frank – 1

by underswansea

Frank had his bike stolen twice. The first time it could have been anyone. He found it over the bank, beside the tracks about a mile from his house. It was lying abandoned in the tall grass; handlebars turned awkward, no worse for wear. Frank thought, maybe somebody just got tired of walking and needed a lift. Once they got as far as the tracks they left the bike and hopped a train. Frank wondered where they were heading. He was glad his bike had aided them on their journey.

He rode his bike along the tracks and pushed it up the hill. After the first theft he didn’t consider locking up his bike. The only guys he knew who locked up their bikes were boys with nice bikes that never that never rode them.

Frank couldn’t imagine carrying a key it would be lost before he knew it. A combination was no good. The teacher told him, in front of the class, he was no good with numbers, or much else. He didn’t care about numbers. It was the ‘much else’ that bothered him. It also bothered him that Margie laughed when the teacher said it.

Margie and Frank had been in the same class for five years. At the start of this year Frank noticed she was different. Each morning, before school, he told himself he would talk to her. He even positioned himself in class to be close to her. If they had to get in line for something he would make sure he was beside her. But when it came to talking to her he couldn’t do it.

It was funny, Frank thought, because they had talked plenty before. In grade three she even kicked him in the nuts. When two boys get into a fight the rule is no kicking. If you kick, even if you win, you lose. Grade three girls, on the other hand are not only allowed to kick, but it is encouraged. It was something Frank didn’t really understand. If a girl kicked you it meant she liked you. So when Margie kicked him, three years earlier, he rolled on the ground even though it hit his thigh and didn’t even graze his nuts. He even had two friends help him into the school after the bell rang.

Margie looked his way in class and he feigned pain. After school she asked if he was okay. Frank said no his nuts were blown up like watermelons. He thought about saying basketballs but it didn’t sound right. He didn’t want to compare his balls to any other kind of balls. That’s why he went the produce route. Plus, during summer, he had seen some big watermelon.

That year he even stood beside her in the class picture. It was odd because the tall kids usually stand in the back row. Frank was tall but he stood in the middle row beside Margie, a bump in height and little out of place.

Frank decided he would not let the teachers comment go without retaliation. He thought about lighting his house on fire but that seemed extreme, even though he deserved it.

The teacher drove a small car. It was sporty, like nothing anybody else drove. The teacher was new in town and Frank knew he would be gone soon, probably at the end of the school year. Teachers never seemed to stick around. If he was going to get him back he had to do it quick.

It is funny how opportunity will present itself if you keep your eyes open. Riding around town in the evening, Frank spotted the teachers car parked behind the Legion. He knew the teachers got together for a belt after school. No one was around. Frank quickly saw a discarded 2 x 12 leaning up against the building. He put it on the ground and the back of the car and made a ramp.

Frank drove back out to the street. Picked up speed, did another lap behind the old hardware. Considered not doing it, but shrugged it off, than peddled as hard as he could to the back of the Legion. He was air born when he left the ramp. He kept the front tire up. The back tire hit the roof. Frank tried to make himself heavier to cause a dent. The back tire landed and sunk into the slickly painted metal. His front tire landed on the hood with a crunch.

Frank looped back to see his handy work. Two big dents and bike tracks from front to back. He left the ramp where it was and got the hell out of there. It was getting dark. He peddled towards home feeling a happiness he couldn’t place. It was different, but as good as Christmas. If only Margie could have been there.

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