Legend of the Medina Snake: By Zac King

It happened in Medina Ohio, sometime in the not-so-distant Future:

It’s 2034 and motorcycles on freeways have been outlawed. Self-driving vehicles are the only forms of transportation allowed on major freeways in the United States. I am on a mission; I’m going to ride across American freeways on a motorcycle. That’s been Illegal for years but damnit, I don’t care. I figure the only way to do this is to ride under cover of darkness from 1 am to 4 am every night… I ride. My friends call me the Snake.

I began this midnight run from the Florida Keys and will ride to Canada where riding a gas-powered motorcycle on the freeways is legal. For now, riding through the endless darkness that is Oklahoma is mind-numbing. No moon, no humans, no escape. Just keep moving forward…fast. As the winds increase, ghostly shadows leap across the ashen road dividers while unseen hands pummel and push at me, thrashing my speeding motorcycle across lanes. I ride long sections of highway in isolation, pushing 120 mph in a mind-numbing attempt to get to the next patch of distant lights unseen.

Suddenly, all the lights go out on the old Moto Guzzi. The bike is still running but my dash lights, running lights, headlamp, and tail lights are gone. I’m now held hostage by the looming demons of darkness as they raise the hairs on my neck.

I pull over and hatch a plan, I’m going to draft and there’s a big rig coming and I wait for the enormous wake. A massive big rig blows by and I quickly rip after it. Gaining speed to 70mph, I slither toward its draft within 30 feet, 20 feet then slowly inch up to 10 feet behind it and the bike almost idles. I’m out of danger, even if a “Toaster” self-driving patrol car passes it won’t get close to a big rig. I relax; safely tucked behind the big rig’s wake, I coast in the darkness to the next patch of distant lights.

The big rig pulls over at a TA (TravelCenters of America) truck stop. I break away, roll over into the shadows, and get off the bike for a smoke. The big rig heaves to a stop with the brittle chuff of air brakes. A driver gets out, the cabin door opens and slams while the clack of cowboy boots ricochets against the cold night air.

Seeing actual drivers is an unusual sight, they’ve been replaced by truck stop attendants who swap out the massive batteries on the big electric trucks, check the destination logs, and reset the GPS.

With a slow gate, he walks to the back of his rig, stops, and eyeballs the rear of his truck. He’s a grizzled monster of a man; even from here, I can tell that. As he turns and looks directly at me with long slow steps, he heads my way.

His six-foot-seven frame towers over me in the shadows; I only see a dark silhouette. “Enjoy the ride?’ he asserts in a slow growl… “My name is Bandit.”

I begin stammering my sorry ass story and he breaks in “I know who you are, you’re Snake, that kid who’s trying to dead run the freeways, that’s illegal, can’t believe you’ve made it this far. some of us truckers have been following you on our CBs”

Bandit looks at the old Moto Guzzi and the wiring harness is completely fried. “Look kid, you’re done here, I know you want to beat the system and make your mark but it’s not going to happen. The chatter is the toasters know where you are and are going to make an example out of you son. It’s going down hard and going down soon. I can help you out.”

Bandit is heading home, to Medina Ohio, and he is on his own mission. He offers to load my bike on the rig and get me to Medina safely. I accept. As he drops the big rig ramp, I stand in astonishment. It’s full of gas-powered Harley Davidson from the 2020s. We load in the old Guzzi and head to Ohio.

I settle into the comfy big rig cabin for a thousand-mile drive. “So, Bandit, what’s up with those old Harleys in the back?” I ask.

“You’re not the only biker sick of corporate control and government regulations. Digital currency, voiceprint banking, face recognition grocery shopping, tracking everywhere we go and everything we say. I’m on a dead run too son, I’m heading home, packing my bags, and leaving all the bullshit behind”. Bandit seethes.

“Where are you going”?

“Deadwood South Dakota, it’s the only state left that allows gas-powered motorcycles on all their roads. I own this rig and everything in it, one of those bikes could be yours. There are a lot of us headed that way right now. Most of my road is behind me but you should look hard at where your life is headed.”

I sat for a long time quietly thinking about what Bandit said. He knew exactly how I felt, I was escaping a world I didn’t fit in.

By now the word was out, The Feds had put out an APB and the highway toasters scoured the roads for Snake. The internet buzzed about the kid who eluded the entire Federal Government on an old Moto Guzzi motorcycle.

Bandit’s sister owned a coffee shop in Old Town Medina. We left the old Guzzi on display in the coffee shop window. We made manikin and stuffed it with Bandit’s old race suit. People wondered what happened to the Medina Snake. No, I didn’t become an internet influencer or famous bad boy blogger but over time, I became a legend. I took that ride, risked my freedom, and walked out the other side, free. I became the dude who beat the system, The Medina Snake.

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