It’s pronounced “rifby.”
And it had been a rough week.
I’d been in bed for six days with a hangnail. Our toilet overflowed because as I lay dying the tots had been flushing baby wipes down it, and Noah’s Flood broke our pipes and the pipes in the apartment downstairs. We were out of coffee, which didn’t matter because the coffee grinder had broken. My pickup threw a rod, my wife moved out, and my girlfriend told me that she had finally decided to go back to her husband in Ohio or her one in Tallahassee. My other girlfriend tearfully announced that she had antibiotic resistant something that I can’t pronounce.
Then, my dog died, and on the way back from the burial dumpster I checked the mail and found out I’d been sued for copyright infringement. Apparently there is an actual human being named “Wank Jonathan Meister” and I’ve been using his name in this blog without permission for a decade. The alleged damages are $1 billion.
While sitting on the couch reading the lawsuit, my phone rang just minutes before the phone company disconnected it. “Wanky?” my boss said.
He hung up.
It had been six months since my last bike ride, the Slovenian Ghoulash Ride, where you pedal up the side of a gorge for fifteen hours. I still hadn’t wiped the mud and shrapnel off the chain and the tars were flat.
I aired up the tars and went to look for a clean kit, but since I hadn’t done laundry since the SGR there wasn’t one. I fished out the bibs with the least amount of mold, put them on, and went looking for my shoes, but my wife had sold them on Craigslist before she moved out, so all I had was a pair of flip-flops. I put ’em on.
The bike rolled down the hill, gathering speed, the wind pushing through my hair. Some wanker on a $15,000 bike screamed “WHERE’S YOUR HELMETTTTTTT??” as I whizzed by. A Rage Rover honked in fury as I took the lane, delaying his arrival at the red light by .5 seconds. I flipped him off and blew through the light. Four other Rage Rovers with mommies-n-lattes-n-phones honked a chorus of anger. Bye-bye, bitches.
I hooked a left at the bottom of the hill, my nipples numb because I wasn’t wearing a jersey. A pack of South Bay Easy Fakers came by me, all duded up in their perfectly matched kits. I hopped on the back. No one said anything; they clearly didn’t want Moldy Pants With Thong And No Helmet And No Jersey And No Shoes with them, so they ramped it up.
Pretty soon I was, as they say, on the rivet. The pickup, the women, the dead dog, the lawsuit, the unemployment, the fierce bacteria, it all receded as my heart rate rose and my breathing labored. The Fakers rode harder and I struggled mightily to remain attached. Dude in front of me leaned over and blew a giant snot rocket onto my shin.
For five minutes I was buried. Couldn’t breathe, think, nothing, just forced the pedals so hard that everything was blank except the pain. Someone in the group finally shifted into the big ring and as the speed hit what I figured was at least 15 or 16 mph, I came off the back, done. They receded, their matchy-matchy shoe covers, helmets, and jockey straps sparkling in the late morning sun.
My head, though, was clear as a bell. “Ryfb,” I whispered with satisfaction. “Ride yer fuggin’ bike.”
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