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shawn rohrbach

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Member Since: Feb, 2009

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Excerpt from forthcoming novel Cast the First Stone
By shawn rohrbach   
Not "rated" by the Author.
Last edited: Friday, January 22, 2010
Posted: Friday, January 22, 2010

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A young American cyclist is caught up in a doping scandal while training for the Tour de France and accuses his own father of a heinous crime to deflect attention from his own wrong doing.

May 1  St. Joseph, The Worker and husband to Mary, Mother of Jesus

 

May Day in  Paris and Phillip was stuck on a rented team bus checking out the final stage of the Tour de France.  The small, insignificant communist gatherings were eclipsed by the crowds at the Catholic churches enjoying Mass honoring some saint and a day off, such a European tradition.  It was a day off.  Phillip could understand less than ten percent of the loquacious French sputtering out of the mouth of the guide into the overhead speakers as he explained the various aspects of the pavement, cornering and weather hazards of the route.  He would just have to figure it out for himself when he got here on a bike.
            Phillip’s contract did not provide for personal coaches, a private car and time to ride each of the specifically difficult routes prior to the race.  He just had to show up and ride.  This bus tour was the best preparation he was going to get.  The rapid fire French amused most of the other team mates as they passed several landmarks.  He had failed French in his Freshman year in high school and never took another foreign language.  Instead he entered every junior race he could and ended up with a minor professional contract when everyone else his age was sweating finals in some antiquated college somewhere.

            Elise knew French, really well but he stopped returning her calls and now that he needed her she would probably fly over at her own expense and help him; no she would jump at the chance to do anything for him and he dumped her.  She cried.  He hated it when they cried.   She should have figured out he wasn’t long term when he scored less than a thousand on his SAT and she scored over fourteen hundred.  She was going to Stanford and he would have been lucky to get a two year degree in some technical trade.  Here he had a contract for one season and this was the best he was going to get for now.  He was in Europe racing bicycles.

            The worst of it was she actually liked The Professor.  He would send her links to articles stored in academic library databases and they would compare notes, deconstruct the meaning and send pithy emails evaluating the sanity of the author.   He hated her as much as he hated The Professor.  Dumping  her was easy.  Making sure she never came back to the house was impossible.  She would become The Professor’s secretary, he was certain.  Maybe they should hook up.

            The bus slowed almost to a stop.  He understood ‘Notre Dame’ and leaned out the window and managed to get a picture.  His mother would like that.

            He sat back ignoring the French until they reached the Champs-Élysées and the bus slowed as the narrative intensified and the other team mates peered out windows and chatted in their native tongues.  They all laughed at one final comment.  Phillip shrugged.  A German team mate leaned over and translated in perfect Boston English. “This is the final sprint of the fabled Tour de France.  If you all work hard and eat right you, too, can win here seven times.”  Two French team mates tapped the inside of their left arms with their right index and middle fingers, a universal sign of a drug addict exciting a vein before injecting the next fix.  Phillip did not require a translation for that.  He smiled at the French and nodded.

            The bus stopped at Gard de Nord and he was handed a train ticket for Frankfurt and directed toward a pile of luggage and bike boxes.  His translator helped him sort through the piles and they discovered they were headed for the same hotel in Baden Baden, Germany to train for the Tour of Germany.

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