[The rest of this narrative is told exactly as I heard it, from Mr. Sheldonstein’s perspective –Jim]
I am by birth a Massachusian, what some would call a “Masshole”. I began working on bikes when I was but a wee lad, when my beard was not nearly so weird as it is today, though it has always been just as bushy. For most of my life, my tastes in bikes were a tad eccentric, but not overly so. I spent a lot of time tinkering with very old English bikes and multiple speed hubs, the sorts of bikes a man might ride while smoking a Meerschaum pipe, and saying “I say!”.
Soon my tastes swung from multiple speed bikes to fixed gear bikes. I tried anything to build the perfect bicycle, to create the ultimate machine that would give the rider the sweetest riding experience. Some of them were works of art. Others were abominations and had to be destroyed in the hot strobe of lightning and driving rain.
The one I am chasing now, the abomination that it was my unlucky lot to create, it is the worst of the worst.
Oh sure, I made some mistakes over the years, like riding flat bar road bikes in public, but this… this monster… I can not even bear to think of it! It must be caught and dismantled!
What? Oh. Well yeah I mean destroyed, of course. Mostly. Look, bike parts aren’t cheap, okay. Some of them will sell pretty well on Ebay. It has a Chris King headset for the love of god – don’t judge me!
Anyway, the night I created the evil contraption, I was supposed to have dinner with my beloved, Sherril. She’d blown me off all weekend saying she wasn’t feeling well, but wanted to meet for dinner on Sunday night. I rode all weekend alone, sorrowful and with poor pedaling technique as I thought she must certainly be intending to break up with me.
Finally the night came and she met me at my home. I couldn’t help myself. As soon as I saw her I said “I get the feeling we’re about to have a serious conversation”. We both got into her car and she sighed heavily.
“I’m just not feeling it,” she said.
My worst fears realized! She’d even remembered to bring the watch I’d left on her dresser. My world crumbled. It felt as though my heart had become a deep roiling black hole, sucking the joy and the color out of my extremities and leaving me with scant will even to stand.
With the clumsy limbs of a marionette whose strings are being pulled by a drunk balanced on top of a steam locomotive, I tumbled out of her car and lurched in the direction of my front door without a shred of joy or a beam of sunlight to warm my face.
If I had known then what I know now, I would have gone out drinking or taken up heroin, or just found a gutter to lie in, anything to keep myself from my spare parts bin and work stand! You see, it was that night that I created the worst of my abominations.
May God have mercy upon me!