Monday, December 24, 2007

jack and the magic bean bus

chapter 8 - a rose by any other name would still smell like bait

Randy didn’t wait for the shrieking and pounding on the front door to stop before yelling, “The door’s open!” In walked a shady looking character who said, “Hey Dog Bait, here’s the tubes you needed. Do you have those pedals?” “Bananas!” growled Randy as he got up from the table. “This is Jack.” Randy disappeared down the hall and they could hear the clanking of metal against metal as Randy rummaged around for pedals.

Jack must have had a confused look on his face because the person Randy had just called Bananas spoke up and said, “I’m Mike, but the guys around here call me Bananas. Most of the time Randy gets called Dog Bait or just Bait.”
“How did he get the name ‘Dog Bait’?” asked Jack, but before Bananas could answer him the front door banged open again and a whole troupe of scoundrels stomped in making the house suddenly feel much smaller and much louder. Jack didn’t recognize any of them at first, but when Bananas yelled for Scott to come over, Jack recognized the rider who had tricked him into riding the wrong direction all day today. “Hey Scott, how did Dog Bait get his nickname?” asked Bananas.

“Dog Bait was named by current Iowa City resident Bruce Reynolds back in 1975-6 while Bruce was a student and cyclist at Western Illinois University in Macomb,” explained Scott, sounding like a tour guide just warming up. “I was managing a laboratory in Macomb and training with Bruce, John Bolton, and QCBC cyclist Bill Olmstead.
Randy was only a junior at the time and tended to drift to the rear of the training peloton where the trailing farm dogs would look to cull out the weak for an easy supper. No broken bones to report but plenty of nips to the heels.”
Bananas chimed in with more introductions. “There’s Mongo and Dean Wright, but we call him Dean Wrong for reasons which will become more obvious the longer you know him. That’s Rat. Van Man will be here pretty soon. He’s coming in from Europe. Tom, Blockhead, and Paul are around here someplace. So is Bart. Sluggo is over there talking to Lowell. Watch out for Buzzsaw, a.k.a. ol’ Snaggletooth. We’ll meet up with Brendan and Bill later on. You’ll have to figure the rest out on your own.”
A moment later Randy reappeared holding two rat trap pedals. He handed them over in exchange for the new inner tubes and then tossed one to Jack, saying, “Thanks for lending me a tube to fix that flat.” Meanwhile, Bananas was spinning each pedal slowly to feel for roughness or play in the bearings. “These will work,” he said and then explained to Jack, “I tore a pedal up on my cruiser last weekend. We were on a midnight beater brigade around campus town.” “What’s a beater brigade?” asked Jack. “You’ll find out,” chuckled Bananas in a very unreassuring way. “Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some pedals to install.”
The low hum of a guitar amp rippled across the room and Jack turned to see Sluggo and Dog Bait plugging in. They only got about half way through tuning up before launching into some chords that were familiar to Jack. The tune sounded something like “Burning Ring of Fire” by Johnny Cash, except that the words were all jumbled up and changed. Everyone knew the chorus and sang, “I fell in with a burning ring of liars…”
The song seemed to fit because most of the bits and pieces of conversation Jack was hearing around the room couldn’t possibly be true. The party was gradually shifting up through the gears as it gained speed, helped along by the ever increasing ratio of empty beer cans to fireworks.
Someone started calling for “The Blaster” and Tom disappeared down the same hallway Dog Bait had used earlier. He came back with a big shotgun and a box of shells and went out onto the front porch. Jack didn’t know much about guns, but this one looked more like an old fashioned cannon. BOOOM! The gun drove Tom back through the front door and echoed like thunder across the field on the other side of the street. A few seconds later Jack heard the sound of a huge tree limb crashing to the ground.
This house wasn’t quite like the orphanage where Jack had lived up until last night. It was more like a detention center for juvenile delinquents.
The shotgun blast acted as a signal calling everyone out of the house like Keystone Cops while they scrambled for battered bicycles scattered all over the front lawn. Within seconds Jack was on his own bicycle again, swept up in the group, pedaling furiously up the big hill at the end of Miller Avenue and disappearing into the night.
to be continued...
[a serial by little orphan dbax]


Z said...


I think that you either missed a closing tag for the text size or didn't get one back in. The text is about a font size of unreadable.


the mostly reverend said...

i don't know what you mean. it looks fine via aol, and i opened it via yahoo, and it still looked fine.
see if you can capture the page, and let me have a look.
by the way, thanks for the mule discs.