Short Story Exercise: Ride a Bicycle

(using this book, set timer for ten minutes and wrote a short story relating to the phrase “ride a bicycle,” lightly edited)

Edgar was having a hard time. When they took away his driver’s license, he was forced to get a used bike. He hadn’t ridden one in years, and it was time to see if that old phrase about “remembering how to ride a bike,” or whatever, was true.

In the last three days, he’d fallen off exactly six times.

And today, as he was again struggling to ride the bicycle home from the gas station, he hit an uneven spot in the sidewalk and fell off again. His elbow hit, hard, and the plastic bag filled with beer dropped from the handlebars and rolled into the ditch.

Cursing, Edgar crawled after the bag. A few passing cars honked at him, but he paid no attention. He picked up his bag and trudged back up the incline.

A boy, maybe ten years old, had righted the crashed bicycle and was staring at it with wide eyes.

“Hey, this looks like my bike. Where did you find it?”

“Piss off!” Edgar yelled, stumbling over a tangle of weeds.

The kid frowned at Edgar, then swung his leg over the seat and took off down the street. Edgar gave chase, but quickly became worried about his beer. It had already fallen down the ditch and he didn’t want to shake it up more. And, his lungs and his legs were already raw from the effort of riding the bicycle to the gas station.

Clutching his prize, Edgar turned around. His humble home was still two miles away and it was getting dark. Edgar looked longingly into the sack, imaging how nice the walk would be if he just cracked open a can. But he wasn’t that stupid. He didn’t have a paper bad and the cops obviously had it in for him in this town. They’d use any excuse they could make up to put him in jail.

So Edgar walked, swinging the sack at his side. When he finally reached his front yard, Edgar was breathing hard and coated in sweat and grime. He dimly recognized his bicycle locked up on his fence.

“Huh, little bastard brought it back.” He stepped inside and opened the first can before even closing the front door. “Riding bikes blows,” he slurred.