yapping to their respective corners.
There are perhaps no limits to Man's inhumanity towards Man. But with dogs, that's another story. I'm not saying Pogo was ET's nefarious agent of doom. I'm not saying that ET provoked his pup to attack Labor's Best Friend. What I am saying is that MKA was so desparate for a catalyst to convert his bitterness in this time of humdrum tranquility that MKAimagined all these horrible things and decided right then and there: this one's for Zowie, Labor's lovable little lap dog not afraid to start what it can't finish.
San Pedro Gran Prix. Shipyard Country, overlooking Terminal Island, 8 turns, screaming descents, big ring climbs. All the guns present and accounted for. Labor's down to a skeleton crew. We've got Danny Labor, all gnarly and hardboiled; Geronimo, fresh from a three week cruise tending bar and babes on the Love Boat; and Hoosier Daddy, recovering from broken bones and pointless courtroom posturing. MKA eyes Dr. Allen Brick S---house, Stanley Bunghole, Bugs, Fambily Mann, ET, Cap'm Kruegger and upstarts Jay Waggoff and Pterodacto and knows this is going to be a dogfight.
And it 'tis. You know the formula -- we go from the gun, single file, attacks, counter attacks, chipping, dropping and so on. Let's fast forward. With about 9 or 10 laps to go MKA busts out with Bunghole. A few weeks ago MKA swore he'd never work with Bunghole again, on account MKA liked to think that the latter was abusive and selfish. Unfortunately, MKA actually sat down with Stanley last week in Nevada City and learned that he was none of these things -- he's just a bike racer, subject to same foibles and blunders as the rest of us. See what happens when "sworn" enemies sit down and talk? They work things out. Which sounds good on paper but remember, Labor thrives on conflict.
MKA throws "strategy" out the window and decides to start hammering. Bunghole does the same. We call this honor -- but I havent got the time to explain it. We've got about 10 seconds. MKA is lustily living for the moment and fears not the outcome. Out of the saddle, charging. Let the best man win. The reverie is shattered when we pass Darling Wife who barks at us: "3 seconds!" From 11 years of marriage I know that tone. It's a tone that says, "Wake up Nimrod, it's over." Sure enough, MKA looks back and sees the chase dogs coming fast. Gobbled up. But notdigested -- not yet.
4 laps to go. MKA knows that he if drifts back more than ten in the train he will rationalize defeat and walk away like an Elder Eskimoe on the ice. The trick is to stay in the hunt. Assert property rights. Don't let the bastards grind you down. Danny Labor escorts MKA through the turns, watching my back. Kruegger takes the point and settles in for his patented two lap lead out. MKA riding shotgun, Stanley on my hip, the explosive Dr. Brick S-house on his. One to go! LA Wingtip Mark Posenthal takes the point and sprints down the backside, through the turns. As we approach the off-camber 150 degree turn no. 6, MKA senses that the wheels on Posenthal's bike are about to come off and he's about to blow. When he does, that will leave MKA on the point, into the uphill headwind, towing the pit bulls to the line. Bad scenario.
MKA's only chance is to scoot to the outside of Posie as he detonates so that when the gutter door closes my rump riders will have to abort rump lock and swerve to the inside, freeing MKA up to unleash the fireball and open a gap. It works. MKA sprints toward turn no. 7, clicking into the 54 x 13. It's quiet as MKA dives into the final turn. All I've got to do is hold my line, carry the speed and get unconscious. I know ET is lurking, with the jaws of death. MKA stands on the peddles, clicking into the 12. I know they're coming. I know they're hungry. Scores to be settled. But all I can think about is ZOWIE, the Labor Dog of War, who was savagely, attacked, beaten and bludgeoned, left to die in the gutters, while the children and pregnant wives wept....
This one's for all the Zowies out there, all the little doggies whose bark is far worse than their bite -- whose bark, in fact, tends to get them in heaps of trouble. This one's for the gritty little punks who yip and yap and holler and against common sense and personal safety refuse to conform, cave in or "shut up and ride."
1. Max Kash Agro, Labor Power
2. Evander Testicles, Former Labor
3. Stanley Bunghole, Cozmics
4. Dr. Allen Brick Sh--House
5. Mighty Joe Davis, Zombies
6. Danny Von Labor Dawg, Labor Power (kudos for temporarily diverting the stinger missiles on the final launch)
Post Script: MKA did the pro 1-2 race later. Fast, furious and pointless. With about 8 to go MKA finds himself in a break with Net Zero's Micheal Johnson, Miguel "Amazing" Meza and Victor Ayala. Before the race, Meza was signing autographs. So MKA figured he was a player. Faulty assumption -- when did MKA start equating prettiness with pecker pounding? Johnson was ripping full lap pulls like a nitro-breathing diesel and he had his whole team back there blocking. We had about 10 seconds inside of 5 to go. But Meza refused to pull. I figured he would bond with Ayala as a co-member of the Mexican Mafia. Besides which I'd heard he had an "amazing" sprint. But the only thing amazing about Meza was his utter lack of race savvy. He singlehandedly polluted the break and we got caught with about 4 to go. Was he concerned about Ayala, who'd been off the front for 10 laps solo? About Johnson, who's big and burly but not exactly a world beater sprinter? Was he concerned about Max Kash Agro -- he may be a sandbagger, but is he stupid? Or, perhaps my assumptions were all wrong. Perhaps he wasnt phit at all, despite the tales of Euro glory. I am comforted in knowing that whatever the answer, it really doesn't mean squat.