Fighting Back

bike illustration

An angry man exits an apartment building with a red face and the shine of early tears in his eyes.

He talks three steps to his left, three steps to his right, then drags his hands down the length of his face.

He wants to scream, but he can’t. He wants to hurl some verbal abuse at the window three storeys up, but he can’t. He wants to return to the apartment he left just moments before and throw some plates against walls, but he can’t.

He turns to his bike, locked to the lamppost beside the building, and gives it a swift kick. That he can do. Nobody around to witness his fury, and only an inanimate object to take the brunt of it. A bike can’t fight back.

He feels a little better already. He quickly unlocks the bike, climbs on, and heads off down the street.

The street is a long, steady slope, and the angry man quickly picks up speed. The breeze cools his reddened face and soothes his wrath. He thinks then that he’ll probably be okay. He’ll be fine on his own. He’ll live without her. There’ll be more like her. Better than her, in fact. He was already chatting to a couple on Tinder.

He approaches the end of the street and prepares to slow for the junction ahead. He squeezes the brakes gently, and nothing happens. He squeezes harder, and still nothing. He pumps the brakes repeatedly, desperately, and the bike only picks up more speed.

The man considers bailing off, but fear has now fused his hands to the handlebars. He can do nothing but hold on and brace himself for impact with whatever car or van or lorry which happens to pass just as his bike runs across the road.

But he’s lucky. The junction is empty of traffic. His heart almost stops beating with relief as his head snaps left and then right and he notes the clear road.

And then the bike careens into a building ahead – an obstacle that the angry man had failed to consider. He could have avoided it if he had only had the sense to steer.

The bike is bent out of shape and ready for the scrap heap. The man is much the same. He isn’t concerned about his injuries just yet, though. He’s wondering how on Earth the bike had managed to fight back.

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2 thoughts on “Fighting Back

  1. This is brilliant .. I loved it! I felt his fury and was with him on the bike!!! Scary in fact when the brakes failed. I wonder if him kicking it knocked them out … my brain does that, tries to work out things!! 🤣🤗💫

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