The Adventures of Billy and Bobby
Book 3, Chapter 8
Bikes and Bongs
by Greg Wright
A loud crash of thunder abruptly awakened Daniel. But, he was unable to rise, while rain fell rapidly, dancing across the barn style roof over his upstairs bedroom. Its steady patter drew him deeper into sleep, securing him to the bed, as if the invisible tentacles of the bed monster surrounded him and held him fast. Then the rain stopped and the bed monster released his grip.
Daniel arose to look out a window. "I wonder, yes, itís true!" He exclaimed.
Daniel was supposed to mow the lawn and trim the hedges on this Saturday, but now the yard was full of puddles and the shrubbery too wet to handle.
"Thereíll be no mowing today, Mom," Daniel announced as he raced downstairs.
"I can tell youíre disappointed," She replied.
"Iím going to Bobbyís."
"Oh no you donít; hold it!"
Daniel froze in place, wondering if his mother had already thought of another chore to replace mowing and trimming.
"Daniel, you are not going to wear those new airwalks out in the mud. Put on your old shoes, please."
Daniel had wanted to show off his new shoes to Bobby, but guessed that his mother was right. The shoes would be caked with mud before the day was over.
When he finally did get to Bobbyís house, Bobby was already up. He had moved his old bike into the paved driveway in order to make repairs.
"Hey Daniel, itís good to see you. I could use some help."
"Sure," Daniel replied. "Iíve never worked on bikes before, but Iíll help if youíll tell me what to do."
"This is good timing," Bobby responded. "Reggieís old bike has a flat tire and I need to patch it."
"What do you mean Reggieís old bike! This is the bike he stole from you, remember?"
"I know," Bobby said, "but I already have a better mountain bike. Reggie will come home from the hospital, today. And, Iíve been thinking..."
"Oh great," Daniel interrupted, "Monday heíll probably be back at school, bullying and picking on people as always."
"Daniel, would you hand me a Phillips head screw driver?" Bobby asked, turning his attention back to the flat tire.
"Whoís Phillip?" Daniel asked.
"You donít know what a Phillips head screw driver is?" Bobby asked, surprised. Then, he wished he hadnít. Daniel blushed with embarrassment.
"Thatís okay Daniel, itís just a screw driver with an "X" shaped head, as opposed to the flat head type you are probably used to using."
"Oh, I see," Daniel said as he found one and handed it to Bobby. There are three of them; is this one the right size."
"Perfect," Bobby responded, "Iíve got to take the break off the front tire. Thatís got it; now hand me a wrench, please."
Using the wrench, Bobby loosened the nuts that held the tire to the frame. Then, leaving the nuts attached, he removed the tire.
"Daniel, now I need a flat head screw driver. No wait, I think I have a tire iron. That would be better."
Starting across the wheel from the inner tube valve, Bobby slid a tire iron under the lip of the tire. Then, he used the tire iron like a lever to raise the tire up and over the rim. He attached the other end of the iron to a spoke that started from the same side of the hub.
"Daniel, see if there is another tire iron."
"Good. Do the same thing that I did, only do it from the other side, one spoke down."
Carefully, Daniel slid his tire iron under the lip of the tire and lifted it up over the rim.
"Now Daniel, see the gap weíve made with the tire irons, use your finger nail and try to unzipper the rest of the tire from the rim."
"Itís too tight, I canít do it."
"Thatís okay, weíll let some air out."
With less air, Daniel was able to unzipper the tire with no trouble. Then, Bobby marked the tire where the inner tube valve was located.
"Now, letís see if we can find the leak," Bobby suggested, while he removed the tube. Then he pumped the tube up.
"I canít find anything," Bobby said, as he felt around the tube for escaping air. Daniel, see if you can find anything."
"Right here, I think I feel something."
"Good, you found it!" Bobby confirmed. "Now, I wonder if the thing that caused this puncture is still in the tire."
Aligning the valve in the tube with the mark on the tire, Bobby located the place on the tire where the leak occurred and removed a small nail.
"Well, this wonít cause anymore trouble. Iíll go ahead and put the patch on."
After he applied the patch, Bobby pumped the tube just enough so that there were no creases left in it. Then he put baby powder on the tube and on the inside of the tire.
"That is weird; why did you do that?" Daniel asked.
"This will make it easier to remove the inner tube when it goes flat, again. Now, letís see if we can reattach the tube. Weíll start where the valve goes back into the hole in the rim. Why donít you do one side and Iíll do the other."
Daniel and Bobby were very careful not to pinch the tube between the tire and the rim. But, the last 3-4 inches did not go as easily, so Daniel reached for the tire iron.
"No, donít do that," Bobby cautioned. "Itís too easily punctured at this point. Use the palm of your hand and a twisting motion."
Daniel summoned all his strength, pressed with his palm, and gave a very satisfied sigh of relief as he finished attaching the tube.
"This is a lot of work," commented Daniel, "but Iím grateful to know how to repair a leak, now. Also, I see that you gave the bike a new paint job. Since you already have a nicer bike, are you planning to sell this one?"
"No," Bobby smiled, as he pulled a testament from his pocket, "read this and see what you think."
Bobby opened the testament to Luke 6:30 and gave it to Daniel. "Give to everyone who asks of you. And from him who takes away your goods do not ask them back."
"Who said this?" Daniel asked.
"Jesus said it during the Sermon on the Mount."
"So what, Jesus didnít have a bicycle. No, youíre not planning to take this back to Reggie!"
Bobby smiled even bigger. "Daniel, usually when I read the Sermon on the Mount, I say there is no way I could ever live like that. I see it as one great step of obedience that Iím too small to make. But, maybe itís not one big step. Perhaps itís a bunch of small steps. Deep inside my heart, I have a special feeling, a special kind of peace, that says the right thing to do is give my bike back to Reggie. Iím not sure this would be true in every case of stolen property, but for me at this time, I sense that itís the right thing to do."
"Man, this is really weird. But, itís your bike. When are you going to give it back?"
"Now," Bobby responded, "if I donít do it now, I wonít do it at all; Iíll back out. Do you want to come with me?"
"Go with you, sure. I canít imagine how this guyís going to respond. Heíll probably say you brought it back because you were afraid of him."
"Daniel, that might be true, but God promises to reward us when we are kind to our enemies, even if they take our kindness for granted. Besides, what is merely a bike here on earth might be a Corvette in heaven, although I donít know what kind of traction a Corvette would have on streets of gold." They both laughed.
The journey to Reggieís neighborhood involved walking towards the school and then going down a road behind it. Reggie was home from the hospital and resting in the living room, watching television. But, when he heard Bobbyís voice, he walked outside to see him.
"So, youíre all patched up now?" Bobby asked, trying to make conversation.
"Pretty much," Reggie responded, looking down at the bike.
"You had a flat tire, but it should be okay now," Bobby commented, as he rolled the bike towards Reggie.
"This isnít really my bike. I ripped it off from another kid, last year.
"I know, I was that kid."
Reggie looked down, surprised. "Oh, yeah, I remember now."
"Iíve got a better bike now, I donít need this one anymore," Bobby said as he turned around to leave.
"Wait, donít go. Are you serious, youíre giving this to me?"
"I couldnít believe it either," Daniel said.
"Iím amazed, not that I donít appreciate it. But itís so weird, that after all the trouble Iíve made for you all, you probably saved my life when I wrecked, and now youíre giving me your bike?"
"Just check your ramps after heavy rain storms," Bobby responded. "We might not be around the next time you get hurt. Letís go Daniel,"
"Iíll make it up to you guys," Reggie continued. "Iím not going to be a such a jerk anymore. Youíll see."
"Thatís great Reggie, see you later."
"No, wait, Iíll prove it. Wait right here."
Reggie raced into a storage building behind his house and came out with a fancy lavender tube-like object.
"Guys, do you know what this is?" Reggie asked.
"It looks like a lamp," Daniel volunteered.
"No," Reggie Laughed, "itís called a bong. When we light up our weed, we stick it on this tube. Then we all pass it around and inhale over the top. Iím not going to smoke pot anymore."
Bobby nodded and turned around, again, to leave. "Thatís great Reggie!"
"No wait!" Reggie yelled! Then, he threw the bong down on the ground and picked up a large piece of slate.
"Do you know what this is?"
"A rock?" Bobby questioned.
"No, itís a bong smasher!" And having said that, Reggie slammed the rock into the bong, smashing it. Again and again, he threw the rock against the bong until it was flattened and unrecognizable. Then, looking up at Bobby and Daniel, he asked again, almost pleadingly. "Do you believe me, now?"
Bobby and Daniel stood looking at each other, speechless, stunned, and amazed. Then, Bobby turned to face Reggie and nodded.
"Reggie, I was nervous about bringing the bike up here; I wasnít sure how you would respond. But now, I ask you not only to receive this bike as a gift, but to take it as the first gesture of a new friendship." The eye contact between the two was unbroken as Bobby extended his hand and Reggie grasped it.
Daniel, however, twisted his face and grimaced when Bobby said the word "friendship", but Reggie didnít see Daniel.
Bobby continued. "Now, I have something else that I want to give you. Except, itís not really mine to give. Itís a better high than you could ever get with marijuana, its benefits last forever, and, best of all, itís free."
Suddenly, Reggieís mind went on alert, as familiar danger signals were engaged. "Warning, warning, you are about to hear something religious. Religion alert, religion alert, take evasive action immediately. Warning, warning, abort, abort, run!"
But another power was beginning to work in Reggie, now, softening his heart and focusing his mind.
"Reggie, I think you are ready. Are you willing to hear more?"
Reggie nodded, and the two of them sat down to talk, like old friends, while Daniel watched in wonder.