Brian eased the Raleigh Olympus through the kitchen and into the hall.
He past the photograph of his uncle Derrick hanging in the hallway,
and then walked up to the front door.
“I’ll be off then,” he said, looking for his dad.
“Thanks for getting my bike out of the shed.”
“Well thanks for coming Brian.” Said his mum.
“You don’t have to stay away you know, come whenever you feel like
it, have you had a word with your dad?”
Brian’s dad was waiting outside by the front gate.
As Brian walked passed, his Dad reached out and touched his arm,
“Off you go then son, mind how you go.”
The touch on his arm by his Father took Brian by surprise, he caught
his mum’s eye and noticed a similar reaction.
“Ok Dad, I’ll pop round tomorrow, you can help me sort out any
“Ah right oh son.” said his Dad.
“Bye Mum.” She didn’t reply, but the eye contact that hid a hundred
secrets was still there, this would have to be enouph for Brian.
Brian pushed the Raleigh Olympus out through the front door and onto
“I’m just going to push it for a while Dad, get used to the balance,
see you tomorrow.”
“We’ll get these tires up to pressure tomorrow Dad, ” he shouted as
he approached the corner of Noel Street.
“And we’ll tighten that bloody chain up!” Shouted his Dad as he ached
out the last words he would ever say to his Son.
Brian went home straight away, he tried to mount the bike a few times
on the way but struggled with his momentum. He decided he would wait
until the morning and then approach the bike with the respect it
In the morning, Brian was rooting through his drawer in search of his
cycling proficiency certificate, which he had bought off Colin
Pendleton in the juniors.
He had a few such certificates including a first from Oxford in
Classical Japanese, and an MA in Russian literature. All of the
aforementioned certificates, were purchased off Colin Pendleton in the
juniors, and were all hand written to the highest quality in fountain
On the Tuesday Brian awoke and walked downstairs with the full
intention off riding the Raleigh down to the shops to buy some milk.
He walked down to the hall and looked at the bike out of the corner of
“I don’t fancy getting on that bastard.” Said Colin Pendleton to Brian.
“It still needs some work, I can’t really use it yet.” Said Brian.
“There’s no point jumping on it straight away.”
“Coward!” Said Collin, but his comment was ignored.
Certainly, Brian was not ready for riding the bike yet, and any excuse
was good enough.
He wanted to ride it, he so wanted to ride the bike that his father
may, or may not have made with his own hands years ago when he worked
The following day Brian’s Dad died of a heart attack brought on by
the fact that all his life he had eaten nothing apart from sausage
sandwiches. And I do mean nothing.
The butcher who sold Brian’s Dad the sausages that went into the
sandwiches he had eaten during the last thirty years of his life; came
to the funeral.
Everyone knew he was there of course you couldn’t miss him, well you
couldn’t miss his van.
Brian had grown up with the phrase which was always spoken with
admiration by his Dad:
“You couldn’t miss the Gibbons butchers van….you just couldn’t!”
Gibbons the butcher, might have been noticed; but he was snubbed by
Brian and his Mum. Brian wasn’t aware of the reason why his Mum didn’t
like Gibbon, but he didn’t need to.
He (Mr. Gibbon) had asked if he could place a packet of pork sausages
on the coffin as it went in for cremation. He said it was a tribute to
a great man.
The vicar refused along with the family, and afterward most of the
people attending the service thought it may have been just a cheap
publicity stunt, and the smell of sausages cooking to a crisp was not
a fitting reminder for the man who had twice failed to swim the
Brian’s bike was tied up outside the church. Rather like a modern day
cowboy would have done. Thought Brian aloud.
“Except you have a padlock, said Collin Pendleton.
“And cowboys normally ride, not push their horses.”He continued.
“Why have you locked up your bike with a padlock at your Dads funeral,
we are all friends here my son.” said the vicar to Brian at the outset
of what turned out to be the most miserable funeral since Sparticus’s.
The man from the channel swimmers society attended the service, much
to the annoyance of Brian who still maintained his father should not
have been disqualified for using his initiative on that cold night
thirty years ago.
The scandal was hard for Brian to cope with at the time. He was doing
his woodwork CSE and was trying to make a wooden leg for his uncle
Derrick who had recently been involved in what can only be described
as a terrable accident . While he was busy at the wood lathe, and was
in love with Susan Parks, the school corridors echoed with the sound
” Cheating bastard.”
Susan Parks was one of the people shouting:
Brian’s heart was broken into a thousand pieces. She was the person he
worshipped from afar, and now not only did she ignore him, but turned
against him publicly. That’s a lot for a young boy to take. Brian was
a hard for his age, but this hurt him. He was so hurt, he
didn’t know whether he wanted to wake up in the morning.