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by LaVa Payne

I do tire of all the whispers around the rim. The valve of all this activity never seemed to enter the spoken world, at least it was not at the hub of it anyway.

* * *

“I have my suspicions about this old thing.” He scratched a dried booger out of his long gray mustache. It had undoubtedly been there resting along the silvery threads for as long as he had been awake that morning.

I was soft-spoken and aware, but only minutely. “Cold season is coming upon us” — I rubbed underneath my nose — “and I would really like to have this rusty, old thing.”

“I have had that there piece in my shop for about three years now, and I must say it gets more intriguing by the day.” Ramsey tugged at the chin hairs dangling like moss. “With this here item, I don’t know if I can sell it.”

“Whatever the price, I want it.” There was nothing to be gained with a haggling old man.

“It’s not price that I am concerned with. You see, it has secrets, it does things, and it laughs when you are most in danger.”

Now either one of us could have laughed at this juncture, but it was not necessary because from the smallest area down close to the floor, I could hear the whispers. They weren’t very loud, but they were audible.

Me and him both stared at each other, and then at it.

But all things must begin somewhere, mustn’t they?

“You can have it.” His grubby fingers protruded a little bit as they slowly moved back and forth across each other.

Forking my way along a short piece, I had to brake before I got to the point where I could absorb the shock of it all. I know, I know, shock is better left for surprise, but listening to the hub screeching about giving it away, I knew that I could not.

“Here keep all of it, I am sure it will come in handy.” The money was just paper I could spare, but the item was rare and perhaps the only one of its kind. It was more valuable than anything else I owned.

“Remember,” the old man paused, “it has secrets, old ones, too. Some are rusty and some are true.”

“I amused myself with that very idea, old man.” But as I pushed it out the door, I had second thoughts. Dangerous thoughts occurred to me.

Instead, I decided to get a handle on myself, a grip you might say really. Though, I was not sure. I could see the seat I wanted and would never think of framing another to get it, not like unlike any given political race. Of course, I was better than all of that.

But as we all know too well, like anything else, such high aspirations must begin at the grass-root of it all. Maybe a country road, maybe a gravel road, but there is always a surface to ride upon before reaching the apex.

There has to be a certain level attained, a post or a position high enough to saddle all the workings that would come after.

Yes, it was absolutely necessary to connect all wheels of progress together before attaching the chain to the cog. Otherwise how can one pedal past all the idiosyncrasies of life if not on a bike?

* * *

It is where it has been for the last ten years: parked beneath the oil can, beside the weed eater, and underneath the workbench that sees no work.

I am growing suspicious of it. It gathers things, and in between the spokes and inside its chain I know those items still exist. I just can’t see them anymore.

The amethyst earrings are hidden inside the rollers. But I can’t really see them for the outer plates on the chain. I heard whispers coming from it.

“We need the amethyst to keep us warm!”

It was not a whisper when I got closer to listen to the bicycle chain. It sounded like shouting. I felt it only a little bit inside my ear. It tickled.

* * *

Ten years have passed, and right beside the old, rusty bicycle there is a slightly more modern one. It does the whispering now.

But no one has listened. At least not yet.

Copyright © 2012 by LaVa Payne

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