The Bicycle Ride

Contributor: John Laneri

- -
It was another lazy summer day when I started toward Aunt Jillie’s Boarding House, a place most Texans refer to as the finest establishment in Neverton, a small community along the cattle trail to Fort Worth.

As I neared her front gate, I noticed a bicycle parked against a picket fence. Curious, I stopped to check it out.

“Why Sheriff Carson, you look like a young boy admiring a new toy.”

Turning about, I saw Jillie coming my way, her red hair glowing in the sunlight. She was undoubtedly the most beautiful woman I had ever known. I'd probably loved her since the first day we met some twenty years ago.

“I couldn’t resist the opportunity to look at a bicycle.”

She eased beside me and took my arm. “Then, take your time. We can look together.”

“These contraptions are interesting. I've been wanting to see how one works.”

She smiled easily, her voice purring like a kitten. “Is that all you wanted?”

Clearing my throat, I said, “ What I really wanted was some of your lemonade.”

She smiled, her green eyes sparkling playfully. “Some fellow drank all of the lemonade… said he pedaled that thing from Fort Worth.”

“But, that’s over fifty miles along wagon ruts and cow trails.”

“Claims he was thirsty.”

“What’s he doin’ now?”

She chuckled, her green eyes smiling with delight. “He’s splashing in my bathtub with one of the girls.”

I took a deep breath. “That’s mighty unsociable. I’ve spent most of my day thinkin’ about crawling into that tub with a glass of lemonade in one hand and you in the other.”

“We can splash together later,” she replied. “But that fellow represents money in my pocket.”

I had to appreciate her point of view, so I returned my attention to the bicycle and realized that I was admiring a world renowned, Saint Louis Flier.

I pulled it away from the fence. “Did you know this is one of the finest bicycles ever built? I read about it in a magazine.”

Jillie moved closer and ran a hand along the bars. ““This thing looks like a fun way to go places.”

I swung a leg over the seat and bounced up and down, my excitement growing. “Get on top. We’ll see if bicycle riding is worth the pedaling effort.”

She lifted her dress above her knees and settled on the handlebars. And, before long, we were moving toward the road, feeling a breeze blow in our faces.

Once at a comfortable speed, she glanced over her shoulder. “Where’re we going, Honey?”

“I was thinkin’ of peddlin’ in the direction of the river. It’s mostly downhill.”

I rumbled over a series of wagon ruts, feeling the bicycle jostle about. But, once it settled down, I increased my speed.

“Don’t go too fast,” she said, tugging her dress higher. “I don’t want a broken leg for having fun.”

“You needn’t worry. Bicycle riding is easier than I figured.”

Soon, my boots were pumping furiously – moving us from one side of the road to the other. At the bottom of the hill, we started into the woods, bouncing along a narrow footpath that followed the river.

She glanced at me, concerned. “I hope you know how to control this thing. We’re going too fast.”

I brushed her hair from my face and continued on, pushing the bicycle for all it was worth. “Keep your eyes on the trail and, tell me what you see. I know what I’m doing.”

She pointed to the side, her finger moving wildly. “Follow that path to the right. It goes away from the river.”

“I’m trying, but this thing won’t turn.”

“Then you need to stop.”

“Stop…how do I stop?”

Moments later, I was sitting in water up to my neck, spittin’ out a nasty mouthful of river and looking around for my hat. That’s when, I noticed Jillie glaring in my direction.

“One thing for sure,” she said, as she came to her feet and took a step. “You’ve ruined a perfectly good dress.” She took another step and slipped, her head plunging below the water. Struggling, she tried to stand. “And, you certainly don’t know how to entertain a lady. My hair is ruined too.”

Feeling responsible, I went to her, took her in my arms and carried her to shore, feeling my boots slog through the water. “Accidents happen, but we did get our splash together.”

I tried a smile, hoping to calm her mood.

She ignored it and looked away. “For your information, falling into the river is not the same as splashing in my bathtub. Don’t you know anything?”

“Probably not,” I said, as I eased her to the ground in the tall grass and settled nearby unsure of what to say.

For some time, I left her alone and simply reclined in the weeds, feeling the warmth of the sun cover me like a friend. By then, I was laughing to myself and enjoying the moment.

Finally, I turned to her. ”I do know one thing.”

“And what's that?” she asked, her voice on edge.

“I know you, and that’s plenty important.”

She remained quiet for some time. Then, she turned to me. “You always say the sweetest things. That's why I love you so much.”

“When I'm with you, I always speak from the heart.”

She rolled beside me and settled her head against my chest, her eyes going to mine. “Then, snuggle closer and kiss me like you mean it.”

- - -
John's writing focuses on short stories and flash. Other publications to his credit have appeared in several professional journals as well as a number of internet sites and short story periodicals.
Read more »
These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • Sphinn
  • Facebook
  • Mixx
  • Google
  • Furl
  • Reddit
  • Spurl
  • StumbleUpon
  • Technorati

Help keep Linguistic Erosion alive! Visit our sponsors! :)- - -