The Gods of Asphalt
BOOK ONE – SAWYER
Fearing he’s doomed to follow the same life path that defeated his father, a promising high school basketball star leaves home to make his own way until he discovers a fate worse than failure. Success.
The opening of THE GODS OF ASPHALT – Book One:
There’s a moment that happens just before you crash that no one in driver’s ed tells you about. They don’t show it in movies. You won’t find it in any textbook or pamphlet or manual at the DMV. I guess it’s because very few people live to tell about it. What happens in that split, split, split second before the crash that ends your life is this:
You defy the laws of gravity and you hover. It’s like your body wants to try on its ghost suit before it decides if it’s gonna buy it.
So unless ghost suits come covered in gravel and pre-soaked in blood I’m betting mine didn’t fit. At least I hope what I’m soaking in is blood, because I’ve been feeling something warm and wet running down my thigh since I hit the pavement (If I live to retell this story, I’m sticking with the bloody version of it). I’d know for sure if I could see overtop of the gas tank crushing my chest. I’d ask River to look but he’s no good to me unconscious.
“I’m calling now,” he says, trying not to panic. “It’s gonna be alright Sawyer, I promise.”
He called me Sawyer. River never calls me Sawyer. Only dickweed or dillhole or any other stupid name he can think of but never Sawyer. Even “little brother” would have been better than Sawyer.
He looks at me, but not too closely. “Yeah, he’s got a helmet on.” I hear him say.
Of all the laws I broke tonight I’m glad I didn’t break that one. I take the helmet off so I can get a better look around. Leave it to me to dump a motorcycle under the only street light in Nebraska and still not be able to see what I did to myself. I prop up on an elbow to check out my leg through the spokes of the front wheel. I immediately regret it.
I can’t see my leg, but what I can see on the ground around me is blood. It seems like a lot, but still less than in any of those “Death on the Highway” movies I watched in driver’s ed. I run my hand down my thigh and stop when I get to my knee. It feels misshapen and swollen, with something like a splintered piece of wood sticking out of it. Without thinking I grab a hold of it (not smart, I know) and try to yank it out.
Yeah. That’s all I remember. Until the pain wakes me up, that is. Then it’s like every nerve in my knee is exploding at once. My only relief is the feeling of hot, sticky blood pumping out in a stream down my leg. I watch it ooze onto the pavement and pool where the road meets the grass, staining the green blades red.
My vision closes in as I struggle to focus on the night sky above. I pick the brightest star out of the millions, close my eyes and make a wish.
For the first time in my life I wish for my father.