Buying a Bicycle

The Shovel and Custard is not our usual kind of drinking house, it had a thirty yard long bar, plastic tables and a Juke box. These are not the sort of things to endear me and Joe to any place.

We had been forced into the establishment because we were sheltering from the rain. We had three quarters of an hour to wait before the last bus home and this was the only pub anywhere near the buss stop. Outside it was cold, wet and windy, needless to say the bus stop had no shelter.

I sat on a red plastic covered bench slowly drinking half a pint of a thin bubbly liquid that this establishment seemed to pass off as beer. Joe sat opposite struggling to open a particularly stubborn bag of crisps. It had been one of those not very good days and conversation was a little thin.

" You know what we really need." said Joe at length.

" A large stick of dynamite by the looks of the trouble you're having trying to open

that bag." I suggested.

" Bicycles." said Joe.

Suddenly the bag gave way spilling half its contents over Joes lap.

" There's no need to swear." I said.

" I wasn't swearing." Joe muttered.

" Sounded like it to me." I suggested.

" I said bicycles that's not swearing." said Joe.

" Bicycles is not a word one says lightly." I sipped the tasteless liquid in my glass.

" I wasn't swearing I meant we needed some." said Joe.

" Some what." I said.

" Bicycles." said Joe. " You know a two wheeled things with handlebars."

" Bicycles." I mused softly.

The idea of needing a bicycle hung in the credibility gap between us for a good while before drifting very slowly across the table and hitting me three quarters of an inch above the left eye. Even then it took some time to sink in. Bicycles I mused slowly to myself, I looked at Joe. Joe grinned and nodded.

I had a feeling strange feeling that we should not be bandying the word bicycle about so freely in a public place like this, after all someone might actually here us. I looked around and realised there was not much chance of that, there were only three other people in the room and they were at the far end of the thirty yard bar. Two boys and a girl and the two boys were more interested in the girl than our casual use of the word bicycle.

My blank expression when I looked back at Joe prompted him into explaining that if we had bicycles we would not have to hang about in awful places like this, worrying about when the last bus was running or whether the train was going to be late. We could go where we wanted when we wanted.

If my brain had been working I would not have said what I did. I was tired, it had been a long day it, just came out.

" We've got a car."

Short Story Series - Abridged from the book - The Tatty Nickers Tony on the Moon