Archie sat atop the bogie kart. The road stretched out in front of him. And below him. A long way below him.
‘Are you sure about this, Archie?’ his best friend and fellow kart-builder Bill asked.
Archie saw the look of genuine concern in his classmate’s face. He pulled the racing goggles over his eyes and picked up the steering rope, a steely determination set across his jaw. ‘This is how all the greats start, Bill. If we’re going to make it like Jackie Stewart, this is where we begin.’
‘You’re sure it’s not just ‘cos Agnes said you would chicken out?’ Bill knew how much Archie liked the girl from the year below them at school. She stood twenty yards away from them with her friends.
‘This has nothing to do with her,’ Archie huffed. ‘Okay, I’m set. Onwards to victory!’
‘Wasn’t that Stalin?’ asked Bill, the better pupil in Mr. Govan’s History class.
‘Never mind, just give me a push, will you?’
The chatter from the onlookers stopped as they saw Archie crouch over the wheels, Bill moving behind him.
‘One, Two, Three,’ Bill shouted, pushing the kart back and forward with each number. On three, with all his might, he heaved the kart away, landing on his hands and knees as he did so.
Archie gripped the rope. There was no suspension on the bogie, the wheels bucked and skewed with each bump in the road, Archie’s teeth clattered against each other, his rear end banged against the wooden seat. By wrenching the steering rope from side-to-side he managed to stay on the road. The speed picked up, the wind howled round his ears.
He had no idea how far he had travelled when the front wheel hit the loose rock on the edge of the road. The kart veered wildly, then flipped over, tossing the helpless pilot through the air.
Archie lay on his back in a daze, staring up at the grey sky. He heard the running footsteps of his friends coming down the hill.
Agnes’ face came into his view, looking down with concern, ‘Are you okay?’ she asked.
‘Just wonderful,’ Archie smiled into those clear blue eyes.
You can read several short stories about Agnes and Archie here: THE AGNES & ARCHIE STORIES
My new novel, ‘A Justified State,’ is now available in Paperback from Amazon and Book Depository and on Amazon Kindle.
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