Bike Killer by Doug Hawley

I don’t 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 cool.

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 jaywalking.

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.  I’d had enough of everyone thinking they could 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 accident.

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 or so.

Don’t you just hate door to door salesmen?  Always so pushy, won’t take no for an answer?

 

Doug Hawley

 

Image by Alexas_Fotos from Pixabay

20 thoughts on “ Bike Killer by Doug Hawley

  1. If your behavior awakens the inner sociopath in others, then what does that say about you?
    This made me happy. During his bike break he could do something about one or two of the scooter riders who weave annoyingly amongst Seattle pedestrians, like me…Or I could…Oops, you didn’t see that.
    LA

    Liked by 1 person

  2. More than you wanted to know. First, Sam Kandej walked me through (from thousands of miles away) starting a real blog. It now has my writing history and will expand greatly. Thanks Sam.

    This was written in the 1990s when I lived in North San Francisco bay, Marin County (South Bay is San Jose, Apple, Stanford, East Bay is Oakland, Berkeley, and West Bay is Pacific Ocean). Mountain Bikers were building illegal trails in the hills and street bikers were frightening the feces out of pedestrians and cars.

    When I started writing again in 2014, Bike Killer was a very early acceptance at Hash. Hash strung me along for months and then disappeared. It later appeared in Nugget Tales which then disappeared. It currently resides with Yellow Mama whose editor is also not a fan of bicyclists.

    If anyone gets the cartoon strip “Pearls Before Swine”, there is more proof that not everyone likes bicyclists. Here in the Portland OR USA area, they are widely, but not universally worshiped. To be fair, I’m fine with the 3% that follow the rules.

    Tragic coincidence. Synthetic Chaos, possibly my only publisher on the US West Coast had one of its people die while bicycling in Corte Madera Ca., my home for 13 years. This was just before they had a reading in Portland OR where I read “Brave Newt World”.

    Whew, I’m done.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Often after someone is caught for a heinous crime the neighbours will say “he seemed so normal, so quiet.” like this guy, otherwise a seemingly model citizen. Everyone has the capacity to do very bad things, just that most of us have enough restraint or can just let things go. Not sure how the guy got away with the first homicide though, knowing what I know about police investigations. But it’s the spirit of the story that matters, the seemingly stable character and his matter of fact actions.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Touches our very soul, where we would love to take revenge on those bikers who hog the roads and trails, shouting at all in their way as though they are Lance Armstrong in a race. Especially the groups, all furiously racing along, springing into traffic to pass each other, matching helmets and shirts as they cluster about…. and my heart is in my mouth as I pass them, and then they run through a stop sign arrogantly and then……and then……obviously it irks! Good job with this story! Loved it!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This story was both fascinating and disturbing. I liked the narrator’s voice at first, but the story quickly took a darker turn with the cyclist’s bad etiquette and resulting death. I was angry that the cyclist died. True, he was acting like a jerk, but the resulting action was extreme. Also, perhaps it was the author’s tone, but it seemed to pit walker against biker. It’s sad that this is the only interaction the two characters had and that one of them died because of some road rage.

    Like

  6. Hey, this was great fun. There’s an American comic strip that has an arrogant biker as an occasional character, not that all bikers are arrogant, but it is funny and ties in with your story. Well done.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Great writers are cruel to their story characters! :))

    I could not resist laughing aloud while I knew it wasn’t right. I hope the cyclists, whom you got rid of, are resting in peace now. Amen! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Hi Doug,
    I always enjoy stories when your own mind goes off to those recognisable situations that the author has awoken.
    We all have our annoyances, that on a bad day could escalate. We also have those who just like to do something to irritate and they will never understand the fire that they are playing with.
    This was written with your usual dryness which is always a pleasure to read.
    Thanks as always for all your involvement!
    Hugh

    Liked by 1 person

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