The Third Policeman
by Flann O'Brien
A Book that will Mess with Your Mind.
"He came over ponderously to the inside of the counter and I advanced meekly from the door until we were face to face. Is it about a bicycle? he asked."
"No, I answered, stretching forth my hand to lean with it against the counter. The Sergeant looked at me incredulously. Are yous sure? he asked."
"Not about a motor-cycle?
One with overhead valves and a dynamo for light? Or with racing handle-bars?"
"Tell me, he continued. would it be true that you are an itinerant dentist and that you came on a tricycle?
It would not, I replied.
On a patent tandem?
"Not withstanding the sturdy cross-bar it seemed ineffably femal and fasticious, posing there like a mannequin rather than leaning idly like a loafer against the wall and resting on its prim flawless tyres with irreproachable precision, two tiny points of clean contact with the level floor."
"I left the bicycle and went back up the drive with the stone swinging ponderously in my right hand."
"Will you follow after me till I have a conversation with you privately," he said, "if it was nothing else you have to no light on your bicycle and I could take your name and address for the half of that."
"How can I convey the perfection of my comfort on the bicycle, the completeness of my union with her, the sweet responses she gave me at every particle of her frame?"
"I felt that I had known her for many years and that she had known me and that we understood each other utterly."
"She moved beneath me with agile sympathy in a swift, airy stride, finding smooth ways among the stony tracks, swaying and bending skilfully to match my changing attitudes, even accommodating her left pedal patiently to the awkward working of my wood leg."
""I sighed and settled forward on her handlebars, on the dark roadside, each telling me that I was further and further from the Seargent."
"How desirable her seat was, how charming the invitation of her slim encircling handle-arms, how unaccountably competent and reassuring her pump resting warmly against her rear thigh!"
"In the next moment I was fumbling for the barrack latch with the Seargent's whiling bicycle in my care."
"The bicycle itself seemed to have some peculiar quality of shape or personality which gave it distinction and importance far beyond that usually possessed by such machines."
"Resting before me like a tame domestic pony, it seemed unduly small and low in relation to the Sergeant yet when I measured its height against myself I found it was bigger than any other bicycle that I knew."
"It was a gentle saddle yet calm and courageous, unembittered by its confinement and bearing no mark upon it save that of honourable suffering and honest duty."
"If I had given (or had been able to give unrestricted rein to either fear or reason I should have turned my back forever on this evil house and rode away there and then upon the bicycle to the friendly home with was waiting for me beyond four bends of the passing road."
"Come curiosity (or perhaps it was the sense of safety which comes to a man on his own hillside) made me stop pedalling and pull gently at the queenly brake."
"I had intended only to look back at the big house but by accident I had slowed the bicycle so much that she shuddered beneath me awkwardly making a gallant effort to remain in motion."
"Leaning half-way across the lintel was the Sergeant's bicycle."
"On the other hand I could not help recalling what the Sergeant had told me about his fears for his bicycle and his decision to keep it in solitary confinement."
"You may have come on no bicycle, he said, but that does not say that you know everything."
"Thus motion is also an illusion. He mentions that almost any photograph is conclusive proof of his teachings."
"Is this about a bicycle?" he asked.