cDc 135: Trickledown
by Josh Whalen
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by Josh Whalen
>>> a cDc publication.......1990 <<<
-cDc- CULT OF THE DEAD COW -cDc-
It was about six weeks after I started riding for Blitzkrieg that the
inevitable happened. I was carrying about three runs, one rush and one
oversize, all going pretty far south, a good twenty-five dollars worth of work,
good money. It wasn't even noon yet and I was already holding like twelve
tickets, it was turning out to be my best day yet. I was cutting cross town on
fifty-fourth street, hitting all the lights just as they were turning green, I
was really hellbent. I came up on fifth avenue, heading west, the light turned
to green just as I entered the cross walk. I saw a cab blow the intersection
just before I entered it myself, just a few fractions of a second earlier and
we would have tested several laws of physics. I didn't see the limousine
behind him run the red light on fifth until after it had relieved me of my
Just like that! I felt, I don't know, a tug on the front fork. The next
thing I knew, the whole bike whipped around and slid sideways into the side of
the limousine. I threw myself back, off the bike, back into the cross walk
when I felt the bike begin to whip, and that was what saved me. The limousine
fled, only to be caught at the next light by traffic. I was seething with
adrenaline, boiling mad, like only combat troops ever get, I imagine. I
grabbed up the wreckage of the bike, threw it over my shoulder, and chased the
limo down on foot. A crowd had gathered; this was a busy intersection with
lots of pedestrians all rubber-necking the scene. They'd all seen what
happened. People in midtown hate bike messengers in general; we come out of
nowhere silently, not like a car with its noisy engine declaring its presence a
block in advance. We scare them, with our close passing. "Plenty of room" to
a skilled fix-wheel rider is a hairs' breadth to some pedestrian investment
trader. They'd seen what had happened, though, and I'd had the light. For
once it was obviously not the biker's fault. They were all yelling as I pulled
out my bike lock, a big horseshoe of hardened steel, and pulled open the
drivers door before he could lock it. People were shouting, "Do it!" and "He
ran the light! Don't let him go! Hold him 'till the cops get here!" If
there's anything people hate worse than a bike messenger, it's a hit and run
driver. I was breathing hard and sweat was pouring down my face, I must have
looked like a real berserker. I held the lock back on one hand like I was
ready to brain the driver with it and thundered at him: "All right, pal, we can
do this one of three ways. We can sit here blocking traffic and wait for the
cops to show, and for them to lock you up for hit and run and running a red
light, or, I can dismantle you and your car with my lock, or, you can
compensate me right now for my bike and the loss of a day's pay, and I'll just
hail a cab and go home and you can go on your way. What'll it be?" He looked
at me with blank eyes for just a moment, but I was all accelerated, my time
sense wound up by several orders of magnitude, it seemed like he took way too
long, so I kicked the side of the car and shrieked, "WELL?" He reached into
his jacket and took out his wallet, threw its contents on the street, slammed
the door and took off into traffic. I picked up the money, counted a hundred
and ten dollars. Someone in the crowd said, "Hey! He's gettin' away!" I
smiled and said, "It's alright, he paid me." I dragged the bike over to the
corner, called in to my dispatcher and told him what had happened.
The first thing he wanted to know was if the packages were damaged, and I
reassured him they were fine. Then he asked, "D'you catch the guy?"
"Yeah," I said.
"Did he pay you?"
"Yeah," I said.
I told him.
"Good work," he said, "as long as he paid you."
I was back on the road bright and early the next day. The new bike only
cost me fifty bucks, so I figured I came out ahead.
_ _ _____________________________________________________________________
/((___))\|The Dead Zone........214/522-5321 Demon Roach Undrgrnd..806/794-4362
[ x x ] |NIHILISM.............415/285-9453 The People Farm.......916/673-8412
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(' ') |Lunatic Labs.........213/655-0691 The Works.............617/861-8976
.ooM |1990 cDc communications by Josh Whalen. 05/17/90-#135
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