My little BMW Dakar – which I loved so much – rattled under me like a naughty child. The single cylinder thumped merrily away as I made my way home after a day at work where there was much blood on the boardroom walls. The sky – was like a clear, giant blue marble above me and the sun was setting in all its beautiful Highveld glory. In all – a perfect evening.
It was a quiet ride home as I cut my way through traffic and turned off the main road to make my way through the leafy suburb toward my home. Thoughts of dinner and a relaxing beer with my family danced in my head. I was a few blocks from my destination for the day when I rode past the empty park just to my left where I frequently took our dogs for a walk.
It was an octagonal shaped piece of land about 3 acres or so in size set on a steep incline surrounded by tar roads – almost like a giant traffic circle with a park in the middle. The park was laid out in a series of 3 giant steps with level playing fields on each separated by steep inclines of about 45 degrees. On the top step was an old dilapidated tennis club with about 5 tennis courts in various states of disrepair and a tiny clubhouse which could do with a lick of paint and a bulldozer. The second step sported an old rusty Jungle Gym which could do with a lick of paint and a few tonnes of TNT and the bottom step was just an empty lot of grass which could have passed for a soccer field if it wasn’t for the knee-high unkept grass growing all over the place like a mad-man’s hairstyle.
Needless to say – the park didn’t attract many of the surrounding neighbour’s children as it was probably the closest thing South Africa would get to what one would imagine Chernobyl to be. I was riding on the quiet road running past the bottom step when I had an idea. The little Dakar that I was on was really designed to eat up dirt as well as tar with equal amounts of enthusiasm. So I thought that it would be a fantastic idea to take this cheeky beast through the park instead of around it. Perhaps it would also help me give my off-road skills a bit of a boost too – as I really had very little of those to speak of.
I stood up on the pegs and looked around to see if some poor schmuck wasn’t walking their dogs or some and lonely child wasn’t dangling off the rusted Jungle Gym. I assumed that the tennis court level would probably be empty as from where I was standing – I couldn’t see that high. But nobody has used those courts since 1983 and probably never will until the end of mankind. The coast looked clear. So I stopped the bike, turned off the ABS (the dealer said I must do that) and engaged first gear. Had a look around to see if the coast was clear again and slowly rode through the long grass to the first step. I hesitantly went up the first incline of about 45 degrees to the Jungle Gym level where I did a U-turn and slowly made my way back down using the back brakes to ease the decent. When I got back down to the grassy level I stopped and had another look around. Still nobody. Yes! I was a winner. Albeit a very boring winner.
But that was not enough. At this stage I should have gone straight home. But no. I had to see ‘what this puppy could do’. Perhaps if I went a little faster – that would be more fun. Perhaps if I went a LOT faster – it would be even more fun. Perhaps if I hammered it – I could actually ramp over the first step. Yes – that’s it – hammer down and take to the skies. I mean – how hard can it be really?
I gave myself quite a run-up. Nearly the entire width of the grassy soccer field below. I turned around, faced the step and gunned it. 1st gear, 2nd gear, 3rd gear. The grass was whipping my legs and insects were flying out like a Tsunami just before I got to the ramp. The bike hit the step and lurched skyward. All I could see at the time was sky and the top of the setting sun. I remember thinking at the time that I was probably going much faster than I should have and that this incline was a lot steeper than it was earlier. So in a panic – I cut the throttle, but it was far too late for that. The Dakar and myself launched into the air in a very high arc, stopping in suspended animation – almost floating. I looked down and it felt like I was about 30 stories up – in slow-motion – the jungle Gym looked tiny from up here. I remember thinking ‘Í wonder if I can see my house from up here’. The wheels were still turning as gravity took hold of us and was about have its way with us in the most unpleasant way imaginable. The ground started coming back into focus as we careered downward and slammed into it with the force of a 30-tonne hammer – wheels first. My knees buckled. My crown jewels slammed into the seat with such force that they felt like they had lodged into my skull and replaced my eyeballs. Luckily I had my visor closed or they probably would have.
Let’s just say that at that very moment – I had lost the will to live. All the air that was in my body was forced out of every orifice. I think I remained upright for a few seconds before slowly falling over to my right with a dull thud. The Dakar stalled. I just lay there gasping like
a fish out of water for some signs that my lungs will at some point start to fill up with air again that I may actually live. My leg was trapped under the bike and the heat of the engine was burning my calf. I had to move – but couldn’t. My vision went blurry – and I thought that it was my balls making an escape through my skull again – and who could blame them.
The next thing I knew – my bike moved. Something was trying to lift it off me. I opened my eyes and saw a very hairy leg of some bloke standing over me wearing silk shorts and no underwear. I was suddenly now very aware of my situation and this was not good at all. His balls were trying to escape from his pants – and mine through my head. Fortunately he managed to lift the Dakar up just enough for someone else to pull my leg out from under the bike. There were more. Where did these people come from?
It all happened in a matter of seconds – but it all felt like I had been lying there for at least a week.
“Jesus dude! If you wanted to get your pilot’s licence – at least use an aeroplane next time” said Mr. Ballbag-man.
I managed to slowly unfold myself from the foetal position and sat up. I still couldn’t breathe properly, my lungs could only manage small gasps and my eyes were welling up with tears. I felt like a kid in the playground who has just been bullied by gravity and lost. It was about then when I realised that there was at least 8 schoolgirls standing around me as if they were standing around a grave site, and I was in it. Some of them had tennis racquets in their hands.
All of a sudden a hand started pushing my head down between my legs and I had no energy to fight it. It was Mr. Ballbag-man.
“Just take deep breaths…in and out…”said Mr Ballbag-man as he pushed his body and groin against my arched back as if he knew what the hell he was doing.
That was about as far as I was prepared to go – adrenalin kicked in from some unknown area of my body and I stood up like a meerkat. I threw Mr. Ballbag-man off my back like a wounded Buffalo. With tears streaming down my face, lungs only operating at 10% of power and a voice box that had left the building, I picked up the Dakar with one hand, surprising even myself. I swung my leg over the bike hoping that it wasn’t as broken as I was and pushed the red starter button. As always, the little thumper kicked into life and I turned to the little crowd of onlookers lifting my gloved hand to thank them for their help. Still no words could escape me.
Slowly I engaged 1st gear and started riding off like an injured cowboy riding out of town. Just then – the little crowd behind me burst into a chorus of raucous laughter as I rode away crying like a baby.
That beer I was so looking forward to earlier turned into an ice-pack and a John Wayne-walk for a few days after the “incident”.