By William Ward
By reality and perfection I understand the same
Benedict de Spinoza, Philosopher
Bikester popped the
clutch, downshifting round the switchback u-curve in a fishtail skid
that nearly swung Darla off Miss Daisy into a spinney of scrub oak
and cat’s claw. Darla leaned into him, her fear spooning him, her
breasts pressing into his back, her arms squeezing his middle.
Bikester felt her fear vibrate his skin. The electricity lit him
* * *
Darla was playing Bikester when she hit on
him outside Red’s Tavern. She’d been drinking and was trying to
make Bobby jealous.
“Hey, Stewie,” she said. She smiled
big and tilted her head so a strand of hair dipped over her right
eye. She brushed it away, then let her hand touch Bikester’s
“Hey, Darla,” Bikester said. He had wanted her since
junior high, but she was out of his league. Now they were in their
thirties. He realized this might be his chance. He offered her a ride
up the canyon. She giggled and glanced at Bobby. When Bobby turned
away, Bikester saw Darla pout, then smile and say, “Why
Darla wasn’t dressed for a chopper ride. She was
wearing a black dress and heels. She giggled again as Bikester helped
her onto Miss Daisy. Her skirt rode up her thighs. She tried to look
embarrassed as she pushed it back down.
Bikester drove the
mile to the edge of town below the speed limit. Darla squirmed so
that her breasts nuzzled his back. She held him lightly, adjusting
and readjusting her hands, caressing his ribs and stomach through his
tee. As he left town, the houses disappeared and the street lamps
gave way to the dark canyon road. Bikester took control. He worked
clutch and throttle in a synchronized rhythm, shifting the gears
higher, pushing Miss Daisy faster and faster. At first, Darla laughed
and said “slow down, cowboy,” treating Bikester like a show-off
man-child. But as he pushed Miss Daisy harder, Darla stopped
laughing. Her hold on Bikester tightened. She said “Hey! What are
you doing?” He felt her fear as he headed into the switchbacks. It
felt so real, so perfect.
* * *
Bikester upshifted as
he came out of his skid and the road straightened. The cliff was on
his left now and a sea of pinyon pine and juniper stretched out to
his right. They were 5000 feet and climbing. He rolled the throttle
and Miss Daisy lurched faster into the night.
The full moon
lit up the highway and the canyon forest. Greens and reds glowed gray
in the night. The summer air slapped Bikester at seventy miles an
hour. He pictured Darla’s blond hair flying out behind her. He
could hear her shouting now, phrases reaching him over the roar of
Miss Daisy and the rush of the wind. Phrases like “slow down…you
son of a….” Bikester smiled into the wind and gunned it.
the next hairpin, he downshifted again. Bikester knew this road. He
knew what Miss Daisy could do here. He was counting the curves
now—-two to go. The pinyon pines were giving way to ponderosas as
they climbed. The junipers were disappearing. Bikester held the road
on the curve. He reaccelerated into the next straightaway. One curve
He loved this final easy up-sloping half mile two-lane.
He was doing ninety now. He headed toward the final curve. He felt
himself becoming one with the vibrations of Miss Daisy and with the
sex and fear of Darla. It would never get better than this. As he hit
the final curve, instead of laying off the throttle and downshifting,
he pushed Miss Daisy till she screamed. Instead of skidding into the
curve, he headed off the macadam, then off the berm and launched
himself and Miss Daisy and Darla out toward the full moon, out over
the perfect ponderosa forest in an ecstatic airborne trajectory. No
longer earthbound, he spread-eagled his arms and legs and leaned
against the perfect sky. In that eternal moment, the Bikester
was set free—-he was one with the perfect woman, the perfect bike,
the perfect moon and the perfect night.
William Ward is a
severely hearing disabled, retired psychologist. His work has been
published or accepted for publication by Avocet: a Journal of
Nature Poetry, The Moon: The Publication for Writing and Art,
Hazard Cat, 50 to 1, Spot Literary Magazine,
and, Sounds of the Night.
“Riding Miss Daisy”
received a ‘Commendation’ in the 2010 Writing Contest of the
Society of Southwestern Writers. It is a metaphorical rendering of
the Spinozistic notion of finding perfection in the imperfect reality
of the moment, experiencing the everydayness of life as perfect,
sub specie aeternitatis, from the point of view of eternity, which is
available to everyone at every moment.