This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
A Short Story
by Bryan Costales
Pencil Drawn Mouse © 2010 Bryan Costales, All Rights Reserved 0
“Free bike for the right owner. and sometimes regretful of his close cut hair. despite recently turned thirty-seven. Do-do. Johnny believed himself still young. Outside the train window he spotted a bicycle leaned against a concrete wall with a small for sale sign taped to its handle bars. Homeword Angel by Moby. Johnny stood up straight and looked around. He gazed at the sign on the bicycle and tapped his toe to music so vividly rich from his earphones. A new song segued his attention.Pencil Drawn Mouse by Bryan Costales Johnny Ribbon tapped his toe three beats to the bar on Caltrain as his car pulled into 22nd Street Station one stop from home. and below that a was a local phone number without an area code. and asked himself. Johnny slipped off his earphones and was immediately Pencil Drawn Mouse © 2010 Bryan Costales. Sound cancelling earphones played Les Cowboys Frigants harmonizing a version of Chanteur Pop recorded live somewhere in France. Bibbi bip. Nobody seemed to be watching him.” the sign read. Johnny stared at it. All Rights Reserved 1 . It appeared to be a superbly maintained mountain bike and didn’t appear to be locked. a little tan from long walks at lunch. “How much?” He stood and hurried off the train as Day Too Soon segued into his ears sung by Sia. Johnny studied the bike. a nice mountain bike.
like in a boxing ring. She would come out and the crowd would shout. He plucked his iPhone from his pocket and called the number. Why are you giving it away?” “I give away one thing a day.” Johnny hesitated and wondered if he might be on a hidden camera. Johnny thought he could hear music playing behind the woman’s voice.” the squeaky voice pressed him.” Behind him the train pulled slowly out of the station. “You saw the bike?” It was a woman’s voice.assaulted by noise from the freeway that passed overhead.” he mumbled. “Go ahead. The woman’s voice reminded him of Disney’s Minnie Mouse. “So what do I have to do? Do I have to tell you how much I like the bike?” “Look under the seat. “Free bike. He shrugged. “You Won!” But nobody walked out. commuters driving home above. just like he had been headed home too. Tappity Tap. High and squeaky like a cartoon voice. “Looks like a good bike. no cameras peered at him. but in the train below. “But still the phone number. “You rich or something?” “Something.” Trafﬁc noise from the freeway overhead dropped brieﬂy. The last of departing passengers vanished up the metal steps like tap dancers up a Busby Berkeley musical staircase.” Johnny didn’t expect that. perhaps Scott Joplin. A sequined woman might emerge carrying a sign. “Take a look. Johnny stood alone on the platform where sun light hit him directly as if a follow spot followed only him. must have been a friend of a friend or maybe someone who worked at one of the several places he had once worked.” Pencil Drawn Mouse © 2010 Bryan Costales. He used to know a woman with a voice like that. What had her name been? He couldn’t remember. a tinkling piano rag. All Rights Reserved 2 .
yes.” A check mark was by the word. “Bike. not glued. so Johnny pulled it open and withdrew a small card. He reached. The picture of the mouse tickled his memory.” The envelope ﬂap was tucked in. “Trek Bicycles. “Do you have the envelope?” “Yeah. Zap do what. folded it and tucked it into his back pocket. His toes touched the ground when seated. He toyed with the idea of calling the phone number again but decided not to. “Open me. He dismounted and reached to lift the bike.Johnny bent and looked. He stopped without a squeak. On the front was a pencil drawn picture of a mouse with its mouth wide open in a yawn or maybe a yell. Johnny tapped his toes and smiled.” Writing that matched the writing on the sign. “Well go ahead.” Johnny noticed writing on the envelope. How bout that!” He pulled the sign off the handle bars. He peddled the bike forward a dozen yards to the base of the stairs. Scuba gear. “A free bike. “Bike.” The squeaky voice said. He turned the card over again.” Pencil Drawn Mouse © 2010 Bryan Costales. On the back was a penciled list. But why were skis and snowshoes also on the list? And where had he seen that mouse before? Johnny slipped his earphones back on. he saw a label on the bike. and the brakes worked well. peddled smoothly. the handle bars were a good width. He sat on the bike and found the seat already adjusted to about his right height. Johnny frowned. rolled it. The stairs looked a lot steeper knowing he’d have to carry up a bike. All Rights Reserved 3 . He saw a small envelope taped under the seat. But he hesitated. plucked it off and stood again. bent like that. Skis. He’d been wanting a bike and wasn’t about to jinx a free one. Had her name been Dixie? No that wasn’t right. “Enjoy the bike. it looked like something he’d seen before. Snowshoes. Monkey Rag by the Asylum Street Spankers played. open it.” and hung up. It rode easily. Chicago.
“Chicago. or downhill to Third Street and then home? Johnny stood there undecided and thought about Didi again. Had something happened to Isaac? Had their new business failed? He pulled the folded paper from his back pocket. His pace slowed and he began to pant and think. by Amos Lee segued in. The address that popped up was on Mississippi Street just a few blocks away. Betty Boop at a Halloween party. so he lifted the bike and started up again slower this time to Jug Band Waltz by Jim Kweskin.” he said. Johnny had only gotten ﬁftythousand and blew it on a down payment on a condo near 6th and Minna. They had sold the company for millions and moved to Chicago. rested and wiped sweat from his forehead with his shirt sleeve.Johnny lifted the bike and started up the stairs. motivated by the rhythm of Monkey Rag. The Duelfest logo had been a screaming mouse. All Rights Reserved 4 . Johnny reached the street. but could only remember a costume at the company Halloween party. Pencil Drawn Mouse © 2010 Bryan Costales. She was married to the boss where he worked at the time.” Shif fooaaan. downtown near the loop. He walked up quickly at ﬁrst. that had been her name. he once knew a Didi that moved to Chicago. But Johnny believed then and believed now that he belonged in San Francisco. While he rested. Wo wo wo wo. Uphill to say Howard Street and then home. He unfolded the paper and typed the number into a reverse-lookup site on the Internet using his iPhone. Johnny paused at the ﬁrst landing and set the bike down.” he said aloud. when his boss Isaac had said. I’d love to have you. He tried to remember what she looked like. Schifoan by Wolfgang Ambros segued into is ears. Chicago. He felt his weary toe tap and tap. Yes Didi. His heart was beating more than he expected. but that song segued out and Sweet Pea. “My town. a short woman with a voice like Minnie Mouse dressed like Betty Boop. If any of you great programmers would like to join me there. That was all he could remember. Duelfest.” he said and mounted the bike again. Plink plunk plunk. He remembered his last day at Duelfest. a game software company two blocks off South Park. Which way? he wondered. “I’m starting a new company in Chicago. He shook his head and realized his breathing had settled. “I wonder.
“I don’t want to be distracted. All Rights Reserved 5 . The old Music Master merely sat there amazed. Pencil Drawn Mouse © 2010 Bryan Costales.” he decided. crisp and well maintained. The stairway ran straight up from the sidewalk and there was a garage next to the stairs and the garage was level with the street. “To Mississippi again.” That Old Music Master by Hoagy Carmichael played into his ears as he peddled up the modest incline toward Mississippi Street. as if they sensed he was new to this bike and thereby more vulnerable than he might otherwise have been. “Should be safe. A ﬂat-topped Edwardian with white painted. He realized the bike hadn’t come with a helmet. all he could remember was Betty Boop and a staircase.Johnny re-pocketed his phone and re-tucked the note into his back pocket. He checked his cellphone again for the address then turned off his music. “Old Man River. He believed he may have kissed her once when they had been drunk but couldn’t be certain. His car had been rear-ended and totaled by a run-away truck in the Smoky Mountains. He looked up and down the street and saw nobody threatening. He’d crossed it once by car while driving east for a job.” he said. Johnny tried to remember if he had kissed Didi at one time. A few cars passed him a little too closely. Johnny looked back down at where he had leaned the bike against the stairs. “Up hill. He tried to remember if a helmet was the law in San Francisco. Who Will Save Your Soul sung by Jewel began which confused Johnny so he took off his earphones and draped them around his neck. He mounted the bike and thought about the Mississippi River. wooden columns supporting the second ﬂoor above chocolate colored porch. but he didn’t know one way or the other.” he said as he watched for addresses. A tractor trailer loaded with frozen ﬁsh destroyed his and a dozen other cars in the parking lot outside a Bob’s Pancake House at lunchtime. He re-pocketed the phone and began to ride slowly along Mississippi Street. The address led him to a white house near the end.” he said and turned to face the door again. He reached Mississippi without having been hit by a car so stopped one foot on the sidewalk to let his breath settle again.
He pressed the doorbell and it felt cold under his ﬁnger as if seldom pressed and heard a distant ding dong inside the house. A stupid broken bottle caused a blowout and the truck swerved in front of us. Didi looked up at Johnny and said. “Yeah. Didi rolled to the threshold and looked down. “That was you? You found my bike?” Johnny turned to face Didi again.” Pencil Drawn Mouse © 2010 Bryan Costales. “What happened?” “A trafﬁc accident.” Johnny said. Isaac was killed instantly. From somewhere behind her he smelled bread baking or maybe mufﬁns. he keeps on rolling along.” Didi continued to smile as if amused by a secret untold. “He must know something. You always had an uncanny ear for music. at the bottom of the stairs. Johnny wondered what he might say. Didi smiled. same dimples. Nobody’s fault really. He waited and tapped his foot and half spoke and half sang. Same pixie-like face. but he don’t say nothing. he just keeps rolling. “Doctor Dog?” he asked. “I found the bike at the 22nd Street Caltrain station. Inside the house he heard Shadow People playing softly. All Rights Reserved 6 .” The door swung slowly open. same short brown hair. Johnny nodded at her chair.” Didi rolled back a bit as if she might invite him in but stopped. “Johnny! Is that you Johnny? How’d you ﬁnd me?” Same Minnie Mouse voice. I wasn’t so lucky. Not really. Johnny turned sideways and gestured with his hand at the bike parked below. Nobody’s fault. “That’s right. She looked just like the Didi he remembered. The door swung the rest of the way open to reveal Didi seated in a manually operated wheelchair.
“What’s this?” Johnny tapped his foot.” he said and smiled.” he said.” She’s the Queen Of New York City.” He slid in past the coffee table and sat on the sofa. Le’Accordeoniste.” Behind Didi’s Mom.” Johnny stepped up to Didi’s Mom and extended his hand. softly worn and comfortable. Guac A Mo Le.” he said and stepped passed Didi’s mom.” Johnny glanced back at the bike and hoped it would be okay. “Tuesday by the Bacon Brothers. Tacobel Canon began to play. Didi pointed a remote at a shelf of electronics and changed the music. “Be careful. Johnny smiled. All Rights Reserved 7 . “Oh yes. Didi clicked again. “I’ll try. “And this?” Violins and Piano. Curtains were open and a small jungle of potted plants mobbed the sunshine under each window. Didi clicked again. “Black Rose by Black 47. then followed Didi in. Hey Jude by the Beatles. “That’s too easy. “My mom. She looked Johnny up and down as his extended hand dropped. “Edith Piaf. The living room was in the middle of the house.” she said. Over her shoulder she said. She glared at Johnny as Didi rolled past her and said over her shoulder again. Fa Jita. one of Johnny’s more obscure favorites. “Come on in. Didi had rolled to the far side of the coffee table with a low white sofa across from her. “Johnny.” she said behind him. Just inside the door an older woman stood with her arms folded. “See you do. “Didi has been through a lot. Her Mom kept her arms crossed. “And this?” Rhythm and trumpets blared. but this time just smiled.” Pencil Drawn Mouse © 2010 Bryan Costales.” Got something bad in my belly.Didi rolled backward and turned away from the door.
Didi lowered the volume causing the music to ease into the background. Johnny tried to remember how close a coffee shop might be but he didn’t know the neighborhood. “Go get on your bike. “Me too.” she said. “What kind of startup. “I’ll meet you out front.” he said a little cautiously. Johnny had always wanted to do a music web site. “You want to go out for coffee and talk it over?” Didi nodded toward the front of the house. But never for music.” she said and smiled. Tambourine Man sung by Bob Dylan. Well. after the accident I mean. “What are you doing now?” “What do you mean?” “You have a job?” “Yeah. Didi rolled back from the coffee table. For some reason his mood just then.” Johnny was surprised the bike was still there.” Didi leaned forward. She adjusted a beige knit blanket covering her lap and asked. after that I moved back here with my Mom and I’ve been dreaming up a new startup. I’m with a startup in Palo Alto. Johnny stood and realized how much he towered over her in that chair. All Rights Reserved 8 . “Okay. “After our business went bankrupt. Ever since school.” “Something to do with music. elbows on the arm rests of her wheelchair.” he said. just as he had left it leaned against the stairs. In that jingle jangle morning I’ll come following you. while I was in the hospital. But he had been sidetracked and sucked in by promises that never developed for other kinds of sites. and the empty street reminded him of Mr. Pencil Drawn Mouse © 2010 Bryan Costales.” Johnny sat up straight.
Didi turned a bit to clear Johnny and his bike and took off. I’ll stay here all night until I get it right. “You remember the kiss?” Johnny stared at Didi. “On the stairs. She was moving faster than Johnny expected. “I ain’t afraid of no damn girl in no wheelchair.com Pencil Drawn Mouse © 2010 Bryan Costales.” he half-sang.” She smiled a half smile as if she had said something ironic. She looked up at him. A bright green scarf around her neck ﬂapped behind her neck Isadora Duncan-like.The garage door whirred open and Didi rolled out snug in an electric wheel chair.” “A Segway wheelchair?” “You afraid?” Johnny smiled and said.” Didi laughed and dropped back down to chair height. “You want to race. eye to eye with him. She sped past him and into the street. Johnny smiled and peddled in pursuit of Didi on her high-tech wheelchair. He mounted his new bike and Till I Get It Right by Fastball echoed in his mind. You were Betty Boop?” “More to talk about over coffee. Publication History 09/18/2010 First published on Scribd. She rolled out to him and raised up to balance on two wheels. “Well I spent all my money at the record store. All Rights Reserved 9 . over to the other side and off toward downtown.
bcx. he has been writing a bi-weekly short story for almost two years. All Rights Reserved 10 . He has written short ﬁction for over thirty years and has been published in Cantaraville Six.About the Author Bryan Costales is author of several technical books. also called the “bat book” because of the picture of a bat on the cover. Pencil Drawn Mouse © 2010 Bryan Costales. and Peridot Books. chief of which is the O’Reilly “sendmail” book. Micro Horror. in the Banyan Review. Please also visit his http://www.com/novels/ site for a glimpse of his novels. In order to hone his craft.
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue listening from where you left off, or restart the preview.