Bicycle Spokes and Eros
A bicyclist is struck by a car. He collides with the pavement. When he lifts his head and looks up, he is in the middle of an intersection which is also a highway on-ramp. Aided by adrenaline, he drags his bicycle to the side of the road, and throws it down on a small clump of grass. He collapses next to it. The white bicycle gleams in the afternoon sun.
Soon - he does not know how long - a crowd gathers. "Are you okay?" a skittish suburban couple ask. They are frightened.
"I, I don't know," the bicyclist replies. He looks down at his hands. They are covered in blood. He face looks blank, white.
"You're okay? You don't need to go to the hospital?" the man asks, warily. His dutiful wife continues to look frightened at his side.
"I, I don't know, I can't feel anything," the bicyclist says. He thinks he can feel blood dripping through his pants legs, but he is not sure.
"So you're okay then? You don't need to go to the hospital?" the man continues hopefully.
"He's in shock," another voice offers.
The bicyclist doesn't understand why the couple are offering help when they seem so unwilling to provide it. He wishes they'd go away. The couple looks around at the others there and feel relived of any obligation. They depart.
The bicyclist looks down at his bloody hands. Pain is starting to shoot through his body. Static rises over his consciousness, swamping it.
The bicyclist is sitting at a bus stop. It is late evening. The warm summer air envelopes him like a blanket. It is soothing. He is in no hurry. There is a book in his bag, but it is so pleasant, it seems sacrilegious to read rather than enjoy the beautiful evening.
On the next bench, there is a couple. They are dressed in period costume. The boy wears a black Portland Blazers baseball cap, and a white wifebeater. His pants are baggy and he wears oversized Nike pumps.
The girl is dressed in a bright orange halter-top. It hangs loosely, as she had no breasts. She has long, stringy hair that hangs lifelessly to her shoulders. She wears flats.
They are 11, maybe 12.
He glances around at the still surroundings. It is Saturday evening, and the downtown bus mall is deserted but clean. The concrete-and-glass buildings which house Control's offices are quiet. There is no signs of the worker bees which will return to them when the Working time resumes.
The boy turns and, without warning, clumsily sticks his tongue into the girl's mouth. She is passive, and the bicyclist can see the boy's tongue violently invading her oral orifice. It moves back and forth. The bicyclist does not fancy himself a voyeur, and tries to look away, at anywhere, anything else, but his gaze is drawn inextricably back to the couple.
The boy sticks his hand under the girl's acid-washed skirt. The bicyclist can see him fumbling, trying to get into her underwear. The girl, in turn, reaches over and slips her hands down the boys shorts. The are baggy and she has little trouble. The bicyclist can see her hand moving mechanically, jerking up and down. By now the boy seems to have succeeded in finally maneuvering his way into her vagina. They move passionlessly, like two machines set to interact in tandem with the other.
The bus arrives. The bicyclist gets on. He is dressed in light brown slacks and a silk button-up shirt. His shoes are black and square-toed. The silk feels comforting when the warm air blows it against his chest.
He pays the fare and sits down near the back. He contemplates reading, but leaves his book in the bag. The scenery is moving around him as the bus winds its way through downtown and across the river. He can see the water forming small white crests as it pushes
against the shore.
The bicyclist notices a boy across the isle from him. The boy is wearing a slinky black t-shirt and tight jeans. His hair is bleached blonde. He looks 12.
The bicyclist glances back out the window, but he can feel the boy's gaze on him. He shifts his eyes ahead, pretending to look out the front of the bus, but really is he watching the boy in his peripheral vision.
The boy is not fooled. His eyes narrow into a look of desire. He licks his lips. He waits for a reaction from the bicyclist, and when he gets none, he sticks his hand down his pants and squeezes his cock.
The bicyclist, caught, looks away, out the window. The bus is passing through an intersection which is an on-ramp to the highway. The bicyclist sees a small crowd on a corner. They are gathered around a white bicycle, which is lying on the grass. There is a man next to it. He is in the fetal position, but the bicyclist thinks he can see glistening blood covering the man's hands.
The bicyclist rises back to consciousness. Pain shoots throughout his body. Cars cross the intersection which he collided with, heedless of his catastrophe. He looks up. There are now only two people around him. One is a woman. She is in her early thirties, and wears wraparound sunglasses that obscure her face and a t-shirt bearing a colorful image of Shiva. She has kinky hair and speaks in careful King's English.
The other is a man. He is in his late thirties or early forties, and wears a baseball cap which advertises a trucking company. He hasn't shaved in days, but he is not trying to grow a beard. He is wearing grease-stained clothes and his accent makes the bicyclist think of north Georgia.
Both ask if he needs to go to a hospital. Now he thinks he can feel the extent of his injuries - although this is not true - and he declines. Both ask if he needs any other help. He says No to the man, but Yes to the woman, who has offered him a ride home. He feels guilty, knowing he has made a sheerly class-based decision. But she turns out to be a medical student, and brings him to his house and cleans his wounds, which he is unable to do. He feels that his karma must have been in order to be so fortunate, but his guilt over choosing her does not subside. He never sees her again.