It’s the final week of The Velocipede Races Kickstarter! Thanks to 106 supporters already, we are funded and have even pushed beyond the target amount. But, if we can raise more money, the publisher will print a larger run, and the book will have the chance for a larger audience. The final deadline to support is November 28th at 11 am.
Here are the first few paragraphs of the book to whet your appetite!
The Velocipede Races
I trailed in Papan’s wake, keeping half a block between us as we passed the extravagant townhouses that bordered Vreeland Park. I couldn’t imagine what Papan would do if he found me walking the streets unescorted, dressed like a boy in Gabriel’s clothes. He’d surely have Maman lock me upstairs for the next year or so, or take a stinging belt to my palms. Or, more likely, marry me off to the first willing wastrel he could find.
I sidestepped a puddle and darted across Green Street. A crowd had gathered beside the park gates. A velocipede race at Vreeland’s practice track had brought the crowd and Papan—not to mention me—out on this humid afternoon. I couldn’t miss Gabriel’s first qualifying race. Nothing, no fear of punishment or reprisals, could have kept me cooped up at home pacing the parlor in anxious anticipation with Maman. I had told her that my nerves for my brother had brought on a megrim and I needed to rest in my room undisturbed. Maman would understand the manufactured excuse, as she suffered that affliction frequently herself. I expected to be out for no more than an hour, and I could make it back home before she looked in on me if I hurried.
Papan entered the park and met up with two other men. I caught snippets of their conversation as I sidled along with my head down, taking care to make large steps that ate up space.
“Everyone’s a rookie in this race,” one of Papan’s friends said. “Your son is racing, isn’t he, Escot?”
“Should we bet on your boy?” the other one asked Papan. “Have you seen him race here at Vreeland?”
Papan had no answers for them. He’d never seen Gabriel race. Like most track swaddies, he spent the entire racing season observing the professionals at the Arena. There was no money to be made scouting the new talent coming up at the Vreeland practice track.
I knew the incoming talent well. I’d spent countless hours watching Gabriel and his cohort ride, longing to race myself, feeling the motions in my body with my entire soul twisted in a knot of envy that could never unfurl. Watching my twin brother compete was torture, but I kept coming back despite every danger—Papan’s wrath, a ruined reputation, public censure, Maman’s distress—because my vicarious pleasure in watching Gabriel was as close to racing as I could get.