Enge Ex Machina

It had been so long since I hit pavement that the first signals from my nerves were a little hard to decode.

“Hey! Is this pain? Pain and biking don’t mix! Go back and make sure the nerves know what they’re talking about!”

Then I remembered I was rolling in the street with the bike on top of me. So I figured maybe it was pain after all.

Nothing very serious, though. What happened was that a puppy, being chased by a peace officer (doubling as animal control, apparently), ran into the street right in front of me, stopped suddenly, and gave me the old deer-in-the-headlights look. I managed to brake before I slammed into him, but Newton’s First Law of Motion carried me off the saddle and onto the street. Pretty light consequences: some road rash on my forearm and hand, and some bloodstains on a shirt I don’t like much. (Laundry day was several days ago, only it never happened.)

Here’s the thing: this happened about a block away from the place where a squirrel bounced off my bike last fall. And the place seems to have more roadkill than any comparable stretch of road in town (though I can’t claim to have made a scientific study).

The only rational explanation is that there is some aura of doom about the road that impels cute fuzzy creatures to seek their destruction on it.

Which is fine with me. I mean, if they like it. But why involve me and my shiny new bike in their bloodstained deeds of terror and despair?

About JE

James Enge is the author of the World-Fantasy-Award-nominated novel Blood of Ambrose (Pyr, April 2009). His latest book is The Wide World's End. His short fiction has appeared in Swords and Dark Magic (Harper Collins, 2010), Black Gate, the Stabby-Award-winning anthology Blackguards and elsewhere.
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8 Responses to Enge Ex Machina

  1. al_zorra says:

    Whew! You were so dayemed lucky.

    That is the exact same thing that began the real destruction of my back. I also broke my left hand, my wrist, my arm, and and my elbow — I landed on the left arm. I also had a concussion.

    Except it wasn’t a puppy I was trying to avoid. It was running into the bike that crossed right into my path from another lane, and I had nowhere to go because there were cars all around me going very fast.

    Love, C.

    • JE says:

      Ow! Sorry to hear about your accident. I have been really lucky, considering all the bike misfortunes I’ve had in the past year or two.

    • Most of my campus biking is up and down University Avenue, which under normal conditions has nice, wide bike lanes running in both directions. It also sports little in the way of fauna, unless you count my fellow students. Thus, I’ve managed to escape completely unscathed, despite a couple slips on a wet railroad crossing and some suspicious dodging in and out of traffic.

      I have a creeping feeling that my luck won’t hold out, though. My bets are on being knocking sprawling by a city bus’ rear-view mirror.

      I’m very glad you lived to pontificate another day!

      • JE says:

        Here’s hoping the buses leave you unscathed. I miss living in a town big enough to have public transport–but I don’t miss biking on the same street with a bus.

        Tonight my daughter had a near-accident on that same doomed stretch of road, by the way. Proof of the curse! If any were needed.

  2. Remember: Thou Art Mammal.

    As far as the Aura of Doom is concerned, you may qualify as a cute fuzzy creature.

  3. wordswoman says:

    Owww! Glad you escaped with nothing worse than the road rash.

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