[A Midsummer Night's Scream]
Part 3: Coming Down

Once upon a twilight cloudy,
I went riding, rough and rowdy...

We rode west to our connection;
Then Paul changed his bike's direction –
Downward, like the trail that beckoned.
'This is it,' I grimly reckoned.
Off the edge Paul's bike was dropping;
I looked down, uncertain, stopping.

But lights coming from behind me
Served to painfully remind me
That I really shouldn't be here;
'HIT THE TRAIL!' was now the key here.
I went speeding down the canyon
Following my brash companion.

Skidding turns and spraying gravel,
Using all my front fork's travel –
My poor light was getting weaker,
And my hopes were getting bleaker
That I'd make it to the bottom
Doubts and fears? Huge qualms? I got 'em.

My dim light kept getting dimmer,
Barely more than just a glimmer,
But why waste my time complaining?
I was peeking, squinting, straining.
Up ahead Paul's light was brighter,
So I closed his lead up, tighter.

Dust and mist were getting thicker;
Paul was going even quicker.
Blinding swirls so gray and murky
I was riding like a turkey,
Flopping, skidding, near disaster.
Paul was flying, ever faster.

Paul's taillight was brightly blinking,
As I blindly rode, hope sinking,
Sinking... like, I thought in panic,
Folks who sailed off on Titanic.
When I couldn't stay close to him,
Finally I just said, "Screw him!"

Slower now, I kept on racing,
Scared and almost blind, still chasing.
Sliding, bouncing hard and leaning,
I roared down the road, careening
Off the berms, out on the shoulder,
Sweating, though the night was colder.

Paul's bright light flashed, odd, erratic,
Then it suddenly was static.
He'd gone down! It could be gory,
Here – in taboo territory.
If in fact, we had pursuers,
Would they now become rescuers?

I sat up and started braking;
I could tell my hands were shaking.
As I stopped I saw my fellow
Felon, face all gray and yellow;
Even Paul's front teeth were muddy,
As he smiled and said, "Hey, buddy.

"This damned road is really awful.
Riding here should be unlawful."
I was so relieved I shuddered,
But I very sharply muttered,
"Pop your arm back in its socket;
Put your chain back on the sprocket.

"Get your ass up; let's get going.
We still have no way of knowing
Whether we may yet get busted."
We took off, Paul's jersey crusted,
Caked with dirt, one pocket dangling.
Ev'ry nerve I had was jangling.

Fog got thicker, but we made it,
Our pursuers were evaded,
We rode out of lands forbidden,
Down the same road we had ridden
Right at dusk, and much less weary,
Brains much less confused and bleary.

This time we rode somewhat slower,
Energy and spirits lower.
At a faucet, we drank liters,
Greedier than trick-or-treaters.
One small group of laughing hikers
Stepped aside for crazy bikers.

Then at last our ride was ending;
We had risked our necks descending –
Dark and fog and dust so chokin'
I'm amazed no bones were broken.
I survived, but I'm confessin'
I have truly learned my lesson.

No more nighttime rides; I'm stopping!
... Well at least till I go shopping
For some lights as bright as lasers,
With a name like Brutal Blazers –
Lights so bright that they might blister
If you shine them on your sister.

No more dark intimidation;
I will have illumination!
Paul asked, "Hey, pal, whutyu thinking?"
So I told him, straight, unblinking,
As I felt my spirits rally,
"Next week, let's do Simi Valley."


If you've read this whole long saga,
You may wonder if I'm gaga,
But my story has a moral;
Here it is, more flat than floral:
Life is short, so please don't waste it.
Don't just scratch and sniff it; TASTE IT!

Some folks tell you, "Don't take chances;
Stay away from bars and dances.
Drink your milk and eat your carrots,"
Sounding much like squawking parrots.
"Save your money for retiring;
Keep away from naked wiring.

"Flirty girls are always trouble,
Trim your beard and shave the stubble.
Go to bed while it's still early,
Brush your teeth to keep them pearly.
Don't go sailing off to Haiti,
If you want to live till eighty.

"Don't eat donuts, don't drink coffee,
Please avoid both tarts and toffee.
Risky sports? Oh no, please never.
Find some quiet, safe endeavor.
Gyms and treadmills make you stronger,
And you'll live a whole lot longer..."

I'm not sure that they're so clever;
Will we live almost forever
If we live the way they tell us?
I think maybe they're just jealous.
They must sense that something's missing;
What about excitement... kissing?

Lives with much less fun than fasting,
May indeed seem everlasting,
But it's my astute perception
That it may be self-deception.
Time does drag when things are boring,
But it won't while you're exploring!

As this tale at last is ending,
There's one thing I'm recommending –
Have some fun, avoid repression,
But remember: use discretion;
Stretch but please don't overwhelm it.
Ride your bike, but wear your helmet.

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Last updated Oct 20 2006