Me and Jack set up this trick last week up on the other side of the hill behind my house. After we spent like the whole morning with picks and shovels sweating like pigs building the jumps, we hiked home for PB&Js and to get our bikes. The trick was to fly off the first one and land it right on the button, because the second one was a lot bigger and you’d be on it, like instantly. We figured maybe thirty feet off the first jump, then another sixty. I got butterflies just looking at them. I thought about doing a face plant and wondered what happens when you get like scabs on your scars—like I don’t already know.
After the PB&Js, Jack plants himself in front of a TV soap—As the Stomach Turns, I think—which wasn’t like him, so I knew he had like the willies.
“Flying time, Jack!” I said, and started getting on my stuff. I wish I owned a full-face helmet for like big tricks, but I wore my skateboard one, which I never wear skateboarding—who would? Mom bought it because she worries. I always know she’s worried when she messes with the buttons on her blouse. “Jeremy,” she says, “I need you to wear this for me. I know you’re out there doing those dumb flying tricks, and it scares me to death.” Her fingers are like break dancing on her front. But it’s not dumb. You’d be crazy to fly a bicycle if you were dumb. I know I’m not that like good in school; I just can’t plant my butt in a chair and study. But air tricks are simple physics. You just got to see the line, feel your speed, time your launch, and then, while you’re flying, you have to stay balanced and stick it. Me and Jack, we’re getting pretty good. But the biggest trick is to get like paid for it. That means sponsors. And that means a promo vid. So we took my parent’s camera when we rode back out. I pressed the lockout button for the trip up the hill; my bike pedals easier when the suspension doesn’t bob up and down. Jack doesn’t have a lockout, and he wears this stupid body armor, so he was like soaked by the time we got to the top. You can see the steel plant on Lake Superior from up there. It’s part beautiful and part ugly, but the smoke tells you the wind.
“Ready to fly?” I grinned.
“You go first, Jeremy. I’ll set up with the camera down by those plants,” he said.
“They’re not plants, dude, they’re thimbleberries. Let’s eat some after this.”
Jack rode down by the second jump, so he could shoot the trick coming and going. He pressed the button on the camera and shouted, “Go!”
Now I was sweating, and a fly landed on my nose. I wiped my face with my sleeve, tapped the button to open the shocks, gave the pedals three hard turns, and then let the hill do the work. I leveled my feet and sprang off the first jump. Whoohoo!—WHOOMPF!—landed it smack on the button—beautiful!—then sprang again! God I love to fly! Then KA-THWHACK!—a rock like frickin totally tacos my front wheel and I face plant and cartwheel down the hill, and I can’t stop laughing even though I’m like missing a tooth and there’s blood running down my chin. Awesome!
I got up. “I’m alive!” I yelled up to Jack, “Your turn!”
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