The Fedora Hat

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Thursday, September 17, 2009

Back Through the Surf

Michel refused to lose this year's race. For the past 12 months, he has done nothing but train for the day when he would finally take the gold and beat his arch-rival Jean-Pierre. They had each been rivals for years, ever since their first race together back in the big 1930 race together when they had come in neck to neck. Jean-Pierre had come in first by less than a nose.

They had raced together ever since, not as friendly competitors, but as fierce rivals. Michel would always lose, but only just. Today, that would end.

This fateful race would be held on the beach road, a treacherous asphalt track that wound between jagged cliff and raging ocean. Many a biker had nearly met their end on this road. Michel walked his bicycle up to the starting line, preferring to save his legs for the race. Jean-Pierre walked up along side him, throwing a Michel a look of removed disdain. Confidence oozed from his pores. Michel hoped that would be his downfall.

The race began with a gunshot. The hundreds of bicyclists rode off at a relaxed pace, slowly building speed, passing each other in a graceful dance of precarious combat. Michel was already in the lead, he refused to take the first leg easy, pulling himself ahead of all the other racers quickly and deliberately. He knew this strategy was dangerous, as his legs could easily wear out before the big finish. But he didn't care, all he could see in his mind's eye was the look of defeat on Jean-Pierre's face. He pumped the pedals harder.

Passing the half-way point, Michel was far ahead of any competition. But that was where he made his mistake. Michel began a downhill slope, a point that any sensible biker would rest, but he continued to push himself and his bike beyond reasonable speeds.

He couldn't break in time for the next turn. With all his might, he tried to break, pressing his soles into the pavement. But to no avail, he flew over the edge, into the grass, flying recklessly past trees and rocks, until he landed face-first in waist high ocean.

Technically, Michel was lucky. This was the only part of the shore that had shallow waters and few rocks. As Michel pulled himself out of the salty water, he gasped for breath and took a quick assessment of his body. No broken bones, very lucky. But something felt off. He looked down and saw two breasts protruding underneath his white shirt. His legs were smooth and womanly, and long dark hair was hanging in his face.

Just as he was about to panic, he heard the rattling of the next bicyclists tearing their way down the hill he had just failed to overcome. He saw the smug smile of Jean-Pierre as he flew around the bend and out of sight.

Determination rose up in him. Even now, he refused to lose again. He picked up his bike, remarkably unscathed, from beneath the ocean water and jogged with it, his powerful yet womanly legs pumping through the surf, onto the sand, and back up the trail to the road.

No, he would not lose again.

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