The Rumble Rally
Episode 6: “The Legend of the Headless Biker”

In the last episode, you may remember, it was a backwards-speeding car that deposited a privateering band of bikers – The Brash Ironic Ruffians – into the local shrubbery. They then gave chase to settle the score and get the phone number of the blonde in the back seat. So perhaps this would be a good moment to explain who the Brash Ironic Ruffians (‘BIR’ for short) are. They are not unlike a Wednesday night bowling league that got a bit out of hand, but even more like a collection of vintage two-wheeled motorised transportation enthusiasts with an axe to grind with anything having four wheels. Each member of this group has been personally selected for his brashness, stemming from his lack of manners and leading straight through his exhaust pipes. But underneath their leather and “other materials-clad exteriors” can be found a certain mashmallowiness which comes in pretty handy when suddenly becoming detached from their bikes at speed. Resilient litter buggers aren't they? As ruffians, they are like marauding mercenaries who've been hired by an unknown corporation to cause chaos and mayhem at the Rumble Rally, thus ensuring the corporate entry gains an advantageous lead on the London to Madrid stage. It is also known they have a weakness for blondes in high heels, but how they get paid for this work is nobody's business but their own.

Count Backwards' ancient Super-charged Mephistopheles-Izusa (now known to be the long lost race car “Chugger Zoom” once owned and driven by Lord “Lucky” Leatherette many years ago) continued to travel backwards at a frightening pace towards the quiet (eerily quiet in a menacing sort of way) village of Leafy Swallow. “A historic market town and doomsday village twinned with Potzdorf Carpania, and welcomes careful drivers,” or so it says on its official tourist board signpost. But it’s also a village known to be the most haunted in Britain, famous for its “Legend of the Headless Biker.” Backwards, a man highly experienced at being out of control, masterfully steered the car through the village almost as if he knew the place like the back of his hairy.... With a “thump” and a “bump” and a “whump,” the super-charged jalopy passed over an unmanned level railroad crossing and promptly got good and truly stuck on the train tracks. Count Backwards didn't know if he should be pleased that his impromptu hayride was over or annoyed that he hadn't quite made it to his hideout.

“So close yet so far and in the home stretch too!” he exclaimed as he climbed out of the car. The captives in the back seat watched in disbelief as Backwards feebly tried to push the car off the tracks. The air was positively blue with the Count's commentary as he pushed and shoved the massive machine.

Ms Pitstop was enjoying the show but was also fully aware that the sun was setting and it was getting late. The rally entrants would have begun stage one already. Lady Lavinia managed a glance at her watch despite her wrists being tied to the others with rope. She too knew they didn't have time for games.

"Perhaps you should untie us and let us out of the car, we could help you push." She suggested sweetly batting her eyelashes. If she played her cards right, and she always did, she could get away and take Daddy's car with her.

"You stay right where you are Missy. Can't have you wandering about at dusk in the most haunted village in England. You're liable to get run down by the Headless Biker."

"What Headless Biker?" Enquired an instinctively curious yet suspicious and sceptical Miss Kitten.

Backwards told the story behind the legend in frightening detail to the girls as he tried to use a railway tie to lever a back wheel out of its rut. "The Legend of the Headless Biker tells a chilling tale of a missed delivery deadline, England in the Cup Final on the telly and a horrific accident. Once upon a time Gary was a motorcycle courier for a city-based firm. He was a highly experienced rider of 12 years with 1000 cc's at his disposal and a death wish by his side. But on that fatal night one last job came in, and it must have had Gary's name on it. It was an urgent foreign package for Leafy Swallow, one of those Brigadoon-type towns in the middle of nowhere and typically missing from the map. So despite the Cup Final on the telly, Gary took the package and rode off into the late evening just as a frosty fog was gathering. If he really pushed it he could make it back in time for the second half, he thought. The deeper Gary got into the Welloffsfordshire countryside the denser the fog got. And then, just as Gary took a left bend at speed into a 20 mile an hour zone, it happened. He didn't see the unmanned level crossing or the barrier that was just beginning to lower. No warnings, no train approaching lights were on – it was as if the barrier had just lowered by itself. Smack! It was all over in a second for Gary. His head came clean off – helmet and all – and travelled for quite a distance. But it was never found, so to this day when the fog is thick and its after kick off, you can hear Gary on his bike roaming the countryside looking for his head, trying to deliver that last package."

"Oh get real! You expect us to believe that?" asked Miss Kitten, laughing on the outside but desperate on the inside to get out of this worsening situation, leave the others to their fate, and somehow get her starter’s orders for the Rally. Too much was at stake since her boss had promised to give back her eight lost lives if she succeeded in her task to eliminate specific entrants and win the race.

"Stop wasting our time Aubrey,” Ms. Pitstop said calmly. “Thanks to you we'll miss the race. Stop this bumbling and just let us go." Underneath she was seething with anger at Aubrey's alter ego Count Backwards. She realised that she'd have to coax him back to being her old mate Aubrey again and encourage him to forget about what she did to his best friend Boris so they could work together towards a mutually profitable goal, just like the old days.

"We only have till midnight to register, obtain starters orders, and set off from the starting line; any later and we'll be disqualified," added Lady Lavinia. Not that she'd be disqualified; she'd happily bribe the time keeper/registration official to get her place in the race. She just wanted to get clean away with her Father's car. If she could return it to him she just might be able to re-establish her rightful inheritance after Daddy disowned her for that silly little international incident. She wondered if INTERPOL was still looking for her and maybe Count Backwards too.

Just then a roar like thunder could be heard in the distance. The sound was travelling fast and getting louder and closer with every second passing. The expression on Backwards' face was priceless as he looked up and saw the Brash Ironic Ruffians gang coming towards them, exhausts blaring. They expertly side skidded to an impressively menacing halt before the stranded car on the tracks. The lead rider clicked his fingers and they all dismounted and set their bikes on side stands. They then proceeded to stand around with their arms folded looking as tough as possible. They did their best not to giggle at Backwards and his railway tie while winking at the girls in the back seat. The leader, a.k.a. Ronnie Rickett, lifted his goggles, pulled down his scarf, and stared – then blinked and stared some more. 'Kitten baby, is that you?'

“Hey boys; long time no see,” Miss Kitten said sheepishly blushing. Ms. Pitstop and Lady Lavinia looked at Miss Kitten and then back at the biker gang. You could tell they were impressed. Lady Lavinia hurriedly checked her lipstick in the rear view mirror while Ms. Pitstop fussed with her hair. Backwards put the tie down, opened the boot of the car, and frantically started fishing for something.

Ronnie, the lead Ruffian, wandered over to the car and ran his leather-gloved hand through Miss Kitten's blonde hair. “Well, long time; not since that little bit of industrial espionage at the piston factory. But hey darlin', I thought that elevator drop you took was lethal, but here you are and still just as pretty too. Say baby, you wanna do lunch or like what?' The other two girls sighed.

Miss Kitten shrugged his attention away and said, “Shall we see about this first?' She raised her tied wrists up. The other girls did the same with a pleading look on their faces.

“No problemo Kitty-Kat.”

”I say my good man, er, men,” butted in Lady Lavinia, “what say you kind gentlemen assist our overburdened friend here and gently remove this fine vintage automobile from these perilous tracks? Eh what? There's good chaps”

“Yes,” said Count Backwards closing the boot lid, “why don't you assist me and the ladies here toot sweet like?” He was waving an old elephant gun at them in a “Yeah, whatcha gonna do about it?”
sort of way.

“Yo dude, check it out; he's got a gun!” exclaimed Ruffian Stinky.

“ Awesome man, it's like a freakin' cannon from the Civil War!” laughed Ruffian Sleazy.

“Do you think he knows how to use that antique?” mocked a third Ruffian, Dumpy.

“About the same as he can drive dude, not!” retorted Stinky.

“Whoa, slow down there cowboy. We were just passing by,” the leader said backing away slowly from the vehicle.

“Well get this car off the tracks and then you can pass by some more,” Count Backwards hissed.

Various heavy blunt instruments were then produced from various Ruffian jackets as they stepped up their menacing act. Count Backwards cocked his gun and grinned maniacally. Various heavy blunt instruments hit the dirt.

Lady Lavinia noticed that the weapon Count backwards was brandishing resembled old photographs of "Bertha," her Father's safari gun. She also remembered his stories of how unreliable it was and that he wasn't too sorry to have lost it many years ago along with the car, but that was another story. She then observed that Backwards had left the key in the ignition, so all she needed was the right moment to seize her chance. She noticed as well that Miss Kitten was busily working at the ropes binding her wrists, so she did the same.

The BIR boys levered the wheels out of the tracks and pushed the car back onto the road. “Strewth mate, this thing's as heavy as a Ute full of salad dodging Sheilas!” observed a Ruffian from “Down Under.”

It was now dusk.

“Right, that'll be all thanks. Now clear off or I'll fill your iron full of lead,” said Count Backwards levelling the double-barrelled shotgun at their bikes.

Just then Miss Kitten managed to get her hands free from the ropes, having had them loosened a bit previously by her old BIR flame. She leapt from the back seat and made a dash for protection behind the Ruffians. Lady Lavinia also managed to get free just as Count Backwards took aim at Miss Kitten. She jumped into the drivers seat and quickly started the car. The exhaust let out an almighty backfire just as Backwards pulled the trigger. The shot misfired, and he was thrown backwards behind the car as it tore off in a cloud of dust and smoke. Lady Lavinia Kydd-Leatherette did not look back.

Miss Kitten hastily negotiated an exchange of her phone number for a lift back to her car. But as the dust settled around them it was discovered that Count Backwards had disappeared and darkness was gathering fast.

Meanwhile, still in the back of the jalopy, Ms. Pitstop finally untangled herself from the ropes and bailed out of the car as it sped out of the village. She expertly rolled as she hit the ground, a skill learnt in her days with "'Ol Nick's Own Rough Riders" stunt team. Just possibly she could sneak up on the bikers and steal one of the older machines with a kickstart.

As if on cue a chilling fog descended and a ghostly apparition exploded out from the nearby churchyard, accompanied by the sound of a powerfully revving parallel twin. It was Gary the Headless Biker searching for his head. With a scream Miss Kitten clung on to her current favoured Ruffian. But the BIR boys were not convinced this was a real haunting. Something just wasn't right (and they know all about fixes and scams, it's their job!), and where did that Backwards guy go? A few Ruffians headed to the churchyard to investigate.

“Well, I think the guys can handle it from here. How about you and me go look for your car doll?' asked Ronnie in a persuasive tone.

An anxious Miss Kitten climbed on the back of the lead Ruffian's bike, silently vowing to get revenge on Count Backwards if it's the last life she lead.

“Hold on to your hat Kitty-Kat!” And with that they rode away from the haunted village.

While the BIR boys were busy searching the churchyard for Gary and Count Backwards, Ms. Pitstop made her move. She quietly approached the row of parked bikes and picked a beautifully maintained 1956 Douglas Dragonfly, as it was the one which most resembled the bikes used in her old stunt team. The risk was getting it started on the first kick. No such luck; she stalled it on the second kick and was caught red handed.

“Hey man, looks like he Headless Biker's gonna have some competition,” said a brash Ruffian swinging an overlubricated bike chain. Ms. Pitstop got off the bike very carefully. There was no escape from the BIR for her now.

“Yo dudes! I like totally got him!” Ruffian Stinky was dragging Count Backwards out of the Churchyard by the scruff of the neck. Dumpy got some rope and tied his hands, and Sleazy tied him to the fencepost at the railway crossing.

“You pesky Ruffians, you should be on MY side!” Backwards grumbled. “But how did you figure it out?”

A “Magic Kingdom” Ruffian volunteered an explanation.

“Easy dude; the sound recording of a Matchless G9 Clubman just didn't match a projected holographic image of a sports bike. Like duh man, it was simple.'

“ Is that how you earned your Mouseketeer badge?' Count Backwards mocked.

“Looks like you were taking advantage of the Legend to scare people away from your secret hideout located in the crypt over there in the Leafy Swallow churchyard. It was all down to your clever use of up-to-date technology for sound amplification, a Super 8 film projector, some strategically placed mirrors, and good old-fashioned dry ice. Like a totally awesome mystery solved, and don't diss the Mouse, man!'

“Curses, foiled again! Damn you pesky Ruffians!” shouted Count Backwards as he struggled against the ropes that bound him to the fencing.

The Ruffians dragged Ms. Pitstop towards the railroad tracks.

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