Saturday, December 25, 2010

A Christmas Story

The following bit is a figment of my imagination - a piece of dread that fades into the background when I'm away. On the way home yesterday, we saw the bikers streaking down  Mission road and the feeling of impending disaster returned; my brain is stuck in fiction gear from reading non-stop* for two weeks.

Dave was really pissed off. Turns out the whole thing boiled down to one stupid lie. His fists clenched the steering wheel as he turned onto the main road heading to the freeway. At the light, a young man, probably a marine, bucked his motorcycle up in front of him as he pulled into the intersection. Gunning the machine, the kid started weaving in and out of the lanes, picking up speed as he went. You could see the kind of game the biker was playing, feeling the rhythm of the traffic, pulling in front of one car after another. Cocky and too certain. Suddenly a brake was tapped - a phone fell onto the floor, a texter looked away for a second -  something - and the flow of traffic halted and shifted slightly. Maybe just a car length, just for a few seconds. The biker missed his timing clipping the back of the car he was following. He and the bike separated fast, the bike skittering into the oncoming lane and hit first by a van. Brakes screeched and the bike was hit again and again.  The kid slammed off the trunk of the car ahead of him, bounced once and landed on the pavement, sliding at 30 miles per hour across the road, finally stopping half under the car just in front of Dave. He slammed on his brakes and opened his door to the smell of burning rubber, shit and adrenalin. He could see driver after driver dialing 911 but the pavement was turning crimson, blood flowing like a tap, too fast, too fast.   As he tried to get untangled from the seat belt to get over to the scene, he could hear sirens fast approaching. 

"Merry Christmas" he thought. 

* Add to this stack: Eat my Globe by Simon Majumdar ; Breath by Tim Winton; Deaf Sentence by David Lodge - all titles found in the Villa book cases. 


  1. Is this a true story? Is Dave someone you know?
    It sure makes me want to stay off the roads. I started counting motorcycle accidents in the paper and it is truly astounding. There are almost one a day. I don't know if its just in this area or nationwide. Maybe it's because we're near Camp Pendleton. Or maybe it's because the kind of people who ride motorcycles are the kind of personality-types that shouldn't be driving on our highways. They should be working as stuntmen.
    Not to mention texters!!!
    Pardon me but this is a pet peeve- could you tell?

  2. No, not true. After reading your comment, I realized I should add an explanation. I'm terrified I'm going to see this scene some day.

  3. I'm reading "Unbroken" Just started it and so far it hasn't captured me.
    I don't know why I'm reading it. As you can see from the previous comment -I hate daredevils!
    Can I borrow that "God is Not Great" book when you're done?

  4. Yes, I'll bring God is Not Great to lunch....I loved Unbroken - read it straight through, barely putting it down.