In the dawn silence of the room, Turner’s eyes popped open. He moved, almost without motion, to extract himself from the bed he shared with his slumbering brother.
In the kitchen his bare feet tingled from the cool linoleum, and when he pulled open the door of the refrigerator the cold air blasted him in the face. He grabbed the glass milk bottle and peeled off the aluminum cap. Noiselessly he took the box of Kaboom and tumbled the cereal into his bowl.
“Kaboom!” he thought. “What’s the ‘Kaboom’? Is it the clown?” He peered at the gaudy character on the cereal box and read the text: “Minimum daily requirements of vitamins and iron in 12 oz. sugary oat cereal with marshmallow stars!”
The first part sounded pretty bad, but the sugary oat cereal and marshmallow stars sounded great. He sniffed the sweet smell. “Kaboom!” he said to himself. “Today’s gonna be kaboom!” He crunched the smiley oat faces and savored the marshmallows. “Kaboom!” he said again.
Turner went to the shed, got his bike, and pushed it into the front yard. “I ain’t no grandpa chickensissy,” he said to himself, feeling nonetheless very chicken and a fair bit sissy, too. The bike was too big. He stretched his leg over the top tube and rested his butt on the saddle, his left foot on the pedal and his right foot barely touching the ground. He pushed hard on the pedal and shoved off with his right foot.
The bike went forward, wobbled, then fell over. The side of the bike dug into his leg, and he gritted his teeth to keep from crying, because it hurt.
Turner picked the bike up and tried again, and fell again. By the fifth try he was covered in dirt.
“C’mon, dummy,” said a voice behind him. It was Cason. “I’ll hold ya.”
Cason balanced his brother so that he had both feet on the pedals, then gave him a mighty push. The bike shot forward and Turner stomped madly. For a brief moment the bike balanced, the pedals turned, the wheels spun, and he was riding, he was riding, he was riding! Then the bike left the dirt patch and hit the edge of the sidewalk. Turner didn’t know what to do, so he stopped pedaling and the bike flopped over. This time, ground up against the concrete, it really hurt.
“Aw, Turner!” Cason yelled. “Ya had it, ya dummy! Ya had it!”
Cason left in disgust to get his own bike. Then he came zooming out of the back yard and rode a pair of neat circles around Turner, who was trying to remount. “You ain’t no bike rider! Not today you ain’t!” Cason zoomed off down the sidewalk and disappeared.
That brief few seconds had infected Turner, however, with the conviction that he really could ride the flying machine, and he refused to let go of the spinning, zooming feeling that had gripped him as he’d pedaled. He remounted, pushed off, wobbled, and fell. Then he did it again. And again. And again.
Finally, the bike didn’t fall, and it happened at the very moment that Cason was coming back around the corner. Turner mashed the pedals harder, desperate for the bike to stay upright, and its gyroscopes obeyed.
Cason braked and put a foot down as his brother zoomed by. “Hey, Turner!” he yelled. “Wait for me!”
Turner didn’t hear anything, though, except his own voice shouting “Kaboom! Kaboom! Kaboom!”