Dick expected to die in his sleep and he didn’t mind a bit, in fact he was quite looking forward to it.
After several months of dithering, he finally had taken possession of a motorized bicycle. He had never driven a bike before. He didn’t even know if ‘drive’ was the correct verb, or if it was proper to call it a ‘bike’ at all. He wanted to call it a scooter, but that made him feel like Dennis the Menace, so he called it ‘the fucking bike’. The owner had taken him down to the beach, showed him more or less how it worked and issued dire warnings against the power of first gear, which would later be repeated by Dick’s genial neighbour. He tootled around for twenty minutes, coughed up 12,000 pesos and launched himself into Dumaguete’s rush hour, previously described in his pedestrian life as ‘feeble’. After about five minutes of unmitigated terror the bike finally arrived at the pub, with Dick still aboard. Dick slowly absorbed beer until rush hour was over and rode safely home.
Next morning he went to pick up Mitzi at her boarding house. After about a hundred metres, it became clear that anyone ‘riding pillion’ would be in mortal peril whilst his own safety would hardly be increased by such arrangements. ‘Parking’ in the deserted lane by the boarding house, Dick inadvertently selected the ‘gear of death’. The fucking bike reared up underneath him like a stallion, leapt what seemed like twenty metres into the air, and attempted forced copulation with a nearby, stationery bike. Somehow Dick remained on his feet. As he righted the fucking bike he bashed his head on an open window causing slight bleeding and considerable swelling. He wheeled silently away and sat miserably by the sewer dazed, frightened and attractive to flies.
He sent Mitzi to the office by pedicab and practiced. Later that day he assigned the caretaker’s son to teach Mitzi. Even later, Mitzi suggested he should come for a ride. Dick demurred briefly, before mounting behind her. She slipped it into the devil’s gear, it reared like a stallion and attempted copulation with a banana tree. Mitzi’s head hit him between the eyes.
Later still, after more practice, Dick felt sufficiently confident to convey Mitzi home. After they had gone about a hundred metres, the heavens tropically opened and vast torrents of water poured down on them. Bizarrely, in Dick’s opinion, Mitzi attempted to cover them with her umbrella while they sped through the storm, but only succeeded in covering his eyes. After ten minutes, Dick was so terrified he could go no further and kicked Mitzi off into knee-high floodwaters before stalling the bike…
His head throbbed in several places. He could hear the blood clot forming and knew that his life would seep away in the night and he was glad.
Sadly Dick awoke the next morning.
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