>VELOCITY by Angela Meyer

>Mum’s little meteorite. Now eighteen and slicing the road on my moto. Bumper/side/bumper—the cars flash by. Little beauty. Ducati. Silver-flecked green.

At work th’smorning I was pumping that gun. Sticker, sticker, sticker. Rez (boss) says he don’t know what he’d do without me. Quick pricer. Fast dismantler. Speedy assembler.

‘Happy to be here’ I say, chortling back over my tatt. I tell him about the party I hit. Heavy tunes. A chick half-passed out on my lap. Some topless babes in the pool, pink bikinis bobbing on the surface like jellyfish. It was the friend I was interested in. She checked out my bike.

‘Wanna ride?’

‘You’ve been drinking.’ Curled her soft arms together, smiled.

I’m not stupid, I didn’t drink and ride. I took her by the fingertips and dragged her round the side. The music a hollow thud. The air was blue so I wrapped myself around her. More smiles before I slipped inside. The heat spread outward.

‘What was her name?’ Rez asks. As if I wouldn’t know.

‘Nicki’, I say, or something. She hasn’t heard from me. Not that I didn’t like her. Not that it wasn’t perfect, digging her in the grass. But I haven’t the time. I don’t want phonecalls all night. That’s when I run. From the headland to the jetty. Light long strides. Mum’s little meteorite, who shot out of her womb. ‘The bullet’ at school. Running and heart thumping over ideas, where next, who with? A party, a princess, my presence—required? Working all day, riding all night.

‘Mike?’ Rez asks.

‘Wha?’

‘Your socks don’t match, y’no?’ So. Who has time for selection? They’re pulled out of the drawer and wrenched on. Sometimes a little puckered at the toe. Then scuffed sneakers overtop. Normally I have pants, but today the shorts betrayed.

‘Sorry man.’ He is my boss, Rez. I’ll try harder.

Today I am going to see Nanna. Nanna who frustrates with the rate she moves. Nanna whose crinkly face ignores my inked arms. I haven’t seen Nanna for a while. Bad grandson. But Nanna never smacked me as a bub, only gave lollies.

The Ducati, my shiny horse, complains at lights. It snorts and puffs and readies its hoofs. The green is my eye’s beacon, my stairway to heaven. I don’t react well to no. All is want is go.

Mum’s little meteorite spins through, the corner is blocked by a truck and then, some dude.

Up on my windscreen – his face. A grimace.

His bones crunch all at once before he flies, and then he slowly pirouettes to the tarmac. Sound arrives and it’s all screeches. Have I stopped? The motor goes on. Baby green bike clatters to the ground, from my hands, my hands, that are something like blue. And the girl with him is hunched, a foldable spoon. And dizziness overtakes me. The curb, the curb. I sit at the curb. My body—still. My heart still rides.

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