Tell My Wife I Love Her Very Much
[Author's comments: “I have no reasonable explanation for this.”]
Connor’s last email said simply, “Don’t worry. What could possibly go worng?”
Then he got on his bicycle and rode away, never to return. Of course I didn’t know this. I didn’t know he pushed his chair back, stood up, walked out rolling his bike, threw his leg over and left. I didn’t know he wasn't staring at his screen like me. Maybe he thought he'd be right back. Maybe he didn’t know that he wasn’t just out for a quick spin. He didn't take anything else. But I think he knew. Many years later, a passing freighter spotted his bicycle drifting through a dark alley in a lonely corner of deep space. Pretty odd thing to find floating in space. By then we'd had his funeral. They snagged it, looked it over. It was in ridable condition. They began making calls. One call led to another. Pictures were sent. Each one took weeks to make the journey. Eventually they contacted Space Command, me, everybody. The media got hold of it and it blew up. It was a total mess. The shit just kept piling up. Who knew what, how long it had been going on, etc., etc. No one knew anything about it until then.
Right then I didn’t know that he wasn’t sitting there typing. I stared at the screen and typed back, “Is that a joke? It’s not funny.” But by then he was getting on his bike and riding away. I waited in silence. I wrote some more and waited again in the heavy blue glow, but he didn't write back. By then he was gone.
We know now that he first stopped to ride the moon. Really epic stuff. Some of the best riding in the solar system, right there in his back yard. But he didn’t stop there. He drifted around. We got information that he’d spent time on Mars but details were vague. Then he disappeared for a long time. He surfaced again when he hopped a ride on a transport and showed up at Saturn just in time for the Ring Race. Toughest race ever. He won. It just about wasted him, but he won. He’d always been an ambitious and accomplished man, not to mention an astonishing rider, but this was just beyond anything. He was beyond.
For a time he lived on Pluto. When the freighter found his bike there was a sticker on it that said, “Pluto is a planet.” That's how, after we started to peel back layers, we found out about his bioshack in the most remote place in the solar system. He thrived there according to the few accounts we could shake loose. At first the crew of the freighter was merely in over their heads. We paid them to keep quiet and started scaring up information. Each detail led to questions, and we chased down every answer. One door would open others, which opened others. We’d try to connect all the loose ends, figure out where he’d been, what he was up to, but there were huge gaps, and after Pluto his trail just went cold. We never figured out why he left. Everywhere he went it was the same. He’d stay for a while then just disappear. No warning, just off the radar. Gone, just like that. And then the bike disappeared, vanished from a secure hold on a remote freighter. The crew went out of their minds. Some of them killed themselves. Eventually their ship was decommissioned and rerouted. It was real bad.
It’s hard to separate all the things that happened, to untangle all the events that led to this. We keep connecting pieces, but it's as if time….it's as if all the things that happened could happen at any time, in any sequence. It's as if parts of it keep happening, like a needle skipping on phonograph record. One way or another, he’s still there. He always will be. That’s a comfort. Out there in the celestial frontier. He just reached a point where he didn’t need it anymore. None of it. So he got on his bike and rode away.
(Some picture I found on the internet. Neat though, huh?)