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A Winter Fail  by Ace
I wasn't going to make it.

The moment I stepped out of the bus I knew I didn't have a chance. The bus I needed to catch next was just slowing to a stop; through a haze of fine snow driven by gale force winds I could see it approaching a shelter kitty-corner from where I now stood. I would have to cross two streets to reach it, and while there were very few cars about today, the roads themselves would be enough of a barrier. The snow had started two days ago, at first coming down in clumps the size of walnuts, melting almost the second they hit the pavement. Then the temperature had dropped dramatically and the roads progressed from wet, to slush, to a stiff dirty sludge. Traffic had shaped the sludge into ridges and as the temperature continued to fall the ridges hardened with a mountain-like permanence. It was now so cold that the salt spread optimistically by the city trucks was useless. This was the obstacle facing me—a kind of winter rumble strip for pedestrians.

It was a stupid thing to do. I knew it at the time. I didn't have a hope in hell of making it, even if the weather and roads would have been in my favor, but obvious impossibilities always get my competitive juices flowing—if I didn't make it, well I had never believed I'd had a chance anyway. And if I did make it, then I got the double reward of not having to wait in the cold for the next bus paired with the sweet smug satisfaction of having given a thumb in the eye to old Bitch Winter.

The crosswalk signal had already started counting down as I scrambled over the mound of snow thrown up onto the sidewalk by the snowplows and pitched down onto the street. My shoes skidded on the ice, and luckily hit salt. It may not have been melting the snow, but the salt was as good as gravel for giving my shoes purchase on the icy pavement. I jogged across, keeping a careful eye on the treacherous ridges of frozen slush. As I reached the other side I glanced up and was shocked to see the bus still standing with its door open, just a street away. Had the driver seen my heroic attempt to make cross to his bus in time and decided to have pity on me and wait? My experience with city transit made this seem extremely unlikely. Whatever the reason, the bus was still there, and I still had a chance to catch it!

Well, I would have had a chance if old Bitch Winter wouldn't have had an ace up her sleeve. I turned the corner and had gotten about half way across the street when the wind changed. The gust that hit me was like a body blow and thousands of miniscule crystals cut into my face. I shut my eyes against the pain, raising my arms to block the wind. Unfortunately, that meant that I was no longer watching the road. My first two steps miraculously avoided the ridges, but my third found one of the only flat spots left on the road, flat because the runoff from the early melted snow had pooled near the curb and frozen without being disturbed by the cars. Under a layer of fine snow, the ice was as slick as oiled glass.

I slid forward in a movement that would have been graceful, if not for its quick and violent ending. There was only room for my foot to slide an inch or two before it hit the curb, which had the same effect as a springboard. My momentum launched me over the curb, but I was spared a sprawled and undignified landing on the sidewalk by another mountainous snowbank blocking the way. The result was still undignified, but I daresay a lot softer.

I turned my head and tried to find a polite way of spitting out a whole mouthful of dirty snow while my imagination viciously paraded a stream of images of what the snowplows might have scraped off the street. As I slowly levered myself out of the pile, I was aware of a distant cackling as the doors of the bus squeaked shut and it roared away from the curb.

Bitch Winter : 1. Pathetic City Denizen: 0.
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  'A Winter Fail' statistics: (click to read)
Date created: Jan. 30, 2009
Date published: Jan. 30, 2009
Comments: 16
Tags: canada, ice, winter
Word Count: 791
Times Read: 669
Story Length: 5
Children Rank: 4.5/5.0 (11 votes)
Descendant Rank: 0.0/5.0 (25 votes)