If you want to know when my life really started to go downhill, I reckon it’d be the time I flew over that car. No, I can’t fly like Superman. It’s not one of those stories. Only real things are in this story ‘cos it really happened. Honest.
Ironically enough it was a 1-in-5 gradient. I was pedalling home from the garden centre, picking up speed in top gear after cresting the hill through Alice Holt Forest. Approaching the junction at Frith End when the bastard pulled out without even looking. The bike stopped fine, sure. Only, I kept going. I remember thinking as I was catapulted over his red bonnet, upside down by now: so this is what it feels like to be a stuntman. And then I thought, no, ‘cos they always have a nice comfy mat to land on.
But you know what? It was fine. I’m no special-forces ninja or anything, but somehow just as I was about to hit the deck my body knew exactly what to do. Rolled itself into a ball. Head tucked in, muscles loose. I’m not saying it didn’t hurt. But let’s be honest, most people wouldn’t walk away from a thing like that. Me? I got up, dusted myself down and gave that driver a barrage of abuse that I’d rather not repeat right now.
Unfortunately, the accident got me thinking. And that’s always dangerous. I started wondering if I was blessed or something. Some people can’t walk down the street without stepping in dog shit. But what if I had some guardian angel looking out for me? No, scrap that, I ain’t religious. What if I had some innate sixth sense that kept me out of trouble? No, scrap that ‘un all. Sounds way too much like Spidey senses. What if I was just a lucky bugger? A lucky bugger who could get away with murder.
First thing I did after the driver had emptied his wallet in my direction to pay for the now defunct bike was to put the whole lot on the 3:10 at Newbury. There was a horse called Red Bonnet racing that day. What are the odds of that? Twenty-four to one, apparently. Strange what five grand of winnings in your pocket will do for your self-esteem. Especially if you’ve just dodged a bullet in the shape of a crimson Lexus that very same day. Yeah, I felt pretty frickin’ good about myself, I can tell you.
Shame I couldn’t dodge the bullet five weeks later. It was supposed to have the wife’s name on it, bought with the 5G from the gee-gees. Only, in a cruel twist of fate that arose from the clandestine world of fake accounts and the dark web, the bloke with the gun got his wires mixed up and thought the contract was on me. Well the joke certainly was.
Funny thing is, now, I really can fly. But that’s a whole ‘nother story.
© David Barker 2019