On a cold clear evening, After his last month-long Metrocard expired, when the paper said that it was going to stay dry Kiko took the bike home, riding up First Avenue, over the Queensboro bridge and then following Queens Boulevard out to Jamaica Ave and then on to Sutphin where he found his way home to the house he had a space carved out of the basement garage. He locked the bike in the yard and slept well after the long ride. It took him a bit longer than the train, but he had seen things he had never known about Queens. He had saved two dollars and had made it in about an hour and a half. It was dark at 8:30 when he got home and unwrapped the uneaten pasta from the hot salad bar at work and at a version of Rigatoni with meat sauce that he had made before dawn three days ago.
He had added the kim chee and bean paste that Mrs. Choi did to her own to give it some flavor and after the ride home it was great. The Mexicans and the Koreans marveled at how the blandest food sold the best to the Americans that all of their children and grandchildren would end up being. Kim chee, Bean Paste, jarred jalapeños, or rarely, fresh chiles were liberally added to the food that was more than two days old that everyone brought home from work to eat. Spices were the one thing, like broken English, that united the Latinos and Koreans across the Pacific in New York. Everyone added tons of fiery hot flavor to the bland fare as a way of expressing some sort of superiority over the bland English speakers for whom they all worked like sled dogs.
He fell right asleep after he showered and the alarm had trouble rousing him, though he woke at 3:15 every morning, whether he went to work or not. He didn’t realize how much the ride had taken out of him yesterday, but he was now late. He thought about putting the bike on the train, but instead wolfed down the rest of the pasta with some extra jalapeños cold and got on the road at 4 exactly. There was no traffic and the red lights didn’t matter, he was on it. The basket was empty on the way to work and he just pedaled as hard as he could from the get go. There were some hills on Queens Boulevard and he pushed himself up them at a good pace and tore down the other side at daring speeds.
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