Cyclists Hit the Road: A Mystery Short Story

Jul 9, 2022 | 2022 Articles, Mysteryrat's Maze, Terrific Tales

by Mary Jo Robertiello

Patty stepped off the curb at Second Ave and Fourteenth Street. A bike headed the wrong way crashed into her left thigh. She keeled over. As the biker sped down Second, Patty lay on the street circled by concerned citizens taking iPhone shots and mouthing platitudes. She kept her mouth shut. Did he hit her on purpose? Who cares? He hit her. Two buxom traffic cops took their time disengaging from their cells before strolling over. bike

“You okay, Honey?”

“What do you think?” The words snaked out of Patty’s mouth.

“Rudeness doesn’t help,” the other traffic cop said. “Phone?”

Patty clung to her large purse. She didn’t want these animals touching her eggs.

“Come on, Grannie.” A young guy put out his hand. Patty placed her hand in his, and he yanked her up.

“Don’t want to block rush hour traffic,” the traffic cop said.

Patty wanted to block it all night. She put on her lady voice, “You’re very kind,” she said to the guy, loud enough for the traffic cops to hear her. He shuffled and stood there, blocking traffic himself. Underneath her sweet old lady smile Patty thought, “Does this character want a tip?”

“Can you walk?’ he said.

stairs“Barely.” Patty limped to the sidewalk. Near her building she dropped the limp and walked the five flights to her apartment.

At home she checked the eggs and told Mort in excruciating detail what had happened. After a tuna fish supper and iced tea with therapeutic bourbon, she settled hubby in his La-Z-Boy recliner. She pictured him soothing himself by stroking his NRA Slider Holster and gun. The gun is what she called it. He called it the Sig Sauer P938. Since they lived in Manhattan, he stripped the NRA stickers off the Dodge Challenger’s fender but was still a proud member.

After dosing her thigh with Absorbine Plus, Patty took the elevator to the twelfth floor. The management avoided spending money on the roof. No one went up there except workmen and underaged kids who wanted a smoke. She carried a carton of large eggs in a colorful tote bag with a goofy drawing of an adorable dog. Her neighbors assumed her gentle smile and soft voice were genuine. The tote’s cuteness confirmed this.

She’d stand on the carton she’d placed near the railing so she could feel the East River breeze and watch the traffic lights blinking a bright red and a bold green. The carton was sturdy, but she was waist high above the railing.

Patty’s only sport was throwing eggs from the twelve-story high condo. Her routine: buy one dozen eggs three times a week in the many supermarkets that dotted Fourteenth Street. Never buy more than a dozen and never frequent the same supermarket twice in a row. Go to the roof between 9:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. except when Betty White was on. Too late for anybody except her and the bikers racing from work or zooming to a club. Patty’s eyesight and aim were lousy, but it was fun. Part of the fun was hiding.

She jumped off the carton and squinted over the railing to see a girl on a bike. Overhand or underhand? Mort claimed girls only used underhand. I’ll show him. She swung her left hand behind her, cradling the egg, and flinging. She missed, but the yoke splattered close enough for the biker to slam on her brakes and look up. Patty ducked, hiding behind the wall. What a nasty girl. No manners. And the language!

sunnysideTen minutes later, she spied a guy riding his bike on the sidewalk. No helmet. What a shame. By some miracle she hit him on his braided head. The bike skidded then crashed into the truck that always blocked the side street to the bus stop. Two for the price of one.

She peeked over the railing, not wanting the guy to see her. The broken shell was in his hair. He wiped the egg yoke streaming down his face and steered the bike down the street. What’s this? He’s stopping at the front door to our condo. He turned suddenly and looked up. She stared into Mort’s no-good nephew’s hate-filled eyes. Always coming by for a hand-out.

Patty hid the eggs and was downstairs and opening her front door in seconds. Even so, Hank was already yapping at Mort while he wiped his face with one of their dish towels.

With a gentle smile and soft voice, Patty said, “What happened, Mort?”

He stared at her. Threw the towel onto the table and pushed his iPhone into her face.

Patty saw herself peeking off the roof. “That’s a nice shot. I was watering the roof plants.”

“Hank, I’m broke at the moment. Sorry,” Mort said unconvincingly.

“I bet this sweet lady can help a starving student attacked from her roof.” Hank had a way with words.

Patty reached into her large purse. She jiggled it around. Scooped out coins, a comb, Kleenex. She twisted the purse so Hank could see inside.

“No eggs,” Hank snarled.

“My God, I left my wallet on the roof.” Patty clutched her breast. She raced out the door, followed by Hank. Patty crept into the elevator’s far corner, holding her arms across her chest.

“Is she all right?” Another passenger said.

“She’s nervous. She’s okay.” Hank said. He wiped egg yoke off his chin.
Patty threw him a winsome smile.

“Good luck,” the passenger said getting off on the tenth floor.

The minute they got to the twelfth floor, Patty, a practiced hand on the dark roof, dropped the victim routine and ran to the railing.

Hank followed her. “So, where’s this wallet?”

“Over here.” Patty climbed on the sturdy carton, slipped her hand into her pocket and pushed a little purse out on the railing. “I see it,” she cried. “I took it out of my bag and forgot about it.”

“You took it out of your pocket.”

“Hank, dear boy, you imagine things.”

“Get out of my way.” He yanked her off the carton and reached across for the purse. Almost. He climbed on the carton. Patty was right behind him mumbling soothing sounds as she upended the carton and sent Hank flying.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. Be sure to check out our new mystery podcast too with mystery short stories, and first chapters read by local actors. A new episode went up this week

Mary Jo Robertiello’s short story, Family Matters, is in the Level Best Books 2021 anthology, Justice for All: Murder New York Style. She published the mystery novel,The Lemrow Mystery/Mistero en Lemrow, and has a weekly blog, NYMysteries.com. She’s an active member of MWA, Sisters in Crime, and the Short Fiction Mystery Society.

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