Today is the first day of Phase 3: Restore Illinois. We still need to wear face coverings. We can meet in groups of 10 or less. Manufacturing, offices, retail, barbershops, and salons can reopen with capacity and safety measures.
CoCo is finally over her COVID-19 infection.
So I continue on with the story of Marla and Ray. Marla remembers a more carefree time.
If you’re interested in starting at Chapter 1, click here.
Ray launched herself onto the Pedalabout as Marla climbed up on the seat beside her. Six other travelers climbed aboard, some fastening their satchels on the shelves and hooks below the hand rests, others tightening their backpacks higher on their shoulders. Marla touched her jacket to verify the vial was still there, safe and secure. A man in a tattered canvas coat sat down cross from Ray and looked at her, not even pretending to hide his scorn. Ray smiled at him and stood on her pedals.
“You can’t do that,” Marla said. “You’re creating a gap.” She tightened the straps on Ray’s outsider. “Do your part, but don’t overdo. If you start to sweat or breathe too hard you can lose..”
Ray cut her off, “I know, the seal could fail.” She didn’t exactly roll her eyes. At the same time, there was something about her expression that matched Canvas Coat Man’s more than Marla liked.
“Can you smell anything?” “Just breakfast: oat groats and wheat germ,” said Ray.
“Anything else, let me know right away,” said Marla. “I don’t care how interesting it smells. Tell me.”
Pedalabout master counted down “3,2,1 and we’re off.”
The group of eight travelers set out on the route determined by each rider’s destination, which only the master knew. When exactly Marla and Ray would get to Trumble’s building they could only guess.
“That’s where we’re going,” Marla said pointing to the eight story building.
“The tall one? With the pointy thing on top?” Marla heard Ray breath come through the outsider in a gasp.
“No, not that far,” she said. “The one that’s dark with no windows and no exhaust.”
Ray stood on her pedals and pumped hard in unison with every other rider.
“Ride like the wind,” she called out turning her face toward the back of the master’s head.
“Fly like a bird,” called back Marla, as the pedals complained under her effort.”
“His eye is on the sparrow,” croaked Canvas Coat Man.
His words seemed to pierce through Marla and touch her soul. Marla stood on her pedals and willed herself to rejoin Ray’s glee at being outside. For just a moment, she thought she smelled roses.
There we go with bird imagery again. Have you ever smelled roses out of nowhere?
Where are Marla and Ray going? Where will the story go? Some ideas are percolating.