OFF DUTY

Excerpt from Off Duty

The Buell was less than a month old at that point, a Firebolt still with the shiny feel to it, and I’d been hoping it would take longer to acquire its first battle scar. The first cut is always the one you remember.

Although I was wearing full leathers, officially I was still signed off sick from the Kerse job and undergoing the tortures of regular physiotherapy. Adding motorcycle accident injuries, however minor, was not going to look good to anyone, least of all me.

But the bike didn’t tuck under and spit me into the weeds, as I half-expected. Instead it righted itself, almost stately, and allowed me to slither to a messy stop maybe seventy metres further on. I put my feet down and tipped up my visor, aware of my heart punching behind my ribs, the adrenaline shake in my hands, the burst of anger that follows on closely after having had the shit scared out of you.

I turned, to find the guy in the Cadillac had completed his half-arsed maneuver, pulling out of a side road and turning left across my path. He’d slowed, though, twisting round to stare back at me with his neck extended like a meerkat. Even at this distance I could see the petulant scowl. Hell, perhaps I’d made him drop the cell phone he’d been yabbering into instead of paying attention to his driving . . .

Just for a second our eyes met, and I considered making an issue out of it. The guy must have sensed that. He plunked back down in his seat and rammed the car into drive, gunning it away with enough gusto to chirrup the tires on the bone dry surface.

I rolled my shoulders, thought that was the last I’d ever see of him.

I was wrong.