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Breakaway
Author: Kindle Alexander

Chapter 1

 


June

 

“I think I got it,” Ducky yelled over the mind-jarring, ear-bleeding volume of Denzel Curry’s insane cover of “Bulls on Parade.” Even though Dallas Reigns only stood a few feet away from his youngest brother, he had to concentrate on each word spoken to ensure he’d heard correctly. Since there was no way to be certain, and turning down the music was never an option, Dallas moved closer to where his software-manipulating brother sat working.

Ducky’s head bobbed in a controlled head-banging motion, keeping time with the angry rapper and the menacing sounds of the electric guitar. Ducky liked it loud. Usually the rap-metal music played on a loop in his headphones, but not today.

Ducky had mad skill behind the computer screen. Dallas was convinced his little brother had never come across a code he couldn’t understand or eventually break. The gibberish filling the monitor was as rhythmic to Ducky as the music he listened to. Even though he created greatness by manipulating the digital language, it was the process to that greatness that left something to be desired. Dallas bent over Ducky’s shoulder. He stayed far enough out of reach to avoid any potential head-butting. Ducky sang along with the fiercely polemical lyrics as if they rang true to the very meaning of his soul.

“Try it!” Ducky called out.

“Now?” Dallas questioned, yelling into the sudden silence when the song abruptly came to an end. He and Ducky both lifted their gazes to the ceiling at the loud banging from the apartment above. Dallas’s cell phone alarm chimed. If their neighbors were already home and his alarm was going off, it meant he only had an hour or so before his shift at Elite Total Gym began. “Text Donny.”

Hurriedly, Dallas took his seat on the wired stationary bicycle facing the equally circuited wall mirror turned into a monitor and began to pedal. He pushed the power button on the gaming controller that had been rewired and duct-taped to the handlebars. With each turn of the pedal, his hopes and dreams began to materialize. Their hastily crafted logo appeared in the center of the mirror. A grin pulled at his lips at the next sound.

“Hello, Dallas, would you like to begin a live or pre-recorded class?” The electronic greeting used his profile name, welcoming him to the session.

Dallas used the buttons on the game controller to accept the invitation. Since this was all coming together right in the moment, their business had no previously recorded classes available. In the next few seconds, his single image in the mirror became two, splitting the screen with another administrative profile. At the top was Donny, their oldest brother. Dallas’s profile shifted to the bottom. Donny’s Texas-size grin matched Dallas’s.

“This is sick! You did it, Duck.” Donny’s pedaling came to a stop and his image began to fade, requiring him to continuously turn the wheel to stay connected.

“It’s a work in progress,” Ducky admitted, coming to stand right beside Dallas, his image now in the mirror with theirs.

“It’ll work out. I need to get all these wires figured out, but we’re getting there,” Donny added.

“Hey.” Donny’s wife Cari came into view on top of Donny’s image. A first, having all three on the same screen.

Ducky’s excitement couldn’t be contained. He jumped up, giving an all-air fist pump. “I told you I could do it!”

“Yeah, you did.” Dallas pushed another button as the stats of each member appeared in the upper right corner of the mirror. The mini leaderboard was designed to be an instructor’s tool, listing every member’s placement once the classes began.

The next button on the controller cleared all the statistical information from the mirror, leaving behind their images on the split screen. In theory, the mirror could hold up to two hundred profiles with specific stats, allowing the instructor to assist those members who might fall behind or need encouragement to help finish the session. All members would have the ability to set their profiles to either public or private, giving the rider a choice on how much information they wanted to share with the world.

Dallas sat back on the seat, letting his arms dangle by his sides, keeping his feet moving in slow motion to keep everyone together. The impromptu Thanksgiving table brainstorming was somehow coming to fruition right before their eyes. Yes, they had a ways to go, but apparently, if a person had luck, talent, and time on their hands, dreams did come true. They were living theirs right now.

“We could eventually sell the mirrors,” Ducky said excitedly.

“Absolutely. Then we could sell bikes, row machines, interactive exercise mats,” Cari added, saying all the things Dallas had been too afraid to speak aloud.

“Right now, let’s just focus on the original plan,” Donny cut in. He always had a way of making sure their excitement remained tamed.

Their original idea had been a simple device that turned any stationary bicycle into a social exercise machine. Its name: BikeBro.

“Did you get my text?” Donny pointed to a device, the size of a small streaming box, sitting between the two handles, duct-taped to the center of the bar.

“Is that an Amazon TV box?” Dallas asked.

“Yeah. I used the components. I’m connected through Bluetooth and can see everything perfectly. I taped my cell phone to the handlebar. It tracks my heart rate and motion spin. Ducky and I can work tomorrow on building a prototype to incorporate it all into one device.”

Donny was an ex-military computer hardware specialist who came home to a job in the IT department at a local hospital. It was where he’d met Cari. Though Donny’s six-foot height towered over her five foot nothing, she fit her husband perfectly.

“And I can see you great by the way, very clear.” Cari gave him a bright smile.

Dallas took a closer look at her setup. She had the same style black box strapped to her cycle.

“Cari, you’re signed in through the social network. Did it open properly?” he asked, continuing to slowly pedal.

“Yeah, it’s a tedious sign-in process while on the bike,” Cari answered, pushing herself back on the seat, mirroring Dallas’s stance, pedaling just enough to stay connected.

“I gotta work on that too.” Ducky turned back to his computer, clearly done with the excitement of the moment. After sitting behind the dual monitors on his desk, he reached for his noise canceling headphones, ready to drown them all out. “And also work on the interface. We gotta look like we know what we’re doing so y’all can find investors.”

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