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by Richard Tornello

A Love Manufactured in Heaven

by Richard Tornello

He had seen her from afar. He was in love with this mortal. His wife, the queen-goddess, was not pleased about his peccadilloes, as she called them. He had to uncover a way he could be with her.

His aide-de-camp came up with this idea. “You’ll not be a living thing. Your wife will never think to look there. The object of your love will love you for you as you are. What can be truer?”


Francine Debranua was a top seeded road-racer. She preferred “rice burners” as the boys derogatorily called them. No matter what they said, the straight 4’s never let her down and they finished the job.

The head mechanic pushed the bike from an immaculate black and gold swan emblazoned trailer to Francine’s pit area. He wore gloves of fine cotton so as not to scratch the paint or mar the finish. He too was spotless.

“Francine doesn’t ride Twins,” her mechanic stated as he carried a fresh set of slicks.

The man in black nodded. He knew all that. A grin broke out on his face when she finally came out of her motor home. He pushed the bike toward her.

Francine, petite, and especially cute in her racing leathers, stopped to take a closer look. “That your trailer?” She asked pointing to the immaculate monster rig.

“In a manner of speaking,” he replied. “This is a gift for you if you would do HIM the honor.” He pointed to the bike.

 “Him? Him who?” What did she care about this black V-twin?

“I cannot say at this point, but it is legal. Here are the papers. Look them over. Take it for a test ride, please.” He handed her an envelope. The lettering was done in gold.

She reviewed the documents. It was in order as far as she could tell. The signature of the seller was only a gold swan stamp, but notarized. She looked at the man in black.

“Okay, what’s the game?”

“No game. He wants you to have it. He’s watched you come up through the years and he wants this for you. Look him over. Ride him. You can have him if you like him.”

Francine started her walk-around. “Him?” But she was getting lost in the machine and didn’t hear the answer if there was one. “This a beautiful piece of workmanship,” she said in awe.

“Use only 105 to 120 octane fuels.  It’s full.”

She straddled the bike. It was perfect. Her tush slipped right into the seat pocket. It seemed to envelop her. She giggled. She flat footed the asphalt. The clip-ons were at the exact length for her petite body. She put her earplugs in.

He threw her the key. He bowed and made a motion, clearly stating without words, please go ahead, pointing to the track.

Francine hit the starter. The bike fired up. It was like nothing she had ever heard or felt. Something filled her being, adrenalin? She pulled her helmet on, slipped her gauntlets over her hands, and pulled the clutch lever. “Butter,” she said to herself. The bike throbbed as if in response. With her booted foot, she clicked it into gear and slowly let the clutch out.

Heading onto the track, she raised her arm to indicate a “slow bike entering.”  She began her warm up laps, heating the tires, and becoming familiar with the bike. After two laps Francine felt comfortable. She pushed her pelvis into the seat bump, pressed herself onto the tank, twisted the throttle and opened him up.

“Oh my god,” she screamed. Turn 1 was coming up faster than she had ever taken it. A slight touch of the clutch, a blip of the throttle, a shifter click, a tap of the brake, and the bike took the turn as if it could read her mind. She lay across the tank, her head tucked down behind the steering head, with her left thigh grabbing the tank/frame, her right leg spread out and wide as she hung-off.

Throttle twist, up, and the front wheel came off a bit as the bike leaped forward to and through turns 2, 3 to the top of the hill and 4. The down hill was one of the fasted parts to the slowest, 5, a dog-leg left. Not even a slip. The machine just went around as if it were on rails. 6, through 8 to the uphill 9, were no different. Turn 10 to the back straight was approaching at lightening speed.  Something or someone told her not to brake. The voice said, “It will be just fine. Trust me.”  She did. She laid over, sliders scraping the asphalt, then up, straight, front wheel off the ground, moving faster than she had ever driven before in her entire life.

The pits were quiet except for the growl and the roar of this beast. People were at the rails waiting for her next pass. Timing machines were turned on.

She felt that this machine was alive, as alive as another living being. It responded to the slightest shove of her knees and the lightest touch of her fingers around the throttle. It seemed to read her mind. She squeezed the bike with both her legs, pushed herself as tightly against every part of it as she could, tucking in. Her fingers pulled on the clip-ons. The bike responded by going even faster. She never feared for her life.

She came into the pits hot, slamming to a stop in front of the man in black who had not moved.  Her helmet off, she demanded, “This is no normal machine, is it? What’s the story?”

He smiled and said, “Look closely. The answers are there.”


The Black Bike was created for Francine Debranua. She rode it till the end of her days, loving it with her whole being.

Engraved in the valve covers was Deus ex Machina, For My Goddess of Speed.

2012-06-23 14:46:47
Nice reprise of a Greek myth. I liked it.

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by Richard Tornello

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