Friday, April 23, 2004

The Bicycle Game Is Over Day!

Mike's eyes barely flutter open when the man with slick black hair by his bed starts talking.

"So here's the deal. What went down between you two went down, there's no changing that. But Katie's been through a lot this year. Her brother's suicide fucked her way the hell up and she doesn't really do anything so much as the things she does just kind of happen. Like you two. It just kind of happened. But you shouldn't think it was because of some insatiable need for you or anything. You might as well have been fucking a chick in a coma. What was it like to be in a coma by the way?"

The walls are white. There's a window looking out at a beige parking structure. And there's a curtain parted halfway that separates Mike from someone in a hospital bed. A bed just like the one Mike is in. Mike's in a hospital. The guy with the slick black hair is…


"Did you dream? Do you remember?"

Mike remembers what he thinks was yesterday. He remembers asking his Mom to get three hundred dollars out of Frank. He asked her face to face. She never sees his face anymore, she feels too guilty. When she sees it, she gives him whatever he asks for.

He remembers saying "Fast" to the guy in the bike shop who muttered "Somethin' to prove." He remembers riding up next to Katie at the intersection of 19th and Broadway and shouting "Race ya."

He tries to remember Katie's face. He knows he touched her hips and kissed her breasts, but he can't place them right now. He knows that sweaty strands of her hair would fly out wild when she'd pull ahead of him. He remembers gloating a smile at her when he passed, but all he can remember of her face is the horrible uncertainty he saw in her eyes. He remembers two cars. One blue, the other without color.


"Here's the deal. She's not visiting you. She called me up screaming about comas and cheating and bike rides. Screaming that she didn't know what she was doing anymore. I told her I'd take care of her, take care of everything. So here I am, taking care of everything. That's what me visiting you is about. In her stead. Katie's not coming. She's coming with me."

Mike remembers Mary. She drove him to the airport. They'd spent the night together the night before. Not fucking, just staying up and saying goodbye to each other as husband and wife. Katie's gone from his head like she was never there. When he remembers the bike rides, in his head he keeps putting Mary on the bike.

"You think we're fucked right? She cheated on me and now we're gonna go and move across the country together. Fucked right? But like I said, she doesn't know what she's doing since her brother died. Maybe she's hanging on to me because of that. Maybe I'm just giving her a pass because I don't want her to have to lose nothing else. Whatever, we're staying together. We're leaving."

Mike says, "You're a musician?"

Jeff is surprised. He brightens a little. "I'm a guitarist, but I'm mostly playing keyboards lately. My friend's a junior record executive. He gets me a lot of session work. Do you play?"

Mike shakes his head. Says, "Katie."

Jeff turns into a tough guy a little. "Look pal. It's over. She's not gonna come and visit. She's way too fucked up over this. She thinks she got you killed. So I'm gonna go home and tell her you're alive and all's well and then I'm gonna get her the hell outta this town."

Mike says, "Okay." He wants Jeff to go.

Jeff waits for more, then stands up. "So, okay man. Katie's sorry about all this. But like I said, she's not really doing what she's doing right now. It's all just happening."

Jeff steps from foot to foot for a second before offering one more, "Okay man." He almost offers a handshake to Mike's broken arm before he hastens out of the room.

Mike keeps his eyes open and on the ceiling. He wants to remember all this. Everything is still. He's in a body cast, locked still. He has no choice but to simply lie there while absolutely nothing happens.

Happy The Bicycle Game Is Over Day!