Endowed in perpetuity by the Glenna Luschei Fund for Excellence

3:33 Sports Short #40 // Handful of Throttle by Jolene McIlwain

He didn’t just hit that jump fourth gear pinned, he sailed, bits of earth spinning off those knobbies.

I thought he’d plummet back down. That’s when the trees leaned in and the clouds fell from the sky a little, coming in closer to see how a man on a Yamaha could wing like a hawk. They tapped the top of his helmet with their storm-filled palms and then buoyed him milliseconds more.

And I waited there, ground-bound, knees wanting to give out, scared even to kick the starter of the bike beside me, scared even to lift my leg over the seat and mount something so wild, knowing I’d fall over at the first blush of crash.

When he landed it, he took off again, the motor yammering, hammering the turn, sinking the front tire into the loamy berm. He glanced back to see if I was still there, if I’d been struck by the roost of his trailing dirt. I hit the button and let the shutter open again. It’s all I could do.


Jolene McIlwain teaches literary criticism and writing part time at Duquesne and Chatham Universities. Her very short fiction has been twice-named finalist (Top 25 and Honorable Mention) in Glimmer Train's Very Short Fiction contest.

Categories: