"But my brother said I would be fine!"....Famous last words!
"Jeffrey, come on, you'll be fine.....TRUST ME buddy!", said my older brother Wayne.......Here I was, just 10 years old, a regular little boy with an imagination that could conjure up any crazy stunt in a matter of seconds. My older brother, I'll keep his name to myself (WAYNE) to keep him protected....had a great idea to ride his bike, with yours truly perched on the handlebars! He told me he had calculated everything, from start to finish, frontwards, backwards again, and again. Here I was, skinny as a toothpick on steroids.....ready to conquer the stunt. The ONLY thing I was wearing at the time was a pair of shorts....no shoes, no shirt, nothing! Just shorts, and NEW shorts at that, and white! Don't laugh, they were in style! My brother was 17 years older than I, so.......here was a 27 year old man.....talking his younger, smaller, naive brother into something that could kill him or even worse!! Lord help me if he messed this up....He wouldn't miss the mark would he?....Or would he?.....There was only one way to find out!!
"Just the facts son"
Wayne straddled his trusty steed just as John Wayne did in every western movie I ever saw him in.....with pride. He gave me that look of authority, like he was in control....and that we would have a great time, until he um....."Missed the mark!" He held the handlebars straight for me as I climbed aboard and got comfortable. My rear sat on the bars, while I placed my feet on either side of the front wheel, on the small part of the axle on each side. All I could think about at the moment was, "Hey, can my toes get caught in the spokes?" Surely they couldn't or wouldn't! My parents, twin sister, and myself lived in an apartment complex, where the roads were always filled with the kids of the complex running through the streets. Speed bumps were placed every 100 feet, to slow the speeders down, and to control the hard rains from washing away the streets themselves. So.....here was the deal......Wayne, and I mounted the silver steed, and then he proceeded to pedal down the street, making his way closer to the first speed bump. The plan was to pedal through the middle of each speed bump where the rain usually flowed....six inches to either side and I was what you would call....a "GONER!" Now picture this.....My hands were holding on to the bars, close to my hips, with my feet still perched on either side of the axle. I think I had even used my butt muscles to grab hold of the bar....I'm sure of it as a matter of fact. Wayne was doing great, and had safely navigated through four of the six speed bumps without any "missed marks", to my relief. All was fine, and we were about to reach the fifth speed bump....plus we were going about 20 miles an hour (I thought it was too fast too!)...I was right! Suddenly, a car started to back out of their driveway, and Wayne had to move quickly to the right so we wouldn't be hit by the car.....Do you see where this is going people?.....I think you do! This was going to leave a mark, several marks as it turned out!! It was like slow motion from that point on.......The front tire of Wayne's silver steed caught the left side of the speed bump, just as a BMX bike catches air on a dirt track! We were flying now.....with no parachutes! I heard Wayne exclaiming the words of a madman, I can't repeat them though.....too harsh for the children's ears. I on the other hand was telling Houston..."We have a problem!" Houston wasn't listening....as usual. Now in mid-air, I could see the kids that had been watching us looking at me with a wild, scared look on their faces, (I'm sure they were taking bets how it was going to turn out). Wayne had it better than I though...He had his trusty steed to hold on too....All I had was AIR!! It seemed as if I was airborne for an hour, but it turned out it was probably close to three to four seconds. "Houston, the Eagle has landed....um, we've got a bleeder!!" Remember what I had said earlier....I ONLY had clean, white shorts on?......Well, they were about to get real dirty! My hands were spread out to break my fall, my feet up behind me like a skydiving junkie, but my friggin' ripcord was nowhere to be found! My chest, "Oh, and what a chest it was"...was bracing for a major impact.....an impact on the black asphalt covered road! I glanced back just in time to see Wayne sliding to a stop....unscathed and bracing for what was happening to me, and YES...it wasn't going to be good.....
"Where are the tweezers?"
The road felt like sharp needles digging into my hands, chest, and knees.....I slid about twenty feet until I came to a stop.....The pain wasn't that bad (It hadn't set in yet). I was probably in shock....being that I was only ten and I had just flown off of handlebars, and then slid onto a asphalt street without my shirt or shoes, and in a new pair of WHITE shorts! They were white no more! My chest looked like someone had blasted me with a shotgun, my knees were missing the top layers of skin, just as my hands and forearms......Wayne snatched me up quickly, with that look only a big brother could have after they've done something to hurt their sibling. He ran with me in his arms back to our apartment, opened the door, and faced my mother and father with the news. They went into doctor and nurse mode (This wasn't anything they couldn't handle) like every parent does when their child is hurt. Peroxide and a wet washcloth would fix me up right away! "Are you friggin' kidding me? Call Life-reach!!" The pain was now coming to a head.....It coursed through my measly body, pounding like a hammer in my chest. The strawberries on my arms and legs were oozing blood now, the knees were throbbing as well. I was crying, "Is that my blood daddy?!" My dad came out of the bathroom with a pair of tweezers, and proceeded to pick the small pieces of asphalt out of my chest, and arms. "Balls", yelled my father....Did he just say balls, and was he talking about mine? I was scared to look down there! My dad would say "balls" instead of cussing, but it still scared me. Let me tell you, it was no fun lying there, but for some reason I was cracking up thinking about what had just happened.....I didn't hold a grudge towards my bigger brother....Yes, it hurt, but boys will be boys right?....Right?!!....I healed over time, but I don't think I ever rode on handlebars again after that...."I would be fine!" Seems I heard that many times while growing up. When Wayne and I did things together, you could always expect something crazy to happen....this wasn't the last of our escapades! As you will soon understand......Family is what life was/is about!! Wayne, thanks for the good times! I still love ya!.....Your little bro. :-)