Fight Or Flight

Chapter 42, Blog 2

By Chuck Wells As Told To Ray Hochgesang


Harry rolled off to the north turn. Ralphie headed for the back stretch. Nicky would man the south turn. My coaches were to yell split times and appropriate encouragement. As I dragged my feet over to the starting line, the second guessing lurched into gear.

… you know, C.H., you really suck …

“What’s YOUR problem?” I muttered under my breath.

… YOU …

“Hey, I don’t care what you say …”

… that’s a news bulletin  …

“Whatever, I’m going through with this.”

… like hell you are …

“You have a better idea?”

… you are so stupid, stupid, STUPID! How did you get into such a mess …

I stopped, grabbed my right ankle, stretched it up behind me and touched my heel to my back.

“OK, what’s really wrong? Spit it out.”

… scared …

I stretched my other leg and grinned.

“Last time you said that, wasn’t I getting married?”

… see how that turned out …

“Funny, very funny. If you’re scared, that makes two of us,” I said, touching the palms of my hands on the ground. “What are we going to do about it now?”

… run for it?

At the starting line, I found nine jitterbugging kids, fueled by nervous energy. None of them dared to stare at me. They knew who I was. Of course, one couldn’t keep his pie hole shut.

“Stay out of my way this time, ya ol’ asshole,” said Franz.

“Get a good look at my face, Bitch,” I said. “You won’t see it again until after the race.”

The others stirred.

“You mean you won’t see me,” said Franz.

“No,” I said. “You won’t see ME.”

The starter stepped in between us.

“Let’s get this thing on the road, Boys,” he said, eliciting snickers from the others.

Franz hunched in lane six. I straddled the line between lanes two and three. With 10 runners in the final instead of the normal eight, no lanes were assigned, and the start would be an organized stampede at best. Between Franz and me, there were guys like Symmonds, Robinson and Solomon, world-class runners we had to shadow to have a chance. I would have to beat one of them to qualify.

… piece of freakin’ cake …

“Now, that’s more like it,” I muttered.

… I was being sarcastic …

During introductions, the emaciated guy on my right frowned at me.

“What is this? Senior Citizens night?”

… load trash talk torpedo No.2 … FIRE …

“Are your diapers bunched up, Sonny, or are you just happy to see me?”

… yyyeeeccchhh …

“Runners, take your mark,” the disgusted starter shouted.

I inched my left shoe within millimeters of the line, closed my eyes and held my breath. Then the one thought every runaholic worth his Nikes has at the start squirted out.

“Jist shoot me,” I whispered.


… damn, missed again …

Copyright © 2013 by Chuck H. Wells/Ray Hochgesang

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