Crash

“Funny running into you like this,” Jeff said.

Marci batted her eyelashes in surprise, looking first to their wrecked cars, then back to her co-worker. “Did you just make a joke?”

His head tilted. “Yes?”

“I don’t think I’ve ever heard you joke,” Marci said, a slow smile spreading across her face. “I like it.”

“Yes. Good.”

There was something adorable about his awkward stiffness. She found herself wishing for the conversation to continue. “I am sorry about your car,” she said, feeling that part had to be addressed first.

“Yes. It is thoroughly ruined now,” Jeff said with a simple nod of affirmation. “We are both quite lucky I was not damaged as severely as my vehicle.”

Marci tensed, suddenly worried that she had been misreading the entire situation. But Jeff didn’t seem angry, despite his blunt words. “Wait a minute,” she said, smile returning. “Are you joking again?”

“Yes?”

She moved a little closer, grinning. “So, you want to get a bite to eat when this is done?”

Jeff’s eyes glazed over. As an extraterrestrial, he was far out of his depth here. “Flirting is an enjoyable activity.” he declared.

Marci frowned. “Did you . . . hit your head?”

“Yes?”

* * *

Story by Gregory M. Fox

Asphalt

Ten miles into the ride, he had entered a sort of trance. Thoughts had faded along with the early aches of his stiff muscles.
The rhythm of his pedals
The wind in his face
The asphalt beneath his tires
The breath in his lungs
Rising
Descending
Pushing
Turning
The sound of a car
A quick glance over his shoulder, then eyes ahead
A bird
Not even that close, and it had flown past in an instant, but that was all it took.
A swerve
A wheel dropped off the asphalt
The world flipped on its side
A crack
A horn
Screeching tires
A roaring engine
Wind
Asphalt
Breath
And finally, pain.
At first it was everywhere, but thought was quickly returning, and he was able to take stock.
Left calf
Right wrist
Both palms
Left shoulder
Chin
Head?
No, just the pounding of his pulse in his ears.
He was alive.
Eyes opened, and he saw. Swaying stalks of corn. A car quickly receding into the distance. A vast immensity of blue. His bike.
It was in better condition than he was, wheels and handlebars still straight, he just needed to fix the chain.
Home was only ten miles away.

* * *

Story by Gregory M. Fox