This road is not tortuous.

No. No, no, no.

No, it is torturous.

Because tortuous means “winding.”


It might be something I made up. Why do I do this? Why can’t I do something instead like look over there in the field and see that bird and know what species it is?

Are those guys quiet in their heads or doing this, too?

Why would my head choose now to make up a word? It must be real. It means winding. I am getting tired so I got confused and when I tried to name this I came up with the wrong word. I don’t think that’s a bird, anyway. It’s a rock. Why is Brad going so fast so long? I know he hates coming off a pace. I know he will get his teeth into a pace and grit down and hold on until his jaw gets ripped apart but he will not come off unless . . . well, I know I have seen him come off sometime. I’ve taken him off.

Those were great days.

That was a bird.

This is torturous.

It was tortuous back when we got onto Powder Valley road. When we banked down and down through all those great wet corners. Every time we couldn’t know if it was a shadow or gravel we were turning into. Stupid great days.

There goes Chad off the back. Ha. Ha ha. And Lou is breathing pretty hard. He took a lot of pulls earlier. I want to stand up out of the saddle. This is torturous. The road isn’t. The way we’re riding it is. A road all on its own can be tortuous. It takes riders to make one torturous. Screw you, Brad. Screw you. Piss off. Screw off, Brad. Screw the piss off. Why won’t you slow down a little?

I don’t think it’s a word.

It is, but it doesn’t mean what I think. I can’t believe that was a bird. Lou is breathing heavier. He just did a speed wobble. Why don’t you quit, Lou? Quit. Why don’t you just quit? Give up. You have to be close to giving up. Then I can. Maybe it was a rock that flew away. It could happen. There are neutrinos faster than light, I read. Brad could slow down. Lou could quit. Chad could come back.

What if Chad came back? That would be bad. The group would start to go faster because that’s the way those things work. We’d go faster for whatever reason we go faster, and I’d get dropped. Don’t look back for him. He’s gone. He has to be gone. He went off so long ago. I guarantee, dipshit, Brad is not looking back and he is not trying to figure out the species of a flying rock. He is just riding, which is why he is riding better than you today and almost always does. I can see the top.

I got this. Go ahead, speed up, I dare you. Go on. Let’s see it. Let’s have a little taste.

Come on. Speed up. Why are we sticking to the same pace? This is torturous.

This is tortuous.

Originally published in The Selection, November 22, 2011