Triple Bypass (Flash Nonfiction)

Their red windbreakers were soaked through and glistening wet in the moody gray afternoon gloom as the two cyclists found respite from the rain under the gas station's front awning and dismounted their bikes. They had their windbreaker hoods pulled up, underneath their bike helmets, covering their ears.

“That was moister than expected,” the younger guy said, rubbing his bike gloved hands together and breathing into them. His legs were bare below his bike shorts. The accent sounded American.

“You're a champ,” said the older gent leaning his bike against one of the awning's support pillars. He had rain pants on over his bike shorts. “I'm highly impressed, doing the entire Triple Bypass in this weather.”

“Me too,” the younger guy said, shivering slightly. “I am in dire need of hot coffee though.”

As the younger guy began to wheel his bike toward the pillar as well, the woman next to me said, “Hang on. Let me get a picture of you two.”

“Right-o,” said the older gent, stepping gingerly over to stand beside the younger guy and flashing a wide grin. The younger guy cracked a mediocre smile as he held onto his bike awaiting the photo.

The woman fumbled with her camera.

“Did you take it yet?” The younger guy asked through clenched teeth, maintaining the increasingly rigorous smile.

“Just need to get it in focus,” the woman said.

“C'mon, mom,” the younger guy implored, the smile now mostly a grimace. “I'm freezing over here.”

“Alright, smile,” the younger guy's mother commanded.

“Already am,” said the younger guy, though any semblance to a traditional smile had now vanished from his face.

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