True... Take or Leave It by Merwin
The Account (originally written May '09)
It has been about forty-four years since this happened, I was about fourteen maybe fifteen, at the time, so I can't remember exactly who was with me on our hike of Jurupa Hills, California. But for the sake of my ease in the description, I will include all five though actually I may be including one more than what actually may have been there.
We were myself (of course), Don P. Don M. Steve M. and Buddy B. sometimes we would ride our bikes other times like this day, we walked.
The reason we walked on days like that day is, we did not want to take the chance of someone making off with one of our bikes while we were climbing the Hills. And if we were walking it gave us the opportunity to stop on the freeway overpass and spit on cars.
Oh calm down, the one time someone actually slammed on his brakes clued us in on the fact that we could possibly cause an accident at some point, and we never did it again.
This day in particular we were climbing the west side of the Hills following what we thought was a legitimate trail that would wind us to the top, when we encountered a big round rock that we would have to spread eagle our selves across to get to the other side where it appeared that the trail took up again.
The slope of this big rounded surface was not quite as steep as a forty degrees of incline but if one were to slide off, it meant probable death from the hundred fifty foot drop. Yeah... I know, I don't know what we were thinking either, we were just stupid kids I guess.
Any how, we got accross it just fine and we followed "the trail" another two hundred feet when it ended with no other way down than the way we came... back across that rock.
I was in the middle of the four or five of us, I remember two ahead of me, I think it may have been Steve and Don M. not quite certain. My turn, I was inching my way, spread eagle across the rock and got about in the middle of it when I started to slide just a couple of inches, I froze.
I started to move just a little again, to make some kind of progress and started to slide a little more, less than before but enough to cause me to go into a panic.
The rock was wide enough for about three people to go spread eagle from on side to the other, in my desperation I looked to Don standing on the trail side that I had been traveling toward and voice trembling said, "I'm sliding off... help me!"
He said, "I can't!" and though I really can't remember whose face it was that I was looking at, I can remember the panic on that face. I knew at that moment that who ever would help me... if I fell that person would probably fall as well.
Instantly... I was standing on the trail looking into the face of that same person now showing more panic than when they thought I might die and I asked, "How did I get here?"
The reply came in one of those quiet shouts, a loud reverent whisper... "I don't know!"
There was no spitting on cars on the way home... we were all in shock.