This story was meant to wrap up in December 2020, but the trials of Frankie are far from over. Once again I have entered a chapter of my now serialised novel in the Australian Writers Centre’s Furious Fiction competition.
The Furious Fiction short story competition is serious fun and I recommend it to anyone who likes creative writing. Only 500 words with a prize of $A500. I’ve given up on writing for the prize, now I am just trying to write my story. The plot twist fairies and the prompts are not helping me get to the end. Once again it runs on directly from the last instalment so read that first.
The criteria for Furious Fiction this month were:
- Your story must begin at sunrise.
- You must use the following words somewhere in your story: SIGNATURE, PATIENT, BICYCLE.
- Your story must include a character who has to make a CHOICE.
This month’s Furious Fiction stats:
This month I submitted the story at 10:15 AM on Sunday. I started thinking about the story soon after the prompts came out on Friday night but did not start writing until Saturday evening about 6 PM. Then lots of tweaking on Sunday morning. 499 words.
The Biker’s Alarm App.
These days EVERYONE used the *amazing* Biker’s Alarm app. It went off an hour before sunrise automatically factoring in the daily astronomical variation. It gave a weather forecast, a half-way warning based on time, AND you could choose your favourite bike-related song for the alarm! These wonders of technology disguised some of the less palatable aspects of the app.
This morning, like every other morning, O’Mallory was jolted from his restless half-sleep by Queen’s “Bicycle Race”, and despite his oppressive fatigue, his feet slapped on the floor enthusiastically. There was no way on God’s Earth O’Mallory was ever going to miss a single legal opportunity to wear coloured clothing! As he pulled on his purple leggings and gold jersey, the Judge sang his favourite line of the song;
“You say black; I say white!” and chortled at his courageous rebellion.
The ruling Ultra Conservative Party, which prohibited the wearing of anything other than black, white or grey clothing, had paradoxically exempted cycling gear. Although touted as a health initiative, most people knew it was a paper-thin excuse manufactured by duplicitous Middle-Aged Male politicians who fancied themselves In Lycra!
In the end, it didn’t matter why the UCP let you ride in coloured lycra, they did. *Everyone* in the country now had a bicycle, and the nation had never been fitter!
O’Mallory unlocked his Bluetooth bike lock by agreeing to the App’s T&Cs from his phone.
- Colour permitted forty minutes either side of sunrise.
- No dismount for any purpose except to repair a flat tyre.
- Maximum of four riders in any group.
- No motorised traffic other than bicycles allowed. (Essential services excepted)
Non-compliance: $5000 fine and/or 5 years imprisonment.
With an 80-minute window, there was no stopping for a coffee or a chat like in the old days. McDonald’s, never missing an opportunity, modified their drive-through so you could pedal-through and refill your reusable McGoCup with their signature McSunride brew.
Mobile coffee vans pivoted to become tyre repair stations with all the gear an *unlucky* rider might need to fix a puncture. You could *guarantee* a flat tyre every time you rode over a *particular* nearby spot.
Riding quietly, O’Mallory thought about his next mutinous steps. Armed with evidence, thanks to Frankie; it was time to act! He’d been patient long enough.
So engrossed by thoughts of sedition, O’Mallory didn’t notice the whisper-quiet Tesla creeping up behind him until it was too late. The tinted windows gave no clue to whom was inside, but a non-essential vehicle on the road at this time of day only spelt trouble.
He rose in the saddle to pedal faster and negotiate the last hill before home, but as he rattled down the other side at breakneck speed, the Tesla broadsided him.
In that nanosecond, O’Mallory had to choose between going over the bonnet or under the wheels; either way, it wouldn’t end well for him.
As he soared over the bonnet, he looked back to see the door open and saw …