March 5th – Delirious intentions
It was one of those summers. Hot, sticky, and long, where the days lingered into the evening and the heat stayed until night-time only to fire itself up again in the morning. The days were feverish, tempers frayed, and poor decisions were often made.
Sam was good at poor decisions. At the best of times. The summer heat just made him worse.
Sam was older than most of his friends, by a few months. Sam was also, by virtue of his age, the first of his friends to get a scooter.
It was late July. School was over, for the summer, and most of Sam’s friends would be going back in September, although Sam’s predicted grades made it unlikely that he was going to be. The local 6th form college, and something practical, seemed to be the best option: for now he was just going to wait and see. And so here they were, enjoying a summer of freedom, down at the beach where the heat and the haze made the shingle sing.
Sam was there, of course, shirtless, taking in the sun. Kyle and Robbie, too, and Lisa and her friend Clara: cold cokes and warm sandwiches and suncream. But as the afternoon stretched itself out, Sam was getting restless. The heat was getting to him. And by the looks of it, to Kyle and Robbie too, although for some reason the girls still seemed effortlessly cool, and patient, in short shorts and bikini tops. Effortlessly cool girls, who needed to be impressed.
Both Kyle and Robbie blamed the other for what came next. And Sam. They blamed Sam, of course, because, obviously, he did it. But between them they had laid a length of scaffold board across the top of one of the groynes, and another three across the beach leading up to it, and then Sam was on his scooter, engine on, revving as hard as he could, with a head full of sunshine and girls in bikini tops and a desperate, delirious need to impress.
Kyle and Robbie roared him on.
Sam roared himself on, opening the throttle and kicking the bike into gear. He kept the scooter straight as he crossed the boards, heading the ramp that would lead him to glory. He lifted the front wheel up and hit the ramp, throttle twisted back as far as it would go, engine open. One, then two wheels left the end of the ramp.
The sickening crunch of bike and Sam hitting the shingle was inevitable. In Sam’s head he sailed off the end of the ramp, rode up the beach to the sea wall and back to where he started, where either Clara or Lisa (it didn’t matter which) got onto the back of his scooter, pressing herself against his naked back as they drove off own the coast.
In reality, Sam’s head, still inside the helmet, fortunately, was ringing. He couldn’t see. His arm didn’t feel right, and his legs were sticky with his own blood. His bike, lying to the side, was almost folded in half. The drop, on the other side of the groyne, was three times the one on the side he had jumped from. Kyle had moved from filming to calling, and almost before he had explained the situation, the air ambulance was on its way. Robbie was a little bit sick. The girls were frozen, horrified, then resourceful. They knew better than to try to move Sam.
And still the sun beat down, and still the mercury rose.
Inspired by a prompt from here