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Death Riders (standard:other, 906 words)
Author: kendall thomas Added: Oct 27 2005Views/Reads: 1760/1158Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
Acquaintances ponder the death of a married couple.

I had just got there when Harry asked me if I'd heard about Jim and

“Killed on their motorcycle,” I said, “but I don't know the details.” 

“Yeah, well, we were all partying at the Elroys.  Jim'd been drinkin'
pretty heavy all evening.  Mildred, too, but not as much.  ‘Round ten 
Jim wanted to go home, and he was raggin' Mildred to come with'm, but 
you could tell she didn't want to, cause he was so drunk and all.  But 
she was afraid of making him mad, so, finally, she got on the Harley 
behind him, then changed her mind and got off.  Jim was gettin' madder 
than hell and cussing her.  Brenda tried to talk Mildred out of going 
with him, but Mildred didn't want to piss him off any more than he 
already was, so she got back on the bike, and off they went.  And that 
was it.  Next day we heard they'd been killed.” 

While Harry was talking, Mort came in lowering the hood of his rain
jacket, revealing his pale, bony face.  I don't like Mort; he's one of 
those know it alls.  You know the type.  Thinks he hot shit ‘cause he 
went to college; all book, no common sense, like all of ‘m. 

“Damn shame,” Morty said. 

That's how I think of him:  Morty; wittle Morty; mommy's wittle Morty. 
Wears those granddad glasses to make himself look smart.  Like that 
fuckin' hippie, Lennon. 

“I read about it in the paper,” he went on.  “They were only a couple of
hundred yards from home when their motorcycle left the road on a curve, 
went across a lawn, hit a log, flipping the motorcycle; skulls were 
crushed like watermelons. 

Yeah, it's a real shame, Morty. 

I winked at Harry, but he was shaking his head thoughtfully and said,
“Neighbors nearby heard the roar of the motorcycle and the wham it made 
when it hit the log.  It's strange, ain't it, but when you think about 
it, Mildred would still be alive if she hadn't gone with him.” 

“Jim, too,” Morty said, taking a couple of dogs off the grill and
scooping chili on ‘m. 

And there he went, don'cha know; always puttin' in his two-cents worth. 
Always gotta one-up a fellow. 

“How you figure that?” I asked. 

“Would have changed things,” he replied, trying to be ALL
‘my-ster-i-o-so' and such.  He sat down at the table and took a napkin. 

But I wasn't gonna let him get away with it this time. 

“Changed things, hell; how would it have changed things?  Fucker would
have been dead just the same.” 

“Well, maybe not,” he replied.   “I guess you might say life is like an
equation, full of infinite variables; ‘if' you could change any one of 
them -- no matter how minuscule -- you would alter the results.” 

“That make sense to you, Harry?”  I grinned.  But Harry wasn't listening
-- at least to me; he actually seemed to be mulling it over.  I 
sometimes think Harry's not the brightest bulb on the shelf, if you 
know what I mean. 

“For instance,” Morty said, after swallowing a mouthful of chili dog and
wiping his wittle, thin lips, “if Mildred hadn't gone with him, the 
circumstances that caused the accident wouldn't have been the same.  
Their ‘particular' (he emphasized the word like some smart ass 
professor) accident could only have happened under a unique, one time 
convergence of variables in a set circumstance:  Mildred and he leaving 
together from the party exactly when they did; arriving at the curve in 
the road exactly when they did; Jim being as exactly drunk as he was -- 
and a thousand other variables --” 

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