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It was like any other summer night, the weatherman said the temperatures would be in the high 80 s, and there might be a chance of thunderstorms. This was the end of July, so what was new. The old one pulled the cover off his motorcycle unlocked the switch and the steering column climbed aboard, backed it out of its parking spot, and fired it up. The engine sputtered then backfired and came alive he dropped it into first gear and made his way toward the garage door and the driveway beyond. I pulled into the driveway and then onto the road and was on my way to bike night in Berea.

I traveled down 117th street, and then pulled into the parking lot of the grocery store; right inside the door was the floral section. Flowers or all kinds decked the shelves and display stands. I looked around, now where would they be, I spied a refrigerated display case and walked to it, inside on the bottom shelf were buckets of roses. There were yellow ones, pink ones, variegated white roses with pink edges and red rose buds all bundled in bunches of ten. I reached in and picked up a bunch of red ones. I read the writing on the sign 10 roses for 9.99. “That’s what I want,” I said to myself.

I walked to the checkout line and when the check out girl saw them, she smiled and said, “Would you give me some rose’s someday.”

“Maybe I will one day, when we know each other much, much better.”

She smiled and scanned the roses, the scanner beeped, and the price with tax magically appeared on the screen I paid her in cash to save some time and I was off.

I placed the roses in the saddlebag and while I was there putting on my helmet and gloves the driver of a van parked next to me spoke to me. He told me I had a nice bike and the roses were, as he said, for a hope and a promise. I told him I had thought a lot about it and said, “If I give them a drink the memory will last until the drink is gone or the headache goes away, but giving them a flower the memory I hope will last forever.”

He laughed and he was still smiling, when I fired up the beast and pulled into the traffic. I continued toward Berea, down 117th to Bellaire then onto Interstate 71 South. I twisted the throttle and ran through the gears ever increasing my speed, first to the speed limit and then past it. I merged with traffic, and began changing lanes, moving closer to the center lane. I increased my speed in each lane, when I began to catch the traffic in front of me; I slowed down ever so slightly, and kept my distance from them. I laid it over as I powered through a sweeping right hander then through the left hander until I straightened it out and was heading south on 276 the traffic increased and became slower, I stayed in first gear and idled the rest of the way to the light on Front Street. I made a left, then another left into the driveway of Scoundrels.

I parked the Road King next to the fence, close to the gates; the last time I parked amongst the heard of motorcycles I was blocked in and had to wait. I didn’t want to wait on anyone again to move their motorcycle, and let me out. When I was ready to leave, I wanted to leave.

I placed my helmet, gloves and glasses in the bag and took the roses with me into the bar. I asked the barmaid for a glass of water and when she returned, I handed her a rose. I said, “An American Beauty Rose for a beautiful girl.”
“Thank you,” she said she smiled put her rose in a glass of water.
I smiled and walked outside to a table in the shade to wait. Maybe 5 minutes had elapsed when Doreen pushed open the door and headed straight for the group of tables where she has a permanent seat.

“Hello,” I said loudly then said, “Doreen, come here.” I had caught her in mid stride.

She turned, “wait I have to go put, — why don’t you join me.” She said.
“Come here for a second,” I said. I was holding the roses out of sight, she took the four steps toward the table, and I pulled the rose from under the table and into view then handed it to her.

Doreen smiled, her eyes widened, and reached for the flower, “you didn’t have to do that,” she said.

“Yes, I did, I wanted to give the ladies something, and they are a thank you, for including me in your group.”

She turned and walked to the table she set her purse and other items including her rose on the table. I followed her out to the table and took my place in the chair next to hers. “Watch my stuff, I’m going to the bar,” she said.

When she returned with her beer, we talked and watched the people as they began to arrive on their motorcycles. When Debbie came up to the table she passed by me, bent over, gave Doreen a hug, and took her seat next to her, they carried on a conversation in whispered tones. When they came up for air, I passed a rose to Debbie; she looked quizzical then took the rose.

“What’s this for?”

“I just wanted to say thank you for being so kind to me.”

Debbie’s reaction was very different from Doreen’s where Doreen really appreciated it and was shocked of course, that’s my opinion, the rose made her day. Whereas, Debbie just seemed to blow it off, later I found out she had more demons in her closet than she knew how to handle.

Scoundrels knew when Cindy arrived she is the Tiger of the Freeways, feisty, opinionated, strong willed, and can ride the hell out of a motorcycle. She pulled into the parking lot, backed her Sportster into a spot, and sauntered over to the table.

She walked around the table and spoke to Doreen and me. I handed her a rose, she looked at me, then at the rose, and again at me.

“Why?” she said

“Why to say thank you for being nice to Me.”

“Hell you sit with us, your part of the group, aren’t you?”

“ Yes, I guess I am,” I said.

“Thanks hold it for me until I get back.” And off she went to the bar for her Rolling Rock.

Traffic increased and the place began to fill up with people. Several men made comments such as, oh are we giving out roses now, along with other quips of minor importance. I ignored them all.

“Hey what’s with the roses?” Brian asked,

“I brought them to thank the women who have been nice to Me.”

“That’s a new approach,” he responded.

I smiled and carried on with what I was doing.

Charlene or Charlie as she was known in these circles, was the next woman to arrive she came around the corner spotted Doreen and headed straight for her. She sat in the empty chair between Doreen and me. They hugged and squealed with delight at seeing each other, and immediately began to tell their tales of woe to each other. When I saw, or rather heard a lull in their conversation I presented her with a rose.

“Oh Charlie this is Frank, Frank Charlie,” Doreen said.

“Thank you for the rose,” she said.

“You’re very welcome.”

Doreen had made the comment earlier that evening after receiving a phone call, “Debbie is on her way.”

This was the Debbie I had bought the roses for, alas she was never to show up I waited until dusk before I got ready to leave. And as I stood up to leave, the blond with the Playboy after dark Tattoo on her shoulder walked by I caught her attention, she stopped and took a step toward me I presented her with a rose “An American Beauty for an American Beauty,” I said.

I heard a soft, “Thank you,” before I walked off toward my Motorcycle. I carried four of the ten roses, home with me, next time I will carry none home.

Of all the people who I gave a rose, I think Doreen appreciated it the most and for that, she will always occupy special place in my memories.

The old one smiled closed his eyes and thought to himself. What will I do next week?

Moreover, as next week approached, I wrote this story and thought it was good. Maybe next week I will bring. Who knows what may unfold between now and then? The roses were a nice touch but as far as the rose bringing me closer to a female, it wasn’t going to happen anytime soon or was it only time will tell and hell I have a few good weeks left.