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M.U.T. Rant - Angel of mercy or messanger of darkness?(22 posts)

M.U.T. Rant - Angel of mercy or messanger of darkness?Kristin
Aug 5, 2002 8:36 AM
I was out riding on Saturday morning around the local M.U.T.--Why do I go there--and I round a corner on a rather twisty section of the trail. What do I see? A boxer on a road bike moving along at 10 MPH. He isn't focused on pedaling, no. He's sitting up taking practice swings into the air. I'll give him credit for good balance, but he's still weaving with every swing. And blasting tunes thru his headphones! Ugh. I shouted at him three times before I finally "woke the beast." Well, he threw an endless series of lame insults after me until I was out of sight. One of which was, "Oh, did I disturb your workout Miss Professional Cyclist?" He must have said that 10 times. Professional cyclist? My average was 15MPH and I got away from him with no trouble at all. Some people!

Fast forward to Sunday. This guys insults lingered in my mind. I was turning his puzzling comments over in my mind as I picked up a copy of the Sunday Tribune. There was something strange about the way he kept saying, "Miss professional cyclist." Then I see it! The cover story. Ventura wins the first ever Arlington Heights criterium. ARRRGHH! I missed the race...Miss professional cyclist? It was a sign!!

Was this guy just another annoying jacka$$ (does that make it less of a swear?) or an angel of mercy sent by the cycling god's to remind me of the race. Or perhaps I've watched "The Mothman Prophecies" one too many times?
My Monday MUT RantScot_Gore
Aug 5, 2002 9:00 AM
Sunday 6:30am

I decide to take a MUT that I've never used before that goes through a city that has a reputation for, well, let's just say "reputation" and leave it at that.

My bike trail map has a little note that says bike bridge complete fall of 2001. So, I think, lets go see what it looks like.

There's a perfectly good road on my left but I stay on the MUT because I don't know quite where it turns onto the bike bridge. I'm utterly alone, it's a nice brisk morning, going around 18 MPH or so, river flowing on my right, I look up ahead, the trail curves around a cusp of trees, I can see I'll soon be passing under a bridge, as I round the curve by the trees, I look ahead, AHHHHHHHHHHHH......the locals have been tossing beer bottles from the overhead bridge deck, the trail is litted with glass, I think good thoughts, It dosn't help, ....PSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS.... rear flat, should have stuck to the road.

Scot
Sorry...but what's a MUT? (nm)94Nole
Aug 5, 2002 9:37 AM
Multi-Use Trail (nm)Kristin
Aug 5, 2002 9:38 AM
you mean politically correct name for Bike Path :-) nmDougSloan
Aug 5, 2002 3:03 PM
re: M.U.T. Rant - Angel of mercy or messanger of darkness?rtyszko
Aug 5, 2002 10:04 AM
Kristin, Lots of angels are out there we just need to be aware of them. In all likelyhood, though, this guy was a jackass and not an angel. I come to this conclusion by way of statistics. There are far more jackasses out there than there are angels so I'm willing to bet that he was one of the former, not the latter......

Bob Tyszko
"The Boxer and the Cyclist"AllisonHayes
Aug 5, 2002 10:55 AM
Now there is the makings of a movie script somewhere in your story girl. (well maybe a B movie, but a movie nonetheless)

A chance meeting between some brain-whacked boxer who rides the MUTs no-handed while doing his punching routine. A down and out tomato can who is fodder for the up and coming young pros

A female cyclist who is looks to him as though she is clearly a professional rider.

A dark shadowy figure who offers both of them a chance at greatness.

.....someone add the next scene---let's write this story, let's get those minds working. We need a good 5-6 scenes or more....

b (Calling on all you whacky, creative & fertile guys out there for each of you to write one scene for Kristin's RBR movie script: Kristin, Doug, Ahisma, Mr. Spin, rwbadley, Morrison, Spirito, 128, Spyderman, lonefrontranger, harlett, heloise, spinchick, ColnagoFE, jose_Tex_mex, weiwentg, Jon Billheimer, jtolleson, Len J, mickey-mac, Sintesi, tig, JS5280, Dave Hickey, TJeanloz, Quack, empacher6seat, ishmael, jrm, Wayne, MXL02, grzy, Woof the dog, DINOSOAR, elviento, Spoke Wrench, 0_Kewl, cyclopathic, legs, ohmk1, ms, PaulCL, Paul, Alex-in-Evanston, bill, Humma Hah, african, tronracer and anyone else who wants to.)
Scene 1: The GenesisGregory Taylor
Aug 5, 2002 11:33 AM
Scene: a rural road somewhere in rural America. It is a hot, summer afternoon, and the sun is shining intensely. Intense sun, scrabbly weeds, and a dusty road are the primary images.

Over a hill comes a young man. He is jogging barefoot in the hot sun, wearing a dirty pair of bib overalls. He is obviously a poor son of the soil. As the young man gets closer, we can see that he is shadowboxing and talking to himself -- "Yeah, come back here sucka...oooh! Think ya' can escape, huh? Gonna open up a can o' whoopazz on ya..."

As The Boxer gets closer, the camera shot captures the beads of sweat, the single-minded determination, and the sheer heat.

Suddenly, there is a whirring of wheels as a group of road cyclists crests the hill behind the Boxer at top speed. The lead rider, a lean, young man called Spirito, shouts out a warning to the Boxer

"On your left!"

Confused, The Boxer thinks that the voice behind him is coming from Angelo, his trainer in the corner of his mental boxing ring.

"Ooooh, so's ya gonna try an' work wid' da left hook on me...."

The gap between the riders and The Boxer closes. The Boxer lunges to his left -- "Take dat, sucka!" -- and he misses his imaginary opponent.

Spirito, unfortunately, doesn't miss. The Boxer goes down for the count, along with the rest of the paceline.

Fade to black.
Scene Two: The Shadowy FigureAllisonHayes
Aug 5, 2002 11:59 AM
Again a figure lurked in the shadows by the side of the road. He smiled to himself, knowing that Kristin had been flying at speeds unheard of until their chance encounter.

Flashback to Area 51 training ground.

Narrator: There is much circumstantial evidence to tie the shadowy figure with Bob Parlee and his stealthy experimental high-Mach bicycles. It has even been claimed that a new derivative of stealth aerospace technology has been developed, known as the Super Valkyrie. Evidence from Area 51 base-watchers and elsewhere also suggests other top-secret Bob Parlee cycle testing has been taking place.

Scene opens into a top-secret hanger. Several scientists are watching live training on several virtual screens.

Screen 1: High Altitude Stealth TDF Training: a subsonic long-endurance cycle jointly developed by Bob Parlee, Lance Armstrong and Lockheed to provide superior drafting for the USPS team is being tested deep in the rockies. It passes by cars unseen at speeds unheard of until now. Up and down hills, around curves, the rider is possessed and one with the bike. (Of course the bike and rider are invisible to all but the scientists.)

Screen 2: Covert Assault Transport: a delta configuration with advanced integrated headset with very low noise as well as radar signature. The scientists are trying to work out the kink from Lance's for assault on Mt. Ventoux. Apparently, this one will take a while to figure out as the scientists appear somewhat puzzled.

Screen 3: Stealth Time Trial Bike: An incredible TT bike design with emphasis on low blade and air ground disturbance as well as new technology to reduce efflux signature. This one is specially designed for Lance for him to break Boardman's world record. We see Kristin on the live monitor doing a beta test and easily reaching sustained speeds of 180kpm with little effort.

Screen 4: Cloaking Technology: Cloaking technology in the form of electrochromatic carbon fiber layers integrated into a super stealthy weave. The only signature is a rush of wind as it passes you on the road. This explains the sudden rush of eerie stories by Ahisma as he feels he is being pursued in his dreams. (This is a super secret test where Ahisma's mind is erased afterwards.)

Narrator: Recently, a new theory which is of a very good basis has risen which gives an idea as to the glowing objects seen above Area 51. Top researcher, Mr. Spoke Wrench has mentioned his theory that the objects moving at incredible speeds with sudden directional changes, emitting an unusual glow, could in fact be the result of experimental proton beam systems Bob Parlee and NASA are co-developing.

The shadowy figure smiles to himself as he sees his master strategy is unfolding according to plan.

scene fades to black
Scene 2: The Bell Ringsmr_spin
Aug 5, 2002 12:01 PM
Two weeks later, the Boxer wakes up in the hospital. There's something on his face. On his nose, to be precise. "What the hell?" he thinks, reaching up and feeling his face. His nose is covered in bandages.

The door opens and a nurse comes in. She's carrying a tray with juice and some kind of protein mass. Typical hospital food. "How ya doing, sugar?" she asks, although it is more of a rhetorical question.

"What's on my face?" the Boxer asks.

"Why, you broke your nose, honey!" the nurse replies, in her wonderful Georgia accent.

"My nose!" The boxer grabs for his face and starts kneading it, trying to feel if it really is broken.

"Well, not anymore, sugar. We fixed it, silly." the nurse says. Let me take those bandages off."

She removes the bandages, and the Boxer catches a glimpse of himself in the mirror. He turns to get a profile. Not bad, he thinks. I am a handsome man. Hot damn, I am one good looking dude.

The nurse, noticing the narcisstic smile on his face, says, "Not so fast, sugar. I'm afraid your feet were pretty banged up, too. You can walk, but you may never run again."

"Whaaa?" the boxer asks, shocked back into reality for a moment. "But I'm a boxer, I need to run! I'll get out of shape! I'm the thrilla from Chowchilla! Best fighter out of the California Central Valley. I'm gonna be great some day!"

"Well, sugar, you can always ride a bike," the nurse replies. "It's not permanent. Now get dressed. Checkout time."

"Why do you keep calling me sugar?" the boxer asks, obviously annoyed.

"We don't know your name, honey. You were unconcious when you came in here. And I call everyone sugar. Okay, sugar?"

The boxer just nods his head and starts to dress. "Hmmm," he thinks. "Sugar. Sugar. That's not bad. You got Sugar Ray Robinson. You got Sugar Ray Leonard. I could be a sugar, too."

Ten minutes later, the boxer is wheeled out the hospital doors. "This is it," the orderly says. "The ride stops here."

The boxer gets up, takes a painful step, and is reminded that he cannot run for a while. He has to jump out of the the way of some paramedics, wheeling a man soaked in blood into the hospital.

"#$&@#!," he says out loud, to no one in particular. "that ain't gonna be me."

Across the street he sees a bike store. The sign reads "Kristin's Bikes," and in the window another sign. "Win this bike."

He crosses the street. There's a beautiful bike sitting in the window. "I have to have that bike," he thinks.

He goes into the shop. "Are you Kristin," he asks the man behind the counter. The man looks behind himself, looks left and right, looks back at the boxer. "Uh....no. Kristin is a woman."

"Oh, sorry. What do I got to do to win the bike."

"See that contraption over there," the counter guy says, pointing to a carnival type game against the back wall of the shop. "Take that mallet, hit the pad as hard as you can, if you ring the bell, you win the bike."

"Oh man. This is too easy" the boxer says. "What's the catch. There's gotta be a catch."

"Well, yeah, there is. Kristin doesn't give away anything for free. We set it up so you'd have to be Godzilla to ring the bell."

"Godzilla, huh. I'll try it."

"You only get one swing," the counter guy adds.

"That's all I need." The boxer walks over to the game, picks up the mallet. It's heavy. He almost drops it.

"Whoa there big fella," the counter man laughs.

The boxer is not amused. He picks up the mallet, and with a huge grunt, he brings it up and over his head, then down with incredible force.

The bell rings.
The Bell Rings...... (scene 3 or 4 depending on how you count)Walter
Aug 5, 2002 12:25 PM
and his world does a dizzy flip-flop. There's no bike shop and no Kristin either. "Wonder if she was hot?" floats through his mind but then is replaced by a bald headed guy in a bowtie counting "7...8...saved by the bell!"

His manager whose name he now remembers is Spirito wraps a cold towel around his head and starts cursing.

"You candya$$!" "Don't you realize your chance here?"
"I worked to get you a shot at Doug, dammit man he rides a C-40 and you could prove once and for all that a 30 year old Masi is still superior but your getting you a## beat!"

The bell rings.....
Scene 5: Enter Sandmanmr_spin
Aug 5, 2002 1:02 PM
Kristin stood out in the empty field.

The world around her was perfectly flat. This was typical farm country. Just flat. Too flat for her taste. For all she knew, the world itself was flat. The world could be flat and earth could be the center of the solar system.

Maybe Copernicus was wrong. Maybe the sun revolves around the earth. After taking that quantum physics correspondence course from the back of Boy's Life Magazine, she had cause to question everything. Light is both a particle and a wave? How am I supposed to live my life when everything around me is in an indeterministic state? What is the purpose of living at all? Am I just Schroedinger's cat?

"Kristin!!!," a voice boomed across the field. "Kristin!!! Are you daydreaming again? Get those damn fool ideas out of your head and give me a hand."

It was her father, James Fenimore Cooper Jones. His father was a big fan of "Last of the Mohicans." It was a name too long for any one man, so he tried to get people to call him "Hawkeye," the famous character from the book. That worked until the TV series M*A*S*H came on, and it sounded silly. These days, everyone called him "Large Jim." It wasn't his first choice, but someone else already had "Big Jim." Nicknames are first come, first served.

Kristin hated working on the farm. Planting corn and alfalfa and zucchini. She couldn't stand zucchini. Or cauliflower. Broccoli was okay when stir fried with some ginger sauce. Not much Chinese food out here. That's kind of weird, considering how many Chinese came over to build the railroads. But then the railroads didn't come around much either....

"Kristin!!!," the voice boomed again. "Come on, help me with the tractor!" Large Jim had a field to plant before the sun went down. Times were tough. If this crop failed like the last one, and the one before that, and the one before that.... He didn't even want to contemplate that anymore.

Kristin was a fine young woman, he thought. Her mind seemed to drift around, but she was a daughter to be proud of. If he could only shake those big city dreams from her head. It was tough raising a child out in the country. Big city folk were always bringing in their big city ideas. Kristin was hooked. All she talked about was Chicago. Chicago, Illinois. She saw a picture of it in a magazine. City of big shoulders. Hog butcher for the world.

"(scoff)", Large Jim scoffed. Kristin was making her way across the field a little to slowly for his taste. It seemed only yesterday she was bounding across these fields with abandon.

Then that actor Russell Crowe came to town, swept his wife off her feet, and left Large Jim and Kristin with six chickens, four pigs, two dogs and 100 acres. He was the laughingstock of the town. Where's your Gladiator, they'd all ask. Did he like your wife's beautiful mind?

Now he looked at his beautiful daughter and wondered how he would survive if she ran off to the city. He made a note that he should invite Dave, the farm hand, for dinner tonight. If Kristin marries Dave, she'll stay and work the farm. Dave likes her, but Kristin can be pretty stubborn.

"Gotta finish this before dinner, tonight. We're having a guest," Large Jim said.

"Oh not Dave again," replied Kristin. "Come on dad, I told you I wasn't interested."

"Well, then you won't eat," Large Jim said.

Kristin looked out at the empty fields again. This was it. The last straw. She loved this farm, but she had to get out. She had enough money to get to Chicago on the bus. Maybe tonight.

Kristin shook her fist against the sky. "As God is my witness, I will never go hungry again! I'm leaving, dad. Tonight."

A tear fell from his eye. It had happened, as much as he tried to stop it. Or slow it down. His little girl was grown up.
Flashback: Crop CirclesGregory Taylor
Aug 5, 2002 12:53 PM
The pent up confusion was slowly ebbing from The Boxer. He slowly ceded all control to the Lab Coats. The stress fell away as he he completed his descent a feral, completely reactive existence. Stimulus. Response. Repeat. Blinding pain in head. Hit the target hard. Over and over, until his arms gave out or the pain in his head stopped.

When had it ever been this simple? Certainly not on the farm. The Farm had left him thoroughly confused. He remembered one night, shortly before he had been run down by those damn bikes, he had seen some lights out in the cornfield. He had wandered out to see what the hell was going on....and then it all went blank. No memory. He awakened the next morning face down in a ditch with his overalls around his ankles. All of the hair on his legs was gone. There were big burnt patches in the cornfield, shaped like circles. And it was about that time that the headaches started and those damn bike guys started showing up on their training rides.

Don't think about it. Here in the lab, he had lost all control over his life: there no decisions to be made, no free will, no explanations. He existed to react violently to whatever stimuli the technicians fed him, nothing more. Simple, really. Not confusing at all.
Mr. DeMille....I'm ready for my close upScot_Gore
Aug 5, 2002 2:01 PM
Scene 7: The RestuarantAllisonHayes
Aug 5, 2002 2:08 PM
As Kristin entered the restuarant, she realized everything seemed, well strange.

The person who seated her was well over 6'6" and 400 pounds. He had a pleasant smile but his skin had a gray pallor. He shuffled as he walked and his body was stiff. Other patrons in the restuarant were hunched over and they all had the same gray pallor. As she sat down, she noticed the waiters were all in black. The restuarant contained large paintings of hunting dogs and italian scenes. There was a Blue Marlin over the mantle of the fireplace.

She mused to herself that this place was a cross between a scene from "Night of the Living Dead" and "The Godfather."

She was given three menus. Breakfast was served from 6am to 3pm. A lunch menu and a "price fixe" menu. All meals were the same price regardless of menu. There was a $5.00 per person surcharge for use of a credit card on the "price fixe" menu.

"Whatsa like today?" asked the waiter. "Uh oh, just a burger," replied Kristen.

She glanced around the room and noticed none of the patrons were eating. Each one would raise their head and give her a blank stare. Kristin felt a shiver. The waiter brought her a roll. She thought to herself, "This is the first time I ever had a dinner roll served with a burger. Strange custom."

As she waited for her burger, some patrons got up to leave and they had the same ambling shuffle. Others arrived and were seated. All had the same walk and cold, gray sweating skin.

More people came; soon the room was full but no one was talking. She became paranoid. "Why is it that I am the only normal person in here?"

Then her imagination really took over. "My god, these people are just waiting to have me for dinner. I am the "price fixe" on the menu."

That was it, she left. On the way out she noticed a sign that said, "Welcome science fiction and horror fans."
"Calling on all you whacky, creative & fertile guys out there.."Ahimsa
Aug 5, 2002 2:27 PM
I'd love to hon, but the muse doesn't work that way for me. At least not today anyhow.

I was all set to add something to the mix, but after the aliens and crop circles and stealth fighter bikes collided with rural scenes and Russel Crowe, I just drew a blank.

Cheers!

A.
Scene 8: The Rescuemr_spin
Aug 5, 2002 2:47 PM
So far, Kristin had had nothing but strange experiences in the big city. After the restaurant experience, she was thinking of returning home to dad. Except she could never do that. Admit defeat? Return crying, begging for forgiveness. No way. Kristin was determined to make it on her own.

Food was scarce. Money was even more scarce. She had no place to live. With nothing to do and no prospects, she'd taken to wandering the Merchandise Mart all day. It was a huge building, and easy to get lost.

One day, she was wandering down a corridor she had never seen before. She heard voices. Muffled at first, but then clearer. There were angry shouts. A thud.

"You will get nothing from me or my family!" shouted a man with a distinct Boston accent.

She cautiously moved forward and peeked inside an open door. There were two thugs holding a gun on a well dressed man. He was stylish and fashionable and yet casual at the same time. This is the epitome of elegance, Kristin thought.

Reacting on instinct, Kristin rushed into the room, tackling one of the thugs and sending him headlong into the wall, headfirst. He fell to the floor, unconcious.

The other thug, stunned by her sudden appearence, stood still as a stone. He never knew what hit him. Kristin reeled, spun, and executed a perfect Karate kick to his head.

He didn't go down, and now he was awake.

Kristin hit him again. And again. And again. With every blow he was knocked backwards, but he would not fall. Finally, mustering all her strength, she rushed him at full speed, knocking him through the window.

She didn't think he could survive the fall, 14 stories to the river below, but she wasn't going to look.

"We must hurry," she said to the man. They rushed from the room and down the stairway to the street. When they arrived, the man stopped her and said "Thank you. I thank you."

"Sure, whatever," Kristin replied.

"I would like to reward you," the man said. "I will offer you a choice of $1 million, or a brand new bicycle. What will it be."

I could use the money, she thought. But bicycles are cool. I really, really want a bike so I can ride on that cool MUT I saw the other day.

"I will take the bicycle," she announced.

"Very well. You shall have it," he said. One week from today, I will be right here with your brand new bike." He turned and got in a waiting car.

As the car started to move, Kristin shouted "Wait!" She ran after the car. "Wait!!! Wait!!!" The car screeched to a halt. The window rolled down.

"What is it," the man asked.

"What is your name?" she said, meekly.

"John," he said, with a smile. "My family owns this building." The window rolled up, the car drove off.

Kristin grabbed the first person she saw on the street. "Who owns this building," she asked breathlessly.

"Why, the Kennedy family does," said a man with a briefcase. "Everyone knows that."
See here AllisonHayes. Look what you've done! Scene 12:Kristin
Aug 6, 2002 7:19 AM
She awoke with a start. The feeling of rough, splintered boards beneath her back created a sense of confusion. "Where am I?" she wondered. Panic rose within her as she sprung to her feet. A twinge of pain traced its way through her shoulder and down her back. Blinking several times in an attempt to clear away the darkness, she struggled for composure, "Where am I?" She tried to think. In the distance she spotted two small lights dancing about, and there was the sound of water lapping. As her eyes adjusted she could tell that the small lights were boats moored off shore. She turned slowly to face a maze of lights and towering buildings. Oh yes, Chicago. Suddenly it all came rushing back: the exhausting three day bus ride, the zillions of people she encountered on crowded streets, wandering in the Mart and her chance encounter with a mysterious millionaire in need.

She massaged her stiff shoulder for a moment and questioned herself quietly, "Remind me again why that black belt was a good idea." As if in natural conversation, she replied, "Oh, stop whining. You know it gives you confidence and power." You'll all need that and more in a place like this.

Memories from the previous night tumbled through her mind. She recalled his face. At first there had appeared to be a roughness about him; but something in his eyes betrayed a more tender side. He had said his name was John. And a Kennedy at that! A strange sense of déjà vu nagged at her; but she couldn't possibly know him. How could she? She shook it off. There's was only one way to know for sure.

Her thoughts were interrupted just then by a more urgent matter--she needed food and soon. It had been hours since she'd bought a hotdog at the Lincoln Park Zoo. But what could she afford with her remaining five dollars? A vision of chocolate frosted doughnut's appeared in her mind. It was troubling that she ate so poorly now. She took great pride in all she had learned about nutrition back on the farm. After her mother left, she gave up the Macaroni and Cheese, and the potato chip laden casseroles which she was raised on. That was 250 pounds and a lifetime ago. She was not about to return to that size or that farm. Why is there no affordable healthy food available? "I know," she thought, "I will start vegetarian curbside stand with my new bike. I can sell salads and.zucchini! It will be a huge success!"

Regardless of future endeavors it was clear that tonight she must eat; and a $.57 doughnut was about all she could afford. Then she remembered a man she had met once who looked like Abe Lincoln and loved doughnuts; and he rode his bicycle hundreds of miles. "Perhaps doughnuts are not so bad for you after all," she smiled.

There was a Dunkin Doughnut shop about 2 miles away. She hopped up onto the boardwalk from her secluded perch behind the pier and wandered back towards the entrance. The moon revealed that it was well past midnight by now. Navy Pier was abandoned, except for one lone cabby parked at the curb, thumbing through a copy of the early edition.

As she strolled down Grand Avenue, she idly cast her hand into her pocket. Her fingers brushed the envelope which crinkled a bit. She pulled it out and played around with the edges, then turned it over and ran her fingers along the lettering on the front. This was the last letter she'd received from him. A feeling of regret and sadness settled over her. They had written for years. Since well before. memories danced to life in her mind.

She was just eight years old and wearing her princess dress. (It was an old silk night gown of her mothers which together they had fashioned with a belt and some sequins to make a Halloween costume. It has since become Kristin's favorite thing to wear.) Pretending she was a courtier, Kristin and her mother had blown up 30 balloons and attached a note to each which read:

Princess Derosa
1235 RR
continued...Kristin
Aug 6, 2002 7:22 AM

She was just eight years old and wearing her princess dress. (It was an old silk night gown of her mothers which together they had fashioned with a belt and some sequins to make a Halloween costume. It has since become Kristin's favorite thing to wear.) Pretending she was a courtier, Kristin and her mother had blown up 30 balloons and attached a note to each which read:

Princess Derosa
1235 RR 184
Horse Head, NY 12845

It was Kristin's secret hope that her true prince would find the note and come free her from the evil Baron and Baroness who kept her imprisoned in the bell tower and forced her to work for food.


She had only ever received on reply. It was from a boy who called himself Prince Campagnolo of the royal isle Narragansett. They had written back and forth for fifteen years until one day his letters suddenly stopped arriving. She turned over the envelope again in her hands and read the postmark: September 4, 2001. A shiver ran down her spine. She wished that the postmark would change and that the letters scribbled haphazardly on the page would magically rearrange themselves into new thoughts from her friend. How she longed to hear his new ideas.

She carefully pulled the worn letter from its shelter and began to read.
Scene ?: Age before Beautymr_spin
Aug 6, 2002 9:26 AM
He was there in a dark and dusty gym on the South side, working the bag like a man possessed. It was still early, the gym was almost deserted. The boxer liked it that way.

On the other side of the room was Blind Phil, a dapper old man who came down to the gym every day from dawn til dusk. He was an old fighter himself back in the fifties, and now he just wanted to hang out where the fighters were.

He sat in the same chair every day, dressed to the nines in a grey flannel suit, penny loafers sporting a brilliant shine, and a grey fedora hat. They say men stopped wearing hats when John F Kennedy went bare headed on his inauguration day. Phil didn't know anything about that. He had lost his sight in a sparring match with Rocky.

All the kids used to laugh when he told the story. All they knew was Rocky from the movies, not the real Rocky, Rocky Marciano. As a perennial undercard, Phil knew he would never get to be a contender. So when Marciano visited his gym one day looking for a quick spar session, Phil stepped up. It was supposed to be a friendly fight, but Phil got a good shot in, which both impressed and infuriated Rocky. Ripping off the protective headgear, they went at it for real, and with one vicious right hook, Phil was knocked out and blinded. Blind Phil still loves to talk about how he took Marciano four rounds that day.

Phil could hear the boxer doing his workout. He'd throw out an occassional comment, but he could tell the guy wasn't really listening. These new kids were mostly punks. None of them cared that Phil had given advice to all the greats that passed through this gym. Contenders. Guys who wore the belts.

"You're gonna get killed if you keep throwing that same pattern," he shouted out across the room. The words echoed in the empty space.

"What?," replied the boxer. How could this blind guy know what he was doing? He ignored the comment and went back to his workout.

"I could beat you blindfolded!," the blind man said with a laugh. "Mister Professional Boxer!," he laughed again. "You are so predictable."

"I am not," said the boxer weakly. He went back to punching the bag, harder this time.

"Right. Right. Left. Up." shouted the old man.

The boxer stopped again. "Shut up, old man. Leave me alone." How could a blind man see what he was doing? He started a new pattern.

The old man called every shot.

"Dammit! You win," the boxer said, out of breath. "You win!" He grabbed a towel, came over and sat down next to the man. "Can you help me?"

"You gotta lot of work to do." the man said. "We'll start tomorrow. But on your way home tonight, I want you to shadow box the whole way. Don't follow any pattern. Keep it random. Try not to hit anyone."

"No way! I ride a bike home," the boxer said.

"Then learn to ride with no hands!" the old man yelled. "Learn to improvise, mister professional boxer!" he said sarcastically.

The boxer left the gym, got on his bike and headed for the MUT. "I'm gonna need some tunes," he thought to himself. He put on some headphones, and took his first try and no hands riding.

"This ain't so hard!" he thought, with amazement. "Okay, now let's throw a few punches...."
and I'm Lance ArmstrongDougSloan
Aug 5, 2002 3:09 PM
Sunday I rode from to 7500 feet in the mountains and back, about a 125 mile ride.

Around Shaver Lake in the mountains, there was some construction along the 2 lane highway. They were doing the Stop/Slow sign with traffic one way at a time thing. On the way up, one of the construction workers said something as I passed, but I couldn't make it out.

On the way back, as I rode along with a line of cars through the same area, some pot-bellied leather-skinned construction "worker" (in quotes, because he was one of the sign guys) shouts out to me, "Way to go, Armstrong!"

I think that makes road cycling officially commonplace among American sports now. This guy, while joking, obviously at least had heard of Armstrong and could use the name in proper context... Well, I was wearing a yellow jersey.

Doug
you are mad. all of you. mad as hatters. nm. :)weiwentg
Aug 6, 2002 6:05 AM