The Babe Bike Blues

by Lubrican

Chapters: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8-21 & Epilogue Available On

PLEASE NOTE: This is a preview of this novel. It is available for purchase in its entirety via


This was supposed to be a short stroke story based on an idea generously provided by a reader who goes by the handle "Drunken Dwarf." I thank him for that idea.

The problem is that some characters refuse to restrict themselves to a short story, and some characters want to do more than stroke. The characters in this story are a good example.

Reading this book may be tedious, initially, because the lead female character stutters, and I spelled out every single place she stutters. I did that on purpose, because it makes for frustrating reading, just like talking to someone in real life who stutters is frustrating too. I wanted the reader to FEEL her frustration with her speech impediment.

Those of you who are familiar with my work know that I don't do ANYTHING in a story without a reason. The stutter matters. So be frustrated for a while, but keep going. You'll get used to it ... just like you learn to be patient with someone who speaks this way in real life.


Chapter One

Jennifer Brazelton sat, an intense look of concentration on her face. The tip of her unruly tongue was gripped lightly between perfectly even white teeth as she carefully penned the last of the letter she was writing to the man she thought of as her Uncle Bob. She took great pride in the flowing script of her penmanship and wanted it to be perfect.

Though she wasn't conscious of it, the perfection Jennifer strove for in her written communication was an attempt to compensate for the fact that her verbal communication was typically a disaster. Jennifer stuttered — she had stuttered all her life.

If you never heard Jennifer speak, you would have thought she was no different than any other eighteen year old girl. She drew the eye, in fact, with her slim, athletic body and the hank of carelessly styled platinum blond hair that hung, usually straight, just past her shoulders. She looked like a California girl, straight off the beach, though she was missing the tan.

But when she was forced to speak, it was agonizing, both for her and the listener. Typically, whoever she was talking with ended up leaning forward, mouth working, subconsciously trying to help Jennifer get the words out. Her face was a picture of frustration in these situations, and the face of the listener was one of pity or sorrow.

Growing up as a stutterer is an education in how hostile the world can be. She'd had to learn to ignore the other children's cruel barbs and teasing. Kids who called her "J-j-j-Jenny" were put in the class of humans who didn't deserve any of her attention. She got used to being called “stupid” or “retarded.”

Each new year meant new teachers, and new teachers always attempted to make her participate in class by answering questions aloud. She knew they thought they were trying to help her improve in some way, but they were simply torturing her. And when they finally gave up and stopped calling on her, she was immensely relieved.

All she wanted was to blend into the background and be as invisible as possible.

As time went on, the armor she developed to keep the hostile and uncaring world away from her tender underbelly got a little stronger, and she cried a little less. It no longer bothered her when someone assumed she was stupid because she couldn't say a complete sentence in less than a minute or so. She knew she wasn't stupid. Her teachers did too, once they graded her papers.

And she learned that the "do-gooders" as her father called them, really WERE trying to help, even if they didn't know how to and even if their efforts to include her in conversation only pulled her into the light, instead of letting her rest comfortably out of sight.

Most importantly, Jennifer learned that the majority of communication, when it takes place on a face-to-face basis, isn't done with the voice at all. She became a master of non-verbal communication, using a shrug, or nod, or any of a number of facial muscles to say something without words that almost anyone could understand at once.

Home was the most comfortable place for her to be. Don and Susan, her parents, were used to getting information in a halting, stumbling kind of way. It was normal for them. They'd tried everything when she was young, of course. Even now they had Jennifer in speech therapy on a regular basis. But, after years of disappointment, they had finally accepted their daughter as a beautiful, if slightly flawed young woman whom they loved, whether she stuttered or not.

She knew they loved her and home was a fortress in which she felt completely safe and mostly happy.

When puberty rumbled into her life, it was another disappointment. The girls she knew started dating the boys she knew. They didn't abandon her for these boys. Not really, because they had never taken her into their inner circles in the first place. But she heard them talking, and saw their body language as they flirted, and teased, and did the mating dance that almost all young women learn to do.

Almost all.

Other than her inability to speak without stuttering, there was nothing wrong with Jennifer. That included her hormones. Those hormones provided the same stimulus to her body that they did in other girls. She just had no outlet for it.

She was cute, and she smiled a lot, because she had learned that smiling was a way to satisfy people. If you looked happy, most people left you alone. And, boys being boys, when they looked at her and imagined her naked, writhing under them as they performed THEIR part in the mating dance, they were interested. Some of them even asked her out. It always ended badly, though.

Four of them hadn’t been able to make it through even an hour of a first date. They were used to rushing a girl through the conversation stage of things and getting right to the necking part. Jennifer, of course, never rushed anything...even if she tried.

Two others thought they would be able to just skip the talking part altogether, and tried to go straight to the petting stage. One got slapped, the other walked bowlegged for two days.

One might wonder how a girl, then merely sixteen, with no real experience with the male of the species, might be knowledgeable of how to handle a boy in that particular situation.

She had a tutor, of sorts. And that tutor was her Uncle Bob.

He wasn't really her uncle. Bob Jefferson was her father's best friend. Other than her father, he was the only man in her life who really meant something to her. She had known him for as long as she could remember.

Bob was a confirmed bachelor, but it was more by choice of lifestyle, rather than any intent to avoid a lasting relationship with any particular woman. Bob loved women. But, he also loved the life of the nomad.

When he was seventeen he joined the Navy to see the world. He'd read books and seen movies about Navy Seals and dreamed, like many young men dream, about how cool it would be to be accepted into that very special fraternity of men. Don Brazelton felt the same way, and fate had brought them together in boot camp.

The reality, of course, was quite different than the books and movies, but both young men were good at being challenged, and the teamwork they learned and participated in made them inseparable. Initially, it was them, and the rest of the trainees, against the Chiefs who seemed to be trying their best to kill them all during training. Later, when they were stationed together in the same Seal team, they trusted their lives to each other on a regular basis during missions. While Don still dreamed of settling down some day, though, Bob was more the type to revel in the knowledge that he was a thoroughly dangerous man.

Six years later they both got out of the Navy. Don had seen the world, and there was a girl back home he was interested in. Bob's reasons for getting out were more complicated. First off, if Don didn't have his back, it wouldn't be fun any more. He'd have to worry. Another reason was that he'd seen the inside of a brig more often than he would have liked, both military and civilian. He was pretty familiar with the procedures involved in a Captain's Mast too, though he always got his rank back eventually. He was one of their best team leaders, and they knew it. The rules and assholes who always seemed to end up with the most brass on their collar chafed at him, though. Had he been able to stay a team leader while the rest of the Navy (except a few logistics folks who kept the teams in beans and bullets) went on permanent shore leave, he'd have stayed in.

So, while Don went off to woo a wife, Bob did a stint as a Merchant Mariner. He'd gotten to see the world as a Seal, but he'd never had time to explore all the exotic locales the Navy had whisked him to and away from. He spent seven years roaming the world before he'd seen enough to realize that people were pretty much people, wherever they were.

He left the Merchant Marine and went to see his "brother," where he met the wife and their seven year old daughter for the first time. He was captivated by the little girl almost instantly. She spoke to his soul in many ways. Having been in twenty-three countries where he didn't speak the language, communicating with this cute little girl was a piece of cake, and he could care less how long it took. She was a doll and her shy smile, as she looked up at the beefy man with the long black hair and bushy black beard, made his heart melt. Unlike most children, she didn't run screaming when she saw him. Instead she sat, rapt, as he told her stories about where he'd been and what he'd done there. He told her stories about her daddy too, when he could get away with it. Neither Don nor his wife, Susan were keen for little Jenny to know some of the things Don had had to do as a Seal.

Of course those were the best stories and Bob loved telling them, when Don and Susan weren't around to tell him to knock it off.

He spent two months with them, doing basically nothing. Not that he was a drag on the family. He was good with tools and Susan's car had been giving them problems. It was soon running better than when it was new. Bob wiped out Don's "honeydo" list within a week and went on to find other things that needed to be done.

He spent a lot of time with Jennifer. It might be argued that both were a little lonely. He had no real ties, except to Don, and she had no friends to play with.

He took her with him grocery shopping one day. He liked to eat and his big frame took a lot of fuel. He didn't expect his brother's family to support that need. Jennifer was in seventh heaven. As any parent knows, who has taken a seven year old to the grocery store, the vast majority of the communication between parent and child consists of "No," or "Put that back!" and maybe "That's not good for you. Let's get something healthy instead."

Bob didn't speak that language.

"Sure, baby," he usually said. "Get two packages. One for you and one for me." In another case he said, "Oh yeah, Jeny. I love them. And that brand is the best! Those things will kill us for sure. They're LOADED with sugar. Better get three."

They came home with eight boxes of cereal, three boxes of Ding Dongs, a variety of chips and dips, a jar of peanut butter that already had jelly mixed in with it, the giant community-sized economy assortment bag of practically everything the Hershey's chocolate company produced, and twelve frozen pizzas. There was also an assortment of Hamburger Helper, canned tuna, Spam and six pounds of string cheese. Of the twenty-four cans that spilled out onto the counter top at home, one was green beans. The rest were an assortment of Chef Boyardee's culinary offerings.

Susan didn't have a fit.

"Where are the fresh vegetables and fruits?" she asked.

"That's sissy food," replied Bob, smiling. "Scurvy is a thing of the past."

"We're sissies, Bob," she said calmly.

"No way!" he groused.

"Go back and get the vegetables and fruits, Bob."

"But I don't have to take anything back...right?" he asked hopefully.

"Don't you think five flavors of ice cream is a bit much?"

"Of course not. Variety is the spice of life. I got cones, too. The good ones—the ones that look like waffles." He beamed proudly.

Susan gestured toward the refrigerator. "We don't have that much room in the freezer, Bob."

"Yeah, I noticed you guys need a deep freeze. Where could I get one of those? Does Don know anybody with a pickup truck?"

Jennifer had stood and watched, fascinated as the huge man stood politely while her mother looked up at him and calmly straightened him out.

And it was Jennifer who picked out the fruits and vegetables when they went back to the store.

Susan Brazelton was intimately aware of how important Bob was to her husband. He HAD talked about everything with her. She was fully aware that the reason she had a husband she was madly in love with was because this bear-like man had always brought the team back safely. For that reason, she considered his hijinks to be more of a distraction than a fault.

And he was very good for Jennifer.

It was impossible, however, for Bob to miss the fact that he was a square peg, while Don and Susan's world was full of round holes. He loved the time he spent with them, but didn't want to wear out his welcome.

Having seen the whole world, Bob decided that now he'd spend some time seeing the country of his birth. He had money and he had time. He bought a big touring bike, waved to the only family he had, and disappeared for three years.

His return, when Jennifer was ten, had been a surprise to both of them. It was as if he'd never left, except that he had more stories to tell.

Oak Valley, where Don and Susan lived with the delightful little girl who called him "Uncle Bob," wasn't big enough to support the idea Bob had for the foreseeable future. To do what he wanted to do required a larger population base.

He took his life savings and with two other former Seals, opened a bike shop outside Atlanta. They specialized in custom bikes, both building them and servicing them. As with most things he'd tried, he was successful.

He got back "home" infrequently, but his time was still his own and he was the boss, so he was able to spend a week, several times a year, with the man he considered to be his brother. And each time, as far as Jennifer was concerned, it was like the big teddy bear, as she sometimes called him, had never left. He always had a big grin for her and always sat patiently as she brought him up to date on what had happened in his absence.

And, because he now had a fixed address, she began writing him letters.

She wrote him one a week. It took all week to write it, but it was almost like a hobby for her, so she didn't mind. On paper she could say whatever she liked, in long, complicated sentences that flew onto the white surface. Her letters were often five or six pages long, and she said everything to him that she couldn't say to the friends she didn't have, or the parents who no child can confide everything to.

In addition to his occasional long visits, he appeared for each of her birthdays. It was from him she got the almost life-sized Teddy Bear she named Bob. She'd never forget that day, her thirteenth birthday. She already knew the sound of the motor of the big hog her uncle rode. When she heard it that day and ran to the front window to look out, Uncle Bob rode in with the bear behind him, like it was his rider. He'd said he brought her a boyfriend and she hadn't cared that she was too old for stuffed animals. She'd slept with that huge five foot tall bear taking up most of her bed for years. She'd never tell anybody, but she practiced kissing that bear, too.

She never knew what to expect from him on her birthday. Sometimes he was extravagant, and sometimes ridiculously simple. On her eleventh birthday he gave her a sweatshirt that said, "If you don't want to know...don't ask." For her fourteenth it was a pair of diamond earrings that were half a carat apiece. Her mother was scandalized. Susan was even more scandalized when he produced an identical set for her. To Don, he gave a case of Heineken.

On her sixteenth birthday she opened a little box to find a pair of big, red wax lips. When she looked at him in confusion, he returned her look with a serious face and said, "Sweet sixteen and never been kissed." Then he grinned. "So KISS THEM!"

She was quick on her feet, though, and saw that the wax lips were designed to be clamped in the teeth, so that they covered a person's actual lips. She handed them to him and just waited. It was he who was confused then.

"P-p-p-put them o-o-o-n," she said patiently.

"You're supposed to kiss them," he said.

"I w-w-w-will," she stuttered. "Wh-wh-when y-y-you p-p-put them on," she finished in a rush.

He smiled. "You don't want to kiss your grumpy old Uncle Bob."

She lost her patience then and shoved his gift carefully between his teeth. Then she kissed the hard, cool wax lips just like she'd practiced on Bob the bear. It wasn't very satisfactory, but she'd been too chicken to take them out of his teeth and kiss his real lips, which she was quite sure would feel much nicer.

For Bob's part, when he saw her close her eyes and earnestly kiss those silly wax lips, he felt a jolt as he realized she really WAS growing up. He slapped her on her denim-covered butt cheek and, when she jumped back and yowled, he grinned evilly and said, "That's one. You're how old? Sixteen? Oooo, this is going to be FUN!"

He jumped for her, but wasn't really trying to catch her. He knew she'd be able to outrun him. She reminded him constantly that he was out of shape and needed to get back into the daily grind that had made him tough as nails when he was a Seal. Still, it was fun to chase her around while she hooted and yelled. At least until Don or Susan yelled at him to act his age.

He'd tried to give her a Sportster for her seventeenth birthday, but her parents wouldn't let her have it. She'd had to settle for being taken out to dinner at the fanciest place in town. Uncle Bob had looked ridiculous in a suit borrowed from Don, which was probably two sizes too small. With his black hair in a pony tail and the ends of his moustache waxed and curled, he looked like a blacksmith from the fifteenth century trying to fit in to the twenty-first. Her mother had done her hair and loaned her what she called her "little black dress." She'd never felt so grown up in her life. He'd let her sneak sips of his wine that night while she ate things she hadn't even known existed, but which kept her almost breathless with the anticipation of what would come next.

He showed up for graduation, and gave her a Harley Davidson leather jacket — black, with silver studs and snaps. It felt like it weighed a ton when she slipped into it, but she didn't want to ever take it off.

Then, two months later, the night before her eighteenth birthday, he called.

"Sweet pea," he said. "I got this problem. A buddy of mine is in some trouble, and I have to go help him. That means I'm going to miss number eighteen."

Her disappointment was palpable in her voice, even though she only said two words: "Oh. O-k-k-k-ay."

"No it's not OK," he said. "But this is important. This guy saved my life one time and I owe him. I wouldn't miss your birthday for the world, but I have to go help him. I'll make it up to you, though. I promise."

"I underst-st-st-stand," she said, trying to make her voice light. "I l-l-l-ove you. B-b-be c-c-caref-f-ful."

"No sweat," he replied. "The bastards that are fucking with him will learn the error of their ways, and then we can talk about what I can do to make up for missing a very important birthday. OK?"

"I SAID O-k-k-kay!" she barked.

"OK," he said. "Give your daddy a hug for me. And slap your mother on her pretty little ass for me. Bye."

The next day was made less dismal when her parents gave her a car. She had decided college wasn't for her. She wasn't worried about the coursework, but communicating wouldn't be worth the trouble, especially since she had no idea what she wanted to do as an adult. For now she was going to stay at home, much to her mother's delight, and try to find a job somewhere where speaking with people wasn't part of the job description.

A week later she still hadn't heard from Uncle Bob. She had no idea where he was. He hadn't answered his cell phone, so she was writing this letter to him, telling him of her frustration that employers didn't seem to understand that she wasn't stupid and could do almost anything, as long as she didn't have to talk to the public.

Her mother stuck her head into Jennifer's bedroom.

"We're about ready to go. Are you sure you'll be all right? We'll be gone for two weeks."

Jennifer's frustration with employers was transferred to her mother in an instant. She took a breath, but her face said it all. Her mother held up both hands, palm outwards.

"I'm sorry," she said. "I know you'll be fine. We'll call you when we get there. I left Aunt Linda's phone number on the fridge. I hope you find a job, sweetie."

There was a hug then, initiated by her mother, but entered into voluntarily by Jennifer as her irritation evaporated. She followed her mother out and gave her father a hug too, and a kiss on the cheek. They were hugs she'd be forever grateful she got to have, as things turned out.

Two days later the phone rang and Jennifer, still jobless, expected to hear her mother's voice on the phone. It was a woman who said she worked for the highway patrol in Arkansas. There had been an accident. She was trying to locate next of kin for Donald and Susan Brazelton.

She was bawling when Bob answered the phone. She'd dialed his number over and over for forty-five minutes.

"What?!" he barked.

It only took him seconds to recognize the voice. She was incapable of actually saying anything, both because of her speech impediment and because she was sobbing. A feeling of terror gripped the big man's gut. Instinct kicked in and he asked her questions that could be answered with a yes, or no.

"Are you safe?" he asked.

"Y-y-y-es," she sobbed.

"Are your parents OK?"


"Are you at home?"


"I'll be there in eight hours," he said. "I won't be able to answer the phone. Do you need the police or somebody to help you right now?"

"N-n-no." The helplessness in her voice was like a knife, turning in his heart.

"Hang on, Baby," he said urgently. "I'll be there. Just hang on."

Bob flipped the phone closed and stuck it in his back pocket. He'd only turned it on because now that he was inside and the perimeter was secure, he could be alerted by the men securing it if there was any trouble. It had rung before he could put it back on his belt. It hadn't been Matt, or Johnny or Ripper, though. It had been Jennifer.

He looked at the man lying on the floor under him, with Bob's left hand covering his adams apple, choking off all noise except for the wheezing of labored breathing. This man, and his gang members, were the reason Bob was in town.

The man, who called himself Sheik Abdulla Hamid, was a twenty-two year old African-American who had never been fifty miles from where he was born, except for an eighteen month stint in prison where he changed his name. "Tyrone Robinson" wasn't cutting it in the slam. He hadn't accepted any of the tenets of Islam while he was locked up, but he liked the sound of the names he heard and played the game to get one of his own. He was the leader of the gang that claimed this area as their turf.

Matt, also a former Seal on Bob and Don's team, had caught one of Abdulla's minions trying to break into his car, and had stopped him from going further. It's hard to break into a car when both your arms are broken. It's hard to call for help too when the man who broke them drives away in the car you were trying to steal, leaving you lying on the ground helpless.

Sheik Abdulla had taken offence to Matt's actions. The car had been on a list that a particular buyer wanted, and that buyer had supplied Abdulla the owner's name and address. When they went to the address to get the car, it wasn't there, because Matt's wife Peggy had gone to the store in it. So, to soothe their honor they drove by and sprayed the house with gunfire. Matt's six year old son had almost been hit. Matt couldn't deal with the gang without leaving his family unprotected, so he sent out a call for help. Bob, along with three others, had responded. It was Matt and the three others who were securing the perimeter of Sheik Abdulla's current...residence.

A Tec-9 was lying on top of a box serving as a coffee table nearby. Sheik Abdulla had laid it there when he got back to his pad. He hadn't had time to reach for it when Bob stepped out of the bathroom and put him on the floor. Bob had been waiting seven hours by then, and was a little impatient. He was even more impatient now.

"OK," said Bob. "Here's the deal." His hand tightened on Abdulla's throat just enough that the man's eyes bulged. "Your pip squeak got caught doing something he shouldn't have been doing. My buddy broke his arms. You know who I'm talking about?" He squeezed just enough to cut off Abdulla's air and the man tried to nod frantically. He let him breathe as he went on. "You, or some of your people shot his place up. That's unacceptable. It's kind of like a declaration of war. What you need to understand is that the war is over. You lost."

Bob reached into his pocket and pulled out a folding knife. His thumb moved the opening knob while his wrist flicked and the blade snicked out and locked. Before Abdullah's eyes could even register what was happening Bob's hand flashed down and Abdulla felt a searing, white hot pain on the side of his head. His scream was unable to exit his lungs, though, because Bob's hand clamped down on his throat again.

Bob wiped the blade of the knife on Abdulla's shirt and closed the knife one-handed before he put it back in his pocket. Then his hand reached and came back up holding Abdulla's ear in his fingers.

"We accept your surrender," he said as tears overflowed Abdulla's eyes and he dragged air in through the tiny opening Bob allowed him. "Consider this reparations for the damage your people caused to my man's house when they shot it up."

Now Bob reached behind him and removed the Colt .45 from the holster in the middle of his back, pulling it out from under his motorcycle jacket. He inserted the tip of the barrel in Abdulla's wide open mouth. Abdulla's eyes bulged even more and a strangled whimper came from his throat.

"Since you can't sign a formal surrender document, I'm going to keep your ear as sort of a sign of the agreement between you and me that the war is, in fact, over. Should you, or any of your people forget that the war is over, or should Matt or any member of his family come to any harm whatsoever, I'll be back for your balls. And just so your people understand too, it won't be just YOUR balls we come back for. We'll make a whole COLLECTION of balls. You, as their leader, need to help them understand that part. Got that?"

Abdulla's eyes were beginning to glaze over and Bob released the pressure on his throat. He gave the man time to get some oxygen into his lungs, whereupon Abdulla began moaning. When his eyes had cleared Bob scraped the front sight of the Colt along the roof of his mouth.

"I really would rather just blow your fucking brains out, right here, right now, but I need you alive...for the keep your associates in line. You think you can do that?"

The man's chin bobbed and he choked. Bob lessened the pressure on his throat some more.

"I can't hear you," he said softly.

"Yah!" choked out Abdulla.

"Is the ear enough, or do I need to take one of your testicles to convince you how serious this matter is to us?" Bob pulled the barrel just clear of Abdulla's mouth.

"NO!" shouted Abdulla. "I mean yes!" he said as his eyes widened again. "NO TROUBLE!" he gasped, trying to find an answer that was safe.

Bob grinned. "Good. We don't normally leave survivors when the mission is complete. But this is a special situation. You really need to understand that part. As far as I'm concerned you're wasting perfectly good air just by breathing it." He reholstered his weapon and then reached for the Tech nine. Holding it by the pistol grip, he raised it and then smashed it down on the floor. Abdulla's head turned to watch as the barrel snapped cleanly and bounced a few feet away.

"Cheap, crappy gun," commented Bob as he bent the magazine of the weapon by smashing it on the floor again. "You won't be needing it any more anyway."

Then he clamped down on Abdulla's throat until the man lost consciousness. He called each member of the team. The perimeter was still secure. He told them where to rally, made sure Abdulla was still breathing, and then left.

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