Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Microstory 1702: Air Pump

I cannot find my bicycle pump. My Aunt Leah is going to kill me if I’m late, but that’s not the worst part. She bought me all this nice equipment so I could go green, and sell my car for some extra cash. If I don’t show up to her office with the bike, it’s going to break her heart. It doesn’t matter that the flat tire isn’t my fault, or that her son has been staying with me for the last couple weeks, and he keeps moving my crap around. She can’t even be allowed to see a hint of the possibility that I ever go anywhere without it. Of course, I take public transportation all the time. The movie theatre is too far away, and I like to buy all of the groceries I’ll need for a month. She cannot know this. She is too unreasonable and frantic about everything that happens to her. The more time I spend looking for the air pump, the less time I have to resort to the alternative solution. And I do have another solution. It’s just not particularly ethical, and could come back to bite me in the ass later. It’s better than having Aunt Leah ice me out. She controls a lot about the family, and even though she won’t have much inheritance to give me when she croaks, she holds a lot of sway with the grandparents. That’s it, it’s already taken me too long. I’m going to have to do the other thing. My neighbor isn’t going to like it, but I can deal with her later, and she can’t threaten me with hundreds of thousands of dollars. Yes, my family is quite rich. I’m not, but they are, and if I wanna become like them when I grow up, I have to play ball. I may sound selfish or materialistic, but I hate working, and I don’t have very many marketable skills. I was made for the simple life.

Fortunately, my neighbor gave me her garage code in case of emergencies, or when she gets packages during her time away. Also fortunately, she has a very similar bike. It’s not exactly the same, but I’ve gotten quite good at amateur bike repair, so I should be able to make it work. I think I can do it. I enter the code, and slip under the door before it’s all the way open, as if my other neighbors somehow won’t notice if I’m quick enough. I turn her bike over, and start to remove the wheel carefully, but as quickly as possible. It’s off in minutes, and I’m halfway there. Well...I’m halfway there to being halfway there. I close her garage behind me, and walk back over to mine. I still have to take my bad wheel off so I can replace it, but that goes a lot faster, because I’m so much more familiar with it. I get the new wheel on, and I’m surprised at how nicely it fits. Hmm. It almost looks like it actually belongs. An enthusiast could tell the difference, but it should pass Leah’s inspection. After all, she has no reason to believe I had to cannibalize someone else’s property to get it in working order. She might not even see it in the bike rack from her third story office. This was always a precaution. I take a few laps around my driveway, just to make sure, but I can’t waste too much time on it, because now I’m really running late. I can still make it, but I’m going to have to haul ass. I close my own garage, and race out into the street. There’s a lot more traffic than I would like, and drivers are getting pissy with me, but they can suck it. I’m more important to them in this moment; not in general, but right now. They would understand if they knew what’s at stake. Finally the streets clear up. I’m also at the top of the hill, so if I just let it ride without being careful, I can make up time. I pedal as hard as I can to give myself even more of an edge. I smile as I check my watch. Yeah, I’m gonna make it. Except I don’t. A bus makes a right turn in front of me, and I’m moving too fast to brake. I die instantly.

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