The Id and The Odyssey; Episode 16
The Worm Episode
For breakfast Rich fried the bacon, a sliced potato in the bacon grease, and then scrambled the remaining eggs. He huddled with the sleeping bag over his shoulders and ate the most delicious breakfast he had in some time.
The bike was packed and again he continued the trek.
Dawn revealed a landscape blanketed with frost. It was invigorating. Breath rolled from his mouth and his legs pumped the bike like a steam locomotive. When riding into the sun it was warm, but once he settled into the valleys hidden from the light it was intensely cold. He stopped atop a ridge and scanned the country side below. Never had he imagined so many trees and they extended as far as one could see. There were the traces of roads and bare patches of farm land here and there, but it was mainly trees - red, yellow, brown, and green. This was the perfect time for his journey.
He pushed the bike down a steep decline. The wind blew furiously past his head like the sound of a storm. The speed of the bike was frightening as he leaned into curves. Some curves were so tight he had to apply the brakes. Soon he was climbing a hill that seemed to have no end and his legs burned and cried out with fatigue and pain. Some hills he walked the bike while others he strained and wobbled until he struggled to the top.
Sometimes he cursed and other times prayed. It seemed as though he had been in New York state forever. Ohio was a lifetime away. It was as if Ohio was so far in the past it never existed.
“By now,” Rich thought, “it was well discussed in school. The shame of my family was fully exposed. If to return I would be held in derision and scorned. I would be the proverbial rotten apple, an outcast. The only friends would be the outcasts and downtrodden. I would thus slip deeper into despair and distrust. There was no where to go but onward. My bridges had indeed been burned.”
He passed through an array of curious little towns that seemed to hold onto the past and tradition with pride and passion. Rich felt he was looked upon as a hostile invader of change. He was a stranger everywhere; every road he traveled, every store he visited, and to every set of eyes cast upon him.
Rich approached the town of New Berlin. The road dipped into a rapid decline. He pickup up speed. He peddled to increase the speed. He felt like he was on a county fair ride; a ride that seemed to last forever. He slowed at a stop light and continued; changing from County Road 29 to Route 80.
Rich heard a quick burst from a siren behind him. He turned. Approaching him from behind was a black and white police car. Rich steered onto the sidewalk.
“Relax,” he said to himself.
The policeman stopped along side Rich. He leaned over and rolled down the window. “Hey, worm, we got speed limits in this town on everything that has wheels.”
“That include roller-skates?” Rich smiled.
The policeman quickly got out of the car. He stepped quickly around the car holding gripping his nightstick tightly. There was a flushed angry look on his face as if he was ready for a physical altercation.
He was man in his mid thirties, small, but an athletic build. He put one hand on Rich’s shoulder while the other gripped the night stick. He was tight and poised to use it.
“What did you say, worm?”
“I was just trying to be friendly and funny,” Rich said with a retreating smile.
“I didn’t ask what you were trying to do,” he said. “Now do you remember what I asked.”
“You ask me what I said,” Rich said. “and I gave you a wise-ass reply about does that include roller skates. I wasn't trying to be disrespectful.”
The policeman dropped his hand from Rich’s shoulder and continued the grip on the nightstick. He walked around the bike as if inspecting it for watch duty. “No matter what, you were speeding. You could have hit a kid or an old person.”
“I just got carried away,” Rich said. “I never gave it any thought that I could speed on a bike.”
“Where ya headed, worm?” he said.
“East, to Maine,” Rich said. Suddenly it hit him. If I act like a worm that’s how he’ll treat me. “And it’s not, worm. It’s Joe Deacon. You got a mayor’s court around here? I’ll go see the mayor and pay my fine. And I’ll be sure to tell him you called me worm. That’s probably not the first time he’s heard people complain about it.”
The policeman tapped the front tire with his nightstick as he passed by it. He smugly said, “Go on, get out of here.”
Rich stood on his peddle and pushed away. The policeman followed for couple of blocks until Rich crossed a bridge over a small river.
“I’d better start using Joe’s name, since I have his stolen driver’s license,” Rich thought.
The ride continued brisk and pleasant.