Microfiction – 034/365

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When James was a boy he was faster than a speeding jet.  It’s true. Never lost a race. Not once. And there were plenty.

He was nine at the time and lived in a mid-Wilshire area building whose apartments faced each other across a narrow courtyard that ran from the tops of steps up from the street out to the back where the garage was.

Usually He hung out with either Danny from across the street, or with Suz who lived with her Austrian mom and dad in the same building. Danny, who liked to steal Hershey bars from the market around the corner and brag about it, once fingered him for a window he had broken in a building down the street. Got James in a lot of trouble. But not to let a bad deed go unpunished, he ratted him out to the market’s manager, telling him it wouldn’t be a bad idea to keep an eye on Danny around the candy aisle. Less than a week later he was busted trying to lift. Manager called the cops and had him arrested and everything. Suz was tomboy cute and whenever James’d make her mad — which was often — she used to call him a rubber pig in German… which sounded something like “goo-me-shwine.”

The way it worked was that if James happened to have been playing by himself outside around the front of the building, at the sound of an airliner roaring from the east so far up that it was practically just a dot against the endless blue sky, he would drop whatever it was that I was doing and rush to lineup at my designated starting line at the top of the steps. There he would wait until the plane was exactly directly overhead, and then he’d take off and run for all he was worth to the garage in the back, flying down the grassy median with the units flashing by on either side of him.

When he’d get there James’d look up and without fail, and the plane would be just a split second behind him. Sometimes he’d even give them a head start, but always catch and pass them. Always.

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Will Campbell arrived in town via the maternity ward at Good Sam Hospital way back in OneNineSixFour and has never stopped calling Los Angeles home. Presently he lives in Silver Lake with his wife Susan, their cat Rocky, dogs Terra and Hazel, and a red-eared slider turtle named Mater. Blogging since 2001, Will's web endeavors extend back to 1995 with laonstage.com, a comprehensive theater site that was well received but ever-short on capital (or a business model). The pinnacle of his online success (which speaks volumes) arrived in 1997, when much to his surprise, a hobby site he'd built called VisuaL.A. was named "best website" in Los Angeles magazine's annual "Best of L.A." issue. He enjoys experiencing (and writing about) pretty much anything creative, explorational and/or adventurous, loves his ebike, is a better tennis player than he is horr golfer, and a lover of all creatures great and small -- emphasis on "all."