I was going to wait until this was entirely finished, but then I thought "hey, there are no rules here" so this is the first part of a first draft of a story. It doesn't have a title yet. I'll post up more parts as I write, edit, and rewrite them. Enjoy.
We called it a forest. Really, it was a few hundred trees along the riverbank. Standing at just the right angle you could see clear through them. From the stubble field on one side to the ripening durum across the river. Surrounding the forest for as far as you could see was just mile upon mile of sun blasted, wind swept prairie. By 10 am, the baking heat would be unbearable, but the trees were good enough to provide a little shade.
Bing was riding his Kuwahara. Chrome silver with black accents in liquid smooth powder coat. I had a rust spotted CCM bmx frame adorned with a mish mash of parts pulled from dead bikes. Bing’s bike was the envy of all the local kids, but I prefered my frankenstein bike. It could hit a jump in just the right way. A smooth launch, a little give on the landings. The Kuwahara had footpegs, better hand brakes, and a brand new chain, but it felt a little too unforgiving. Antagonistic. It confronted the ground rather than rolling over it. Also, Bing was always on it.
The sun hadn’t really gotten going yet, so the air was still a little cool. Wet streams drifted to the corners of my eyes as my feet spun the pedals. We didn’t talk, but I could hear Bing breathing hard off to my left.
We hadn’t really discussed it, but we both knew where we were headed. Since late spring we had been building a jump in the forest. Greg Stevens had swiped a shovel from his garden shed and left it out there last summer. We would all take turns scooping up some dirt and adding to the jump. Over a couple of weeks, it had gone from a small, bump crowning the edge of a natural ditch, to a loose kicker a couple feet high.
We had ridden over the Jump dozens, maybe hundreds of times, but only the center had packed down properly. The edges were still loose enough to catch an errant wheel ending your your run really quick. You might spin off to the side, dump the bike right there, or stop dead and go over the handlebars. Honestly it was hard to tell what might happen, except that it would probably be bad. We would bang on the jump with the shovel, or ride over it slowly, but without some rain to really tamp it down, it was just too scary to hit the jump properly, at full speed.
I made it to the clearing where the jump was first and locked up my brakes on the loose dirt. I leaned hard, kicking out my back tire, planting my inside foot and sliding to a tripod stop. Bing, right behind me, did the same, but maybe not with quite as much style.
I gave the ramp a quick once over to see if any work had been done on it in the past couple of days. Swimming lessons had prevented me from coming out and working on it, but there were about five of us that regularly came out here, who knew where the shovel was stashed. All I saw were deep gouges running up the landing slope of the ramp, turning up all the soft soil underneath.
“If they are gonna ride on it, they should at least stomp it down” Bing griped between huffs.
I silently agreed and made a sour face. Older kids had been coming out at night with BMXs, and an 80cc dirt bike. The BMX tracks weren’t that noticeable, but the dirt bike had left the ramp in an unusable state. They might as well have run a rototiller over it.
I stepped off my bike and let it fall to the ground in disgust. I had been hoping to take a couple of slow runs, maybe catch a little air, before doing any construction work. Bing shoved out his kickstand and stepped off. He started stamping his hightops into the soft earth while I fumed into the forest to retrieve the shovel.