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trousers held up by a black belt with a buckle bearing the silver plated initial ‘C’ for Cullerton. It had been a gift from Mrs. Cullerton so long ago that as far as Kevin knew it was the only belt his dad had ever owned. His buttoned shirt and tie were gone and his v-neck white T-shirt, tucked into his waistband, hung loose against his narrow chest and the afternoon air. He gave the back of Kevin’s neck a light squeeze as he knelt next to the injured red Schwinn. “I see you started off on the right foot. You have the back wheel nuts loosened up.” Kevin felt a tiny flash of pride. He took a knee in imitation of his dad’s position. “They were tight, but I got them. I even remember you told me they were 9/16 inch and to use the box wrench instead of the open-ended so it wouldn’t slip off and smush my knuckles.” “That’s always a good thing to remember. I think we’re going to need a flat head screwdriver here.” Kevin was off towards the tiny garage before his dad finished. “There’s one on your bench in here. I’ll get it.” He was back in seconds. “Here, Dad.” He handed it to him and took a knee again, this time on the other side so he could better see and also to be out of the haze from the cigarette now dangling from his dad’s lips. Mr. Cullerton squinted through the smoke as he worked the driver blade beneath the chain and braced it against the hub. “I tried pulling it out, but it was too tight. See?” Kevin held up his hands to show his father the grease marks from where he’d grasped the chain. He wanted his dad to know he’d tried and not just waited for him to come home. “You can usually pry it out as long as you’re careful not to bend the links.” His dad wiggled the blade and dislodged the stuck chain with a flick of his wrist. “There we go,” he said as he handed the screwdriver back to Kevin. “Well since you already have your hands oily, why don’t you put the chain back on while I slacken the back wheel?” Again a sense of pride ran up Kevin’s neck. “OK.” He stood and re-fit the loosened chain unto the teeth of the pedal gear. As he did so he noticed for the first time one of the links looked strange and different than the others. “Dad, what’s this? This link looks wrong.” His father leaned forward to see as Kevin held the chain towards him knowing the gesture would again show off his oil-stained fingers. “That’s the master-link,” his dad said. He coughed twice and crushed out his cigarette on the lawn. “Master-link?” Kevin repeated. “What the heck is that?” “Here let me show.” His dad slipped his hand between Kevin’s without the slightest hesitation about getting oil on it. His left palm supported the chain, so the link was facing up and Kevin could see what he was pointing at with his little finger. “You see these two pins? This side has a double slot. It slides onto the pins and then the tension holds the link tight. This small clip then makes sure they don’t come apart. It’s called a master-link because you can pop the clip off and take the link apart and open up the chain.” “Why would you ever want to do that?” Kevin asked.

Profile for Door County Pulse

Peninsula Pulse - 2017 Hal Prize - August 4-11, 2017 v23i31  

Each fall, the Peninsula Pulse newspaper in Door County, Wisconsin invites people of all ages, backgrounds and artistic abilities to submit...

Peninsula Pulse - 2017 Hal Prize - August 4-11, 2017 v23i31  

Each fall, the Peninsula Pulse newspaper in Door County, Wisconsin invites people of all ages, backgrounds and artistic abilities to submit...