The Adventures of Frankie – 19 – Brain Freeze

Scrawny Ronnie, the New Kid, Pretty Paulette, Rita the Red Head and Frankie were on a mission, single file, peddling their bicycles into town. Frankie had just caught up for the second time after slipping the chain back on. Rita was doing her best to keep up on Paulette's old bike.

The new kid had told them about a new ice cream stand that just opened up. With their mouths watering, nothing was going to stop them!

Just over the hill was the dirt road that led down to the river where Rita and her brother Brad the Bully lived. From there it was downhill, past the old plastic factory, around the big curve by the egg farm, through the first traffic light at the edge of the village then just over the bridge, next to the bait shop was their destination.

Scrawny was already over the top of the hill. Frankie could just make out the top of his head as he swerved to the left. The new kid did the same. It wasn’t a pothole or a dead animal in their way, it was Brad! And the bully’s eyes were fixed right on Frankie. Not even thinking about cars coming down the road, Frankie leaned his bike over to avoid his arch enemy. The big bully reached out and shoved Frankie's shoulder, sending him into the middle of traffic. Frankie’s reflexes brought him back to the safety of the side of the road, but not before losing complete control and crashing into the ditch.

Brad the Bully barked, "That's for the fat lip at baseball try-outs!"

The back tire of Rita's bike screeched like a car. She swung a leg over the seat then swatted the kickstand down before storming back to poke a single finger deep into her brother's chest. She said something quietly before returning to help Paulette get Frankie back on his feet. By now, Ronnie and the new kid were straddling their bikes, slack jawed in disbelief. With Frankie back on his bike, Rita glared as she pointed a finger at her older brother, "I can still tell Dad and you know what he’ll do to you." The bully stomped off without a word. Rita’s voice quickly lost its firey tone as she looked directly at Frankie, "He'll leave you alone now.” With just a little of the heat back in her voice she turned to the others, “Let's go."

The new kid piped up, "Yo Scrawny, maybe we should put her in charge."

But Frankie's troubles weren't over, as he rolled up onto the bridge his tire let out a loud bang. Luckily, all the others missed the jagged hunk of concrete.  "Just go,” he looked down at the flat tire then his shoulders dropped when he noticed the chain had fallen off, too. “I'll meet ya there, after I throw this piece of junk in the river!"

Paulette had a double scoop of chocolate in a cone waiting for him as he walked up dragging his bike. So hot, so tired, he took nearly the entire top scoop into his mouth. Seconds later, Frankie was holding his head in pain as Scrawny pointed at him laughing himself almost to the floor, "BRAIN FREEZE!"

Through the pain, Frankie let out a whine, "This is the worst day of my life."

Paulette headed inside without a sound. Returning a moment later she sat next to him with a cup of water then instructed, "Take a few small sips, this will stop it."

When they finished their ice cream, the new kid offered to ride home and ask his mom to come back and pick him up. But just in case she wasn't able to, Frankie decided to start walking. "It's only a couple of miles. Walking would be better than sitting here waiting. It'll give me something to do." And with that they were off.

With all his friends out of sight, Frankie started his long struggle home. Suddenly, he felt very much alone. Throwing his old bike in the river was sounding like a pretty good idea. But how would he explain that to his dad? He could almost hear his father yelling at him. That’s when it hit him, an epiphany, he wasn’t alone: Mr. Geddes!

Frankie was already starting to feel better as he propped his hunk of junk against the front of the bait shop. As he explained his troubles to his friend, they didn’t seem so bad. Then when the old man offered to bring his bike home to him at the end of the day, he was pretty much back to his old cheery self.

Mr. Geddes looked past Frankie to the door of the store. The sun that had been lighting up his face was blocked by a customer walking in, but that couldn’t dim the smile on his face. “Something tells me that you might just enjoy that long walk home.”

As Paulette and Frankie stepped onto the bridge he found the courage to reach for her hand.

“It was nice that Mr. Geddes offered to bring our bikes home,” she said nervously.

Feeling almost confident, Frankie asked, “Do you like sprinkles on your ice cream?”

Paulette relaxed her grip only to lace their fingers.


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