Friday, March 07, 2003

Snow and Foolishness pt. 2

The plastic death trap was known to the kids as "the banana peel." No one had ever been able to go farther than about ten feet on this piece of shit before they were on their butt or face in the snow. On this day Ed had declared to Scott and Johnny that the snow conditions were right for taking the banan peel down the steep face of the hill behind the house. Always open to a good wipeout on a sled Johnny and Scott enthusiastically volunteered to witness his attempt at familial legend. The snow was in perfect midwinter form with a solid base with recent fall drifting across the countryside, piling up against homes, car tires and woodpiles.

Ed pulled the string taught and called down to his two friends, "You guys ready?"

"Yeah, c'mon!" hollered Scott, "Let's go!"

Johnny turned to Scott. "Do you think he'll make it?"

"Hell no, he's gonna bust his ass."

"Won't he get hurt?"

"He's never got hurt yet on the banana peel. He's the only one that tries to ride that piece of junk."

"Here I go!" Ed called out.

"This is going to be hilarious," Scott laughed as Ed began to move slowly down the steep slope.

Johnny and Scott were standing halfway down the hill and Ed didn't reach them. The ride down started out slow as all sled rides did. He kicked forward like a skateboarder and pulled the string back tight and held on. His speed increased imperceptibly. Almost immediately he felt the sensation of real speed and felt the familiar wind on his face and then he was in the snow. His bright blue, white and black world was now all white and cold. His audience, small in number but large in shared experience, paused in their laughter long enough to ask Ed if he was alright.

"I'm fine. I'm going back up, too."

"You definately should," Scott encouraged, "you almost made it off the top of the hill."

Several more times he attempted to ride the banana peel upright to the bottom of that hill. Several more times he planted himself into the forgiving embrace of the snow. His audience was entranced. Their fascination was not with his bravery or skill but with the variety of his wipeouts. He entered the snow to his right and left, face forward and on his ass. He executed somersaults as he hit. He would hit and stick. He would slide across the snow nearly to the bottom of the hill. The banana peel would get away. He would hold on to it. The side of the hill began to look like the pockmarked surface of an old battlefield. There were small trails in the snow from chunks of snow that had carved out of the base and rolled down the hill. Before Ed could give up Scott and Johnny became bored.

"Stop, stop." Said Scott. "You're never going to make it."

"Yeah, I know. I thought I could. What do you want to do?"

Johnny spoke up. "Let's go inside. It's cold."

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