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“What these chappies do is to take a perfectly functional motorcycle and transform it into an ungainly and almost unrideable device which has no purpose other than to follow a straight line, and even then, with much caution required. These chappies have even developed their own form of communication, which seems to be an amalgam of jive, Cajun, Yat and traces of Hispanic.”
Despite his distaste for the trend, the guvnor nevertheless saw a commercial opportunity, as well as an outlet for surplus undercarriage struts from his factory in Mozambique where the spectacularly unsuccessful Spagforth Lead Balloon bomber had been built during the war. What he proposed, and instructed his engineers to design, was a production custom motorcycle, using the Spagforth Marmoset as the basis. The task of testing the new machine, to be known as the Grommet, naturally fell to Edgar Jessop, and the prototype was shipped to New Orleans for Edgar to begin his assessment ride in what was considered to be the machine’s natural habitat. First though, Edgar underwent a crash course in the dialect, which included spending days on end at the local cinema, the Giggleswick Odeon, watching re-runs of Easy Rider. Now with a newly-cultivated Viva Zapata moustache, Edgar pronounced himself ready, and announced to his colleagues in a southern drawl, “OK man, time to, like, split. You dig?” Many weeks of strenuous testing followed, Edgar strictly following the customs of the local people which included consuming vast quantities of grain alcohol, and dressing according to the fashions of the perceived market. He motored serenely through the United States for many weeks until he arrived in Blooper, Indiana, pausing at an encampment on the outskirts of town. Here half-naked young ladies with flowers in their hair cultivated small plots of vegetables, while the menfolk tended to wagons and tents. He was warmly welcomed by a chap in white robes and gold chains who introduced himself as Lord Flatfish, leader of the Temple of Awareness. What was intended to be an overnight stop became an extended stay, particularly when Edgar mislaid his trousers and a replacement pair could not be found. As a natural extension of his role, he took it upon himself to exercise his considerable charm amongst the womenfolk who he took for rides on his Spagforth. Lord Flatfish even invited him to become a member of the Temple of Awareness and renamed him Moonbeam. Edgar may well have drifted into a new life of peaceful thoughts, detachment from material possessions, and sexual liberty had it not been for the arrival of a pair of burley gentleman hired by the guvnor to investigate the whereabouts of the company’s prototype motorcycle and its star test rider. Despite Edgar’s protestations that he was, “Like, cool man,” and not at all keen to accompany the men, he and the Grommet were bundled onto a freighter which sailed immediately for Britain. All traces of his short but lascivious dalliance with the flower people were expunged by large doses of penicillin during the voyage home. The Grommet was converted to a frontend loader and marketed as the Spagforth Nepenthes, after the flesh-eating plant of Southeast Asia.
Edgar Jessop motors into Dogpatch, Missouri on the prototype Spagforth Grommet during his American odyssey.