Ride On Bald Rock Hill
Today, riding my bike on Old Blacksburg Road, at the top of Bald Rock Hill, where that derelict cabin rots at the edge of the hemlock forest, I had five shots fired at me, probably from a .22. The first hit a tree on the side of the road. The second whistled by my head. When I started pedaling my lungs out, three more shots were fired.
That made me mad. I should’ve kept going. But like I said, I got mad, and everything I’d learned from going-on-twenty years of marriage about keeping it bottled flew right out the window. I slammed on my brakes, spinning those skinny tires in the gravel, and headed back toward that cabin screaming like a wild man. I figured that’s where the shots came from and I don’t think I was wrong because when I got close, three kids—couldn’t have been more than 13, my Sandra’s age—ran out from behind the tumbled-down chimney. One of ’em was carrying a rifle.
Then I did another thing that wasn’t smart. I jumped off the bike and chased those kids into the woods. One wore a red t-shirt and he went straight ahead. I followed him, even when one peeled off left and the other headed right. I never could have caught all three anyway, especially since somebody had a gun—which of ’em I hadn’t figured out yet—but maybe I had a chance to grab one of those punks.
He slowed down, and it wasn’t until he changed direction and zoomed back toward the road that I realized he was playing me, like a trout on a black-tail fly.
I was bent over and wheezing, hands on my knees, when that little bastard flew past, whooping and hollering, on my goddamn bike.