They have no trouble locating the Ace Hardware store on the main street of Langley. When Annie asks about the best rust remover for use on chrome, the clerk hands her a bottle of Rust-Be-Gone.
“This’ll do the trick,” he says. “Pour a bit on a square of aluminum foil and rub gently.”
“Aluminum foil, like Reynolds Wrap?” Annie questions.
He nods. “I’ve got steel wool if you want, but it’d scratch the tar out of whatever you’re working on.”
“A bicycle,” Annie says.
“Bicycle, huh? Lotta work if it ain’t nothing but a bicycle.” He explains that the Rust -Be-Gone costs nine dollars, and he’s got some nice clean used bikes that are only $ 10.50.
Annie explains that what she’s working on is not just a bicycle, it’s a very special bicycle. She says the tires are flat so she’ll also need an air pump.
“Pump’s eight-fifty,” the clerk replies. “You sure you wanna do all that work and spend an extra seven bucks to fix up an old bike when I got a really good Huffy that’s ready to go?”
“I’m sure,” Annie says . She is tempted to explain how she is trying to reach back through time and find the boy who originally owned the bicycle, the boy who’s laugh she has already heard, but she doesn’t. She recalls her own disbelief when Ophelia first suggested such a thing and she knows the clerk will be equally skeptical.