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Who the fuck
Wolfgang Skyler?

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Wolfgang Skyler


My name is Wolfgang Skyler.  Yes, my dear mother shackled me with that name.  And if you are curious, yes, it sucks.  You see if you go by Wolfgang people think are from somewhere exotic.  They are always disappointed to discover that you are an white, boring American.  It is as though you lied to them and invariably they want to kick your ass. 


You could also go by Wolf but then everyone thinks that you have a badass opinion of yourself and every tough guy wants to test themselves against you…that’s righ… by kicking your ass. 


Of course there is the Skyler option.  If you answer to Skyler the impression is that you are a spoiled rich guy that wears a sweater around your neck and go out with a girl named Bambi that you met at the tennis club.  Of course guys like that routinely get their asses kicked. 


The only other option is to go by “Sky” but if you do that everyone thinks you are gay and, you guessed it, people want to kick your ass.  For obvious reasons I am known to all but my closest friends as “Eric”.


Growing up was not difficult.  My father was a dentist and we lived in relative comfort.  We had a large house, a summer ranch and lots of toys.  At age 10 my dad, over the loud and consistent protestations of my mother, bought me a mini bike.  We kept it at the farm and I would ride it through the fields, occasionally sneaking onto the farm to market road. 


I would sometimes see mom watching me and then turn to talk to dad.  The way her head moved I am sure that she was bitching about the mini bike.  When mom was on a tear, she was going to get her way.  I knew that if anything happened, dad would use the excuse to repossess the bike and shut mom up.


With my adolescent reasoning I figured that the bike was all but gone so I had better use it as much as possible.  I didn’t think that if I rode it less, or slower, mom would turn down her shrill bitching. 


Now understand, my trusty bike was no performance machine. The rudimentary suspension made me bounce and jounce like a jack in the box.  It handled like a wheelbarrow and was very unstable on the tiny fat tires.  It would only do about 25 miles an hour and that was not NEAR enough.  I attempted to soup it up by fiddling with the carburetor.  As you might imagine, this was not a good idea.


As I rode it in a field near our ranch the throttle broke and hung in the wide open position.  It took off faster than it had ever gone.  I hung on for dear life, bouncing back and forth like a rag doll.  The primitive suspension threw the bike in the air.  I careened and bounced, barely able to keep it upright.  Terrified, I wobbled and weaved, totally out of control.  Going too fast to bail off, my eyes jolting so much I could barely see. 

Luckily there were no trees but this didn’t stop me from running into the fields lone feature,  a pond, at full speed.  As soon as the bike hit the water it just stopped.  Of course I didn’t.  I went over the handlebars and for a brief moment, was flying head first like superman. 


For a vivid, brief moment it was pure silence. The impact with the water was incredible.  All the air was forced from my lungs.  It felt like I tumbled across the surface of the water.  However I got there I came to rest on the other bank, face down in the mud. 


After I realized that I was alive I looked at the bike, its rear wheel the only thing sticking out of the water.  This presented a problem, a big problem.  Dad would be furious and worse, he would take it from me.  Mom would be able to “see I told you so” in her shrill way.  It would be a long time before I ever got another toy that was not mom-approved (and therefore boring).  This panicked me. 


Somehow I managed to pull it out of the pond and push it to the side of the house.  I used a stick to dislodge mud and hosed it off.  Afterwards I pushed it into the garage.  I amused myself in other ways for the rest of the weekend. 


It was a couple of weeks later when we went back to the ranch.  I told dad that my bike wouldn’t start.  He said that after lunch we would take it to a repair man in town.  As we went to roll it into the back of the truck on a ramp fashioned from a piece of wood, a slash of water poured out of the muffler. 


Dad looked down at the driveway and next to his shoe, in the muddy puddle were three dead minnows.  Busted.

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