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Iris - 3

Quickly taking Pan's bike, Iris decided he didn't want to crawl around on his twisted bike. His scratched up BMX bike had been through a lot, sky blue and black highlighted ride. The pegs had been taken off until he could go repair or switch out his well-worn twisted tire. He would be doing no more tricks anytime soon, plus this was a morning ride to relax anyway. Hebe's was a jet black and candy red mountain bike she used for running errands and getting around town. Atlas had a hybrid, the union of a road and race bike, with the largest frame of all the bikes before him. He had been working on it for weeks. When he got it the frame would flex over speedbumps, gears wouldn't shift smoothly, and the front pair of brakes, the only pair that had pads, wouldn't close all the way. Dozens of times Iris caught Atlas zigzagging down the hill before their street trying to slow down while also avoiding a collision with oncoming and parked cars. Atlas enjoyed the shortcomings of the bike because of the rush he got from mastering such a fragile frame. J was unable to coax him into fixing it, no matter how much she tried. People would often stop and stare as they watched him zip down the hill, meerkats watching danger roll through. It was after he realized he could go faster that he choose to fix the bike. Two months working odd jobs earned Atlas enough to fix all that ailed his bike, upgrade to top of the line features, and get a sweeet paintjob. Even his clothes underwent a transformation. Loose fitting jeans were traded for a mix of bootcut or straight fit jeans, khakis, and cargos loaded with pockets, waffle tees and doublesized shirts were traded for button up long sleeves, V-necks, and tight fitting shirts with intricate abstract designs. However, he allows wore the same hardnose chucks. A few more months would have earned him enough to get a motorcycle, but he loved his bike and J would have never allowed him to keep a motorcycle. Pumping ahead atop his faithful chariot with all the power his trimmed body could muster put Atlas on top of the world. Atlas would have surly been thrown into a fit of vengeful rage if anyone took his precious steed without his permission.

Pan's bike was a Harley styled low rider with a lime-green and royal purple paint job. The rear tire of a motorcycle and the front tire of a mountain bike, an extended length cushioned seat, and reverse braking made this a cruise bike. After easing Pan's bike from the group and riding from along the side alley to the front of the house, Iris saw three lights were on upstairs. It was J's room, the office, and the bathroom light was on again. He hoped on the Harley and rode off. The willow was lax in the light morning breeze. Dew was on the grass surrounding the tree. There was a veil of fog ahead, but the sunlight was beginning to peak over the horizon.

The community was full of the forgotten and the forgetting. At least half of the neighborhood was comprised of lazing bachelors and single parent households. The kids ranged from toddlers to late teens. Many of the families had moved there trying to transition from the community a couple of miles down the road, Peak Park. It was like someone cemented a stack of trailer homes to watch the families break and accept their lot at the bottom of society. Saving up enough to move to one of the few open homes outside Peak was pure joy and was a communal celebration for all in the park, mainly through brief envious exchanges as the lucky family began their escape attempt. All of the families that thought they had made it out were met with a paltry selection of access opportunities, landlords that gouged them on rent, and a slew of unconventional fees. Running through their savings and unable to support all of their needs with public services, the families had no choice but to go back to their still vacant apartments on the edge of civilization. As this cycle entrenched itself and seemed ever-more inescapable with time, the celebrations grew increasingly intermittent and Peak residents became continuously more cynical.

A diverse mix of commuters, elder couples with empty nests, and model families filled the remainder of their section of town. They were a few blocks from downtown Harmony and you could already hear faint sounds of the city coming back to life off in the distance. Coming to a rest Iris reached the juncture at the end of his street.

He wondered if he should ride up the hill leading to the nicer side of town where Atlas did his odd jobs, down the slope to Peak Place where dreams went to die, or straight ahead into the rising city.

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