Half-sunk in a muddy puddle, broken and jumbled, the boy’s bicycle was found in the park nearly a month after it was reported stolen. The chain missing, a wheel gnarled to the right, and the pegs nowhere to be found. The trusty steed had once shined hot-rod red, but now sat stained with mud and rust.
“We can fix it, right?” the boy asked. His father remained silent, throwing the jumbled metal into the bed of the pickup; to the boy, a loved one’s corpse tossed in the rain. The boy whimpered in the truck. “Why did someone do that to my bike?”
“People do wrong things to others,” his father said. “Most often, it don’t make sense as to why they did it. The only thing you know is that pain in your chest.” The boy didn’t understand. He turned his head toward the window, watching the water drops slide down the glass.
Now, in the garage, the boy gazed at the bike, or what was left of it. He thought of burnt debris from a destroyed airliner. His father stood behind him. “I’ll make us some supper. It’s time you start saving for a car soon. Aren’t you a bit old for that thing, son?”
The boy stood up and faced his father. He hesitated, looked at the old man, and finally said, “Yeah, Dad. It’s just an old bike.”
Joseph Stearman is a writer who’s previously been published in SPANK the CARP and Incite. Originally from Washington D.C., he now teaches English in Shanghai. To keep up with Joe, follow him on Instagram: jstears13.