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Build Your Own Story

Ok, folks, it's contest time here at the big show.
A loyal and wise reader of the column and the blog passes along this photo he made the other day along the C&O Canal footpath in Georgetown.
Trying to figure out what we're looking at here, my mind runs immediately to ugly stuff, but hey, we all have our own problems. I'm thinking we're seeing the aftermath of robbery, domestic squabble, child abuse, or some other urban mayhem. Maybe you have a more charitable mind. In any case, write up your scenario of what happened immediately before the moment of this image, in 100 words or less, and toss it up on the comment board below.
I'll pick a winner by the end of the weekend.
Have at it.

By Marc Fisher |  January 6, 2006; 10:46 AM ET
Previous: Attention Wal-Mart Shoppers: Black Friday, Anyone? | Next: Contest Winner: Maggie and the C&O Bicycle


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Having participated in volunteer canal cleanups over the years, I can say that this is not at all unusual. I've seen toilets, water heaters, grocery carts, you name it, in the mud at the bttom of the C&O.
In this case I would speculate that a biker either had a wreck or experienced multiple breakdowns, despaired of repairing the problem and\or became so frustrated that he flung the offending vehicle into the canal.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | January 6, 2006 11:22 AM

Someone was practicing for a Japanese game show.

Posted by: Bob | January 6, 2006 11:25 AM

On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, each noon, Samuel, glossy and sleek in his pink riding tights, peddled furiously down the drive, hit the carefully positioned brick, flew up and through the main window, and landed perfect in her ladyship's great bed. His lordship being away on a mission extremely diplomatique. But, on Thursday, Samuel missed the brick and hit the moat.

Posted by: Me | January 6, 2006 11:35 AM

Me is very close to the truth with the posting of 6Jan5. Alas, the scene is from one of the various parking lots adjoining commercial/retail operations belonging to a certain former lobbyist, the bike a remnant of a once roubst valet parking service

Posted by: irradiatedmeat | January 6, 2006 11:45 AM

Clearly the person riding the bike was accosted by Tai Shan. Notice in the stream, the little trail of footprints leading away from the scene?

Posted by: Megan | January 6, 2006 11:45 AM

After failing to outrun the Cobra Kai (who were chasing him on their motorcycles), poor, frustrated Daniel-San, tossed his bicycle into the canal. Unfortunately, having just succumbed to alcoholism, Pat Morita was not available to restore the bike to a shiny new condition while Daniel-San slept it off...

Posted by: Eric | January 6, 2006 11:51 AM

In a phenomenon hitherto unknown, caused in part by global warming and the return of Joe Gibbs, the waters of the C & O canal receded to levels which had not been exposed since its late 17th century inception. The provided image shows the latest advances in an excavation paleontologist everywhere are touting as “rather impressive.” Scattered amongst the mud and leaves, there was found a bicycle and some fossilized dinosaur remains.

Although it is preposterous to infer that a brontosaurus could ever get behind a Huffy, is it really that far-fetched to imagine a wooly mammoth switching into low gear?

Posted by: Andy | January 6, 2006 12:18 PM

This is a singularly important photograph which clearly demonstrates the truth of alien abductions. It also proves that aliens are not environmentally conscientious (and likely drive disk shaped SUVs) rather than bicycling through the depths of intergalactic space. I do hope they are vegetarians.

Posted by: hmr | January 6, 2006 12:44 PM

World, renowned bicyclist George W. takes a tumble on the Canal near K Street. Security guards sent to retrieve bike abort their mission when a gift tag reading "Best wishes for a smooth ride, your friend, Jack A." falls from under the seat...

Posted by: JoeB | January 6, 2006 12:50 PM

The boy now had the best Christmas gift of all, the Mercedes of bikes, envy of all his friends. Yet his heart remained troubled by the events of a world gone too far, a world generally empty of kindness and full of those who did not abide by "do unto others" and fiercely shielded their comfortable lives from anyone in need. He prayed for something...something to warm the materialistic hearts around him. Suddenly, a voice was heard," Heal your own heart first. Have no false idols. Material things mean nothing." The boy sprang from the bike, tossed it into the muddy canal and, as he skipped away, his smile coincided with the emergence of the sun, warming the homeless man near the corner.

Posted by: maggie | January 6, 2006 1:03 PM

A Philadelphia Eagles fan is calmly riding through Georgetown. He stops into a bar to check the scores of the game. He realizes that the Redskins are beating the Eagles and that the Eagles may just go 0-6 in their division.

Later, after another horrible loss, he gets on his bike and begins to ride away. As he crosses the canel it occurs to him how bad it has really gotten. "I mean lose to the Cowboys, Giants and Redskins." he says... "its just not possible."

He gets off his bike to pull himself together. But in typical Eagles fan style he tosses his bike into the water in sheer dismay... Dejected... he walks back to his home 20 + miles away.

Posted by: DeniseK | January 6, 2006 1:30 PM

I'll take a shot at this, why not, although I may not be eligible.

I'm not sure exactly who but that bike belongs to one of the congressmen who lives in Georgetown. It was indeed a gift from Jack Abramoff. The congressman was out for a ride when word came down via BlackBerry that Abramoff was about to get caught. The Canal made it easy to get rid of the bike immediately, and all that mud in the river makes it easy to disguise the figerprints.

Posted by: The West End | January 6, 2006 1:36 PM

Damn, JoeB beat me to it.


Posted by: bc | January 6, 2006 1:49 PM

It was a dark and stormy night...

The pelting rain stung his eyes as he swerved to and fro across the bike path. The boat ramp felt no different from the gravel in the torrent, until the mud began sucking at his wheels and he could no longer pedal. He flailed furiously at the grasping muck until the inevitable flash flood swept him down the Potomac to the Tidal Pool among the cherry blossoms, leaving the bike hung up on a railroad spike to be discovered that cold, sunless January day.

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 6, 2006 2:09 PM

Earlier this week, a friend at work showed up limping and walking with a cane. She claims she broke her leg from a fall while biking in Hawaii two weeks ago--obviously, she is trying to hide something...

Posted by: pac | January 6, 2006 2:39 PM

This bicycle was recently dropped from the Homeland Security budget. It was decided that the rapid response, flat terraine vehicle development project was a liability given the ease with which explosives could be hidden within its hollow frame. It was feared that the device might fall into enemy hands.

The identity of those who revealed its location is now the subject of a government enquiry.

Posted by: gerardM | January 6, 2006 2:43 PM

The Washington Post uncovers evidence based on a leak from a "Government source" that the White House staff secretly plan to enter next year's Red Bull Flugtag as part of a "team building" exercise.

The effort now continues in the public eye, and the President states that they have an exit strategy for Bicycle One, though he admits that the WH did not anticipate the level of water they found once they went into the canal.

Further, he says any exit would be based on an appropriate water level and not "some arbituary date".


Posted by: bc | January 6, 2006 2:50 PM

The greatest Christmas present of all time... until next year.

Posted by: baltimore | January 6, 2006 3:18 PM

Tai Shan stole Marion Barry's bike and escaped from the National Zoo. He encountered King Kong taking a leak on the Canal towpath. They fell in love and now cohabit in an undisclosed location.

Posted by: Turnabout | January 6, 2006 3:23 PM

First Responders (or at least people in EMT uniforms) have just taken away an injured biker who was trying to outrun NSA agents who were tapping his phone. His escape was thwarted, however, when he accidentally hit Bush's copy of the Constitution which lay crumbled in the canal bed. According to nconfirmed reports, the man was escorted aboard an unmarked CIA plane destined for Turkey (where he would be encouraged to explain his taped comment that his bike has "been laden" with excess weight he gained over the holidays). Officals say that, so far, the man has offered nothing but tortured excuses.

Posted by: BigFatLie | January 6, 2006 3:30 PM

Hmmm... Looks as though someone missed the boat?

Posted by: DaSaigonSlim | January 6, 2006 4:12 PM

“My parents are out of town this weekend. I’m having a few friends over. You and your friend can stop by if you want.”

“Did Andy really say we could come to his party?” asked Nancy.

“I swear I would not make this up,” Stacy replied while mentally scanning her closet.

“But I can’t ask my mom to drop us off. She’ll want to know if his parents are home and she always knows when I’m lying,” Nancy explained.

“We’ll just ride our bikes and hide them in his neighbor’s bushes. That way, none of the upper-classmen will see us.” Stacy always had the answer. But she didn’t have a clue about how Andy’s neighbor felt about bikes hidden in his prize azaleas.

Posted by: se | January 6, 2006 4:26 PM

After a lovely wedding, Andy Stitzer (everyone’s favorite 40-Year-Old-Virgin) and his lovely new wife Trish decided to honeymoon in Washington, DC. Still having not received his driver’s license, Andy thought it would be better to see the city by bike. Trish went along for a short while, and then, after having what she later referred to as a revelation, dismounted the bike, threw it into the C&O Canal and left him to return home to San Diego. Unfazed by the incident, Andy continued on his way, thankful that the bikes had been rented under her name.

Posted by: se | January 6, 2006 4:27 PM

As Bob's offroad mountain-biking adventure came to a tragic finale, he simultaneously marveled and despaired at the wonders of modern bicycling technology. As his gear-festooned body was sucked deep into the large pool of quicksand, he reflected on the wisdom of his participation in the world's most over-accessorized sport. Still, he couldn't help but be impressed--even as he slipped into the muddy netherworld--at the sight of his carbon-fiber and tungsten-alloy bicycle resting lightly on the surface of the muck.

Posted by: your mother | January 6, 2006 4:47 PM

As Bob's offroad mountain-biking adventure came to a tragic finale, he simultaneously marveled and despaired at the wonders of modern bicycling technology. As his gear-festooned body was sucked deep into the large pool of quicksand, he reflected on the wisdom of his participation in the world's most over-accessorized sport. Still, he couldn't help but be impressed--even as he slipped into the muddy netherworld--at the sight of his carbon-fiber and tungsten-alloy bicycle resting lightly on the surface of the muck.

Posted by: Buford Stacks | January 6, 2006 4:48 PM


Posted by: Buford Stacks' mother | January 6, 2006 4:49 PM

The rough and ragged homeless Adelaid, who could only slowly limp after and yell in response, watched in agony as the teens laughing and taunting her rode away with her bike. A bike that had given her freedom and a means to expand her small world.
The boys laughed as they rode off and ran the bike into curbs and rocks and finally into a tree on the path. The front wheel wobbled to its death. With a sure sense this adventure had ended, the boy smirked, raised the bike in victory and threw it into the mire of the canal.
Eyes watering in tears and rage, Adelaid sat in the street - leaves, mud and wetness around her as if in the same grave as her bike.

Posted by: PSnow | January 6, 2006 5:26 PM

No, no, no! In a triathlon, you ride the bike in the ROAD, not in the water! You SWIM in the water! Get it???


Posted by: Debbie | January 6, 2006 5:37 PM

"Mom, I'm the kid in ET. Look!"

"That's nice, Bobby."

"Mom. MOM. I'm gonna ride like the kid in ET. OK?"

"Great (Damn, where's page 79. You can never find pages with all this advertising)"

"OK, Mom, I'm on the bridge. Look out, every body."

"Bobby? Bobby!"

"Down here, Mom. Bike wouldn't fly. Can I have a new bike?"

Posted by: CT | January 6, 2006 5:50 PM

Abandoned bike haiku:

A bike discarded
Its rider is a mystery
Converted to junk

(Optional: accompany with interpretive dance)

Posted by: CT | January 6, 2006 5:55 PM

When I was in one of the poorer (ie non-sanitized) neighborhoods in Cairo, I once saw several feral dogs eating a dead mule in a canal between two rows of apartment buildings. The mule had died in the street and been dumped exactly like that bike.

Only the mule got, ahem, recycled.

Posted by: Basbleu | January 6, 2006 5:58 PM

It was a dark and stormy night. Suddenly a glorious light shone down from above and a choir began to sing. The light picked out a small boy cycling furiously along the canal path and he ascended, dropping his beloved bike as he rose.

Oh, dear! The Rapture has come and only chose to take one small little boy, leaving all the self-righteous Pharisees behind.

Posted by: Penney | January 6, 2006 6:14 PM

It is a bike, dented, lost, abandoned, unwanted. It cries for your help. Help the bike. Pick it up. Take it home. Fix it. Give it to my former girlfriend who rides to work at the Justice Department every day.

Posted by: jmoz | January 6, 2006 6:16 PM

The canal is a fine place to do some extreme riding. The muddy pools, blind curves, and unforgiving concrete walls provide an alluring challange to an ardent rider.

This rider simply hit an algae patch. It's worse than inch deep water, because even the near-studded tires of a mountain bike can't get traction, and there's a tendency to hit the skid before you even notice that you're on it. This rider broke into a skid, recovered, but then hit a pothole. The front wheel was tacoed by the impact with the shallow pothole, bringing the ride to an abrupt end.

He simply left the damaged bike where it lay.

Posted by: CT | January 6, 2006 6:22 PM

I thought last year's giant C&O Canal garage sale could never be topped. Out of more than 10,310 items, only a Bedtime for Bonzo poster, a old bicycle, and six copies of 'Treason' by Ann Coulter were left unsold. But this year! Only that same lousy bicycle didn't go. Can't wait for the 2006 giant C&O Canal garage sale! But somebody -- please!! -- take the damn bike.

Posted by: Larry | January 6, 2006 8:06 PM

Taken seconds after the news of Abramoff's guilty plea, these are the skid marks left as dozens of legislators race to return bri-, sorry, 'campaign contributions' inadvertently received from the turncoat lobbyist. The bike is Randy Cunningham's trade-in after he returned the Rolls. Or maybe it belongs to that bike messenger who hangs with Washingtonienne ...

Posted by: MrWhooHoo | January 6, 2006 9:58 PM

That same biker often seen jauntily attired in biking togs panting, gasping his way up Beach Drive and mowing down little old ladies on the Capital Crescent trail pushed himself too far and in an oxegyn-deprived frenzy rode off the towpath only to crash down into the rocks and muck. Fortunately his body was carried off and consumed by local carnivores. Otherwise, he would have sued the National Park Service for untold millions.

Posted by: LynAn R | January 6, 2006 10:02 PM

So I make the call and say, "Brownie, I need some transportation to get some of these folks out of here"

Posted by: Jim Maher | January 6, 2006 10:49 PM

First thing is the bike's bent, so I'm thinking accident. Real bent, so like probably a serious accident. The bike don't look too new, so probably happened a while ago. Bike's Italian, so I'm thinking good chance some Italian guy was riding it. Guy riding it ain't there, so he's missing. If I had to guess, everything points to that's Jimmy Hoffa's bike.

Posted by: colsini | January 6, 2006 11:13 PM

Having stolen the bike himself, Billy expressed shock when one of his protégés stole it from him and later abandoned it. He decided not to press charges, however.

Posted by: Will Vehrs | January 8, 2006 12:13 PM

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