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The story is based on 2 things that I have heard over the years. The first is that when you have a serious accident, it appears to happen in slow motion and second, that when you die your life flashes before your eyes.


I would wind back the throttle as I pulled out of the bend. The bike would surge forward. I loved that road, the one between where I lived and where I worked. It was a long fast A-road, full of bends, both tight and sweeping. My bike loved it to, it seemed to urge me to go faster and I responded.

Out of another bend and I was on the long straight section that crosses the motorway. 

Still accelerating, I saw the junction coming up and I was barely aware of the car coming the other way, until it started to turn across my lane to go down the slip road.

The 4 big head lamps stared at me as they turned and the sun glinted on the emblem in the centre of the grill.

My first thought was ‘Damn car drivers, they only look for other cars, not bikes.’

I slammed on the back brake; the front brake would make me lose control. The wheel locked, I released some pressure to get some grip. I was not slowing fast enough. I was going for the gap between the front of the car and the crash barrier which stretches across the bridge, but the gap was shrinking rapidly. Suddenly the car stopped, the long black bonnet dipped as the driver braked. But the gap was gone, I skimmed past the front of the car and hit the end of the barrier.

The front wheel disappeared under the bike, the fairing shattered like an egg shell, the small windscreen took off and hit my visor, cracking it from side to side. The saddle reared up and threw me into the air.

My right leg smashed into the handle bars, the pain hit like a hammer.

Every neuron in my brain was screaming as it tried to process what was happening to me. Then suddenly, I was back on the bike.

‘That’s it son, keep pedalling, if you start to fall just turn the way you are falling!’

My little legs were going like the clappers. This was my first ride without stabilizers and it was amazing to feel the danger that I might fall and only I had the power to stop it.

I turned around to look at my Dad with a big silly smile on my face. My Dad was a big man and there he was, lumbering along behind me, puffing and panting between calling out to me.

‘No don’t look at me son, you’ll lose your balance!’ I turned back, but it was too late… The front wheel began to wobble and I was down.

Dad had had the foresight to take me to the local park and I just tumbled onto the soft grass.

In an instant Dad was crouched over me ‘Are you OK son?’ I was laughing and my dad laughed too. I loved my dad.

‘That was great dad!’ I gushed, ‘can we go again?’

‘Of course we can. Up you get.’ 



After a lot of practice, I got the hang of it and soon I was never happier than when I was riding up and down the pavement outside our house.

But as usual with human nature, soon I wanted more.

‘Dad, when I’m old enough, can I have a motorbike?’

My Mum and Dad looked at each other, visibly wincing.                                                                          

‘Well, a car would be much safer son. You are so vulnerable on a motorbike.’                                           

‘Oh Dad, cars are so boring, please let me have one. I will get one anyway when I’m 18.’                                                          

‘Ok son, tell you what, please will you pass your car test first, then you can decide if you still 

want a motorbike.’

I had a lot of respect for my Mum and Dad so I agreed.


I was still gaining height and I watched the road getting further away. The cat’s eyes were flashing past beneath me. The railing along the sides of the bridge appeared and reminded me of a piano keyboard as it raced past. 

‘It’s got a bent frame,’ I bleated to the bloke trying to sell me his old moped. ‘What do you expect for a fiver mate, take or leave it.’

He was right of course and it was all I could afford out of my apprentice’s pay. My parents weren’t going to help me. I had sort of gone back on what I had said years earlier. I tried to point out that I said I wasn’t going to get a motorbike and that this was a moped. That didn’t go down well. They weren’t happy. But I couldn’t wait, I just wanted two wheels and an engine and this would have to do for starters.

Turning up at college on a moped didn’t give you much street-cred, I had to park it in the shed with the bicycles, lame or what!

To try and placate Mum and Dad, I did my car test as soon as I was 17 and past the first time.

Then one morning Dad said, ‘I don’t need the car today, why don’t you take it to college?’

I was ok with this, but I knew what Dad was doing. He was trying to get me used to using a car, hoping that I would go off the motorbike idea.

What amazed me was how I was greeted in the college car park when I arrived. 

‘Hello mate,’ said Vince Cornell. He was one of the cool kids in town and had barely noticed me before this, ‘coming up in the world are we?’ He leant on the wing, ‘this yours?’

‘Well not exactly, it belongs…’ 

‘Why don’t you come down the pub on Saturday, meet some of the guys. And the girls,’ his face broke into an insincere grin.

I was very shy with girls, but no doubt having a car would help, especially if I know Vince.

Suddenly a car didn’t seem such a boring idea.

One Saturday night turned into many, as I continued my awkward journey into adulthood.       I tried beer, and didn't like it much, but you have to drink it, you’re not a man if you don’t.

Vince’s crowd took over the pub, playing their grunge music, making lots of noise and driving out the older crowd. The public put up with it because they were filling the place, buying lots of drinks and they didn’t cause too much trouble.


I didn’t like Vince, I didn’t even respect him, he was just useful to know if you wanted to be part of the in crowd.

Vince wasn’t his real name. No one knew what it was. I heard someone say they thought it was Clive. I liked that, it somehow brought him down to size. If he was annoying me, I used to say (under my breath of course) ‘shut up Clive,’ or ‘sod off Clive,’ that made me feel much better.                                                                              

I was hoping to get to know some of the girls, but they seemed very guarded when you talked to them, as if they needed Vince’s permission. This sucked, but I was working on it.                                                                                                                                                

I had the feeling that Vince only kept me around because I might be useful to him. I would have to wait and see.

When I finished my apprenticeship, I got a job, which meant I was earning enough money to buy a motorbike and when I reached my long awaited 18th birthday, I went for it.

My Dad came with me, just to make sure I didn’t go and get something too lethal. I was OK with that.

I ended up with a 250cc Honda. Dad wanted me to start with a 125. But as I explained to him, I would only have to buy the bigger one later, I knew how to get around him. 

I ran my hand down the shiny red petrol tank, I couldn’t wait to ride it. Once I was on the road, it was everything I had hoped it would be, I was free.

Dad was still lending me his car as much as he could, anything to keep me off that ‘death trap’ as Mum called it.

My heart was pounding in my throat, I had reached the top of my flight, I could see over the side of the bridge to the motorway below. All the cars and lorries seem to be frozen in time, not moving, as if they were watching me. I could feel gravity starting to take over, knots tightened in my stomach.

My wait was over, Vince came over to me and slapped me on the back, ‘how ya doin’ mate?’ Not that he cared of course. ‘Could you do something for me?’ I didn’t have a chance to answer. ‘My car’s in the shop and my mate Rix needs to pick it up from the airport, he has been on holiday’ of course it was a given that I would go. ‘He should be at the pickup point at 7.40 tonight, you’ll be there, yeah?’

‘Of course, Vince, no problem.’

‘Good man.’ And he was gone.

Alarm bells should have been ringing, bloody Clive, but my curiosity got the better of me.

7.40 and here I was at the pickup point, wishing I wasn’t. The car door flew open and there was Rix, he chucked a holdall onto the back seat and got in. 

‘Ok let’s go.’ He demanded.  

I had seen Rix around the pub, but I didn’t know him. He was nervous as he reeled off directions. He lit a fag, I knew my Dad would hate that in his car, but Rix ignored me when I asked him not to.

At last we got to his place and to my surprise, Vince was standing outside his door.


Rix said, ‘stay here’ and got out. They both went inside. I sat outside for what seemed like ages, riddled with guilt. I felt everyone who walked past the car was judging me.

Again, the car door flew open and Vince got in. 

‘Well Rix had a good holiday,’ he said, rubbing his hands together and laughing that humourless laugh of his, ‘let's go to the pub and celebrate.’

I could see he had been drinking already, he was much too happy and chatty for my liking.                                                                      

He also kept looking behind us, which just added to my unease.                                                                      

‘Come on,’ he snapped, ‘you’re driving like Miss Daisy - get a move on.’

‘I’m over the speed limit already,’ I protested and continued at the same pace                                                       

‘For god’s sake grow a pair.’ He suddenly reared up out of his seat, lifted his leg over the gear stick, down between my legs, onto the throttle. The car lurched forward down the road, Vince was laughing like a drain, I was struggling to keep control on the wet road and there was a T junction coming up.

‘For Christ sake Clive what the hell are you doing!’ I shouted.

The junction was here, I tried to take the corner, but the car skidded into the keep left sign.

The signs are just plastic boxes these days and that when flying, but the curb that surrounded it was unyielding. The front off side wheel hit it hard and I heard something break. The car shuddered to a halt.

‘Now look what you’ve done, my Dad will kill me!’

Vince looked at me, ‘What did you call me?’.

I was out of the car, looking at the damage, I could see the trailing link had snapped, the tyre had burst and the wheel rim was damaged. Vince was also out of the car. ‘You called me Clive.’

‘There must be at least a couple of hundred quid’s worth of damage here, what am I going to do?’ I protested again.

‘Ah stop winging, I got mates in the motor trade, I will get them to sort it out tomorrow.’  

We pushed the car to the side of the road. Vince was then on his mobile calling another of his many ‘mates’ to come and pick us up.

The next morning, yes, I was in big trouble with Mum and Dad. They had never liked Vince anyway, this just confirmed their fears. However, the car was going to be fixed without insurance hassle, at no cost to us. The down side was, Dad needed to get to work and I had no idea how long the repair would take. Fortunately, I had just passed my motorcycle test, so I was able to give him a lift to work.

A few days went by and there was no sign of Dad’s car and the longer this went on, the tenser the atmosphere got at home.

It wasn’t much better at the pub. I was out of favour with Vince. I supposed I was no use to him without the car. Or was it because I had disrespected him?

Then at last, one of his cronies told me that the car would be back in a day or so. That went down well at home. Then, the next evening there was a knock at the door.

Mum came into the lounge. ‘Is it the car?’ I asked.

‘No,’ she said, her face ashen, it’s the Police.’


The bridge railing and I collided - my helmet hit it first, the cracked visor shattered - the blast of cold air on my face made me gasp. I felt something crack in my neck. My shoulder then hit the railing. I seem to be detached from the pain this caused, as if my brain could not cope with any more information.

The blow had caused my body to start spinning, I was now looking upwards, squinting at the sun. Strange objects seem to be tumbling above me, then I realised they were pieces of my beloved bike, disintegrating.                                                                          

I was still spinning, I was now staring at the side of the bridge, a grey concrete wall, even in sunlight there is nothing attractive about…                                                                      

…A grey concrete wall, topped with small barred windows made the Police interview room look like a prison cell. Perhaps they do that to intimidate the interviewee. It was working on me, I was terrified. I focused on the face in front of me. He had thinning grey unkempt hair, a world-weary face and haunted eyes that looked like they had trouble sleeping and staying awake.

This was inspector Hardy. I had seen him around town, hunting down the local villains, he used to use his name as a weapon, barking ‘I’m Hardy,’ at his victims.

I was now in his sights, that guilt was rising again.

‘I don’t like it when bad things happen on my patch and I’m going to find the underlying cause of it, or my name’s not Hardy!’ he barked.

He moved even closer into my face. ‘In the last week there have been 3 drug related deaths in this manor and at least 6 hospital cases. There is some bad stuff doing the rounds. We’ve been following up several leads…’ He leaned back and turned a laptop so it faced me. ‘And we found this,’ he continued.

He pressed a button and my stomach knotted as I watched CCT film of my Dads car pulling up at the airport pickup point. I watched Rix get into the car and drive away.

I was too terrified to speak.

"We know this guy Rix, he’s got form as a drug mule. He is very crafty though, he makes lots of trips where he is not carrying anything. Then he seems to know when we are not tracking him and brings in a load. He thought this was one of those times’. Said Hardy, pointing at the screen.

‘We have searched his place, nothing, we think he passed it on to your mate Vince Cornell for distribution’. 

‘He's not my mate’ I blurted, ‘I just see him down the pub’.

‘You do know him then’, Said Hardy eagerly. 

My mouth opened and closed, but nothing came out.

Hardy sat back. ‘I think you are a good lad, you’ve got no record and I don’t think you knew what you were getting into, but, as they say, ignorance is no defence in the eyes of the law, you could be in serious trouble.’

All I could think about was my Mum and Dad and what they would think, I felt sick.

Hardy leaned into me again and continued. ‘I think you are as unhappy with this as we are. Think of those poor kids dying on the streets because they have been sold some bad shit’.


I didn’t know whether to shake or nod my head to this, so I did nothing, but my expression must have told him what he needed.

‘So you are going to help us, yes?’ Said Hardy and I dare not say no.

‘Yes, of course,’ I said.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          

‘Ok, I’m going to have to get approval for this from above, so unless you hear otherwise, come here tomorrow, after work if you like, meet me at the desk and I will give you some information. Now you can go.’                                                                       

Then Hardy got up and left, just like that. The officer that had been in the room as well, watched impassively as I sloped out, shell shocked.

The next day I rode to the police station after work, I told the desk sergeant I was there to see Hardy and I waited. As I did so, a group of men started to gather at the end of the foyer.                 

An officer was marshalling them and telling them what was expected of them. I then realised that they were there for an identity parade. I had heard of this. The police go round local businesses and get volunteers to make up the numbers at the ID parade. I thought I recognised one or two of them, which wasn’t surprising, as I had lived in this town all my life. As I watched, Hardy came out and handed me a piece of paper.

‘Here are your instructions’ He said, ‘I am taking a risk doing this, so don’t let me down’.

I shoved the paper in my pocket and left. ‘What the hell am I doing’, was all I could think.

A couple of days later and the car still wasn’t back. What the hell were Vince’s mates up to I didn’t know, but Dad was livid, we needed it back.

This was going to be tough. I had to ask Vince for a favour. He didn’t normally do favours.

I saw him in the pub, and bought him a drink, to soften him up.

‘Vince, I’m sorry to ask you this, but my parents and I need to go to a funeral tomorrow and we still don’t have the car, could we…if it’s not inconvenient...see your way clear... as it is your...err...fault that the cars are off the road…err...lend us your car…for one day...please?’

Vince was glaring at me, then his face began to soften and finally broke into one of those grins.

‘That took some balls mate, but I like that, yeah you can have it, but (there had to be a caveat)

If you crash it, you’re a dead man and get it back here by 6 PM, because I need it,’ he said, thrusting the keys into my chest.

Driving Vince’s car felt like I was committing sacrilege. It was his status symbol. I panicked every time another car came close. 

Needless to say, it was a difficult day and I was glad when I returned to the pub to hand back the car, without a mark on it, lucky for me. Of course, Vince had walked round it looking for any blemish and looked almost disappointed when he was unsuccessful. 

‘Thanks mate’, he said, snatching the keys, ‘Off out with guys now, sorry you can’t come, run out of seats’.

A bunch of blokes shuffled out of the pub and climbed into the car. One of them gave me a funny look, I thought perhaps he thought I was being favoured, being allowed to borrow the ‘bosses’ car. It didn’t feel like that, I was left a nervous wreck.


I watched as the car pulled out of the car park. The 4 big head lamps glared at me, the setting sun glinted off the emblem in the centre of the grill and the long black bonnet swept past me.                                                                        

My body was still tumbling, I found myself looking at the underside of the bridge, it was as black as Vince’s car. Yes, it was Vince, he had used his car as a murder weapon and I was the victim.

The fact that he did that, tells me that he doesn’t know what I did when I borrowed it. I was worried he would check out the funeral story. There was no funeral, In fact I was following Hardy’s instructions to go to a Police workshop, where they fitted a GPS tracker to the car.

Limited Police resources and modern technology means a tracker is a cost-effective way of following a car. Hardy was convinced it was only a matter of time before Vince made a

wrong move and they could connect him to the drugs. They could now connect him to my murder, so your ‘it’ Clive and they’re after you, you bastard!                                                 

But why did he come after me? Then it hit me, the guy who gave me the funny look in the pub car park, was one of the blokes I saw in the ID parade. He must have told Vince he saw me with Hardy. Vince assumed I was working for him and nobody double crossed Vince Cornell. 

The solution was easy, he knew my commute and he knew I would be riding too fast. The rest is history and I’m history. 

But was doing the right thing worth my life?

I was still tumbling, I blinked and there in front me was the huge slab front of an arctic’ bearing down on me.

I could see the driver, for an instant we locked eyes, his head bulging out his head in horror, his knuckles white on the steering wheel.

I wondered what his name was.

I wondered if he would remember me for the rest of his life.

As for my life, will losing it save another? Maybe it will. It’s hard to care, as I will never know.

The tarmac arrives and it ends.                                     



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