The bell had come at last. That long monotonous bell that signified the end of a long study hard, lesson filled day in what most eleven year old kids considered hell, also known to the school board as the sixth grade. As usual, as it always was, along with that ear shattering sound came the uproarious clatter of hundreds of kids clambering about trying to collect their not so important belongings so that the mad topsy turvy dash to the door could begin. As soon as the thunderous screaming wave of adolescence began, it had ended, and all in what seemed like the same breath; an inhale of energy and an exhale of silence.
The teacher adjusted her bottle thick, owl-horned glasses on her long crooked nose as she took in the spectacle of total carnage that covered her once serenely perfect classroom and slowly began to realize with an equally perfect scowl splayed across her weathered face that she had one hell of a cleaning job in front of her. At that moment, she felt sensations of anger, grief, and joy, for even though she stood in a “Joe’s Trash Heap” that was once her classroom of order and that she herself had to clean it all up, just to have it all destroyed again tomorrow, she still had one thing to fall back on, one thing to totally cherish and love and that, of course, was that beautiful sound that was all around her: silence.
The scene outside was much different. The wave of joyous harmonic despair which had just obliterated a multitude of paisley classrooms was now spreading out its maniacal wrath in an explosive wave resembling that of a nuclear blast. In the middle of one of the groups that was charging for the secure bike racks strode two perfectly matched warriors. One was wearing his always popular Bermuda shorts and the standard blue Billibong T-shirt. His opponent this day was clad in his blue/gray Levis jeans and matching jacket with an outspoken black T-shirt underneath. This one was the center of attention, or so he liked to imagine.
Their metal steeds were tied up right next to each other, eagerly anticipating the arrival of their riders. The two brave champions quickly united their two mounts and pulled them free of their strangling stalls. One of the stallions was a short, chromed out Redline BMX , super off road tyrant whose rider, the surfer like blond, quickly swung his leg around and sat astride his husky beast. The other metal horse was in something of an Arabian class, by way of seemingly random parts cleverly put together. She was black with chrome handle bars and three gears that pumped up the speed for the rider, and she never lost. Her rider casually led her out of the stable and out to the crosswalk.
The traffic was heavy with cars and full of children rushing this way and that. Across the street, catty corner to the warriors position, was the ever so famous “Corner Store” where hundreds of children rushed everyday to spend their parents’ hard earned money on a multitude of sweet delights: candy, popcorn, ice cream and soda pops of all varieties were among the favorites.
The moment that passed seemed like an eternity, and then, finally, the chief crossing guard got up the guts to blow his small shiny, metallic whistle and he and his compatriots held out their fragile arms, clinging on to their empowered stop signs in hopes of stopping the oncoming herd of traffic. Low and behold, and almost to their surprise, all of the cars came to a screeching halt, and the wave of children pressed across the street, most continuing on to that ever so alluring corner store.
The two gladiators reached the far side of the street, walked their over eager steeds up the ramp and onto the ivory sidewalk, neither ever having looked at the other the entire walk. There was an unspoken understanding between these two veterans for they knew what was about to occur. Each, in turn, mounted his valiant steed, and for a long moment there was nothing but silence, then the two slowly locked cold, unrelenting eyes in a way that could be an open challenge, and in that split second the world seemed to stop, all eyes crashing down upon the two warriors, and then it was over.
With an unearthly battle cry the two wraiths hurled themselves down the ivory raceway, wildly pumping their steeds to victory. At first the all-to-cool blond on his beautiful Redline had pulled away in front, but his lead didn’t last long. The jean-clad hero quickly shifted gears and then the power came to him in droves. In just a few quick pumps he caught and passed the blond as though he was racing all alone.
People of every size and shape wearing everything possible were leaping for their lives in hopes of escaping the oncoming torrent of pure energy. the two riders saw nothing but blurred images of colors streaking past them, all yells and screams were quickly lost on the wind that carried them. The only thing that the warriors even took notice of was that ahead of them, at the end of the ivory highway upon which they rode, was the break in the sidewalk that signified the end of their race.
About twenty five feet or so before the previously agreed upon finish line was a break in the steel horse race way that was nothing but a never used side street. The front rider, on his black steed, quickly rode to victory; another easy win under his belt he mused. Images of grandeur filled his young imaginative mind as he flew on, the wind dancing through his hair. It happened at that moment of sincere joy when a lone, several thousand pound, steel wall on wheels decided to pull out of that side street and stop right in the path of that oncoming storm.
In unison the riders both locked their breaks, pulling back on would be reins, and prayed for dear life. The blond ridden Redline dirt bike, with its large knobby tires, stopped on what very well could have been a dime, its opponent and cohort not being so lucky. The jean clad would be victor’s breaks had locked, the wheels had stopped spinning, and considering all the laws of the universe that were known to this young, not so experienced warrior, he should have stopped. however, the sand that had been mysteriously strewn across the new ivory glass-like surface of the sidewalk defied all laws and saw to it that the hero on the ebony steed would never again see another finish line on his proud horse.
An eternity passed before steed and rider came crashing down on their sides, sliding the whole way on the glass like surface only to imbed themselves, as one, underneath the waiting mammoth of steel known as a car. The rider of the black steed never noticed the color, shape, or make of the vehicle that he was now slammed under, nor did he ever care. He did remember, however, being pulled out from underneath the car by strong, gentle hands and being asked how he was doing, but none of that mattered to him either.
No crimson blood flowed from any wounds onto the ivory floor. No bones were fractured or broken. No skin needed mending and no clothing was shredded. Even though nothing apparent seemed obviously wrong with this once cheery face youth, he wept. Not a physical pain kind of weeping, nor one stemming from fear. The race, the thrills, the adventures all meant absolutely nothing to this now sobbing child. Nothing said to him, nor nothing offered, could soothe his crushed spirit for laying on the ground at his feet was the mangled dying mass of his beloved steed. There was a lesson to be learned this cold, harsh, very real day, and yet no one cared, for today a tiny boy’s heart had been shattered by the destruction of his only worldly possession: his bike.