Perhaps I was in a daze. Perhaps I’d taken a knock on the head when I fell, but when I looked upon the monstrous bicycle lying propped in the gutter, there was not a mark upon it despite having just been hit hard enough to toss me, the rider, off of it into the street and send it prancing erratically toward the gutter like a gazelle with its legs taped together. I stared at it, then looked into the face of the man who’d been driving the cab that struck me. He was attempting to get my attention to ask if I was ok, but looked as though he were about to give up asking and just drive off. I was, after all, standing up and not howling or bleeding.
“I’m fine.” I said, and he was back in his cab and away seemingly before the words had had a chance to reach his stubbled cheek.
After he’d gone, I walked slowly toward the two wheeled monster that it was my unlucky lot to bring to life. I couldn’t believe my eyes, as I would have sworn that I’d just seen its frame in a twisted heap moments before. Yet it was as I was: unharmed.
I picked it up but did not ride it. I’d had enough of the damned evil thing and only wanted to rest my head and take a break from life for a few hours. I decided to start the process of dismantling it, intending to finish on the day after, but since the tires were wet I didn’t want to roll it though my house to my workshop. I decided to just go in, fetch a few tools, dismantle the bike partially on my front stairs, then bring the wheels and frame inside so I could more easily keep dirt and rainwater off my rugs.
I went inside to grab my T-handle allen wrenches, then realized I already had my 4/5/6mm Y wrench in my pocket from adjusting the seatpost collar before I rode and the stem just after my first crash. I walked back outside and the monster had fled.
Yes, I say “fled” because though it may have been stolen, I say emphatically to you now that the damned thing has a will of its own. Frantic, I searched the alleyways and streets around my home, running through rain puddles and peeking behind trash bins, but there was nothing to be found. Blast!
My greatest fear is that some unsuspecting child has ended up atop the monster and will suffer grave injury thanks to my carelessness in creating it to begin with. I cannot abide this thought!
I vowed that night to find the monster, and I have been searching for it ever since. I have tracked it across Zimbabwe, Through Mozambique, and now here to Tanzania as you find me today. I must find it before it hurts someone!
[End of Sheldonstein’s portion of the tale –Jim]