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A Summer of Living Dangerously - Part 3

Posted by Admin on April 7, 2015 at 11:30 AM

Showing off never worked for me

 

The next stop I made was up the hill on the other side of the ditch. I left some groceries at an address I can’t remember, turned around and headed back down the hill. The last box of stuff, including watermelon, cokes and eggs, was tagged for the Stitz home.

As I started down the hill I saw two girls coming my way on their bikes. My heart jumped a little, because one of the girls was Linda Burleson, whom I considered to be the prettiest girl in the neighborhood. She lived on Belmont, just a block behind the store. I had about two-thirds of a crush on her, but her daddy was a cop. I was always a little nervous about how to talk to her.

Hey, maybe this was my opportunity to impress her a little. What if I got up some speed and went barreling down the hill like a maniac and blasted right through between the two girls? That oughtta get their attention.

So I did that. Pumping furiously, I bore down upon them like a dive bomber. Their eyes widened as I got closer. Linda’s black pony tail twitched back and forth as she looked nervously from side to side for a ditch to take. The other girl had red hair and eyes as big as saucers. Her name was Brenda Arnold. Just before we collided they hunched their shoulders, closed their eyes and squealed in harmony at the top of their voices. I was Rocket Man, a tornado, a hurricane as I roared past right between them, almost blowing them off their bikes.

It was delicious. I had goose bumps going up and down my back. Did you see the expression on their faces? Sitting straight and proud in the saddle, I was laughing deliriously as I began to lean into the turn onto the street where Miz Stitz lived. A little late I realized that I might have built up a mite too much velocity to be able to comfortably negotiate the ninety degree turn without going off the pavement into the dirt. The dirt in the corner wasn’t dirt. It was sand. Loose sand.

I hit that loose sand with my shirt tail flapping straight out behind me, and buried that little bitty front wheel up to the axle. The effect was immediate and dramatic. The front wheel went no farther, while the rest of the bicycle continued on, as did I… and as did Miz Stitz’s groceries. The back end of the bike whipped around and snapped me over the basket like a hundred pound sack of chicken feed. I landed on my back, sending up a mushroom of dust.

It never works for you, the voice inside my head told me, yet you always go into it believing you can pull it off.

The dust settled, my head cleared and I picked myself up, slapping at my clothes. I threw a sheepish look in the directions of the astonished girls. They were looking at me like, who was that? What was that?

They watched me slop around through the chunks of smashed watermelon picking up scattered bottles of Coke. They watched in fascination as one by one the bottles began to explode in my hand from the terrific heat and the shaking up. I averted my eyes in order to avoid seeing them fall off their bikes laughing.

I worked off my shame and frustration pedaling back up that steep hill to the store. In the July heat I began to forget my embarrassment and started to worry about heat stroke. I wondered if I would ever learn. I should have known better than to try to show off for a girl. It never works out like it’s supposed to. But it did get their attention.

And at least the eggs didn’t break.

 

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