The elaborately adorned bicycle sat forlornly in the corner of a shop called Yesterday’s Treasures. Decorations of ribbons and flowers, contrasting starkly with a whitened skull and rows of bones, left one wondering what confused, tortured or whimsical soul created such a gloriously unique decor for a simple mode of transportation.
One frigid winter morning, Crawford Jessup, the town’s postmaster, found the bike tied with a tattered, brown dog leash to the lamppost in front of the post office. Crawford assumed someone would return to claim it but no one did. He left it tied to the lamppost for a week, all the while asking postal customers if anyone had seen the bike before and might know to whom it belonged. No one did.
Surely, if anyone had seen such a fanciful contraption as that bike, they would remember it. The town was not that big. Everyone knew everyone but no one seemed to know the owner of the bike.
Before opening the post office the following Monday, Crawford untied the bike and rolled it down to Yesterday’s Treasures. He took a photo of it with his newfangled cell phone, forwarded the photo to his email, and then printed it on the post office printer. For the past five months, the photo of the bedecked bike hung next to the FBI’s most-wanted criminals. Still no one claimed it.
The cold of winter was long past, replaced with the Southern heat and humidity that makes one long for an icy glass of sweetened tea or a frosty bottle of beer. Leroy Comfey, the owner of Yesterday’s Treasures, sat on the stool behind his counter, staring at the ludicrous bike. He reasoned that he could take off the crazy decorations, wipe off the dust, and set the bike out front with a price tag dangling from it’s handlebars but, for some reason, he was reluctant to sell the silly cycle.
Instead, he stood up slowly and grabbed his feather duster. He ran it gingerly over the bike, lingering over the odd decorations, running his fingers along the bones and feathers. Then, he cleared a spot in his front window, just big enough for the bike. He rolled the bike over and lifted it carefully so as not to dislodge any of its adornments. He stepped up into the window next to the cycle and arranged it just-so among some of his better for-sale items displayed prominently for passersby to see.
He climbed out of the window and went to his storage room behind the counter where he rummaged around in an old chest for several moments before pulling out a purple sign with gold lettering. His mother created the sign for her sewing shop window when he was just a boy. The sign stood next to the most gaudy wedding dress anyone in town had ever seen. Leroy chuckled as he remembered that dress — peach-colored gauze over white satin with a wide lacy, lavender sash tied around the middle and adorned with small, artificial pearls. A bright orange flower made of organza was strategically sewn over the derriere of the dress as though to hide the wearer’s rump. The dress had a sweetheart neckline embroidered with small pink flowers and a wide hem lined with large, embroidered red hearts. Like the bike, the dress appeared without explanation, and like the bike, no one ever claimed it.
It occurred to Leroy that whoever left that wedding dress outside of his mother’s shop more than forty years ago would be the sort of woman to ride a bicycle embellished with a skull, bones, feathers, and flowers.
Leroy walked back to the window, leaned way in, and arranged the sign so it could be seen clearly from the street or sidewalk.
The sign read:
Some Mysteriously Odd Things
Are Only For Show And
This Is One of Them