Wankmeister opened his eyes. The naked Asian chick lying on the filthy carpet was not his. “Where the fuck am I?” he wondered. As he tried to remember this and other clues that would explain why he was cold, unclad, and seemingly unable to move, a nasty and inconsiderate and screaming headache continually blocked the attempts to jump start his brain.
He looked again at the chick. There was crusty white around the corners of her mouth. Was it dried saliva? Or had Wankmeister gotten blown by a spitter? Who the hell was she? Where the hell were they? The raging headache pulsed through his skull again in a tsunami of pain.
Wankmeister put his face close up to the sleeping chick and sniffed at her mouth. Massive stench of alcohol, mixing and fermenting with something loathesome down in her stomach. She had to still be drunk. Maybe Wankmeister could escape and get back to his platoon before she awoke and demanded child support.
Or maybe that was just more wishful thinking, just like the wishful thinking that had caused him to separate from his merry friends after the seventeenth round of shots at the Teddy Bear’s and leave with that white waitress. But this was a drunk skinny Asian chick whose teeth had rotted away from meth mouth.
During the lull between headache sets, Wankmeister became aware of another sharp pain. This was in his foot. He looked down and saw that his entire left foot was caked in dried blood. “Fuck, what the fuck?”
He examined what appeared to be a large gash on the sole of his foot that had plainly sprung a terrible leak. Wankmeister sat up and looked around the room. It was a smallish den with a stinking, shit-brown shag carpet. A bad painting of some mallards coming in for a landing on a pristine pond, presumably so some Bubba could jump up and blow them away, hung over the couch. A trail of blood went all the way across the room.
Now at least Wankmeister had a plan. He could follow the trail to find out what had happened. He could reconstruct the events of the night before. But first he had to vomit.
Glass, glass everywhere
The trail of blood led back to the kitchen. There on the small, round kitchen table was a colander half-filled with what looked like some really choice dope. Bong next to colander. Three empty wine bottles with screw caps. An empty bottle of Don Cheapo tequila. Meth pipe.
Now it all made sense. Wankmeister was an alcoholic and drug addict. Of course.
Wanky next looked at the terminus of the trail of blood. A shattered shot glass lay in pieces on the floor, with a big pool of dried blood around the biggest shard. Obviously, Wanky and the tweaker had gotten into a drunken brawl.
He sat down in a chair and tried to puke, but the only thing that came out was a whitish, yellowish gooey film with a faint trace of blood. The long, stringy line dangled down from his lower lip and reached all the way to his foot before it snapped. Plop. As the wet, warm, rubbery glop spread down the edge of his foot, vague memories of the night before began to dance around the periphery of his badly damaged brain. He winced, hoping that the furrows on his forehead would bring them into sharper focus. They gradually became clearer until, in one giant dam break, the entirety of the previous evening came flooding back.
“Triple fuck,” Wankmeister said. If even half of it was true, it was worser than worst.
Wanky goes undercover for the Lance Jockstrap Foundation
Two weeks ago Wankmeister had gotten a call from Lance Jockstrap, eight-time winner of the Turdy France, curer of cancer, and dude who was the most tested athlete in the history of athletes, and who beat all of the other most tested athletes, all of whom tested positive, without ever testing positive himself.
“Jockstrap here. Lance Jockstrap. I need some help.”
“What’s up, buddy?”
“Well, I never found OJ’s killer. Or the dude who offed Tupac. Or the smoking gun that shows Obama isn’t a citizen. But I’ve got a new mission.”
“I think that most of peloton at the Amgen Tour of California is doping.”
“Yeah. Incredible, I know. But I want proof. And I need someone to go undercover. Deep undercover. Find out the whos. The whats. The wheres. I want proof. Indisputable proof. This doping shit has tainted my past achievements. Word on the street is that when it comes to deep undercover, you’re the guy.”
“What’s the plan?”
“I’m going to arrange an invite for you to the Palmdale-Big Bear stage. It’ll be with a major bike frame manufacturer. You’ll be hanging with them, allegedly to review their latest performance rims on a test ride along portions of the course. But your real mission will be to uncover proof that the peloton’s doped. No one must know why you’re really there. And no one, I repeat no one, must have any idea that I’m behind this. Got it?”
“Mum’s the word, Lance.”
Actually, the word was “Teddy Bear.” Which is more like two words.
Things went off the rails almost immediately. Wanky got the invite and showed up on Thursday night to meet with the luminaries, heroes, chief executives, and other invitees of the VIP Ride and General Tour of California Hoedown. Like any other small mountain resort in between seasons, Big Bear had that feeling of “hope my fucking stash lasts until ski season starts up again.”
The shops were all closed. The restaurants were all closed. The town was all closed. Never mind that a massive bike race was rolling into town in a few hours–the place was empty. The dinner options at 9:30 PM had dwindled from practically nothing and Denny’s to plain old Denny’s.
At the last minute, a waitress leaving one of the joints that had just closed said these fateful words: “Teddy Bear’s is still open. But they only take cash.”
“Teddy Bear’s? What kind of place is that?”
“Oh,” said the waitress with a saucy grin, “they make good burgers.”
A few moments later the group reached Teddy Bear’s Titty Bar and Family Restaurant. A dude who looked an awful lot like Paul Sherwen was leaving, but Wankmeister was certain it wasn’t him. Two hours later, after the fifteen pitchers of beer and the burgers and the three bottles of Don Cheapo tequila and unloading all their dollar bills into the saggy bikini bottom of the one very tired and unenthusiastic very mature mother of five stripper whose main job was driving a bread delivery truck between Yucaipa and Big Bear, the group got ready to leave. That’s when all heck broke loose.
Heck is often much worse than hell
Wankmeister had ducked briefly into the men’s room to vomit. Expecting to just do the usual heave and rally, he was surprised to feel this particular wave of antiperistalsis begin somewhere around his knees. The convulsion rippled upwards into his groin, through his liver and bowels, up into his small intestine, and exploded into his stomach which, in addition to the Teddy Bear Burger (a unique culinary delight consisting of jalapenos, gizzards, mushrooms, pimiento cheese, sauerkraut, spicy mustard, and two beef patties) also contained three slices of boysenberry pie a la mode and a large platter of spicy carrot fries that had been cooked three days ago and left under a heat lamp or beneath a stack of dirty fermenting underwear to keep warm.
The blast poured forth from Wankmeister’s throat and generally in the vicinity of the urinal, but mostly all over his shoes, the wall, the mirror, the toilet, the wastebasket, and the floor. Wankmeister marveled at the variety of color in nature! The bright purple of the boysenberries! The yellow and red of the cheese and ketchup! The chunky brown of the hamburger! The bluish chunks of his lung! The deep reddish streaks of his stomach lining! If only he had been a painter with a palette!
When Wankmeister came to, the chubby waitress was wiping him off with paper towels and hustling him out the door. Wankmeister was unsure about the horns growing out of her head or the way her mouth kept changing from a Toyota Corolla to a trash incinerator. He was also confused as to why she kept switching between English and Aramaic.
She accompanied him halfway down the street. “Wait here,” she said. “I get off in half an hour. You’re in bad shape, buddy.”
The things you can find underneath a mailbox
Wankmeister watched his saviorette return to Teddy Bear’s, and carefully propped himself against the US Mailbox. Then he fell down. Then he tried to crawl underneath the mailbox, but there wasn’t enough space. Maybe if he just pulled his legs in more the space aliens wouldn’t catch him. “Here comes one now!” he shrieked.
“Are you okay?” a kindly yet cruel and paranoid voice asked.
Wankmeister was not so easily fooled. “You’re a space alien, aren’t you?”
“If you’re a space alien, I’m inedible. All the edible ones are over there. At Teddy Bear’s.”
“That mailbox is too small for you to hide under. Are you sure you’re okay? You’re a cop, aren’t you?”
Wankmeister removed his head from under the mailbox. He couldn’t see anything except a kindly, plainly insane, Asian-looking face that kept changing into Winnie-the-Pooh and then back again. Her eyes were twitching like crazy, and she kept fidgeting. “Yeah. I’m fine,” Wanky said.
“You don’t have any spare change, do you?”
Wankmeister perked up. A panhandling space alien. The best kind. “Yeah,” he said. “I’ve got a couple of bucks.”
The Asian space alien paranoid tweaker smiled, and in the dim light of the streetlamps Wanky could see giant bloody fangs when she spoke. They were either giant space alien fangs or the rotted out, blackened stumps of severely advanced meth mouth. “Cool!” she said.
In a flash, Wankmeister realized that he’d hit the mother lode. This was no ordinary tweaker space alien trying to panhandle a couple of bucks. This was what Lance Jockstrap had sent him to find! The source of all the drugs that had infiltrated the Tour of California! Wankmeister fished into his pocket, thinking furiously. “Hey,” he said. “All I’ve got is my ATM card. Let’s go to a machine. I can get you more than a couple of bucks.”
Tweaker + Wankmeister = Mother of All Delusions
The tweaker, whose name was Chie, had been up for the last thirteen days. So deeply lost was she in the tunnel of meth paranoia that the only thing tethering her to reality, even the slightest, tiniest bit, was her need for more meth. “You’ve got to be careful at the ATM’s,” she said. “They’re all staked out by the police, the San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department, the FBI, and the CIA. And Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones. They’ve been watching me since last Thursday.”
Wankmeister nodded. This tweaker was fucked up and batshit crazy, but she understood that the aliens were out to get both of them. That explained the Men in Black. “All’s I’ve got is a Bank of America card.”
The tweaker had been talking incessantly. “Oh, that’s no problem. They only stake out Wells-Fargo. Bank of America does those seance rituals to ward off the bad spirits.”
They got into Chie’s car, a 1975 lime-green AMC Gremlin whose rear windshield was broken out. “This car is alien-proof and FBI-proof,” she said. “But they’re trying to get it anyway. They know that if they get my car, they’ll get me, too.”
Wankmeister nodded. They got to the ATM, and he was momentarily concerned that the $1,500 withdrawal he was about to make would cause the rent check to bounce. He felt the slightest of pangs guilt at the thought of his wife and children being evicted, but deep down he knew it was worth it plus the tweaker would probably give him a blow job.
The tweaker couldn’t believe her luck. “Wow!” she said. “I know what we can do with that!” In less than an hour the money was gone and Wanky and Chie were loaded up with meth for her, pot for her, and tequila for them both. She apparently had been running a big deficit with the meth dealer, a guy named Axhead whose face and arms were covered in prison tatts.
“I’m keeping the rest of this fucking money,” he dared them. “You fucking owe me twice this.”
“Okay!” Chie said happily, clutching her drugs.
Wankmeister was torn between beating this thug to within an inch of his life, and just playing along as it might lead to even more doping revelations and perhaps to the secret hiding place of the space aliens. At that moment, Axhead turned into a three-headed worm. They ran back out to the Gremlin and drove to Chie’s.
Pump and hiss
Wankmeister rubbed his forehead again recalling the sordid late-night hours he had spent with the paranoid tweaker. She had kept promising to slit his throat as soon as he fell asleep, but the threat of death hadn’t been strong enough to overcome the sight of her panties flying across the room.
Now that his foot was clearly injured, and the tweaker could awake any moment and try to kill him, Wankmeister decided to escape. Scooping up as much of the pot as he could and stuffing it into his pockets, he wrapped up his wounded foot with paper towels, put on his sneakers, and sneaked out the door.
Thankfully, Big Bear was a small place. Even more thankfully, the tweaker’s hovel was only a few blocks away from the condo of the sponsors who had invited Wankmeister to ride part of the stage and then enjoy snacks and booze in the VIP tent. Wanky reached the luxo condo just as the group was starting to stir.
“What the fuck happened to you?” asked Captain Quiche, who had already been up for a couple of hours shampooing, conditioning, and styling his luxurious locks in order to look his very best.
“I got adopted,” Wankmeister said. “But it didn’t work out. So she took me back for a refund.”
One by one the rest of the group awoke, chugged coffee, pulled on their biking outfits, and asked the universal pre-ride question among people who have gone out of town to ride their bikes: “Did anyone bring a floor pump?”
No one had, of course, because prior to leaving each rider had thought the following: “Should I bring my floor pump? Nah, pain in the ass. Someone else will have one.”
And as is always the case, someone does indeed have one. The someone is always a dude whose pump is thirty years old and the rubber seal has completely rotted away, so when you put the head on the valve all the air hisses out. Then, when you push down on the pump you have to use one hand to hold the head against the valve. It makes a hissing sound, as half the air usually escapes, so you have to pump really quick, which is hard to do with one hand, especially as the pressure increases.
Wankmeister and everyone else took turns deflating their tires with the fucked up pump, then madly trying to pump them back up to at least half the pressure they’d been at before they let out all the air. Many curses later, it was time to roll out.
Riding like the pros ride
The intrepid crew included Wankmeister, CEO Dude, Marshal Dude, Bikeshop Dude, Worldchamp, Helen of Troy, Mighty Mouse, G$, Howard Hughes of the South Bay, Captain Quiche, Tony Pizza, BBQ Raul, and Hottie.
They cruised through Big Bear and then turned along the north side of the lake. Marshal Dude flatted, and the group left him. When they turned right onto SH 18, Bikeshop Dude turned back, as he and Marshal Dude were manning one of the exhibitor booths. Worldchamp took a long, nasty pull up the first part of the long climb leaving Big Bear. Helen of Troy followed with another barn burner, toasting Mighty Mouse and G$ off the back.
Mighty Mouse had run eleven miles the day before, chopped a cord of wood, walked 13 miles in the snow to school, wrestled a bear, and built a small log cabin, so she was simply too tired to hang. G$ was suffering from the 7,000 feet of elevation, and he did the fall-away-from-the-main-rocket-body atmospheric re-entry with Mighty Mouse.
Once over the top of the worst part of the climb, Tony took a brief pull, quit, and turned around. The remainder of the ride was spent haranguing Howard Hughes and Captain Quiche to take a pull. The Cap’n took exactly three, and although Howard was too out of breath to make even a token effort, he had plenty of lungs to shout his excuses from the rear.
“I’m a fred! I’ve got hairy legs! I wouldn’t know what to do up there!” etc.
On one of the rollers leading into Arrowhead, Helen of Troy accelerated, followed by CEO Dude, leaving the Cap’n and Howard Hughes to finish the ride by themselves. Hottie and BBQ Raul were similarly jettisoned, though they rejoined on the return leg.
Back at the finish line
After the ride, the entourage and Wankmeister sequestered themselves in the Robberbank VIP tent, scarfing little cheesy tortellini thinglets along with fistfuls of tiny cheesecakelets, and gulletsful of wine, coffee, and beer. The race was being played on LD TV, and former world champion Hennie Kuiper worked the crowd, signing autographs and encouraging people to visit his website. He never explained why people should visit his web site when he was standing right fucking there, but Wanky didn’t ask, face full as it was with cheesecakes and coffee and beer.
Pro cycling proved once again that it is the world’s worst spectator sport. The spectators watched nothing happen for hours on TV and then got a two-second glimpse of the streaking, clumped up, finishing pack. Pro cycling also proved that everything becomes a great spectator sport with enough beer and enough hours in which to drink shitloads of it.
When Sylvain Georges came flying through the finish for the win, people screamed and yelled and thumped the barricades and rang the cowbells and waved the orange Robberbank towels as if they’d been waiting all day for it, which they had, and as if they had a fucking clue as to who Georges or Ag2r Mondiale was, which they hadn’t. The remnants of the peloton, hard on Georges’s wheel, was a slurred and exhausted clump of charred cremains…and it wasn’t hard to understand why, as they’d covered 115 miles and 18,000 feet of climbing. They’d also had to go through Palmdale, which was like having PTSD or PMS, only worse.
Unfortunately, in the excitement of the ride and the cheese tortellini thinglets and the cheesecakelets and the prodigious quantities of beer, Wankmeister had forgotten all about Chie the tweaker, who he was convinced held the secret to doping in the pro peloton.
Sure, she was a paranoiac space alien. Sure, her connection Axhead was a three-headed worm when he wasn’t serving time in prison. Sure, Wanky had given her his rent money and would have to explain that plus the lesions on his penis to Mrs. WM when he got home.
But none of those obstacles challenged his basic conclusion: he’d found the source that was besmirching the good name of Lance Jockstrap, and he wouldn’t rest until the entire sordid underworld network was exposed.
It would take lots of Don Cheapo. It would take repeated forays to the meth labs of Palmdale, Riverside, and San Bernardino. It would take a deeper, more penetrating delving into the lifestyle of the tweaker. Wankmeister, for one, was equal to the task.