A black helmet under his arm, Mark Antonious Richfield straddled a Yamaha FZ-07 motorcycle. He had done his classroom work, and now was learning the actual art of maneuvering…on two wheels.
It had a six-speed transmission and was lighter than most of the motorcycles he had seen ‘splitting lanes’, all over Southern California. He thought his TVR Tuscan race car was fast?
He’d never felt anything as quick to accelerate under his rump before.
Ten students with various experience, but all learners, were lined up outside the CHP training course.
Did Mark hate being surrounded by California Highway Patrol officers for this training? Ha! Oh, I am just in misery.
On his arrival, Mark could tell the officers who were going to run the class training and outdoor course, were surprised to see him. Maybe they’d read his name on the roster, but until he actually showed up, sitting at a desk with the other pupils, he had a feeling they didn’t think it would be ‘The’ Mark Antonious; famous for cologne, infamous for everything else.
After a few sideways glances and second looks from the men who were enrolled in the class with him, which consisted only of men, Mark was amused. He was left alone to listen to the instructions and learn enough to pass the written exam.
This was their first practical lesson, outdoors. The sun was shining, and luckily they had a day without rain.
The motorcycles were supplied by the training course, and Mark could feel the weight of the bike as his boots rested on the concrete.
The youngest training instructor, Officer Kaplan, stood in front of the group pointing out the course; a figure eight around cones. He then, had them place their helmets on and start their engines.
Mark shook back his long hair, put on the helmet, and goggles. Yes, riding his horse, Piccadilly, was exciting, but…
He was beginning to love the idea of flying on a metal steed, the wind blowing through his hair. It was his horse times seventy-five with a top speed of one-hundred-and-twenty miles per hour. Yes, his TVR could do nearly two-hundred miles an hour, but only on a track. He wasn’t about to blow down the crowded California interstates at that speed. But, on a motorcycle? That had possibilities.
Officer Kaplan waved at them. “Okay, let’s go!”
Mark grinned wickedly and joined the group, which, whether or not the officers wanted, were flying around the cones.
“What do you mean, Canada?” Forty-six year old LAPD Captain Billy Sharpe stood next to his husband, Alexander Richfield as he read, yet, another big studio film script.
It was Saturday, and for once, both he and Alex were off.
“Um…” Alex looked up from his script, distracted. “They said things are cheaper to film there. The movie takes place on a ranch with, like, loads of wilderness scenes and horses and shit.”
“Canada.” Billy crossed his arms, staring his twenty-six year old superstar husband.
“I hope the west coast…I’ll ask Adam.”
Billy tried to control his temper. “So, like you had to go to Rome for the filming of Bedtime Stories, now you have to leave the country again?”
“It’s not the same. It’s Canada!” Alex was lying lengthwise on the sofa in their large, open-planned home in Bel Air. The script was on his lap, and he had his knees bent. “I mean, you can come.”
Billy threw up his hands. “Sure. Why didn’t I think of that? I can go to Canada for three weeks—’
“Four weeks?” Billy was about to scream, since Alex had just broken this news to him. “Sure, what the hell, leave the country, when I’m about to test for the rank of Captain II.”
“I can call Adam. I can find out where in Canada. Did you know The Game of Thrones is filmed there? A ton of films and TV shows fake out all sorts of locations for the easy permits and tax rebates.” Alex took his phone out of his pocket. “Let me ask Adam.”
Billy tried to calm his anger. It felt like history was repeating itself. He was expected to make the sacrifice, while Alex did his thing, without regard to his feelings.
“Adam, hey, yeah, it’s me. Um, where in Canada is Save a Horse being filmed…ohhhh. Yipes. Okay. No. It’s fine. Bye.” Alex peered over the back of the couch sheepishly. “Ontario.”
Billy left the room, headed to their bedroom. He removed his shirt and jeans, and put on a pair of gym shorts. Once he had, he found his gloves for a workout, and left through the back of the house to where the punching bag was hanging. He put the gloves on, wrapping the Velcro around his wrists securely, and began beating the shit out of the bag.
Ontario. Four weeks. Oh, no big deal…what’s the problem?
Billy snarled and battered the leather hanging bag. Hammering it until he was dripping with sweat, Billy huffed for breath and shook out his arms.
The mock panel he had been to in Emeryville, a small police department up north in the Bay Area, had offered him the damn job. Yup. Come on in. Chief of Police, William Paul Sharpe.
Did I take it?
He pounded the bag until it nearly ripped off its hinge.
Why didn’t I take it?
Because I’m not a douche!
Did he hate his husband’s attitude right now?
Billy took another swing at the bag and he hit it with so much force, it snapped off the metal swivel and flew into their privacy fence.
In absolute frustration, Billy threw his gloves down, entered the house, and grabbed his baseball cap and sunglasses.
“You going for a run?” Alex asked, still lounging on the sofa with his paperwork.
Billy made sure his shoes were laced up tight. “Do I need my key?” he asked, not looking at Alex.
“No. I’ll be here.”
Billy left through the front door and began running his usual route, but at a fast pace. If he didn’t get his fury out through exercise, he was going to kill someone.
Steve checked to make sure he had his key. He glanced back inside his living room and then opened the front door. Captain Sharpe had just run by. Steve closed the door behind him. “Hey! Wait up!” Steve sprinted to catch Billy.
Billy glanced over his shoulder and slowed down.
Steve paced with him as they jogged. “You okay?”
Billy’s teeth showed in a snarl.
Steve tried to keep running without tripping while he kept an eye on Billy. “What did Alex do now?”
As if Billy couldn’t hold it in, he screamed, “He’s filming in Ontario!”
Steve winced at the fury. “Shit.”
Billy’s pace picked up and Steve could feel the captain trying to deal with his anger in a ‘healthy’ way and not rip someone to shreds.
“When did you find out?” Steve asked.
“When does he go?” Steve could see sweat pouring out of Billy. The guy was forty-six and a machine. Steve was only thirty-nine, but this powerhouse was pure robo-cop.
“I don’t fucking know.” Billy slowed for a corner, allowed a car to pass, and then continued with the brutal pace.
“Are you going?”
After a growl of contempt, Billy replied, “I’m testing for Captain II.”
“Why are they filming in Canada? What the fuck?” Steve was struggling to keep up with Billy’s pace, which was fast.
“It’s cheaper! They all film there!”
The sarcasm was palpable.
Steve thought about it. “Mark’s going to buy a fucking motorcycle.”
Billy’s head whipped in Steve’s direction. “Please tell me you’re fucking joking.”
“I wish. I caught him looking up dealership websites. I knew it. I knew once he got on one, he’d buy one.”
“Jesus Christ!” Billy roared. “Is everything fucked up?”