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  • I stroke my pacing beard. Something about the ponder apparent when grasping one's bearded chin with inquisitive fingertips. Something about it not being the same without the beard, but still searching for what lies beneath. That something, that one thing.

    There's something on the line.

    I perused the hairs and rested on a memorable old scar.

    I couldn't have it any other way back then. Riding my bicycle was the thrill of the goddamn ages. I'd careen down the main grade in our old subdivision. Walnut Hill.

    I grew so accustomed to reading, hearing, thinking Walnut Creek once we came back out west.

    Our house was on the windward side of a hill bisecting the neighborhood nigh in half. The result was something like a twenty-five to thirty degree inclined driveway.

    Some accursed day.

    We were going out some place and I couldn't fathom resisting a quick ride. I felt like a junkie. Thrills, chills, ...

    I hit the curb shooting down the driveway. That little lip where the low concrete shelf grows steep and becomes the roadside curb for vehicle parking. All of one percent of that driveway. I'll never forget how it went down. I maintained the captain's chair as the bike and I rolled left and made impact. Two bodies were hammered down the road like canal dredging. Along the way, likely too late, my left hand shot out flat to stop the asphalt flush.


    The awkwardness of rolling left and bracing left introduced my chin to the experience. I erupted from the solid ground and booked it up the driveway, bellowing a guttural, sinewy tusk-howl the way up. To this day, I imagine the dried mahogany splotches are still there, scaling up the driveway, climaxing in the moment I saw the look in my brother's eyes.

    "Holy shit...."
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