Friday, January 19, 2007

Mirth and Woe: The Great Bicycle Mystery

The Power of Mirth and Woe

Last week’s Tale of Mirth and Woe involved telling the story of how I smashed my lovely sister’s face in with a roof tile, provoking a life devoted to killing me to death. To prove the power of this site, my sister rang me during the week to tell me that she had quite spookily - and on that very day - been clubbed around the face by a projectile roof tile.

In which case, I’m going to tell a tale of removing large quantities of cash from the Bank of England, and deleting yesterday’s guff about bumming. Just to be on the safe side, like.

Or, perhaps not.

Instead, and as a sequel to last week’s story, I bring you:

The Great Bicycle Mystery

I have, as you may be aware by now, written on several occasions on my older sister’s desire to have me killed to death, preferably in a very painful manner. Her death wish has manifested itself in many ways - drowning, scalding, awful driving and plain old girlie claws, for which I still possess the scars.

So, there is only one suspect in The Great Bicycle Mystery of 1979.

I could often be seen riding around Twyford on my bike. It was a big old Raleigh Jeep. Second hand to be sure, and built from scaffolding poles and girders, but it was a treat to ride, and once you got some speed up, the momentum could take you on forever. Also, being the most unfashionable bike on the planet, nobody was ever going to steal it. Much less - and pointing no fingers at this point - sabotaging it in an attempt to murder its owner. Murder him to death.

It was a Sunday, and I decided to take my bike out for a ride. I took it to the top of the hill, and then raced it to the bottom, through the school grounds (just to annoy the caretaker), followed by a huge lap through the park which brought me out back at the top of my road.

After that little work-out, I puttered about at the top of the big hill, deciding what to do next. Having such a big bike, I always found myself a little jealous of my mates and their Raleigh Choppers and racers for not being able to pull a good wheelie, or even the smallest of tricks. God, how I tried, but no matter how much I practiced, there was just nothing doing.

So, I tried again, this time trying a few little hops up and down the kerb. It was just as I started doing this, right outside Stephen Driver’s house, that I realised one important detail. My bicycle currently had no nuts holding on the front wheel. None at all.

This realisation - and you should know me enough by now to know exactly what’s going to happen next - came exactly 0.00001 seconds too late, and I watched in horror as I pulled up the handle-bars for another doomed wheelie to see the front wheel bound off down Longfield Road in the general direction of the Recreation Ground.

Of course, I could only guess where the front wheel might end up, as the next thing I knew that poor, helmet less me, was flying arse-over-tit over the handle-bars, performing a headlong dive into Stephen Driver’s front garden.

“Ooof!” you say, “that’s gotta hurt.”

And, yes. I can confidently say that it did. Quite a lot, in fact, as Stephen Driver’s front garden consisted mainly of a lovely soft lawn, and a concrete driveway. Guess which bit I landed on.

I lay there for a while, contemplating my fate (and not, as some contemporary historians incorrectly state, crying like a girl), before Stephen Driver’s beardy dad eventually peeled me from his driveway, and pointed me in the general direction of my bike. I thanked him for this kindness by bowking my Sunday lunch over the front wing of his Volkswagen, which I thought a fair deal.

It was some time, in my groggy state, before I found both parts of my bicycle, slotted them back together and made my way home. Home, where I found two wheel nuts and a spanner lying on the floor of the garage. I bowked the rest of my Sunday lunch over them, and went to lie down for a bit.

I have had by suspicions over who did this deed for the best part of three decades now, and last night, I confronted my sister with the rock hard facts, and, at last pointed the finger of suspicion at her, from the safety of three hundred miles of telephone line.

She denies it. But then, caught, as they say, like a Treen in a Disabled Venusian Space Cruiser (a running theme in our family this week), she denied everything.

“It could have been anyone. Your brother. John down the road. Squaggie. Heaven knows we never locked that garage at night. It might have been itinerant travellers. Tramps. Tramps with spanners.”

That proves it.

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