Avery found himself looking toward the garage standing just outside the back door of his home. He wanted to look at his brother Rick’s new birthday bike again – an Airwings Kool Kats Lemon Twist. He liked saying that, “Kool Kats Lemon Twist!” That’s what it said on the chain guard – and it looked every bit its name.
Avery couldn’t seem to admire it enough. Even sitting still it seemed to be moving. Tall ‘ape bar’ handle bars with green grips and streamers flowing out of them; front and rear hand-brakes and a three-speed shifter on the lime yellow-colored frame; a thick drag tire in back, a smaller diameter tire in front – just like a dragster; a lime green glittered banana seat; a tall sissy bar with a large red reflector at its apex. Rick always had the cooler bikes, Avery thought.
“Don’t get on it” Rick would tell him, “You’re too small.”
“He’s almost fourteen, too old for bikes” Avery mused as he felt himself covet the new obsession. He never liked his own bikes; they were too kid-like, not cool like this one, the “K2LT”, Avery began calling it, a pet name for this attractive distraction that he could not have. Not yet. But he could not wait.
It nearly fell away from his timid grip when he raised the kick stand. ‘You’re too small!’ he admonished himself, but proceeded with this forbidden endeavor anyway. As he moved it out of the garage the clicking of the pawls served as more of a reminder that this was a bigger boy’s bike, but he loved that sound too, not willing to wait until Kay two El Tee could really be his.
Avery gave a running mount and almost immediately regretted it, but found he was rolling too fast to dismount. Not accustomed to hand-brakes Avery back peddled only to discover to his horror the K2LT had no foot brake. Fear gripped him as the rush of wind in his ears grew louder as his speed increased. His fear grew to wide-eyed, jaw-clenching terror as he tried desperately to control this beautiful machine with his little arms fully extended. Each little bump and ripple in the asphalt road sent waves of panic through his mind as he recalled Evil Knievel’s failed jump as Caesar’s Palace just two years before. His thin arms are now excruciating at the strain of keeping this rolling sculpture under control. He was determined to protect his potential heirloom and keep himself intact as well.
Avery saw the road level out at the bottom of the hill another 40 yards ahead. But he denied himself any feelings of relief. Avery was a realist. He waited for it instead to come to him organically.
“Don’t get on it, you’re too small.” Avery replayed his brother’s warning in his mind over and over.
Finally he glided into the level base of the hill and tauntingly, the bike slowed as quickly as it sped coming down. Avery reached with his left hand to clamp down on the hand brake. He soon realized his mistake as the front wheel locked and he began to lose control. He immediately released it. The rolling green flash came to a stop more under the influence of gravity than anything else. That self-same gravity, after bringing both Avery and bike to a stand still, sent them tipping over sideways to the left. Pissed that the punishing Fates were not quite done with him – and recalling his brother’s implied threat – Avery refused to lay the bike down and maintained his and its upright position. He held this awkward and precarious posture of half-on, half-off the bike until he was sure of his footing. He then slid his right leg off the banana seat and had both feet planted on the road. He felt a warm flush wash over his face and neck. Relief came to him and presence of mind returned.
He stood there a moment to catch his breath and revel in the moment before walking the lime-green steel machine to its parking spot in the garage back home. He lowered the kickstand then backed away a few steps as the rush of the transitory event subsided. He looked over at his own burnt-orange colored, no frills, Schwinn cruiser with a new appreciation.
At least that bike had a foot brake, which was normal to him. “Why would it be any other way?” he wondered.
At least that little cruiser was way easy to manage — and didn’t have multiple gears either. “Why would a kid want to do that anyway — shift gears? And at least it’s my size. I’m not too small for it.”
An abrupt crash startled Avery out of his thoughtful meanderings. The Airwings Kool Kats Lemon Twist had fallen over onto the lawn mower.
“Oh, shit!” Avery whispered to himself involuntarily. He rushed to prop it back up onto its kickstand, rolling it to a more surer angle of ground. He tested its stability rocking it back and forth and it seemed solidly resting now.
Avery hopped on his own Schwinn cruiser and peddled down the driveway and on down the road following the same path as he did on his brother’s bike. He had not noticed that the large red reflector at the apex of the tall sissy bar of the Kool Kats had cracked.