by J. C. Welsh
A boy and his bike.
|I always smile and laugh a bit whenever I recall,
A boy named Beau from Broken Hill, who had a nasty fall.
The day we met, he had with him his brand new pride and joy;
A present from his parents he assured me was no toy
“A shiny metal blue machine!” he said “and nothing less!”
Although a ten speed mountain bike is what I would have guessed.
“Nice!” I said and cursed his bike, a smile upon my face,
“You’ll fit right in round here I’d say, round here we like to race!”
So race we did most everyday all up and down that street,
And others too from far and wide would join in to compete.
Now, one thing always baffled me about Beau and his bike,
And even though we laughed at him he said “laugh all you like!”,
He never used his back brakes, and said he never would
And though it looked hilarious, I said “I think you should!”
“I’m saving them!” he said “you see” and smiled like a gem,
“In case of an emergency, cuz now I just don’t need ‘em!”
So years went by, as all years do, and we waned not in the least,
If anything at all, in fact, our daring had increased,
We tackled now a mighty hill, the steepest in the town,
One fateful day (as Beau recalls) we gathered on its crown,
“Last one down’s a rotten egg!” he called over his shoulder,
And set the gears of fate in drive, today his world got colder,
For as we took off down the slope as fast as we could go,
An ice-cream truck had started up the hill from far below.
I'll tell you now, one thing’s for sure, that bike of Beaus was fast,
He peddled hard and peddled true and took off in a blast.
Then as we watched him ride away we heard that well known tune,
Greensleeves driving up the hill that fateful afternoon.
We all slowed down and moved aside as quick as we could steer,
And watched with gaping eyes and mouth, Beau’s emergency was here,
He squeezed his savored safety plan then sat up with a jerk,
Then screamed so loud the gods would know “these bloody brakes don’t work!”
So down he went straight as a shot, one chance he had in hell,
A chance he blew from over-use his front brakes broke as well.
And I’ll remember all my life the face I saw that day,
The driver of that ice-cream truck with Beau screaming his way.
The truck swerved left, as Beau flew past, and strained with heavy load,
Toppled when it hit the curb and smashed into the road.
And though by skill and speed of thought the driver saved his life,
Its lucky Beau was on his way or boy he’d be in strife.
We found him ‘bout a mile away with scratches on his chin,
He’d finally hit the skids you see and rode into a bin.
He sat and stared across debris with torment in his eyes,
At broken spokes and backwards forks he barely recognised.
Betrayed he was and such he looked there sitting on the grass,
And though we laughed it must be said his accident had class.
Now every time I walk that hill it always makes me smile,
The day poor Beau turned Doric Street into “the ice-cream mile”
Its funny how, in life sometimes, no matter what you do,
The world seems set in evil ways; life’s just out to get you.
When all the care, and time, and thought, and caution in the world,
Can't help your well thought, well timed plans from coming all unfurled.
I don’t suppose a moral will be salvaged from this tale,
Just check your brakes before you race and hope that you’ll prevail.