By Herb Moore
Special to the Chronicle
My conscience bothers me still. Yes, I committed a crime and got away with it.
It was years ago brought on by a fit of jealousy. Her name was Colleen, mine was George, and his name was Larry.
I can still see her – long blonde hair and twinkling blue eyes which she used so effectively to captivate. Looking back, I’m sure she was maybe a year older than me and much wiser. She lived on a neighbouring farm which her parents owned, while we rented ours.
We rode the bus to school. I’d walk down the road to where the bus picked her up rather than waiting for it to come to our place. It was probably only a quarter of a mile but it meant I could spend more time with her.
When we got home from school I’d rush through my chores and go over to help her with hers. I was completely smitten.
Larry, the paper boy, started hanging around when he delivered the paper. He changed his route so she was his last stop. Larry was a couple of years older than me and had a very shiny new bike. He would give Colleen rides on the bar which meant he’d get to put his arms around her which she seemed to like. It made me furious to see her smiling up at him.
Larry could tell I had a crush on Colleen and started teasing me and putting me down in front of my school chums. A couple of times we came to blows. He was older but I was taller and quite strong for my age from working on the farm as long as I could remember.
I wished I had a bike to take Colleen for rides but the best I could do was to ride one of our workhorses over to her place in the evening and take her for a ride sitting up behind me.
It all came to a head one fall evening. I had finished up my chores and headed across the field separating the two farms to spend some time with her. I saw my nemesis on his shiny new bike riding down the road to Colleen’s place, and watched in horror as she ran off the porch to greet him. I was completely shattered. Colleen had never rushed out to greet me like that.
I had to find a way to slow him down. As I walked back home, my head down, the rage building up with every step, it came to me – I must take action. Larry would be riding along the gravel road back towards town after his visit to Colleen, the flirtatious cheat!
The plan formed as I walked along. I’d fix him and his fancy bike.
I picked the spot of heavy brush growing tight to the road edge, selected a length of sapling about 10 feet in length, broke it off, and with my pocket knife trimmed the small branches from it, then sat in wait.
It was a cool fall night, now completely dark where I sat, but a moon illuminated the road. Then I could hear him coming, the tires on that damn fancy bike making a scrunching sound on the gravel while he breathed heavily as he pedaled. The moon reflected off the chrome rims. My timing was perfect.
The sapling worked great as I pushed it into the spokes of his front wheel. I watched in horror at what I’d accomplished as Larry and bike rose up in the moonlight and then crashed to the ground. I heard Larry give a loud grunt then another, and held my breath as he slowly got to his feet. He limped over to where his bike lay and picked it up, inspecting the damage, then looked right to where I was hiding in the thick brush.
I realized he was looking for a spot to hide his bike until he could have it picked up. I watched him drag it over to the far side of the road and stick it in some deep grass. Then he limped off into the night.
So you see, I did the crime but was never held accountable.