The agony of the mechanic

Agony. Surrounded in the rear seat of the team car by spare wheels, bottles of water and bags of supplies, Simeoni could find no peace. Bepi was driving slowly, Cottur, next to him, was talking about women. Ahead the group pedalled lazily. In a few days, there would be the meeting with the Dolomites and things would be different. “What’s wrong, Toni? you look like you’re possessed by the demon!” Giordano asked him turning round. Simeoni grimaced: “I can’t take this anymore” he answered in a cryptic and long suffering manner. The sporting director touched Bepi’s right arm: “he does not want to tell us what’s worrying him… what do you think?- he added ironically, turning to the driver – is he really unwell or missing home?”. “ I reckon he’s faking it – Bepi said playing along- he does not want to work today. I noticed it this morning when he was helping Clerici make sandwiches for the racers. I reckon he ate too much last night and couldn’t sleep. The salami they gave us at the end of the dinner was superb. Perfectly spicy. You know I love tasty food…” “Both of you can go to hell and stop talking about salami” snapped Simeoni angrily, red faced, while he tried to massage his bottom without being seen. “Don’t you dare shout at us – Cottur responded half seriously, half playfully – otherwise we will leave you and you can sort yourself out until the stage”. “Leave me alone, I can’t take this” gnashed Toni desperately.

A long and deep scratch of his behind calmed him down a bit. Only for a few seconds. As the pain returned, the mechanic let out a liberating cry: “these haemorrhoids are driving me mad”, thus revealing the mystery of so much pain. Cottur winked at the driver who had tears in his eyes from laughing so much at the confession. “There is only one thing for haemorrhoids – said the man form Trieste – all the racers know it… “ “Please help me Giordano, please, my arse is burning” begged Simeoni. Bepi, who had guessed where things were leading, jumped in: “I bet two pills will be enough” he said to Cottur pretending indifference. A serious Giordano did not let him finish: “ Two no, better three to be safe”. “Yeah three“ he ruled under Bepi’s moustache. “Gimme four” pleaded Simeoni on the brink of a nervous breakdown. Cottur took the tube which he religiously kept in his pocket, opened it and let three tiny red balls fall onto the palm of his hand. “That’s amphetamine” shouted a worried Simeoni when seeing the pills which he had seen being passed around in the group. “Are you crazy?” he corrected Bepi and Cottur pretending to be indignant. “Give me them now” Simeoni ordered without giving the two the possibility to respond. Cottur did not make him beg: “Three, in one go, with a sip of water”. Simeoni swallowed them hungrily. Not even five minutes passed.

Repairing bicycles under the curiosity of the fans and the severe gaze of the riders.

A subtle and sudden flash rushed from his head to feet. For a moment he felt he was losing his senses. His whole body felt hot, even where the agony tortured him endlessly. He blinked and pinched himself. Suddenly the pain disappeared, as if it had never been there. He started singing loudly, then focused on the red bags full of sandwiches and rice cakes. He asked Bepi if he could drive. The driver and Cottur burst out laughing. Simeoni looked like he was in a trance. It was impossible to keep him still. To give supplies to the racers, he took all the bags under arm and stood at the edge of the road waiting for them, who the team cars had overtaken a dozen of kilometres before. When they appear at the end of the street, Toni sung: “Here you go Fiorenzo, catch it Alfredo, grab it Bresci…”. Simeoni had never been so energetic, perky, tireless and willing. The effect wore off suddenly, just as it had started. The stage had ended two hours ago and team Wilier were busy with the bikes. The infernal burning returned to where it had never left. Spearing flames, incredible pain. Simeoni went as white as a sheet. He started scratching again until drawing blood, breathing hard. “ Ouch the pain! I’m in agony! I can’t stand it… “ Cottur tried to offer him another two pills but was not in time. “Screw you and your drugs” Simeoni shouted desperately, branding a pump like a sword. Giordano and Bepi withdrew to their rooms dodging the blows the mechanic threw left and right.

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23rd July 2013