The Curve

I knew we was in trouble as soon as we settled into that curve, Dan and me. He’s slipped halfway off the side of his Blackbird, his right knee is almost on the pavement. An inch? I can’t be sure. My hands was full with my CB-900. That thought hasn’t cleared before his rear tire slips. Flipping once, his bike cuts across the oncoming lane and then cuts a swath into the Arizona sage brush. Dan is airborne, his arms and legs flopping like he’s a rag doll thrown from a window.

I’ve done my share of flat-tracking in Texas Dodging wrecked machines and riders was part of the sport, but twenty years have passed since, and I’m an old man now. I’m calling on long forgotten skills, missing Dan, watching his motorcycle.

I’ve seen some of bike crashes. Survived a few. But not many at speeds exceeding a hundred miles per hour. I’m certain Dan’s a dead man, and I’m not anxious to verify it. But when I get to him he’s moving and moaning. His glasses are gone. So is his helmet

DAN! TALK TO ME, DAN,” I shout.

Dan opens his eyes, but they aren’t focusing. “I think I’m alright,” he whispers, moving his fingers. “My bike! Where’s my bike?”

It’s okay. You stay put. I’ll take care of things,” I order.

But Dan isn’t listening. He’s standing now, swaying like a drunk man and trying to follow me. “I must have lost my concentration,” he mumbles, staggering along the shoulder.

I find his glasses hanging on a cactus thorn. His handlebars are bent, but the motor starts.

We sit in the shade of a Palo Verde tree drinking water for an hour. When he’s ready we start the two hundred mile trek back to his trailer in Show Low. It’s a slow trip. He’s lost his cool.

I visit him twice. He hasn’t been riding – claims something is wrong with his machine. Honestly, I think he’s scared. So I wait.

This morning the phone rings. Dan wants to meet me at Salt Creek Canyon and take another run at that curve.