Bill studied the Radio Flyer and the hill sloping in front him leading down to the infamous T-Run. T-Run a.k.a. Toilet Run was rumored by all the kids at Fox Valley High School to contain the overflow from a lot of septic tanks in town. Yes it was a ditch and most of the time it did contain some stagnate, foul smelling liquid but no Bill didn't think it was actually liquefied shit. He actually drove by the city sewer lagoon on the school bus ride home every day after school but he didn't want the townies to know this. So when the bet had come up, he had accepted it but now he wasn't so sure.
One of the townies had brought in their kid sister's Radio Flyer which was covered in rust making the words barely even visible. One of the rear wheels wobbled when pulled and the handle had been bent many times and straightened over the years. A crude ramp of some blocks and a thick piece of scrap plywood had been set up at the bottom of the hill right at the lip of T-Run and of course, it had been set right in front of the largest pool of stagnate water that the townies could find in the 100 feet or so that ran across the southern part of the school property.
Bill was pretty sure he could steer the rusted Radio Flyer and hit the ramp but the ten feet or so across to the other side of T-Run looked a lot bigger now that there was no backing out. If he made it he would have the admiration of every boy in his seventh grade class and perhaps some of the older kids as well, maybe even some girls. If he didn't, he would crash ass over feet into the liquefied primordial soup of T-Run and walk away smelling like...well, shit. But he figured it would be a good laugh for everyone and he would still go into the annals of Fox Valley lore and maybe win the admiration of everyone. It was a no lose situation unless of course he hit hard and broke something or actually killed himself.
He pushed those thoughts from head and sat down in the Radio Flyer with his feet towards the handle and the handle bent back so that he could steer while riding. Bill gave the thumbs up and put a cheesy grin on display even though his stomach was all tied up in knots. He told the fellows to push him for all they were worth because he was going to need the speed. He tensed his back to provide a good pushing surface and nodded his head quickly giving the okay.
The hands pressed on his back sending him accelerating across the short flat up by the tennis court fence and over the crest of the hill. As he picked up speed the hands began disappearing one after another until all were gone. The wagon picked up speed and hit a small mole hill causing it to lurch sideways almost jerking the handle from his hands. Bill over corrected several times almost wiping out but was able to regain control as he entered the steepest part of the hill nearer the bottom and the ramp. Wind whistled by his ears and he was going faster than he had ever gone before. A bad vibration from the wobbly wheel was shaking the wagon but he thought it was going to hold together long enough.
The last few feet came and went as the wagon hit the plywood squarely in the middle with a loud bang and the splintering sound of tearing wood. The former, Bill was pretty sure, was the wobbly wheel letting go. But momentum was his friend and though the back end of the wagon sank and then jumped sideways almost spilling him out, it continued if forward progress off the end of the ramp at alarming speed. The sounds ceased except for a soft escape of air as the ramp fell down into a pile behind him. He soared up into the air with his eyes focused on the grass on the opposite side. The saying was true, it really did look greener.
February 1, 2005