another old novel idea....written in 2000 - its cleaned up a bit - there may still be some residual abrasive language and the main characters start out cohabitating - that stops in Chapter Two
The rain stung the exposed part of his neck like a thousand jelly fish tentacles. Nick gritted his teeth and pedaled faster. His breath came in short gasps like a steam engine climbing a steep grade.
Just three more miles to the finish… Iron Man Nick is in the lead. This will be his first win and he is hungry. Nick squinted as he shot down toward the bridge and imagined the cheering crowd waiting for him just out of sight. He was unbeatable. He and the bike were one metal and muscle monster bearing down on the inevitable. Nick closed his eyes. A Zen master now. Flying over the pavement. He was airborne. No wait. Nick opened his eyes. He was truly airborne! The vast ceiling of storm clouds filled his line of vision and his hands were no longer on the handle bars of his master machine. With a sick whizzing sound and a thud, Nick came to a stop face up in the driving rain.
“Ow.” A thick croaking noise oozed out from between Nick’s lips. “Air.” He sucked in a ragged breath and then let out a low moan. “I know something is broke, man. I’m gonna die right here on the bridge.” Iron man paralyzed from eyeballs down. What a headline. Nick groaned again and rolled to one side. As his eyes readjusted to the now dimming light he surveyed the crash sight. His precious bike had come to rest with the back tire wedged under the cement guard rail and the front tire, still spinning made a scolding tick tick sound with each revolution. The handlebars pointed skyward like the horns of some dying steer. “This is choice man. Real choice.” Nick struggled to his feet. “Aw Good-“ the oath was cut short as Nick, his shoe lace still entangled in the chain of his bike fell sprawling to the ground. The ensuing wrestling match between man and machine was brief and violent. Like a convulsing man, Nick kicked off his shoe, hefted the damaged 18 speed over his head and pitched the twisted piece of scrap metal as far as his twitching body could throw it. It spun overhead like a mettalic pterydactil before diving into the swirling water beneath the bridge.
"Lord." Nick spat out the rest of his oath. Everything hurts man. His back was on fire. He closed his eyes again. What would Lana think. Beautiful kind Lana. Hair the color of buttered popcorn. He could see it falling over her moonpale shoulders as she held the tweesers. "There there sug." Her butterscotch sweet voice flowing into his brain. Be still. Ah yes he could feel the releif washing over him as she plucked the last piece of concrete from his hindparts.
Nick shook off the fantasy quickly. Not Lana. She would never pick any thing out of my backside. Even if I begged. Nick reflexively put a hand to his buttocks. They felt undamaged. He then looked at his hands. Turning them slowly as though he had never seen them before, Nick followed the rivulets of rain diluted blood running from each palm. It looked like Cherry Coolaid. Ok. Good I’m injured. First I cost the firm our biggest audit ever and now I am maimed in the prime of my life. What the hell do you want God? Huh? Nick shook a bleeding fist at the leaden sky. My fault right? I am being punished for corrupting your little glass angel? Nick thought again of Lana. Lana unfolding her supple self from the couch. Her touch like coconut crème sweet against his cheeks. Lana wrapping her cool body around his thighs like… Like a boa around a rat. Oh yeah That’s a good mental picture. OK, I am a rat. I am sleeping with Lana, Sister Christian and we are not married. So wreck my life God, ok? Married. Yeah, Lana was really hurt about Valentines day. Uh huh. The cabin, the lake, and I actually went fishing. Ok, I will marry her someday. When I get my CPA certification. God knows a woman like Lana should have the best. And I am. Except for the audit and the bike and my asphalt studded backside! Nick flung another oath skyward. God my life is over. Is that what this is about? Lana says you and I should talk more God. She is always talking to you. All that preschool crap and the Jesus loves me crap and what the Hell did you ever do for me. Look at me man! Nick looked around again. Ah crap! My breifcase. The contents of Nicks briefcase lay scattered across the bridge like rice thrown at a wedding. Hope I saved those files. Thanks God. Thanks. Ok fine. Let’s talk. That’s what you and Lana want. Nick backed up against the bridge and threw a drenched foot over the rail. Gimme a sign. You took my audit, my work, my bike. I loved that bike man. If I am supposed to go home and marry Lana right now then gimme a sign. Nick stretched out his arms, stood up on the rail and squeezed his eyes. The silence enveloped him for a few seconds. Then Nick could feel the bridge tremble and a roaring sound filled the silence. Ok God. Ok. Nick braced himself for the inevitable sting of the swirling water below the bridge. He could smell the burning smell. Im goin to Hell now. Nick squeezed his eyes tighter as he felt himself start to fall.
"Hey man, what are you doin?"
"For the third time that day, Nick opened his eyes to see rain driving down on him. That roaring sound? He turned his head to see the Kenworth Tractor trailer rig a few yards away, steam coming off the hood, door flung open, and some jerk walking toward him. "I fell the wrong way? I don’t believe it."
“You ok man. I saw you on the edge and thought Sick, this guy is gonna jump. I better stop. You know these girls don’t stop on a dime.” Joe Trucker pointed back to his rig.
"Yeah. I’m fine man. Fine." Nick slowly got to his feet. "I dropped my shoe over the edge of the bridge and uh." Nick’s voice slowly trailed off as the reality of his situation settled around him. Shoeless and bleeding at the side of the road. Talking to a trucker three times his size.
"I am getting married." He mumbled.
“Hey, well that explains everything. Me and my little doll, we been together thirteen years. Told her I was gonna marry her as soon as I got my own truck. Coulda jumped off a bridge a couple times myself. Just got married last year. Still gotta pay for the rig. But we’re makin’ up for lost time.” The trucker wiped the rain from his scruffy beard and grinned. “Hey, let me give you a ride home.” Your lil bride’s probly burnt the macaroni waitin for you.”
Pasta. Nick thought. Thursday nite is always pasta nite. Lana would be tasting it right now. Full lips caressing the rigatoni. Lana spoon feeding him alfredo sauce. “Yeah, that’d be great. I am only about three miles from here.”
Nick closed his eyes as the truck rumbled away from the bridge, his mind focused on Lana.
written - 2000 - a moldy oldy
“Hey thanks, man. I’d ask you in for a cold one but its already late and I’m guessing Lana isn’t gonna be ready for guests.” Nick opened the cab and stepped down onto the pavement.
“No worries. Just get yourself in there and pop that question.” The Kenworth rumbled back to life, leaving Nick alone in his driveway.
Alrighty then. I’ll open the door, grab her in my arms and ask her. No wait. I’ll go to my knees. Wait. I don’t have a ring. I’ll do it this weekend. No, I promised the Big Guy I’d do it tonight. Man I think I’m gonna puke. I’ll eat. Then I’ll take her hand, sit down on the couch next to her and whisper it in her ear. Yeah. Ok. Nick smoothed his soaked tie and quietly let himself in. He paused for a moment, sniffing the air for the scent of alfredo and garlic. The air smelled clean and tinged with lavender, but nothing edible wafted past his nostrils.
“You’re late, Nick.” Lana stood in the center of the livingroom, arms folded across her chest, purse over shoulder.
“I know. I’m sorry. I got called into Nixon’s office on my way out.”
“Yeah, it was kind of a shock. I woulda called but I just wanted to get out of there, and home to you.” Nick took a step toward her.
“Nicholas, you smell like a wet dog.” Lana put her hand up in a stop gesture.
“Yeah, I kinda had trouble on the bridge. That’s part of why I was late. Hey, looks like you’re ready to go. We can grab something to eat, ok? Lemme just change”
“Nick, you’re absolutely right. I am ready to go. And as much as I’d like you to change, I don’t think its gonna happen.”
“No really, Lana. I’ll just grab some jeans and a dry shirt.” Nicholas turned toward the bedroom.
“Nicholas. Stop. I can’t do this anymore. I’m out.”
“You’re what?” Nick shivered as the air around him suddenly felt cold.
“Out. I’m out. I’m going to go stay with my parents for awhile.”
“Lana, I don’t understand.”
“I love you, but I’ve been thinking about our relationship for a long time and its just not right for me to stay living with you. It goes against everything I believe. I can’t do this double life thing anymore. I really thought you’d make a change, especially at the cabins, Nick.”
“I know, it was so romantic and I should have proposed but”
“But you didn’t. Two years, and you haven’t even seriously talked marriage. I have plans too. I love you, but I also love God. And this?” Lana gestured around the room. “This is wrong, Nick.”
“Well its not like we’ve burst into flames or anything”
“Nick, you just don’t get it. And I don’t think you ever will. I need time. Don’t call me, Nick. Don’t call until you’ve got your priorities in order.”
Nick stood stunned as Lana walked out. For a few moments he stared at the empty door in disbelief. The room shimmered and Nick felt lightheaded. I gotta eat. He shuffled into the kitchen and opened a cabinet. Grabbing a can of soup, Nick popped the lid open and took a gulp of cold chicken and noodles. God, what happened? I said I would ask her. You took my chance. You took my chance. Tossing the can into the sink, Nick sunk to his knees and started to sob.