The boy, Jungle, reaches into his pocket to get out his crescent wrench. His bike needs just a little bit of tweaking, as he stops to tighten a bolt, just as he remembers doing when he was only a little bit younger, as he would have liked to have done in this one, very hectic situation, but everything happened so fast.
Oh, how Jungle wishes for those days now, as he gingerly picked himself up off the ground, painfully enough, where he’d just now plummeted headlong from his brand new, Japanese Racer, just because some bolt had come loose on him at high speed, that was supposed to be holding his handlebars in place, on his brand new bicycle.
He had a bad accident.
Jungle had lost control of the new bike at high speed, going down hill.
He had run out third gear to top speed, on the maiden voyage of his brand new, birthday bicycle. The boy had managed to wreck the darned thing, just going down the closest hill away from the house, for his first time out, since he’d just gotten the darned thing as a birthday present that same afternoon.
Jungle was doing something like a full, headlong, downhill, 35 mph, on a bicycle no less, when he’d hit a large stone with his front tire, which threw him royally. It had been a quick moment of violence, which he had been out of control of entirely.
He’d hurt himself, too.
Jungle hadn’t been able to steer the new bike away from the big rock by the side of the road on the big hill, in his out of control careening along, on his way down past the old motel, near to where he lived in those days. He never made it down the hill, with his shoulder bothering him right away.
Jungle tried to pick up the bent up new bicycle from down on the ground, where it had landed him abruptly down in a heap. He tried to carry the bike back home with him, but found his right shoulder hurt him too much to withstand the weight of the bicycle at all.
He was forced to leave the wrecked bicycle behind, struggling to even walk home without it.
The boy was hurt.
He gave up trying to lift the mangled weight, and started walking home in pain, with his hands in his jacket pockets, to support his sore right shoulder as best he could. He thought sure he’d broken a bone somewhere in that shoulder. Jungle was a little boy again, as he arrived home, moaning and groaning to beat the band, when he finally got home out of the cold March air.
The boy was only 15 years old that day, and it was his birthday bicycle, back in the mid-1960’s, when he was still a youngster. His folks had just traded in his trusty old, fat tire Schwinn, to get him this new, candy ass, light weight, lousy Japanese Racer he thought he wanted so badly.
Boy, had he been wrong to let that old bike go!
That old fat tire Schwinn had been a classic, even back in Jungle’s adolescent days, while it was still a lot newer bicycle than it would be now. It had belonged to his uncle, when the man had been a boy, back whenever, and the old bike was a collector’s item, even by the time his folks had traded it in on the brand new bicycle.
Well, Jungle didn’t want the darned bicycle, or any other bicycle. They could leave it where it was or cart it off to the dump, as far as he was concerned. He refused to ever ride a bicycle again. Jungle was yelling with pain.
He was done with bicycles, he was in so much pain that day. Thanks for the birthday present anyway, folks, and his folks ended up carting the brand new wreck off to the dump. But for some reason, his folks put up with Jungle’s yelling, and took him to the ER.
The entire investment was a waste of money on the part of Jungle’s folks, but it was only one of the first of many wastes of money his folks would squander on the rebellious boy throughout his youth, until he finally got ahold of himself as a younger-middle-aged adult, quite some time later.
Jungle was supposed to be a very bright boy, and did well enough in school without ever cracking a book, the whole way through high school. Buying him things, like a college education for instance, when the time came along for the investment, proved to be something like buying the boy that bicycle. His tuition money turned out to be a big waste for his folks.
Jungle only arrived back home more hurt and no more educated, apparently, than he might have been if he’d never gone to college at all. The years after he came home again, turned out to be worse than a nightmare for all concerned.
His folks held the 15 year old to his word, and carted the wrecked bike off to the dump, never to supply him with another bicycle, until he was back from college, living in some God forsaken place down by the city, where the distances were long, and the young man couldn’t afford a car.
Jungle never asked for another bike, after the one he’d gotten that green-stick fracture from, with that new bike of his. His folks were trying to teach him to watch what he said when he wasn’t feeling well, but he missed the lesson altogether.
The incompetent Japanese couldn’t even tighten up all the bolts on the darned thing before they sold it to his folks. He might have checked out that little bolt himself, if he’d have thought about it, back when he was still 11, or 12 years old, back when he was still hanging around with his favorite pal, the wretcheder, ole Buddy Beam himself, from way back up North, where Jungle had a little bit of training about how to keep up a bicycle.
Buddy Beam turned out to be a tinker, and when Jungle showed up on his doorstep at the age of 20, the boy, Buddy Beam, turned out to have become an auto mechanic. Figured. That guy was always tinkering with something, back when the two young men had been boys.
He hadn’t seen ole Buddy, ever since his family had moved South of the Mason Dixon Line, back when the two boys were only 13 year old friends, of a soon almost-forgotten yesterday. Jungle and Buddy would scarcely ever see each other again.
When they did get together, it was like two strangers meeting after a whole lifetime apart. They didn’t remember the same things at all, from back when they’d been 13. They were 20 by the time they got together again. It might have been a lifetime, for all they knew. Buddy Bean remembered one thing, and Jungle remembered something else entirely.
They turned out to be strangers to each other at the age of 20. But Jungle’s folks helped him to look up his old friend, when college was out for the summer, before Jungle’s summer job finally started hiring.
Jeez! Jungle’s shoulder hurt, back when he’d been 15 years old.
It was a short ride, but a long walk in the cold breezes of mid-March, way back up the hill toward home, to his grandmother’s house, from halfway down the big hill. The boy came into the house with his whole family at home, in those old days of glory, long gone by now, lost into the mists of his tomorrows, as he remembers his youth.
His effusive complaining about the pain in his right shoulder, and his vulgar language, and explicative’s about his accident on the new bicycle, convinced his folks to take the boy to the ER for an X ray of his shoulder. The X ray showed what the doctor called a green stick fracture to his right collar bone. No wonder it hurt. He’d broken the darned thing.
Jungle was not tiptoeing around with a lot of delicate wordings at the time, either. He’d been shouting obscenities until he’d finally given up on shouting altogether, when he was finally getting the medical help he thought he needed.
The doctor strapped his upper arm to his side, with an ace bandage, and put his lower arm into a sling, which was the way doctors were treating that sort of fracture in those days. The result was a shorter right shoulder than his left shoulder turned out to be, later on in life. Jungle went home only slightly feeling any better, and attended high school down there in Dixieland with a broken collar bone, until it finally healed up, in what seemed like an eternity, back when he was an adolescent boy.
Jungle was still going out with the beautiful little Peaches, who loved to ride on the center bar of his fat tire Schwinn. He was left without any bicycle to ride on at all, since his folks had traded in the old bicycle, to get the new one. The boy’s rash statements that he would never get on another bicycle, became a nuisance by the time he met up with the MP’s on the military base.
Jungle found out what the MP’s were like on the roads of the Proving Ground, where the beautiful, little Peaches lived with her folks, back in those days. The boy got caught hitch hiking on a military base, and boy, did he get hassled by the pigs that day. He found out what it was to be hassled by some smart mouth MP. The guy acted like he wanted to shoot the kid for just touching his car door.
The bastard needed to get a life, treating a hurt child the way he treated the Jungle.
Jungle was the name his sister and her girlfriends called her brother George, because of that popular TV cartoon of the times, called George of the Jungle. In those days, all the kids in their circles had to have a nickname, and Jungle was George’s name. It was much later on in life, that Jungle would finally permit his own sister to call him Georgie.
The beautiful little Peaches soon complained that their friendship was “not the same anymore,” for some mysterious reason, and the boy was left out a girlfriend, as well as without a bicycle. It all might have kept the status quot, would it have been to stop and tighten that one darned bolt, but the boy did not have his wrench with him, and the accident was beyond his control.
He was going too fast to stop when the problem developed.
The problem, and it’s apparent consequences, had caught him totally unawares.