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Thread: kid+bike story...

  1. #1
    Elite Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Ottawa, Ontario

    kid+bike story...

    Not a "true" story; made it up...

    I'm in Toronto. Business trip. 3 days, Wednesday to Friday. Thursday
    afternoon is free, so I decide to go for a walk. Up Sheppard Avenue.
    As I hurry across an intersection (the sign says 'don't walk', so I
    run), I notice half way up the next block this old rusty 'balloon
    tire' bicycle, upside down on the sidewalk, on its seat and
    handlebars. You know, one of them old bikes with no gears, sheer leg
    power, and you brake by pedalling in reverse, and if that don't work,
    you stick your foot on top of the front tire, right there where the
    crossbar joins the front frame.

    Bent over the bike is this kid, trying to slip the chain back on. As I
    get there, he's finally got the greasy chain in place and he's attempting
    to flip the clanky bike back on its wheels. I notice quite a few
    spokes missing, also the left pedal's flat rubber portion is missing.

    I help him out. He says "thanks a lot". He's got a smear of black grease
    on his left cheek. Both index fingers and both thumbs are pitch black
    with yucky old grease. He cleans up the best he can with an old red
    kerchief full of white polka-dots, which he half-slips back in his
    right rear pocket.

    He's 10 or 11, kinda skinny, kinda all nerves. Checkered bermudas that
    drop a good 4 inches below his kneecaps, beat-up Addidas runners with no
    socks, a drooping shapeless Toronto Blue Jays sweater cut off at the
    elbows: number 17.

    A bunch of rebellious hair sticks out the top rear of his head, like an
    upside down comma. He's got oversize eyes, quite runny. In each corner
    is a good chunk of dried-up yellowish stuff, I think you call that
    mucus, and I get this urge to scrape it off with my right index finger.

    He grabs the handlebars, right foot on right pedal, gets rolling by
    skip-pushing with his left foot, picks up momentum, swings his left
    leg over the seat, lands on the hard seat, grimaces, momentarily loses
    control, heads for a light post, jerks the other way, nearly falls,
    finally gets rolling okay, a loud 'clunk' each time the left pedal
    comes around and scrapes the left frame-pipe.

    After some 50 'clunks', the chain slips off again. The kid appears to
    give up, walks alongside his bike for a few yards. About half-way down
    the next block, he stops, veers right, and stands the bike against an
    iron fence attached to a large building. He then enters that building.
    Other people are also entering. Curiosity takes over: I go in too.

    Wow! I walk right into a police auction. Just unbelievable all the
    stuff being auctioned off: cameras, TV sets, radios, bicycles,
    stereos....the audience numbers some 150. The auctioneer is a jovial
    fat policeman with permanent sweat beads between nose and upper lip.

    All around Fat Cop chairs are set up in circular rows. The kid is in
    the front row, elbows on knees, chin in hands. I see a radio go for 22
    bucks, then a bicycle is rolled into the selling circle. Fat Cop yells
    "Okaaaay... whooza gonna start this off?" The kid says "five dollars
    and fifty cents."

    I got five-fifty, who'll gimme ten...ten, I got ten, who'll gimme
    fifteen...and so on until the bike goes for fifty bucks. For the next
    hour or so, bikes come up now and then. Each time, the kid opens the
    bid with "five dollars and fifty cents." But the bikes keep going out
    anywhere from thirty to sixty bucks.

    Somehow, I can't leave. Seems that everyone is gradually becoming aware
    of something. Fat Cop seems to lose most of his enthusiasm during bicycle
    bidding. You can feel an uncomfortable hush following the kid's bids.
    This is hard to explain, but you can sense that the audience kinda
    draws slowly together, you can see a few understanding glances being
    exchanged between strangers.

    A 10 minute break is announced. Somebody wheels in one of them little
    portable stands: "hot dog + coke = a buck". The kid follows with his
    eyes, half gets up, decides to stay in his chair. A couple of minutes
    later, an elderly man steps up to the kid, gives him a dog and a coke.
    Quite a few in the audience see this and smile.

    The auction resumes. Same story: the kid bids with no luck. More and
    more people are realizing what's going on. Again I'm feeling something
    strange. It's as if everybody is helplessly thinking the same thing...
    like, I feel closer to the guy on my left and the housewife on my right.

    The auction is close to ending.There's only a radio and a beautiful red
    shiny racer left. The radio goes: 17 bucks. Fat Cop kinda yells "Okaaay
    folks, last sale, how much for this red racer?", then looks helplessly
    at the kid. Again, the kid says "five dollars and fifty cents". But
    you can tell he knows there's no chance. He kinda gets ready to leave.
    Fat Cop smiles sadly at him, and then continues "I got five-fifty,
    who'll gimme ten..."

    And then a wonderful magic moment happens.

    From the third row, behind Fat Cop, directly across from where I'm
    sitting, the elderly man that gave the kid the dog and coke stands up,
    waves his arms in a criss-cross pattern, gives the signal: right index
    across two lips. You can feel the quiet power of the transmission of
    the message: every face blanks in conspiracy. Complete silence. All
    eyes on Fat Cop.

    Fat Cop quickly understands. And he grins widely at everyone as he
    performs an intentionally slow rotation pleading for bids, then stops
    seriously and faces the kid, swings his left arm in an awkward clockwise
    circular motion ending up with his left index pointed right at the
    kid, and yells in a thunderous rasp: "Sold! Five-fifty! To the boy in
    the bermudas and the Leafs sweater!" Seems to me his voice kinda
    chokes between "boy" and "bermudas".

    Everyone is applauding. The kid turns over a rumpled greasy five dollar
    bill plus two quarters at the pay-up desk. Fat Cop walks over and
    ceremoniously hands over the bike. The grateful smile on the kid's
    face is something else. The applauding erupts again. You can feel many
    lumps forming in many throats.

    Conversations erupt all over. It seems that everyone knows everyone.

    Denis Borris.
    I'm just an imagination of your figment !

  2. #2
    Elite Member mmm4444bot's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Quote Originally Posted by Denis View Post
    It seems that everyone knows everyone.
    That's because everybody went across the street, to Cheers!
    "English is the most ambiguous language in the world." ~ Yours Truly, 1969

  3. #3
    Elite Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Ottawa, Ontario
    Quote Originally Posted by mmm4444bot View Post
    That's because everybody went across the street, to Cheers!
    Only the men: place across street = All Off Club
    I'm just an imagination of your figment !


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