ah, lunch break....the time of the day where I stuff my face and guiltlessly write and read BLOGS
TimmyP and I had several exchanges back and forth on the topic of photo of a pretty girl we had each seen on the internet. No, not Pam Anderson or Jessica Simpson, but rather a simple face shot of a brown eyed girl with simple brown hair; natural. Just something about her eyes and that smile, perhaps there is something Monalisaesque about her, I never got the Monalisa thing so I will not expand. After all this build up I must get to my point, I told TimmyP that I was going to write a short story based on that image, I don't normally write short stories, I am anecdotal and enjoy streams of consciousness rants, but fiction is not my thing so bear with me....
It seemed as if Alice was on a roll. She had always been a passionate artist, growing up in a nurturing creative environment where she found a love for oil painting, acting, and bicycles, yes, bicycles. She was one of several children, her mother a crafty homemaker with a love for reading the great books and gardening, while her father was a nutty man with a passion for wheels (spoke wheels), well actually a passion for anything and everything that he touched;Clifford "Cliff" Braun was a tinkerer, an inventor, and a theorist. Cliff had a love for machines, mechanisms, and technology....and well for communication tools. Cliff's work space was filled with projects started, projects unstarted, and even a few near finished projects, always moving to the next thing, always more thrilled by the process more than the product. When the internet came to be Cliff jumped right on the case. The Ham radio, CB, and all the other outdated devices of communication were set aside. He built up his own server and started building low end information based web sites for himself and for his friends. From this new venue of communication Cliff was able to share all of his information and interests with anyone and everyone who cared to read.....and you know what they did read. That was all many years ago, part of the puzzle, but not the meat of the message. Alice had moved away from home after she finished college, in just three years, somehow in that time she managed to graduate with a dual major and a minor; Sociology/Theater and fine arts. She got a job as a social worker where she worked with urban children and tried to use painting as a form of therapy, in her time away from work when she was not lending her hand at the soup kitchen of riding bikes with the children from her program she was dedicated to local theater, always scoring the leading roles and receiving smashing reviews. Her popularity was shocking, for some reason her popularity grew beyond the scope of her local community. Her art had been selling via the internet for years and her acting performances had been packed houses as well. Alice Braun was a simple girl, not vain or conceited, she took the response to her art in stride and stayed committed to her goals. She was not driven by the fame, the applause, or even the money she received for selling her paintings or sculptures. Alice produced becuase it made her feel alive, a trait that she must have picked up from her father Cliff, a man who made his living off a small motorcycle repair shop, custom bicycle frame building, and an occassional patent. (most of his inventions cost more to create then they ever recouped in earning, but he did not invent for money, he invented for the pleasure of the task)
Over the years Alice had made a few friends and acquaintances of her admiring fans. At gallery openings and at post theater performances she would meet various people she had met before. Some of which were from different east coast cities or from surrounding towns. What had brought them this great distance never caused her any great curiousity. She was a lover of the arts and thought felt that there are those that love to catch a performance on Broadway while there are those that prefer the downhome smaller theater troops such as the one that she was teamed up with in Boston at this time.
At one of the gallery exhibitions in a downtown Boston, not far from the rural home that Alice grew up in just outside of Wooster, Mass, Alice noticed through the long, tall, clear glass windows that there were an extraordinary amount of bicycles locked up outside the gallery. Every No Parking sign, every coin operated meter, and every tree (yes....every tree....for shame) was surrounded by as many bicycles as could possibly be leaned and locked to. This caught her attention, as bicycles normally do, but this for some reason occupied the back of her mind. Throughout the rest of the evening Alice kept getting wierd signs and signs from the predomanantly male crowd at this gallery opening. When Alice met a thin blonde man with a wirey goatee she noticed that when she shook hands he had an odd brown oval on his hand, a mark that she had recognized on her own hands after a long bicycle tour one summer. That mark had been created by a space in the cycling gloves. There were other odd clues that she began to notice.....one of the woman that seemed so interested in buying some of her art had some tattoos on her arms and legs as revealed by her sleeveless shirt and short skirt; all these tattoos had a recurring theme of the bicycle, some were cogs others were chains and the words..."the Revolution will not be MOTORIZED!" After a while she grew a tad curious about this bicycle culture that surrounded her. Was it due to the bohemian nature of artists and their love for bikes or something else. Then in a conversation with an old friend who had been going to her shows and plays, Alice brought up the topic of bikes and caught a slip in the conversation. The young man with the hairless body made mention of Cliff, almost as if he knew him. She asked. Oh, do you know my father?
more on this in a bit
need to get back to this in a bit