I just wasn't the same without her. People could tell. Something had to be done. I had a handful of cash from the sale of the aluminum replacement frame. It felt like blood money. Like, "hey, I know, we threw a bag over your girlfriends head and kidnapped her forever, but here's a few bucks to soften the blow." So I purchased a Quattro Assi to make myself feel better. It meant "four aces", but that didn't stop everyone from calling it the ass bike. Hardy harhar. Not a full-blown top shelf frame, but nice enough. It had unique flying buttress lugs, modeled after the buttresses of famed Notre Dame Cathedral. I suppose the QA was like a transitional girlfriend. Good enough to be pleasing, but always missing something.
At the same time I was fired up about lugged steel bikes, folks all over town were ordering Paramounts from us because we were a Schwinn shop. Now this local hair chopper, Rusty Odom (who we called "crusty scrotum" behind his back because it rhymed and we were punkass teenagers), decided to get himself one of those Paramounts. He rode it for a while and during that time gave one of my buddies the worst mullet hair-cut I've ever seen. After it sat in his garage for years, he decided to sell the frame/fork and his scissors to a shop-rat kid named Hadji (because he mumbled all the time like Hadji from Johnny Quest). Well it turns out that Hadji had also owned my Quattro after I became stoked on mountain bikes. But he crashed it into a car, so he needed the Paramount. Luckily, Hadji only used it for training and took pretty good care of it. Then it hung in his parents attic for a while, until I bumped into him during a holiday visit. He had the frame in his hand and was going to leave it in the shop to sell. Let me take it and see how she fits, I told him. The bartering ensued and I ended up getting it for a messenger bag in trade. He made me promise not to sell it. Not to worry Hadji.