by Cyrus Picou Jr.
For the eighteen years I’ve traversed the open road, I’ve always noticed how the blacktop roads seems to have a smoother quality than their concrete brethren. The transition from the rough concrete to the smooth blacktop is joyous. As I lie here on the asphalt, listening to the whimpers of a weenie dog limping back to its house and feeling the subtle burn of the cool air, one thought fills my head. Has the blacktop always been this rough?
That night started out like any other. I was working on my homework, trying with every ounce of willpower not to put it off until later. My cousin Josh opened my door and invited me to go on a bike ride with him and my brother Shane, which was the equivalent of throwing my homework into a bottomless abyss.
We followed our normal routine but, unlike the past few nights, the air was unusually comfortable. This didn’t occupy our thoughts for very long, however, as Josh and I noticed that Shane, who usually led our little pack, was falling behind. Then, as we rode in the adjacent neighborhood, a weenie dog chased us as far as its shock collar would allow.
As Josh and I rode on, we noticed Shane was no longer behind us. We’d left him in the dust. With nothing else to do, Josh decided to see how fast we could go. I felt the hellish burn in my legs as I pedaled as fast as I could. We were fast, and I was about to be furious. As I checked my speedometer and discovered we were going 26 miles per hour, that little weenie dog, this time collarless, ran into the road right in front of me. Before I could even think what would become of the poor dog that I just ran over, my face was burning from sliding on the rough blacktop road.
As I lay there, it occurred to me that this blacktop wasn’t like all the others. This blacktop wasn’t smooth. Of all the blacktops that I could be lying on, it had to be this one, rough and jagged.