RE: The Present.

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Jonah wanted nothing more than a brand new bicycle for his birthday. Other kids wanted bigger, shinier things that cost more money or made noise or had sharp edges and came with lots of pieces. Jonah could only see one thing when he closed his eyes before bed: chrome spokes, a red fender, a black leather seat. He did not want a basket, like his sister Jainie had on her pink bicycle: his reasoning for this was that men like him had important, spur-of-the-moment places to be and necessary, gripping things to do. A basket implied forethought and planning, and he was too much of a maverick for that. Jonah passed the bicycle shop every day on his way home from school, and the owner had taken to shooing him away with a rolled-up newspaper, as though he was a wayward dog looking for scraps. The man was certain the child must be a hooligan looking to knock over his precious line of bikes out front or jam quarters into the bubblegum machine, or otherwise start a ruckus. It was bad for business, always having the boy outside, sighing and staring wistfully through the glass, two sad handprints (and occasionally a nose print) there on the window. So, Jonah had started to sit across the street and stare wistfully, but it wasn't the same. On the day before his birthday, the bike disappeared from the window. Jonah felt like a rocket ready to go off, could hardly contain himself, wanted to burst all night long. He went to bed that night with a knowing grin, his eyes open and staring, the images of his bicycle, red fenders gleaming, raced across the ceiling along with the shadows cast by the streetlights outside. Morning came. Jonah raced downstairs in his flannel pajamas, sure, absolutely sure, that his bicycle would be waiting for him. He got a chemistry set in a red bow. Jimmy Dolan, two doors down, with the dog that always chased Jonah and the smarmy smile, got the red bike. Jonah used his chemistry set to melt the tires. It was almost as good.

Created: Aug 15, 2012

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