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It Happened to Eugene (standard:adventure, 1603 words)
Author: Rosie JayAdded: Sep 21 2006Views/Reads: 1783/1228Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
Annie spins a tale about her brother Eugene and how his fantasy about entering the Tour de France gets him in an awful, surprising fix. It has a nicely resolved ending.
 



IT HAPPENED TO EUGENE 

By 

Rosie Jay 

Mama likes to explain it with pretty words.  She says what happened to
Eugene was a blessing in disguise.  He had one too many fancy notions 
about himself.  I say it was about time.  He starts high school next 
week, and it wouldn’t be good to still have a brain full of cement. 

Of course, maybe I’m being too hard on him.  He called me a major pain
in the neck once too often!  He couldn’t see my finer points, and if he 
talked to me at all he called me Squirt, even though my name is Annie.  
Funny thing is, I still admired the heck out of him.  It takes a 
certain bravery to think you can do anything. 

The blessing—as Mama calls it—was on the way late last July.  Eugene was
out in the backyard checking the tires on his bike, the Intrepid.  (It 
means fearless, he says.)  I guess he was having one of those fancy 
notions at the time. 

I went out back to call him for lunch, but he didn’t answer.  He was in
a trance with that far-away look again.  When he finally noticed me, 
what he said came out—almost holy-like. 

“Someday, Squirt, I’ll be riding in the Tour de France.” 

Just like that!  Where did that come from?  I was speechless—and he
caught my blank stare. 

“The Tour de France!” he snapped.  “It’s only the greatest world-class
bike race ever that goes clear around France!  It’s about three weeks 
long, you know, and people come from around the world to compete.”  He 
shook his head, but, hey, how was I suppose to know that? 

All through lunch he kept at it, planning it out.  He would need a good
stretch of run to shape himself up—but where?  Then, when his eyes 
bugged out, I knew he had it. 

“Yeah!  That old track field behind Mr. Canelli’s car wash.  It’s long
and flat and nobody ever goes there anymore!” 

”Except Mr. Canelli’s humongous great dane, Hamlet,” I nitpicked.  “I
saw him roaming that field just last week.” 

But it was no big deal for Eugene.  Didn’t Hamlet have a dog pen? 
Somebody left the gate open, that’s all, he decided.  So I said no more 
and that very day he headed to the field. 

Sure enough, there was Hamlet, moping in his pen behind the car wash. 
With a steely gaze he got to watching as Eugene soared around that 
track.  Every day he barked and whined, keeping at it like maybe he was 
yearning for the same freedom. 

Of course, Eugene being Eugene, he just ignored it.  Nothing, it seemed,
could keep him from pedaling toward his dream—until about two weeks 
later, just before the crickets started chirping summer to a close. 

He came home that day and tied the Intrepid to the clothes pole in the
backyard.  He was sulky—and moody.  He didn’t go near it for days!  
Mama kept touching his forehead and giving him orange juice, but, I got 
to admit,  for a while it was the most peaceful time ever around here. 

In time though, I started missing the old Eugene.  I missed the way he
chomped popcorn while watching sports on TV.  I missed his defiant grin 
when I told him to clean up his room, because pretty soon he’d need a 
road map to find his bed. 

“You know, Eugene, you’re acting weird,” I told him flat-out one
morning.  He was eating his cereal, not saying a word. 

“Whaddaya mean?” 

“Well, how come you’re not at the track field?  All that stuff about the


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