A Close Call

#1. The Rider

It was one of the closest calls he’d been involved with in his many years of riding, quite nearly a very tragic day. Rounding the sweeping curve at the end of 29th street, just where the freeway off-ramp intersects, a car just missed him as it exited at full speed. He’d seen this before, and was always cautious at that curve since it seemed that the cars getting off of the highway were determined to keep going 65 mph. The posted limit on the frontage road was actually 35, but at 6:00 am, few drivers seemed worried about getting stopped for speeding. Most would not only take the exit at full speed, but would often cross over the three lanes to make the first right turn, about two blocks up. James watched for all of this as he rounded the city street that paralleled the freeway. He knew very well the cost of getting hit by a car when you’re on a motorcycle. There’s just no ‘fender-benders’ between cars and bikes. The rider is almost always who suffers the brunt of the injuries and damages.

This morning, as James leaned into the sweeping right turn, he glanced over his left shoulder to check for merging cars, but couldn’t see the one with no headlights. Had they turned them off too early? Or, just forget to have them on at all? James heard the screech of tires before he saw the car, he squeezed his brake lever and leaned as hard as he could. After a wobble or two, he recovered just in time to see the car’s driver give him the one-finger salute. He gave a brief thought to chasing the idiot, but decided he needed to pull over and take a few deep breaths instead. Close calls have a way of releasing every ounce of adrenaline in your body, all at once. It’s a dizzying feeling that needs a few minutes of calm to make go away. He did remember hearing another car honk it’s horn just as he hit his brakes – James hoped they were honking at the careless driver, and not him.

It’s a sobering feeling to know you’d just missed either dying, or at least being horribly injured in such an unnecessary situation. James removed his helmet and took long drags of the crisp morning air. He felt very lucky to be rolling in to work all in one piece today, as if someone was watching out for him.


#2. The Witness

Christy’s exit was approaching  quickly, and she was still in the wrong lane to make the off-ramp. One of those aggressive types was blocking her merge into the right lane, even though she’d been signaling for over a half mile now. She pumped her brakes enough to be able to slip in behind Mr. In-A–Hurry, just in time to make the exit at the last second. She slowed her Jetta quickly on the downhill ramp, because at the bottom it intersected with 29th street and its slower residential speed limit. She noticed that the aggressive guy was still moving at a high speed, which was unsurprising, but still super dangerous she thought. The drivers on the street she was going to merge with were coming around a long curve, and most at about 35 mph. The Mercedes in front of her got to the merge point and started moving over two lanes to his right, seemingly without even looking for other traffic. That’s when it happened. He smashed into a guy on a motorcycle who was rounding the curve, just as the Benz crossed lanes at full speed. Christy could hear the impact immediately, and saw the rider fly up over the Mercedes’ hood. The red motorcycle slid and spun on the asphalt until it hit a curb, then it flipped and landed on the lawn of home next to the street. She pulled over as soon as she could, got out and ran back to see if the rider needed help. In her 15 plus years in the Mid-Town ER, Christy had seen many motorcycle accident victims brought into her trauma center. Very few of the cases turned out well for the cyclists. As she approached the helmeted figure in the street, she could already see that his legs were in positions that nature had never intended. The driver of the Mercedes had pulled over as well, and she was surprised to see him looking straight at her.

“I didn’t see him! He just came outta nowhere!” He said quietly, almost as much to himself as to her.

She knelt down next to the fallen rider, as other drivers attempted to slow and divert traffic around them. Christy felt for a pulse at the neck, but couldn’t find one. She slid her fingers along the back of his hairline, and there she felt the protruding vertebrae of a broken neck. He was gone.



#3. The Observers

“This is going to be a very precise interplay of events, you’d better focus as clearly as you possibly can. The moment of separation will be very brief.” The mentor said.

“I shall, I won’t let you down.” Hecta said.

“It’s not letting me, or anyone else down that I am concerned with. I’m concerned with having this transition be successful for all parties involved. The young rider has many more life lessons to go on to, we cannot have him end here prematurely.”

“Yes Gian, I will concentrate and catch him just at the precise moment of contact. He will not know more than a brush with death in his timeline.”

“Very well. The death timeline is for the other souls involved here, most importantly the driver. He has had a long time to make adjustments to his temperament, but has yet to make a single change. I am sorry it’s come to this, but some need a direct and drastic event to bring about self-change.” Gian said.

“I am curious about one thing, Gian… the rider, does he not have fault in this as well?”

“Observe him in his new timeline Hecta, I think you will see that he is a cautious man who does not express his ego through his vehicle. I also sense a strong likelihood that he soon will choose to stop riding such vehicles. He has a very realistic view of mortality, I’ve seen to that over his lifetime.” Gian said.

“It’s beginning, I must focus now.” Hecta said.

The two observers saw the scene begin to play out. The rider leans into the sweeping right turn, just as the Mercedes exits the freeway at high speed. At the moment the car body begins to make contact with the rider, a flash of light, and now there are two scenes. The first one sees the rider lean harder and brake to a stop at the curb, as the car speeds on. In the second scene, the car makes contact with the rider, and sends him airborne to his death.

“Very good Hecta, that was quite perfect. Please monitor your driver to ensure that he has started down a proper path of self-discovery. I shall continue on with James in his new timeline.”