The knocking on the door was fast and furious causing Ann Right to be extremely annoyed.
“Okay,” she shouted at the door. “I’m coming.”
She opened the door to find one of her son’s friends looking agitated.
“Mrs. Right, is Davy home?”
“Yes he is William…”
“Can he come outside? Now?”
“What’s the problem?” Ann asked.
“I’m not at liberty to say Mrs. Right,” Billy said.
“Not at liberty? Have you been watching cable TV again?”
“No Mrs. Right… please can Davy come out?”
She turned toward the family room and before she could call his name, her son Davy shot out the door and he and Billy started to run down the street. She shrugged and closed the door.
“Wait!” Billy shouted and they both stopped. “You need your bike…”
“No,” Davy said.
“Come on dude, it’s the only one that can do the job.”
Davy looked at Billy’s anxious face and gave in.
They walked fast to the garage where his bike was stored. It was a vintage Schwinn Racer his father had restored and handed down to him. It had been his bike when he was a kid. Davy wanted a new BMX bike and was embarrassed to ride the Racer with the large white-wall tires.
“Do you have a helmet?” Billy asked.
“Yes, you’ve seen it. It is white with black trim…”
“You’ll need a motorcycle helmet for the stunt….”
“I don’t have one of those…”
Billy spots something in the pile of sporting equipment in the corner. He pulls out a kids version of an NFL helmet.
“Well here you go,” Bill said handing over the toy helmet.
“That isn’t a real helmet.”
“It’ll do. Besides I doubt you’ll hit your head anyway.”
“Maybe not…” Billy said smiling.
“I don’t want to do this man.”
“What else do you want to do?”
“Listen to the cast album of ‘Anything Goes’…”
“Nothing,” Davy said changing the subject. “Let’s go and get this over with.”
The boys walked with the bike down the driveway but then Davy stops.
“Where are we going?”
“Down by the old railroad trestle.” Billy said.
The boys continue down the street.
“Who’s going to be there?” Davy asked.
“The usual. Bennie, Turkey, Smyth, and Burt.”
“I hate Burt.”
“Start with the lunch money he steals from me. Getting me in trouble with the teacher every day and he smells.”
“True but he’s bringing the plywood. Do you have plywood? I don’t have plywood.”
“Things never go wrong for the kid who has a lumber yard owner for a Dad,” Davy said.
“That’s so true…”
The old railroad trestle was just that, a small disused railroad bridge over a creek at the end of the street. The area was dangerous because that is where older boys would go to sneak beer and it once was the “home” of the town hobo until he disappeared under mysterious circumstances. The place just screamed “Boy’s Hang Out” with broken glass, rusted nails, and dirt or as Davy’s Mom once called it, “A tetanus shot waiting to happen.” That made Davy want to hang out there even more.
Davy and Billy pushed their way through the brush and came into the opening along the creek bed. Bennie, Turkey, Smyth, and Burt were there poking a dead woodchuck with a stick.
“Let’s burn the carcass,” Burt said.
“How?” Bennie asked.
“I’ve got some gasoline at home.”
“That scares me,” Turkey said.
“We don’t have no time for burning no animals,” Billy said as they caught up to the group.
“Hey Davy is here with his old man’s bike,” Smyth said laughing.
“Come on,” Billy said. “Are we going to do this or not?”
“I brought the plywood,” Burt said.
“Remember what the bet is,” Smyth said. “He survives and he gets the club’s stash of comic books, a 2 liter of Coke, and… and…”
“Your brother’s nudie book,” Billy interjected.
“Thanks for the reminder,” Smyth said. “Okay Burt set up the plywood and Davy go over to the brush line.”
Burt took the large piece of plywood and leaned an edge against a small tree. The creek bank was generally clear but Turkey and Smyth walked from where Davy was toward the plywood checking for any large pieces of glass or nails in the way. Once the path was cleared they gave Davy and Billy a thumbs up.
“Remember you have to pedal as fast as you can. Don’t puss out,” Smyth shouted.
“Hey you know what would be cool,” Burt said. “Set the plywood on fire before he hits it.”
“NO!” said the other boys in a chorus.
“We don’t want to alert the cops you dumb ass.” Turkey said.
“Okay. Okay,” Burt said. “It was just a suggestion.”
Billy straddled the front rim of the bike as Davy sat on the seat. Davy slipped the plastic helmet on and squeezed the handle bars. He put his feet on the pedals and got ready to go.
Holding on to the handle bars Billy then shifted to the side of the bike and also gripped the back of the seat to steady it, ready to push Davy off on his stunt.
“Ready?” Billy asked.
Davy only nodded.
“We’ve ready!” Billy shouted.
Smyth raised his hand in the air.
“READY… SET… GO!” He said and dropped his hand.
Billy pushed off to start.
Davy forced his legs to pedal, grabbing the handle bars and lifting up off the seat then pushing down hard on the pedals. He picked up speed as the plywood grew larger the closer he came on to it.
“Go Davy go!” Billy cheered.
The wind rushed through the face mask of his cheap toy football helmet and he may have ate a bug or two but he was on a mission. Davy pushed a few more hard pedals toward the plywood and then….
Davy hit the wood dead on and while the bike stopped suddenly, Davy didn’t. Like a science experiment, his momentum carried him up and over the handle bars. As his feet rose to vertical he then remembered to let go of the bike. His head hit the edge of the plywood as he flew past it…
Davy then landed hard on his back several feet away from the bike and plywood, both were now on the ground as well. The other boys ran to him.
“Davy you okay?” Smyth asked as he was the first to arrive.
Davy wheezed because the landing knocked the wind out of him. He tried to lift himself up but it hurt too much.
“Is he hurt?” Burt asked.
“I don’t know!” Smyth said. “Davy, blink once if you’re okay or twice if you’re paralyzed.”
“He’s not paralyzed,” Turkey said.
“How do you know?” Smyth said.
“He’s moving his legs.”
“Burt?” Davy said breathlessly.
“Better get that nudie book,” Davy said and smiled.
The boys all laughed in relief.
Davy sat up and removed the helmet and he admired the scratch the plywood made on it.
“That was close,” he said.
“Now are you glad I made you wear it,” Billy said.
Davy stood up went to the bike and checked it out. The Racer looked like running into the plywood didn’t touch it.
“Let’s do it again,” Davy said and started to walk the bike back to the start line.
“Hey,” Burt said. “Let me try it…”
“Let’s do rock paper scissors to see who goes next?” Turkey pleaded.
“You’re too little Turkey,” Bill said.
“That’s not fair…” Turkey said running after the other boys
It was still a couple of hours before the street lights came on which would put an end to the stunt show that day down by the old train trestle. The next bet was who would break a bone first while risking injury on that old Schwinn Racer.
(c) 2012 Doug Berger
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