The X Spot
• Mr Pumpy's coming along the road (see blue circle), doing what he does best.
• Two kids decide to run across the road (see white arrow), just as a whacking great truck is coming along from the opposite direction, at speed.
• The truck hits the breaks and swerves across the dividing lines to avoid the kids, straight into Mr Pumpy's path (see rubber on road leading to the X Spot).
It happened so quickly...
The Valley of the Shadow of Speeding Trucks and Buses
• At the X-Spot, Mr Pumpy (now deep in the Valley), figures his number is finally up, but just manages to hook the bike left, and brush by, the right fender of the truck brushing his right handlebar.
• He stops the bike a few metres on, dismounts, and yells some obscenities at the kids.
• The kids, who by now have stopped to play on the other side of the road, are completely oblivious to Mr Pumpy's deep road rage, for such is Asia.
I cycled up beside him ...
"I really thought my number was up, Feely!" he said, as we sat by the side of the road collecting ourselves. "And you know what crossed my mind while I was in The Valley?"
I felt an involuntary shudder run through me, for so it is, as every cyclist knows, at the mention of The Valley. "No, mate, what was that?" I said, as evenly as I could.
I handed him some water, and waited while he took a sip.
"You know, it struck me," he continued, "that people wouldn't really expect Mr Pumpy to go down on a boring old flat road just a few kilometres out of boring old Chanauta. You know what I mean?"
He looked up, eyes as big and sad as an Indian bike bell, and I nodded sympathetically.
"I mean, Feely, what would I get?" he went on, lugubriously. "A small plaque under a tree beside a tethered goat? Here lies Mr Pumpy: He rode in, he rode out, he got flattened by a truck! That's not much of an epitaph is it?"
"Well, no, mate," I said. "It certainly isn't...."
The Funny Bit
We looked at each other, a few moments passed, and then for seemingly no reason Mr Pumpy fell over backwards and rolled down the incline onto the grass, laughing like a hyena.
Death defying hilarity being what it is, I joined in at once, and laughed until my sides ached.
Yes, such is the life of the cyclist, and we at Team Pumpy sure do enjoy it.