Sunday 4/23/2006 10:06:00 PM

Summer. The height of the tourist season. There she rode. Head up. Lips chasing the music in her ears. Her bike an amber demon writhing between her thighs.

In that chaos of oneway streets and lost minivans she knew just where she was going and exactly how to get there. She'd grin thick ivory tusks as she'd barrel passed all the cars sitting in traffic. Red lights only a caution to her. Stop signs just a suggestion.

I'd watch her on her resting perch. That decaying wooden rail next to the corner diner that rarely opened. She'd stare at the sidewalk for so long. Like she was examining all the footprints of every stranger whose shoes had ever scraped the stones embedded within. She'd reach into her deep, velcroed pockets and give quarters for the meters to people from New York who had just discovered the shore. June through September... this is a business, not a town.

She'd jump the potholes with dire intent. She'd skate so close to their sideviews. With an I know I won't be young much longer look on her face. The brash intensity that only exists in someone who knows their youth is leaving them.

I could see her as she would rise from her saddle. Calves clenching to beat the wind. Smirking at the stencilled smiles on the faces of those she'd pass. Their children running off ahead of them as they labored to keep up with all that baggage on their shoulders.

She always went there for the congestion. For the chaos. To prove to herself she was faster. More agile.

There was so much traffic in her stare as she rode. That amber demon swaying relentlessly between her thighs as she commanded it to move. So many places she was going. She never knew she wouldn't get there.

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