Florida, F-L-O-R-I-D-A, ha!!! It's a place for Romneys or would that be Romnies or Romney's? Gotta be rich to get the good seats. But for me, no-no! Thumbed down from Jersey. Caught a nice couple, old mind you, but they rocked right to Exit 74. Al and Grace have a place in Boynton Beach, so it was on their way. Only thing was they smelled. Old people odor, not urine or dirty clothes per se, but feet. And they had 4 misters... Odd, really, cause oldsters usually don't sweat that much and it was my impression foot stink was related to wet and fungus. Oh well...
After bidding a bye-bye to them, there was no choice but to hoof down to Jack's Used Bicycles. Of course, I gave some thought to stealing one rather than go second hand for money. Kids leave bikes around willy-nilly. But I have a small rap sheet and I hear Florida jails are bad-ass. Heard of Jack's Used Bicycles from a computer search I did at the Moorestown Public Library. So off to Jack's. Oh, Jack donates money and bikes to charities and little kids and he keeps bikes out of landfills. So Jack says!!
Florida is not what it is sold as. Damn, first thing I noticed was this big white bondura of a building. Abandoned, dilapidated and sad, the front of the structure was imprinted with the almost faded letters, Jai Alai. I remember jai alai from when I was a kid visiting my Uncle Nally 45 years ago in Miami. Back then, people loved the sport and they bet lots of money on it. Now the frontons were closing and the sport is mostly moribund. Oddly there is a train station behind the dead arena. Bet the land was cheap!
Next, the train itself... Like a sweaty scene from the deep south, the guardrails swung downwards accompanied by clangs and bells. Had to stop my be-boppin' step. Listening to Guided Missiles by the Cuff Links always gets me going... Ridiculous, a two car train. Where am I? The locomotive was labeled Florida East Coast. Is that Amtrak's low cost carrier?
Right turn and down some street which could be in Camden, except right now the trees have leaves here. Camden has no trees and if there were trees, they would be leafless. Black kids riding bikes... BIKES! Somehow, no apprehension. Guess I know I am in Florida, although here everybody carries guns and the murder rate is high. Warm weather can be deceiving.
Whoa... deep south, small white church with a bright red set of doors. Somebody must be real proud about those doors. Just thinking. No dawdling, little nervous, missed the name of that God dwelling. Sorry, don't much care, so if ya' want, blow up the snapper to get the name...
Finally made it!! Really was prolly less than 2 miles from 95. But it seemed like an adventure. Lot's of bikes in front of a dog-eared building. Some white guy, old mustache on an old face, could be Jack. He was wearing knee high Bermuda short socks. Where the frizz am I? Somehow I was thinking everything would be special and tanned and tittie-ful. Some kid, Hispanic, offered to help. He was nice and non-anything.
But the fucking bikes, the fucking bikes were shabby. Dirty, worn tires and torn seats were the order of the herd. Hey, I wasn't looking for a beauty, but c'mon. And the prices... Are you shittin' me, Jack? Instead of bikes for $25, $50 and $100, these gems were selling from $109 to $319. Is there some Florida rule which mandates that bike prices rise as real estate falls?
"We get new ones in every day."
"Great, cheaper ones? Thinkin I want a Trek."
"Oh no Trek cheap...want a Huffy?"
"Good price cause somebody painted it pink."
Juan is a clown, thought I.
Realizing Jack's might be short for jackass', I left and walked back. Same route, but no train this time. Up ahead there was a Mickey Dee's or is that D's, no matter. Hungry, since I hadn't eaten since the foot bombers and I chowed at a Waffle House near St. Augustine five hours ago, I walked in. Ah... just the same as every other one. No Florida taint here. Good thing cause I was at my wit's end.
Watched some ginger, leg-long kid pull up and strap his bike to a parking light stanchion. He gave it away, what with the McDonald's shirt and cap. Archie was starting his shift, Fool didn't know I could pick lint out of his belly button without waking him up. Bike locks are laughers. Mine...
So with the smooth of a Trenton pilferer, I sat back and sipped a fake shake. Arch appeared counter ready. He had a stupid smile making "mine" less of a problem. Besides, he looked like the kind of rich kid a Daddy would send to work to see how they live. So, I reasoned, Pop would buy him a fresh set of wheels within 24 hours... He was not gonna' go to Jack's. Somehow that made me feel better. Thief-thinking!
In no time, I was rolling down the street. Again past the train tracks but no right. Straight to Broadway. Now right and there it was, Jack's Used Bicycles. It was getting on to closing time... Juan was putting chains through, over and under the inventory. Yeah, like somebody would want to steal those over priced junk-ass bikes.
Looking up, we eye locked. His face screwed, like he smelled the Caponegro's collective feet. Confused, he must have been thinking I purloined one of Jack's babies. But before he could do much, I whizzed by. Treks are good bikes. Well past Jack's, I flashed a Jersey finger fuck you. I know they didn't see me, but so what. It still counted...
(story is mostly fictional except for the price of the bikes and some other assorted blather)
West Palm Beach, FL - Due to the high cost of driving automobiles and trucks many are making the change to riding bicycles more than ever, says Samuel H. "Jack" Hairston III, President and founder of Jack The Bike Man, a local non-profit, 501 (c)(3) children charity.
"Bicycling solves many problems including cutting down on commuting expenses, traffic jams and less wear and tear on our roadways. While helping to eliminate exhaust emissions and provide cleaner air, bicycles offer healthy physical exercise. Bicycles are just a great friendly way to help our self, our community, our health and our environment. Many people are using bicycles instead of a car."
For several years, Jack The Bike Man, inc. has also been providing another great community service-recycling old bicycles. Thousands of people yearly donate for a tax deduction their old, used or outgrown bicycles. This charity restores and repairs the bicycles, giving out more than 2,000 bikes to children and selling all of the adult bicycles in the resale store as a fund raiser for the charity. Recycling the old bikes keeps them out of landsfills, and the additional revenue helps support youth programs the charity offers to neighbors of the community.
"Most of the bicycle stores in the area do not sell used bikes so we try to fill that gap as this is especially important with the present condition of our economy. All or our bicycles are in good running order, many of them rebuilt with new parts, by professional mechanics that make sure they are all safe."
Jack the Bike Man partners with other organizations including the Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, students and other organizations. Working with the Auto Body Class of South Tech Vocational Academy students prepare, paint and seal fantastic colors and designs on some of the rebuilt bike frames. Jack's mechanics then install all of the new parts to make the bicycles complete and in perfect condition.
The resale bicycle store is located at 4401 Broadway (US1) in West Palm Beach where all of the sales and repairs are done. Their number is (561) 863-1530.
"People really do need to come by and see what we are doing to improve the health and environment of our neighborhood community. We are helping people having more fun riding bicycles while helping clean up the environment."