drive. Everywhere I need to go I can
walk, bus or taxi. I take a bus to my
job at Hadleys Department Store in the Consumer Help Department. You should
know that I am a highly valued
employee based on my ability to resolve customer problems while still
maintaining company policy. Trying to
find a parent for a screaming child or dealing with someone whose credit card
bounced without ruffling feathers or giving away the store is like walking a
tightrope. Someone who wasn’t both
reasonable and sensitive couldn’t handle it, believe you me!
There are a lot of
places I can walk to. The library, post
office, my softball field and a lot of shopping is within two miles. Mostly
the weather is nice and walking is
easy. Even when the weather is bad, you
can still walk if you dress for it.
I don’t fight with
anyone. Everyone who knows me could tell
you that. In my volunteer position as
citizen park commissioner, there are lots of controversial issues, but I am
always the voice of reason keeping opposing parties civil. You should have seen
the ruckus about a
separate dog park! But I kept everyone
I’ve been on jury
duty three times and foreman once.
I like girls a lot
and I think that they like me. If I
weren’t a little overweight, I’m sure that
I’d have a steady girlfriend by now. But
don’t you worry, I’m on a new diet right now and I’ll be OK. I’ve
got my eye on a girl in my Bible study
class. I think that we would be a great
couple. When I lose that weight it will
be easier for her to see my inner glow and get over her boyfriend with the
looks, money and a Jaguar. He isn’t even
of our religion!
There is one thing
that really burns me. There are all of
these just beautiful boys and girls in their spandex running over the
neighborhood with their expensive bikes.
I don’t think that their clothes or their bikes are made in this
country. They think that they own the
place! Once a couple of years ago, a biker
came close to hitting me in the dark. It
might have been partly my fault because I was wearing dark clothes and
Those bike riders
almost run me over every other day.
Usually I don’t recognize them, but there is one guy who I see every
Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 6PM as I come home from my bus stop. He has
come close to hitting me several times
and he cusses me out for being on his streets.
This jerk never stops for a stop sign and I’m not the only pedestrian he
has almost hit! He also swears at
drivers. He thinks that if he spends
enough on his tight blue spandex and super bike he just owns the road.
Last month he
nearly hit me on a sidewalk going the wrong way on an overpass. “Get out
of my way a**h**le”. There is only so much one can take. But I got out of his way. I have to admit to a bit of self
loathing. Why do I let everyone walk
over me? If only I had time for a plan
of action, but he didn’t give me time to think.
If I’d had time to think I would have held my ground. It’s
my sidewalk! Pedestrians have the right of way.
Finally, he made a
big, fatal mistake. I was still walking
on the long overpass when he came back the other way. I could see a car far
behind him. I acted
like I was intimidated from the last time he went past me. I squeezed up tightly
against the rail. I could see it work out just right. As he came up right behind me I turned around
and faced him, taking up just about all of the sidewalk. He swerved off the
sidewalk and his bicycle
fell over on the road just in front of the car that had been overtaking
him. It wasn’t pretty. The
motorist couldn’t stop. The grille caught a leg and a wheel went over
his head. He ended up in one piece, but
extremely, immediately dead. The poor
driver blamed himself. I tried CPR, but
there was no hope.
Police took our
statements. I told them that the
bicyclist had startled me causing me to turn around suddenly. Everyone agreed
that it was just a horrible
About a week later
there was an opinion piece in the newspaper written by Fred Janes, a friend of
the deceased Sam Wilkins. The point was
that bicyclists are so much superior than drivers and pedestrians and that
their superiority made it OK to ignore all rules and etiquette. He wrote about
how Sam Wilkins could have
bought an expensive car but chose to do the right thing and bicycle
everywhere. Fortunately, there was a
picture of Mr. Janes.
As luck would have
it, I recognized Janes as somebody who frequently rode the same circuit as
Wilkins. One place was on a sidewalk
between bushes and a busy road where they regularly terrified pedestrians and
bedeviled drivers. It took several
weeks, but finally I was in the right place to tip him into traffic from my
position in the bushes.
There may have
been some suspicion about the second death of a bicycle advocate in such a
short period, but no one saw me and nothing came of it. I’m happy to report
that bicyclists were
strangely silent after Wilkins died. No
more moral superiority in the editorial pages.
I don’t think that
it is prudent for any more bike accidents in the near future. One doesn’t
know what might happen in a year
you just hate door to door salesmen?
Always so pushy, won’t take no for an answer?
originally appeared in Nugget Tales, in
hobby writer has around a hundred
publications during the 2014-2017 period, in a variety of publications and
genres— essay, memoir, crime, horror, drama, and humor https://sites.google.com/site/aberrantword/.
Doug lives in
Oregon with cat and
editor and when not writing, sleeping or vegetating, he hikes, snowshoes
(when there be appropriate snow—not this year) and volunteers at a local park
and a bookstore.