Saturday, December 15, 2007

jack and the magic bean bus

chapter 5 -- the unexpected act of kindness

Jack leafed through the classified ads of the Des Moines Register while the sugar from the Coke and the Pop Tart worked their magic and helped him recover. The wandering minstrel named G-Pickle had showed up at just the right time, singing a strange song about a secret note and a chase. But then he had disappeared just as mysteriously, leaving behind a copy of the Des Moines Register.
As a matter of fact, Jack was being chased. At this very moment, nearly 70 miles behind him, two raccoons were running along the roads Jack had ridden earlier this morning, following the scent of raccoon pee on Jack’s rear wheel. There were three raccoons at first, but a UPS truck had hit one of them. So it goes.
As Jack replayed the words of G-Pickle’s song, it occurred to him that there might indeed be a secret note for him somewhere in the paper. It even made sense that if there was a note it would be in the classified section of the paper, since anyone could place and ad there. But as Jack scanned the classifieds he saw thousands and thousands of ads, in column after column, with most of them in very tiny print. It would take the rest of the day to look through them all.
Maybe the message was in one of the large adds with bold print so that Jack would be sure to find it. No, thought Jack. That would also make it easier for anyone chasing him to find the secret message. It would be a small ad and it would blend in with all the rest.
Jack tried to picture what the ad would say. Maybe he didn’t need to read it. Maybe he could just guess what Sister Kim would be trying to tell him without finding the ad. “He’d probably go off on some tangent about an old Volkswagen or something anyway,” said Jack out loud. “Wait a minute!”

Jack quickly leafed through the pages to the used car listings and then found the oldest cars in the list. Sure enough, there was a small ad for a 1962 VW Beetle Cabriolet convertible, coffee bean colored interior. Jack missing but runs good. Yes, that was definitely a signal from Sister Kim. The contact information didn’t refer to Jack’s home at the orphanage but indicated an address in Iowa City. Jack tore the little ad out of the paper and tucked it neatly in the now empty Pop Tart wrapper to keep it from getting sweaty once he started riding again.
“What now?” thought Jack. Thanks to Scott Dickson, Jack had spent hours riding east instead of west, and he was too far from the orphanage to make it home by nightfall. His only option right now was to track down the address in Iowa City. It was still overcast, but a tail wind was picking up from behind Jack as he set off again. Jack felt a lot better, and the miles started passing by more easily now that he was riding at his own pace.
Suddenly a lone cyclist blasted past him riding about twice as fast as Jack was. The rider was in a low tuck and turning a huge gear as he disappeared up the road. Then a group of four other riders shot past Jack going just as fast, and Jack recognized Scott Dickson among them. “This must be the group ride Scott wanted,” muttered Jack as another two dozen riders streamed past him.

Jack picked up the pace so that he could jump in with the next bunch of riders that came by. Within a minute, another group of five riders closed in and Jack quickly jumped on to the back of the group. After a few minutes of sitting in, one of the other riders looked back at Jack and in a guttural growl yelled, “Hey, butt gunner. What’s the big idea? Get up there and pull.” Jack dutifully did a short turn at the front just as the group made a left turn up a sharp hill toward a town called Cosgrove.
It was too much. Jack had already put in over one hundred miles today, and he couldn’t match the pace. Two hills later, Jack found one of the riders from his group along the side of the road fixing a flat.
It should be noted that this rider was trying to fix a flat, because that is all you can do when your spare tube has a hole in it as well. It should also be noted that this was the very same rider who had ordered Jack to the front just before the first hill. Maybe it was the influence of G-Pickle, who had just acted as a good Samaritan by helping Jack earlier, but Jack surprised himself by pulling over and handing the other rider his spare.


to be continued...
[a serial by little orphan dbax]


Buckshot77 said...

Kim, nice way to steal bandwidth! Guess you need to copy the photo and then post it...


mos rev [not his real name] said...

funny thing is that the preceeding photo is from the same site!

i am unable to view this warning from my aol browser, and didn't know about it until i was alerted by a reader--thanks, rp.

but via yahoo, i'm a crook!

breakin' the law! breakin' the law!

Anonymous said...

Hmmm... Coffee interior VW? I would need the distance between the towers to make an exact determination of the year but I would guess 1961.

Hope you didn't send Jack to my place, sista!


Ethan Smith said...

Here you can sell and buy both new and used products.
This website is perfect for selling just about anything at all.
More at free classifieds ads sites