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The Toxic Leviathan Rides a Yamaha

March 26th, 2010 by Jeff Simmermon

(This post has a soundtrack. Open this in another tab and turn up your speakers.)

There’s a pretty powerful, fast-moving scavenger ecosystem in my neighborhood. People (I think) snatch up clothing, books, whatever like crabs picking over a fish carcass on the sea floor. There are a lot of forgotten bike frames chained to sign posts around there, stripped of their seats, wheels, chains, pedals — anything that is remotely mobile or useful. Sometimes you just see a chain looped around a sign post. Whenever I see that, I always think “Damn. Another one of those bike-eating sharks must’ve got that one.”

I’ve been walking past this bike that’s been locked up on Broadway under the Williamsburg Bridge for YEARS. It looks like it was dragged up from the ocean floor, doesn’t it? There’s the requisite grease and grime there, but it’s covered with a thick patina of dust, dried river mud and pigeon shit. The mirrors are useless, covered with old dirt.

It’s always sitting upright, though, and always in a slightly different position. Sometimes it feels a little warm, like it was ridden just a few hours ago.

I like to think that some slippery creeping beast shambles up out of the East River every night and stumbles to the bike with thick, dripping footsteps. Its shoulders steam with a green toxic runoff, and its face is half-eaten away, revealing a horrific skeletal grin. It turns up its moldering jacket collar and slides a Bob Seger tape into its Walkman, then sets out to cruise the neighborhood, working out some “Night Moves” …

The leviathan rides a motorcycle

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