Sir Dwayne and Green Dwight.
By Joe Drivdahl
Once there was a motorcycle cowboy named Sir Dwayne. No one knew where he acquired the moniker, “Sir”, the way no one knew why other guys in the club were known as “Smoke”, and “Big Harry.” Anyway, Sir Dwayne rode a Harley Davidson, like most bikers. Dwayne’s was mostly red, black, and chrome. Not a chopper, but a full-dresser.
On New Year’s Day, the motorcycle club, The Knights of the Wire Spool, were gathered for a party. It was a huge blowout with several grillmasters cooking different meats and dozens of homemade craft beer and wine. Leroy Jewarskiewitz even brought moonshine from his own still.
Artie King was the leader of the motorcycle club. He didn’t bring anything. The party was being held at Artie’s home in the country that he called, “Cameltrot.” Artie carried a sword he claimed he’d pulled out of a rock or something. Most people thought he’d bought it at a pawn shop, but they didn’t want to hurt Artie’s feelings so everyone just went along with his story. Artie’s wife Gwendoline was the main bitch, like a queen or something.
The bikers were all pretty drunk and having drag races when a rider on a green Kawasaki Ninja rode in slowly. He was wearing green leathers and a green full-face helmet. He rode up to Artie, killed his bike and said, “I am Green Dwight.” He took off his helmet. “I came here to drag race with your men, but I see none of them are up to the challenge.”
Everyone knew his Harley couldn’t keep up with the Ninja, so no one stepped forward to object. Artie himself was preparing to challenge Green Dwight, but before he could say anything, Sir Dwayne stepped out of the crowd. Sir Dwayne was Artie’s nephew, and youngest of the Knights of the Wire Spool. Sir Dwayne said, “I, sir, and my trusty Harley can beat your green rice-grinder any day.”
Green Dwight laughed. He dismounted from his ride and leaned it on the kickstand. “That, sir, is laughable,” he said. “But I will make a bargain with you.”
Sir Dwayne’s eyes narrowed. “And what kind of bargain would that be?”
“I purpose a Christmas game,” Green Dwight said. “I will wager that with my helmet on, you cannot hurt me even with this”, pulling a golden ax from behind his back as if by magic. He who can kill me with this splendid ax, shall to keep it.
“What?” Sir Dwayne said in astonishment. “How can your helmet protect you against that ax? It looks pretty sharp.”
“Indeed it is, young Squire,” said Green Dwight, “but wearing my helmet, I am invincible. You will not be able to kill me with this ax.”
“Well, what if I use Uncle Artie’s sword? Could I kill you with it?”
“Probably… So It’d be better if you stuck with the ax.”
Sir Dwayne looked at Artie who shrugged and said, “What the hell do I care?’
“You are on, sir,” said Sir Dwayne.
“But wait,” Green Dwight said. “There is more.”
“Oh, so there is a catch. What is it?”
“After you fail to kill me with this ax, we will meet again in a year and a day, and using the same ax, I will do the same to you.”
Sir Dwayne looked at Artie and smiled. “Really?” he asked.
“Okay,” Sir Dwayne said. “You’re on.”
The great wooden spool was being used as a table. The beer bottles and cans were swept away and the Green Dwight donned his helmet and lay his head across the spool. Sir Dwayne wondered what they would do with the body when it was over. He almost asked Artie, but thought better of it. Instead he brought the ax down with a mighty blow and chopped Green Dwight’s head off.
Miraculously the Green Dwight did not die. He stood, picked up his head and put it under his arm. He pointed the head in the direction of Gwendolin, but said to Sir Dwayne, “You and I will meet again in a year and a day at the Green Chapel.”
“Where?” Sir Dwayne asked.
“You know, that green church over on 3rd and Mann.
“Oh sure. I know the place. Methodist isn’t it?”
“Yes. Is that a problem?”
“No,” Sir Dwayne said, “it’s just that I’m Presbyterian.”
“Well there’s a Presbyterian over on Evans Boulevard.”
“No, no, the green church will be fine. I will be there. Any idea what time? I might have things to do.”
“Sometime between the day after this day one year from now to five days afterward. It doesn’t matter really. Some time during the first week of next year.”
“So, you’re not a date and time kinda guy, I guess.”
If you fail to show, you are a coward and should be banished from this club.”
“I’ll be there, I’ll be there. Geeze, don’t get your undies in a knot.”
Green Dwight, with head in hand, mounted his trusty Ninja and rode away. Well, actually he kinda floundered to start with what with his head under his arm. He had to balance the head in his lap so he could use the clutch and the throttle at the same time, and then he had difficulty seeing where he was going, but he finally rode away.
The day after New Year’s Day the following year, Sir Dwayne filled his saddlebags with beer and a ham sandwich and headed out to find the green chapel to keep the bargain. He stopped off at a bar on the way and got into a fight. Then when he came outside, he found some guy sitting on his bike, so he had to kick his ass, but he finally got going again.
On his way to the green chapel, he came across a huge house, more like a castle really. Whoever lives here must be a king or something, he thought. As he pulled into the drive way, the lord of the castle appeared dressed like Elvis, complete with cape and baton. His beautiful wife was by his side.
“We are pleased to have such a renowned guest at our home”, the Elvis person said.
Sir Dwayne didn’t know what “renowned” meant. He overlooked it.“Who might you be?” he asked.
“Why… I am the King of course.”
“An Elvis impersonator?”
“Well… Yeah, pretty much, but a good one.”
“Oh,” Sir Dwayne said. “It nice to meet you there, King, and King’s wife, but I’m looking for a green church that’s supposed to be around here somewhere.”
“Ha ha”, said the King. It is but two blocks away. You are nearly at your destination, but you could rest up here before you go. I’ve got beer.”
Sir Dwayne thought about it and decided it might be a good idea to rest up a little first. The King and the King’s wife took him in and give him as many beers as he wanted. Soon Sir Dwayne was passed out on the couch. The King’s wife threw a blanket over Sir Dwayne, shut off the TV and lights, and she and the King went to bed.
The next morning the King announced that he was going to a garage sale. “Before I go, I will make a bargain with you, Sir Dwayne.”
“Oh?” Sir Dwayne said. “I don’t know, man, I’m pretty hungover. I don’t think I’m up for a bargain today.”
The King was undeterred. He continued. “I will give you whatever I find at the garage sale in exchange for whatever you find today.”
“Okay, man, whatever you say,” Sir Dwayne said. He mostly wanted the King to leave so he could go back to sleep. “I’ll be here sleeping off this hangover.”
“You will not have anything to trade with me if you sleep all day.”
“Yeah, I know. I’ll find something later.”
The King left. He was gone for seven hours and thirty three minutes. When the he returned, Sir Dwayne was still on the couch. “Come to the window, Sir Dwayne, and see what I have found.” Sir Dwayne forces himself off the couch and stumbles to the window. “A green lawn mower.” he says.
“Yes”, said the King. “It’s a John Deere. Isn’t it grand?”
“Yeah, its nice… What is it with you people and green?”
“Ah, you know,” the King said. It’s kind of an Irish neighborhood. Anyway, it is yours.”
“Well that’s nice of you, King, but how am I going to carry a lawn mower on my motorcycle?”
The King ignores the question. “What did you find today?”
Sir Dwayne walks back to the couch falling on it. “I found this in the kitchen,” he says holding an Oreo. “Its all yours.”
The King takes the Oreo and eats it. “Mmmm. That was very tasty. It is a good trade, Sir Dwayne. I can’t wait to see what you find tomorrow.”
“Tomorrow? No, not tomorrow. I got this whole ax thing at the church to deal with tomorrow.”
“Green Dwight will wait. He’s not very good with time, so he won’t care if you arrive tomorrow or the next day, or even the next.”
Sir Dwayne thinks about the offer to stay longer. He could use another day to get over his hangover. Man, he just can’t drink like he used to. “Okay,” he said. “I will stay tomorrow and I will find something of greater value than a cookie.”
The next day the King left for another garage sale. Sir Dwayne was feeling much better so he got up early and headed to the kitchen to find something to eat. The King’s wife fixed him some eggs and bacon for breakfast. Afterward, he thought he should go out and find something better to give the King when he returned, but he decided he’d wait a little while and let his breakfast settle.
He went back in the living room, sat on the couch, and turned on the television. He surfed past a cooking channel and a do-it-yourself show. Then he found his favorite movie, “Easy Rider.” It was just coming on. He’d go after the movie.
When the movie ended, he went to the kitchen to tell the King’s wife he was leaving. She was not there so he grabbed three Oreos. As he passed the television he noticed another favorite movie was coming on, “Rebel Without a Cause.” He had to watch that. So he sat back on the couch.
Just as the movie was about to end the King came home. “Ah, Sir Dwayne,” he said. “How was your day?”
“Well,” Sir Dwayne began, “It was fine, but I didn’t go out today at all.”
“I found this today,” the King said holding up a pink piggy bank. “Its for you.” He handed the piggy bank to Sir Dwayne. “Did you find anything for me?”
“Uh… Yeah, sure. Here.” He handed the King two Oreos. He’d eaten the third one himself. The King seemed pleased with the cookies and thanked Sir Dwayne again saying, “It is a good trade.”
On the third day, the King left to shop the garage sales again. Sir Dwayne didn’t even try to tell himself he’d go out and find something. Later, though, he got to feeling guilty and went out to see if there was something laying around the house. He found nothing. Maybe the shed, he thought, or in the neighbors yard. He found nothing.
When the King returned he brought a Fox motocross jersey. It was bright orange and blue. It looked brand new. Sir Dwayne really liked it and put in on immediately. He handed the King three Oreos this time. The King looked a little perturbed, but he ate the cookies and said, “It is a good trade.”
By the following morning, when Sir Dwayne awoke, he had decided to find the green chapel and get this whole beheading thing over with. He told the King his plan to leave. “Yes,” The King said. “I suppose it is time for you to go find your destiny. Whatever it may be, my son, face it bravely.”
The King and the King’s wife walked Sir Dwayne to the door. “We are pleased you chose to stay with us,” the King said. The King’s wife nodded in agreement. “Do you wish to take some cookies for the road?” she asked.
Sir Dwayne didn’t think Oreos would help him much. “No thank you,” he said, “but thank you for your hospitality.” He hopped on his motorcycle and started it up. He looked at the King who was pointing his finger and talking, but Sir Dwayne could not hear him over the roar of the motorcycle. He killed the engine. “What were you saying?” he asked.
“The green chapel,” The King said. “It’s two blocks that way.”
“Okay,” Sir Dwayne said. “I’m sure I’ll find it. Thanks again.” He fired up the engine again and with a wave of his hand rode off wearing the Fox jersey, with the piggy bank in a saddlebag, and the lawnmower tied by its handle to his bike kind of like a trailer.
When Sir Dwayne arrived at the chapel, he looked for Green Dwight, but he was nowhere to be found. Sir Dwayne started thinking about the whole situation. There was something about this thing that felt like a trick. He’d be willing to bet Uncle Artie set the whole thing up as a joke.
Finally Green Dwight rode up on his Kawasaki Ninja with his green helmet on. He had the ax strapped to his back. “Where have you been?” Sir Dwayne asked. “I’ve been waiting a while.”
Green Dwight ignored the comment. “Are you ready to lose your head?” Green Dwight asked. He unhooks the straps holding the ax and swung it around. “If you have the courage, lay your head on that tree stump there and lets get it over with.”
Sir Dwayne looked at the stump. “Why didn’t you die when I cut your head off with that ax?” he asked.
“Because, sir, its a magic ax,” Green Dwight said. “It won’t kill you either.”
“It sure looks like it will kill me.”
“It won’t. It has been cursed by an old magic woman so it won’t kill anyone. The person who had it before me was killed trying to kill another man with it.”
Sir Dwayne wasn’t convinced, but since the ax hadn’t killed Green Dwight, it probably wouldn’t kill him either.
“How did you get your head back on?” he asked.
“That too is magic. My head miraculously reattached itself when I put it back in place. See? No scar,” he said pulling his shirt down to expose his neck.
Sir Dwayne still could not believe this story but it must be true. He’d seen it happen himself. He walked over to the log and removed the Fox jersey. “I don’t want it to get bloody,” he said. He lay his head on the stump. Green Dwight, still wearing his full-face helmet, approached Sir Dwayne. He lifted that ax and held it high momentarily before bringing it down mightily but stopped short just touching Sir Dwayne’s neck. “You flinched,” he said. “You mustn’t flinch or the magic might not work.”
Green Dwight swung the ax, again stopping the blow early. “You flinched again,” he said.
Sir Dwayne was trying to steel himself, but it was not easy. “Okay,” he said. “This time I will not move a muscle.” But he did flinch once more when Green Dwight stopped short again.
“You cannot help it, can you?” Green Dwight said.
“This time,” Sir Dwight said.
Green Dwight drew raised the ax high, paused, and brought the ax down as hard as he could right across Sir Dwight’s neck. Sir Dwight’s head rolled off the stump an onto the ground, lips moving only briefly and then silence.
Finally Green Dwight removed his green helmet and revealed himself. He was the King. “You are worthless, Sir Dwayne,” he said over the headless body. “I am unable to impregnate the King’s wife. You were supposed to have sex with her. That’s why I asked you to stay and why I left every day. But you couldn’t even do that. I made gifts of the things I found, and still you did not perform. Now you’ve paid dearly for your incompetence.
He swung the ax once more and stuck it into the stump beside the body. “This ax is not magic, you fool, but the old magic woman did cast a spell on me to disguise me and keep the ax from hurting me and allowing me to reconnect my severed head.”
He put his helmet on, mounted his Ninja, and rode away to look for someone else to impregnate the King’s wife.
* This story is loosely based on the late 14th-century Middle English chivalric romance, “Sir Gwain and the Green Knight.”
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