Kansas City '75 Being chased was the whole point of moving fast. You inspected the tread of your tennis shoes- scuffed them in the dirt to be sure of the tracks you'd raise. (rubbed dirt on the outside so they'd look old, that'd be tricky & throw the chasers off). Sometimes we'd turn our bikes upside down and would move the pedals with our hands, so the spokes whirled. This is how fast we could go. You only did this in a safe spot, off the beaten track. Somehow this seemed like preparation. You had to be prepared.
I learned to ride a bike in an urban neighborhood in Kansas City. It was full of hippies. Hippies broke into people's houses and tried to steal their guns. They took drugs and thought people who were just riding in a car next to them were actually on fire and for that reason they killed them. They were lanky and pale and laughed when you passed them. They had lots of hair and sat around, but looked like they'd run in packs. Because of them, they didn't open the pool. It scummed over and ran to rot. We'd ride our bikes past. The hippies had ruined it.
The babysitter looked like a hippy, except she smiled and pushed her hair back behind her ears. She looked like my cousin Peggy. It was her boyfriend that looked like the pirate that snuck down and put the letter opener to the nape of your neck in that dream where you were screaming as hard as you could only it didn't come out- drug to the stairs looking down where your parents sat in the living room- where they should have heard you, but couldn't.
We were up in the mornings before our families were awake, before anyone was out. The neighborhood was ours. We were so fast. We were Evil Knievel. Around the curve where the swimming pool had died were sunflowers and swarms of bees. We outran them.