By Danny Hatch
So what happens is — you still with me? Okay. So what happens is I’m riding my bike and I’m miserable but that isn’t really true. I mean, in a general state, yes, I am miserable. But in this exact, you know, moment? And for the last half hour or whatever? I feel good. When I ride my bike I’m powerful. Nobody can fuck with me. I’ve been hit by a car. I got into a fight with a dude in a truck. I even broke both of my wrists (minor fractures) once. But none of that shit stopped me from riding my bike, because the feeling when you’re going, when you’re soaring, when you’re not having to stand up on the fucking pedals and work your ass up a hill, is untouched. By anything. Seriously. I’ve had sex. Not a ton of sex, but whatever. I’ve had it. Doesn’t come close to this. You feel like you’re flying. Going downhill on Ayers, that hundred yard stretch of pure acceleration? It’s…you can…you become it. You just become the wind. And I know how stupid that sounds but it’s true. I even yank out my earbuds when I go down Ayers because I want to experience as much of it as I can. I want to close my eyes and see the future, uninhibited, and feel like that’s what I’m riding into. Which, technically, is true but that’s not the kind of future I’m trying to aim myself into. And I can never keep my eyes shut for too long because I get nervous. Wiping out on that road, going at that speed, without a helmet…that’ll kill you, easy. And I guess you can take it as a sign of my evident self-worth that I do not want to die like roadkill, leave this world as a fried egg mess on the pavement.
So anyway, yeah. I’m riding my bike. And I feel this weird tugging sensation. Like something is lifting me and pushing me forward at the same time. So I guess it’s not really a tugging sensation, then, is it? A tug is a pull, right? I don’t know. I always thought of it as a tug. I can’t remember that part so well, but that part isn’t really that important to, you know, to the core of the story.
Excuse me. Sorry. I’ve been getting a little sick. Sorry. So. Yes. This tugging feeling, right? It’s like something is accelerating me from behind, and I’m starting to get nervous. I’m approaching the light and it’s turning yellow. It’ll be red by the time I get there and I don’t want to go screaming through that intersection, begging to get creamed. Begging to become the new hood ornament on somebody’s Hyundai.
So I start to squeeze the brake a little bit, but nothing happens. There’s no resistance — the little trigger just goes all the way down without slowing. My brake line’s out. Shit, right? I’m only picking up speed now, right at the bottom of the hill, the fastest I’ve ever been in my entire life. I am a blur. If you took a picture of me, you’d think I was a vampire or something. There’s no way you’d catch me in that picture.
And I’m reaching the intersection now, and it’s very busy. I’ve sort of resigned myself to my fate and even I’m a little surprised at how quick that took. I’m not even nervous. My brain is working on autopilot, like, maybe I can weave in between cars or something, become Frogger, but I’m not concerned in the least. It’s like I know I’ll be okay.
My front tire passes the crosswalk without fanfare.
I close my eyes.
And then I’m gone, even though it takes me a few minutes to notice.
Just like that. Poof. Vanished. No smoke, no trail of flames like in Back to the Future. I’ve dried up and disappeared like water in the desert. No trace of me.
I don’t know if anyone saw it. They had to have, right? Nobody just, you know, disappears like that.
When I open my eyes again, I’m not where I was when I shut them. I wonder if I’m dreaming, or if maybe I was dreaming when I was going downhill, but that feels like such a hollow explanation. It was five in the evening in August in Oklahoma when I left (left?) Now it’s, I don’t know, it feels like midnight. It’s cold and dark, the exact opposite of where I was. Tiny little dots of hail rain down upon me. In the distance I can hear ocean.
I know, right? I can see from the look on your face that you don’t believe me, and that’s fine. I wouldn’t believe me, either, but just let me keep going. I promise you’ll see by the end of this.
So anyway. Once my eyes adjust to the dark, I can sort of make out that I’m on a cliff. I guess I’m lucky I figured that out before I walked off of it. Beneath me is the sea or the ocean or a big lake or something, some huge, churning body of water, but that’s way beneath me. I mean, this cliff is high up, man. You know? It’s the highest I’ve ever been, easy, and by this point I’m starting to freak out. The numbness of transition’s starting to wear out and I’m now looking at this reality where I’m way-the-fuck high up and way-the-fuck alone. And with no clue as to how I got there or how to get back?
And then, way off in the distance, I hear something that makes me freak out even more.
It’s large, that’s all I knew then and all I really know now. I feel like my brain sort of shut most of the details out, even though they’re right there. I can see it clearly. My brain’s just telling me it’s not real, despite, the…you know, despite everything else.
What my brain is trying to tell me that I didn’t see God, but my memory is telling me that I obviously did.
And what I’m about to tell you, Officers Kent and Downey, is going to make you believe me too.
Officer Kent, you were born in 1979 in Chickasha. Your parents divorced when you were twelve, and you had a delinquent phase as a result of that. You graduated high school a year later than the rest of your peers and had to take extra entry tests to convince the Police Academy to let you in. You lost your virginity when you were nineteen, and you regret how it went, and I’m not going to go into the details out loud with everyone here but if you really don’t believe I can show you in private. You woke up this morning with a headache and you stubbed your toe on the way to the bathroom and you thought about drinking for the first time in seven years, which is making you more and more nervous.
Officer Downey, you were born in 1974. You spent a few years in New York City, specifically Manhattan, more specifically the Lower East Side. You were briefly a part of the art scene there before you ran out of money and moved back here to Edmond to live with your parents, whose only provisions were that you had to go to school if you were going to live under their roof. You tell people you took the entrance exam to the Police Academy on a lark but you actually studied very hard for it for months. If people knew anything about the exam, they’d know that you can’t just take it on a lark, and they would’ve called you on your bullshit, but they don’t so they didn’t.
Something out there, that big thing that I heard in the distance, found itself face to face with me and looked me in the eye and imparted me with this curse of knowing everything about everything I see and I don’t know how to get rid of it.
So the thing, this dinosaur looking thing, it cranes its giant neck down and stares me in the eyes, like I said. They were as big as I am, those eyes. This thing was giant, and as soon as we locked eyes, I understood, I knew that this is the thing responsible for the entire universe. For you, for me, for everybody. It created everything and now it just wanders around in this vast expanse of nothing—or, almost nothing—and just fucks around. Ruins things. Ruins me.
And then I was back here and I was upright for a second and then something big hit me and my point of view went all sideways.
And then I woke up again in here with people whose personal histories and most fucked-up secrets I know everything about telling me I’m lucky to be alive and that a car hit me, which it obviously would, because I rode my bicycle into the middle of a busy intersection like an asshole.
And I guess that’s it.
And also God wants you to know, apparently, that the world’s going to end in three days.