The Bad Animal trilogy - Hanging Around

Sometimes life doesn’t quite work out as you expect. Well, actually, it almost always doesn't work out as you expect. It’s not always the big things, sometimes it’s those tiny little moments. A moment, or an instance; maybe even something so small that there isn’t a name for it yet.

Except there will be. A physicist will have named it. They are a bit like that, everything in order, in its place. Even if they don’t have any physical evidence for it yet.

No, I’m not a physicist, not even close actually, but suddenly I yearn for things to be in order. In their place. Had that been the case I may not have been doing what I’m doing right now. Just hanging. Over a ravine, with just my hoodie stopping me from plunging down into the trees below. I know that sounds dramatic but, well, I kinda guess it is. And I’m really trying to forget about it right now. That and not looking down . . .

The day had been going so well too. I just was chilling out on my trusty board, riding down the roads up on the mountains. It was a glorious summer day, with just a hint of breeze to cool you down. Back in the city it was much warmer, but at the higher altitude it was perfect. I mean it was so hot in the city I was even contemplating putting shorts on. That would have been a rare day indeed; I was rarely seen outside my baggies.

Nope, it was perfect—just me and my board. Man, that board and I had been through some times; it’s so old it originally had a nose guard! I had to replace the wheels and bearings about six times and the trucks actually snapped once! Oh—and the board broke, so that’s been replaced too.

As I said, that board and I had been through some times! I loved coming up here to feel the wind in my hair as we sped down the hill. There wasn’t any traffic around and the roads were okay; a few potholes which added to the fun. I tended to crouch on the board, keeping the centre of gravity low at those speeds helped. Plus, should I fall off it was a shorter distance to the deck. Not that I ever had fallen off.

Well, not until today . . .

Had everything been in its rightful place, I’d be at home right now, feet up outside on the decking, supping a cool one. But that hare that shot across in front of me saw to that and, just to confirm, I did manage to avoid it. The cute little bunny is safe. Unharmed. Probably at home with its feet up. Having a cool one.

A small part of me wished I hadn’t swerved to avoid the wretched animal but I knew I wouldn’t have been able to shake the guilt of ending its fluffy little life. Irony of ironies . . . My body was arched with my hands thrown behind me to affect the sudden change in direction, leaving me with no control; I ended up going right into one of those potholes. I was thrown off, skidding across the tarmac and shredding the side of my jeans in the process. Which, when you think about it, was entirely preferable than shredding the side of me.

I wore my shoes super sloppy. I didn’t do tricks so it wasn’t a problem; I just rode the road. When I walked, my heel would slip clean out of the shoe, leaving the sole still flat on the ground and fully exposing my white socks. I just loved wearing my shoes like that so I usually bought a half size larger—sometimes a full size. I often wondered if they would fly off if I crashed at speed. Well, I can answer that question now: the answer is no, at least partly—one shoe did fly off in one direction but the other one stayed on while I flew in a different direction.So now I only have one of my battered black Old Skool Vans.

Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah, sliding and spinning across the tarmac at great speed down a mountainside road. It was about then I realised I was going over the edge. There were barriers but they were designed to stop cars, not fast-moving persons at ground level. ‘This is it,’ I thought. That’s when the hood of my hoodie caught on something. There was a ripping sound but my hoodie was definitely holding because I was slipping out of it! I managed to grab a handful of fabric and it held; I was no longer slipping but now I dangled perilously over the ravine.

Before I had time for my situation to soak in,I caught sight of my beloved board flying over the edge. I heard the sound echo around as it ricocheted off the steeply sloped face before disappearing into the foliage far below.

I looked down and saw one of my sneakers hanging from my white socked foot, held aloft only by my toes. Gravity was doing what it does best, so my shoe was slowly but surely slipping off. Oh, fuck it, they are done; I should have got a new pair ages ago. A little wiggle of my toes and it was gone. It dropped straight down, disappearing into the tree cover and leaving my white sock hanging in the breeze, bereft of its decorative but beaten covering. Had it become stuck, I wondered, or did it make it through the tree tops and into the stream that ran far below?

Another ripping noise rang out from above as my hoodie gave a little more. I’m known as the eternal optimist but this wasn’t looking or, more precisely, sounding good. Positive thoughts were required! When life gives you lemons, make lemonade, as the saying goes. Thing is, I hate lemonade; it’s either incredibly sour or unbearably sweet. Yeah, so I’m an eternal optimist apart from when it concerns the acidity or otherwise of lemon-based drinks—or dangling over the side of a ravine.

I made the decision to try to get a bit higher and maybe get a hand onto the barrier support above. I pressed my white socks against the sandstone side, feeling the warm stone through the fabric. I made a little progress before hearing more fabric-rending noises. This really wasn’t looking good; my hoodie wasn’t going to last much longer. Which was a shame on two fronts: first, it was my favourite hoodie and second, it was currently doing an okay job of preventing me from plummeting to certain pain.

So, options. I could continue to try to get up to the support and cling on until someone came past. But I’d need to lose some weight to give myself the best chance, and my baggy jeans with a thick chain attached to my coin-filled wallet was certainly a significant weight. They were starting to slide down anyway.

But then what? Hang around until someone finds me? And what if their intentions weren’t pure? I’d heard stories of things happening in cars to hapless people in need. Even if someone was willing to give a lift to someone with no pants, would I want to be in a car that was happy to give a lift to someone with no pants? I’d be worried that their eyes (and attention) weren’t on the road!

I wasn’t even sure I could hang on for that long anyway—I hadn't seen a car in the whole time I’d been up here. Okay then, maybe I could try to haul myself up completely? Then I’d be left with at least an hour walk home in just a tee, socks and loose boxers. It would be just my luck that this quiet backwater would become a busy highway, with a stream of traffic honking their horns at my semi-naked bottom half.

I suppose I could lower myself a bit—to the end of my hoodie’s sleeve. I would be a little bit closer to the tree cover below, which would break my fall—and hopefully not much else. The trees didn’t look massively inviting and I suspect I might end up with some scratches. Worse still, they could catch on my tee and rip it off. Even worse, they could do the same to my boxers! Imagine the rending sound as they were ripped apart and I fell to the ground wearing nothing but rags . . .

On the plus side I might be able to search for my board, and I do love that board. We have been through so much together, so however unappealing the possible outcomes, this option was fast becoming a favourite.

Oh, and one of my shoes was down there. Although I’m not sure I could be bothered to search for the other one that was lying on the road above, waiting to be crushed under the tyres of any vehicle passing.

If I managed to get down to the ground safely, the walk back would be more direct than taking the road home—probably by fifteen minutes—but it would be through the stream and rougher terrainas there were no paths along it. I might end up back in town in just a pair of wet socks, the rest of my clothes either suspended from the branches of the trees below or torn to shreds and hanging off me, leaving nothing—or at best, very little—to the imagination.

Well, fuck, that’s some choice, isn’t it? I guess I should be grateful I have choices, but I need some help here. What would you do?

Have a think, there’s no rush, I’ll be hanging around for a bit longer . . .

Hanging Around was written by sneaked666
Editor - sz1415sneakers
Original version published at - wheres my sneaks

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