RECORD STORE TALES #936: Captain Crash
The summer of ’85 was going swimmingly. We were on summer holidays at the lake and I was still really into Quiet Riot. With their two albums (the only two I knew of!) on my Sanyo, and with boxes full of Transformers to play with, I was having a great summer.
Earlier that year, my dad bought for me a minibike from a school kid. It had a lawnmower engine but could get moving at a pretty good clip. The cottage was the best place for it, since it was all dirt roads and trails. I had a hockey helmet and that had to be good enough for head protection. I loved that bike, but it did not love me back. The chain had a habit of coming loose, and it was always hit or miss whether it would start or not.
Sometimes I’d ride the bike all the way down to Dead Man’s River, others I’d stick to the roads where it was easier going. I enjoyed the numb feeling in my hands from the vibrating frame after an afternoon riding. I also liked cleaning and painting details on it. But mostly I liked the feeling of getting it up to speed.
I was riding up and down our little road one afternoon the summer when I tried to accelerate, but the chain came off again. Usually it just fell fell off and the bike went dead, but this time it locked up and I went right over the handlebars. Worse, the chain had taken a chunk of flesh out of my left leg on the inner knee. The soft spot where the meat is. There was an inch-long gash packed with grease from the chain. My knees, elbows and wrists were all banged up and bleeding from the landing.
I needed stitches so the next obvious thing to do would have been to go to the hospital. This is not what happened.
A neighbour helped me hobble home where my family frantically began fussing over me. The next minutes or hours are a blur. A lot of telling me I had to go to the hospital, a lot of screaming and refusing, my dad promising he would buy me a toy if I let him look at my leg. I would not let anyone near it.
Eventually, however, I conceded to remove my hands from my bleeding wound, though not to go to any damn hospital. I let my mom and dad mop up the blood and grease, and bandage my leg. I demanded my new toy, and knocked out hard to sleep.
The rest of the summer consisted of regular checking and cleaning of the wound, which didn’t fully heal for months. I was not allowed to swim for fear of infection, and I couldn’t run. I was regularly reminded that this wouldn’t have been the case of I had gone to the hospital. But I got my toy. My dad made sure, and my sister made sure I got the right one.
She returned with the Autobot named Swoop, a Dinobot that turned into a pterodactyl. He was one of the coolest toys of the entire G1 line, with plenty of accessories, die-cast parts and chromed plastic. He even had landing gear if you wanted to land him like an airplane. And he made me forget about the pain in my knee.
I can’t believe how stupidly stubborn I was. And you have to believe I was impossible if my parents couldn’t force me to go to a hospital. And that was pretty much it for me and the bike. The irony here is that I named the bike “Christine” after the car from the Stephen King novel that ultimately gets its owner killed. I regret that decision too!