"I'm singin' in the rain, just singin' in the rain! What a glorious feeling, I'm happy again!"
She sang lustily as she peddled up another hill. She didn't feel as upbeat as the song suggested but was afraid that, if she didn't sing the song and force herself to get into it, she just might end up only crying in the rain.
Her vacation, Janice Wheeler's vacation was turning to dirt right before her eyes. But, truth to tell, her vacation was turning to 'rain' right before her eyes.
She was already 10 miles out from her starting point, and that was a good 15 miles from home, though she'd been dropped off there, at the starting point, by a friend.
The skies had looked a bit cloudy but, after a little while, they simply closed in and began to dump rain on her.
She was now thoroughly soaked! Right through her biking outfit, down to and including her panties and bra, she was soaked to the skin. And there was no sign at all that the rain was going to stop any time soon.
She was also afraid that this was the low system that was supposed to go way, way south of where she was, and was bringing with it, gale force winds, a possibility of hail, and severe lightning.
"And here I am, like a damn fool," she said to herself, "Out in all this weather on my bike!"
Then she launched into "I'm singin' in the rain!" again to buoy up her spirits. Now, with Jan Wheeler, the tears, the crying was beginning to impinge on her image of Gene Kelly dancing or Donald O'Conner or Debbie Reynolds. Her mood holder, the song, simply wasn't working like it was supposed to.
She was crying then, and saying to herself: "Everything's wet. What a fuck-up this is!"
The vacation, the biking vacation was supposed to be a grand getaway for her. She'd planned and consulted the forecast, but, as usual, the forecast was wrong, way wrong too.
She'd selected this route because it was so rural and she'd be more or less alone on it, and that was precisely what she was, alone on it.
She was in a fix and she knew it, she just didn't know how to get out of it, since she was so far away from her start point, and also, she'd checked, out of phone reach.
She cried as she peddled along, sobbing for the loss of her carefully planned getaway vacation.
"SHIT!" she yelled and then she yelled it again, and then she started the song again: "I'm singin' in the rain..."
It wasn't working. She could hear the thunder off to her right and knew that, that was even more of a danger to her. She peddled on.
Toiling in the same direction, through the same storm but hi and dry and safe, Chris Logan was talking to his companion, Boney, a shaggy, black and white mongrel that had a total love relationship with Chris.
They were out on an adventure for themselves. Chris had gotten all of his four weeks of vacation together this year and planned to set out with Boney to see some of the southwest. They were toiling through the hills of Missouri and through this major storm.
Chris and Boney were out for this month in his VW Rialta RV. He'd purchased it for this vacation specifically and had a number of weekend shakedown cruises with it.
Chris was, in addition to being a good detective, an excellent mechanic. He'd gotten that from his dad, Ken, who was also both a good cop and a great mechanic. So, Chris was certain that he'd be able to take care of what might happen but the Rialta was a new one and he had great confidence in it.
"Well, buddy," Chris said to Boney, "This storm is getting worse, I think that we'll pull in at Johnson's Grove. It's on the top of the next rise and they have hookups there. We'll settle in there and ride out the front that's dumping all this rain on us. What do you say?"
As though he knew that he was being addressed, Boney barked.
"Yes, I'm glad that you agree with me!" Chris said.
They were approaching the hill then. The rain had increased and was coming down with a fury. He heard thunder that was nearby, with the accompanying lightning.
Chris, then strained his eyes to see what was happening and saw that it was indeed a bike rider toiling through the storm and going up the hill.
Chris had, had a rig installed on the back of the Rialta to carry bikes, which he used for exercises in places that he stopped.
He passed the bike rider, who raised a hand and waved to him.
"Yep, Boney, old boy," he said, "This won't do; we'd better stop and rescue the fair maiden."
Chris stopped at the brow of the hill, knowing that he was only a few miles from Johnson's. He waited for her and saw her coming. Then, grabbing his slicker and an umbrella, he got out.
She stopped and it was then that he realized that she was crying.
"Sorry," she said right away.
"No," he said, "This won't do! Not at all! Boney and I insist that you take a ride from us!"
"Boney?" she said, the tears still streaming down her cheeks.
He pointed to the passenger seat, where the black and white, shaggy dog was looking, tongue out and kind of grinning. It gave Janice a short but fleeting smile.
"Yes," she said, "Even if you're a white slaver!"
Chris laughed and said: "Wrong side of the law! I'm a cop: Chris Logan, sergeant Chris Logan! And you already know Boney!"
"Boney?" she asked.
"Fascinated by Napoleon and a history buff," he explained. "But let's get you inside and dried off. Leave your bike here," he went on. "I'll show you where to get yourself righted. You have dry clothes?"
"Don't think so," Janice said, beginning to sob again.
"No problem," Chris said, "I have stuff for you. Let me show you."
He took her into the Rialta. She stood in the doorway, petting an insistent Boney and said: "Oh, this is so nice! But I'm getting everything all wet."
"Don't worry," Chris said, "There's carpet on the floor and it'll dry just fine."
He went to a drawer that had his clothes and fetched out for her a pair of running pants, and a sports jersey.
"There's a curtain that is rigged up front," he said, "I'll pull the curtain and the side window curtains to give you privacy to change."
"Thank you," she said, softly. "If I weren't so wet, sergeant, I'd give you a hug!"
"I'll take a wet hug any day!" he said, with a kind of joy in his voice.
She hugged him then and shook with her sobbing.
"It all turned so crappy in such a hurry," she said into his shoulder, "With this storm."
"Yes, it's going to get a bit worse," he said. "We're headed for Johnson's Grove; it's only a few miles further on and has electric hookups. And I don't think there'll be anyone there just now. We'll stay there, if you don't mind!"
"Mind?" she snorted, "I was going to put up a wet tent and get into a wet sleeping bag! And here you've rescued me!"
He noticed that she was shaking then.
"Okay," he said, "I'll hitch up your bike. Tell me when you're changed and ready, okay?"
"Yes, thank you," she said, her teeth chattering.
He fetched a blanket for her and gave it to her.
"Into dry clothes quickly and wrap in the blanket. I can make us some coffee or tea then."
"Good, thank you," she responded.
"Oh, and in that top drawer," he indicated which drawer that he was talking about, "There are shorts. Pick out whatever you need."
She smiled and barely suppressed a giggle then. She was feeling better already.
"You might have to put up with the voyeur dog though," Chris said.
She giggled and said: "Boney's welcome."
"Well," Chris said with a grin, "Smile into his collar. It's the camera!"
"Sergeant!" she said in a severe voice.
"Sorry!" he said with a grin. "I'm going out now to fix up your bike. I'll be in the front seats, when you're all ready."
"Thanks!" she said.
Take care of her, Boney!" he said, and got a barking reply from the shaggy dog.
He went out then, after pulling the curtain across the front and the curtains on the windows.
Janice sighed, as she gratefully climbed out of her very wet clothes. There was a laundry basket there and she put her bicycle clothes into the basket.
Boney sat and simply watched her, and when she looked at him, he wagged his tail and beat his tail on the floor.
When she had her clothes off totally, a thought crossed her mind and she looked at Boney's collar, remembering what Chris had said, and she waved, giggling as she did it.
She picked out a pair of purple, nylon shorts that were cut for a man but looked like they'd fit her. She was still shivering a bit but felt better already, once she put on the running pants and the jersey.
She also then wrapped the blanket around her shoulders and sighed, feeling much, much warmer.
She began then, for the first time, to look around at the ambience of the RV.
"Ready!" she said and Chris pulled the curtains back. He was smiling.
"New you!" he said.
"And warmer!" she mentioned.
She insisted then on hugging him, with the blanket around her and him, and said a sincere 'thank you' for the rescue from the storm, which was still raging outside.
Chris had put his slicker away and asked her if she'd like a cup of tea or coffee before they went on to Johnson's Grove.
"Lovely!" she said, sitting in one of the side chairs as he went about making the coffee for them.
"Out for a vacation?" he asked, as he worked at the coffee.
"Yes," she said, "Long planned and I thought that the storm was going to be quite a bit south of us."
"Yes," he said, "Weather forecast was wrong in this case, and it's a bruiser too."
.... There is more of this story ...