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Telephone Pole Blues to the right, followed by Hazel Street on the left. They waved and shouted to Ray Moore standing out front by the pumps of his filling station. Except for on the football field, helmets were unheard of in those days. They could do nothing but cut down on the wind in your face and the roar in your ears. And if a motorcycle driver couldn’t show off his crooked grin or cocky smile while passing pedestrians, then why parade up and down city streets like a two-wheeled thunder storm to begin with? Billy threw the transmission into neutral, blipped the throttle to bring the engine speed up, slipped down one gear and then bellowed up the long incline. Warren Avenue, Ryan Avenue, Rose Avenue, the intersections disappeared beneath their wheels, reappeared brief ly in the vibrating mirror, and then were lost to fresh impressions of approaching landmarks. Fresh impressions and new information, incoming, passed by and then left behind. The posted speed limit along this stretch was forty miles per hour. Billy glanced at his speedometer; he was traveling at fifty-five in high gear when the Third United Presbyterian Church at the northeast corner of Adams and East Washington streets slipped past in a blur of cut stone and stained glass shimmering in the pale light of dusk. It was an

imposing building, and the painted figures in the windows seemed to magically hover like scenes from the Bible stamped high against the twilight. Cars rushed past in the opposing lane heading west. His experience told him that they too were hurtling along at around fifty or fifty-five miles per hour. Then, when he turned his gaze from the church back to the street ahead, Billy was stunned by what he saw. A pair of headlight beams bore down on them like unblinking eyes channeling through the thin glow and closing fast. Dick spotted them at the same time. “Watch out,” he yelled while frantically pounding Billy’s shoulders from behind. Only moments earlier, the lane ahead of them had been clear for as far as they could see. How was this happening? Time collapsed in on itself, engine noise faded into the background, every molecule in Billy was ripped to attention and intensely focused on the unfolding danger. His vision grew acute and his mind raced for solutions in the desperately frantic way of all would-be survivors since the time of ancient humans. The car boring down on them had pulled out to pass a slower vehicle, placing itself directly on track for a head-


July 2015 ttimes web magazine  

Tidewater Times july 2015