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Mildred Crane Comes Through by Cliff Rhys James

It had been t hree days since fourteen-year-old Billy James and his booming Indian motorcycle had completed their high-speed rendezvous with a telephone pole near the intersection of East Washington and Beckford streets. Like all of his accidents, this one had been a spectacularly noisy affair involving sirens in the night, f lying bodies, charred ruins, destruction of city property, firefighters and tow trucks ~ not to mention stunned witnesses and an ambulance ride to the hospital. Once again he’d heard the beating sound of leathery wings and been singed by the heat of the Angel of Death. But, as in all of the boy’s narrow escapes, the grim reaper would f ly from the scene alone and disappointed. It would have to wait to lay claim to Billy James who had once again demonstrated an uncanny ability to cheat as well as tempt death. The commotion had also resurrected a lingering question: “How could a fourteen-year-old kid own, operate and wreck a high powered motorcycle on the public streets of New Castle, Pa., not once, not twice, but four times?” But on that calm morning three days after the accident, Billy was content to let

the city fathers ponder the riddle as he lay recuperating in his upstairs bedroom. The nice t hing about post-ac cident rec over y per iod s was that they afforded him rare interludes of peace and quiet during which he could plot future adventures. Downstairs in the kitchen below, his parents were lingering over a last sip of morning coffee before depar ting for work when Billy’s mother told her husband that she’d received a call the day before about Billy’s motorcycle accident. The ver y mention of the subject was like an electric shock sending a visible shudder through Billy’s father. Slowly, ver y deliberately, Cliff lowered his cup to the saucer. “Please, Myrtle,” he began, “it’s only eight in the morning. I just want to have one normal day. Can’t this 63

August 2015 ttimes web magazine  

August 2015 Tidewater Times

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