Cold christmas lane, p.1
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       Cold Christmas Lane, p.1

           Edgar Million
 
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Cold Christmas Lane
Cold Christmas Lane

  Edgar Million

  Cold Christmas Lane

  Copyright 2016 Edgar Million

  Cold Christmas Lane

  The Prey

  The dipping sun streaked through the heavy tree cover which gave shelter to the winding, twisting country road. The light danced across the silver grey bonnet of Roger's Ford Kuga, painting patterns across a window which he now noticed needed a good clean. Saturday tomorrow, he thought, contemplating a warm afternoon out on the drive, washing away a week's grime, then drying and polishing with wax. Simple pleasures.

  Too much time spent working, he thought, he often thought, to find enough space to enjoy the small joys, such as the reflective gleam of this machine after he'd finished. No time for all that. Rush here, rush there.

  His big brother Joe told him it was his age.

  ‘Men in their forties are a discontented group. If you make it to fifty without killing yourself, you'll be home clear, but it will be touch and go for a bit.’

  It was true, lately Roger lurched between mild discontent and outright rage and despair. Still, should be a nice weekend, he reflected, a thin smile cracking a face which he only looked at these days when shaving or whilst drunk; his father's face now pressing out his own once youthful features, replacing them with a scowl which Roger thought buried forever.

  But his father's face remained far from his thoughts now as he rode a pleasant two pint beer buzz into the weekend. Surely not enough to get him banned, but probably not the most sensible action before navigating his way along the Lane.

  Never mind, he thought, many worse in the world, an unwarranted image of his sharp faced child of a line manager stepping in and then out again from his mind's eye, forcing Roger tried not to think of the deadline he was almost certainly guaranteed not to meet on Monday.

  Many worse in the world.

  ‘Like him,’ he announced aloud to the empty car, nodding at a black and white lycra clad cyclist who'd appeared some way ahead, making his way along the winding country lane, riding squarely at the centre of the road, ‘there's much worse in the world than me having a couple of pints, on a Friday night.’

  Roger closed the gap on the cyclist almost immediately, then hissed in irritation at the delay. Was it too much to want to get home on a Friday night? He tooted his horn, a short, hopefully polite request to pass, but this selfish middle-of-the-lane cyclist continued to hold the lane; refused to let him pass, so he sat close behind him revving his engine.

  The cyclists lycra uniform strained and stretched under the pressure of the flabby body it contained and Roger wondered how any man could present himself to the world like that, his fat thinning the material to such an extent the man may as well be naked. The man had no shame.

  He liked to ride a bike himself sometimes, or at least, he liked the idea he liked to ride a bike sometimes, but lately the occasions upon which he roused himself to re-inflate the flat tyres on his old Halfords mountain bike and soak the rusty chain in WD40 became less and less frequent.

  Still, he thought, his occasional rides may be rare, but they were considerate to the needs of other and it wouldn't have occurred to him to do this, to hog the road on a Friday evening during rush hour.

  He pressed again on the car's horn. If only the rider would move over a little he could nip past, there was just about enough space, but this guy seemed to think he owned the road. Roger's intestines twisted and contracted as he tried maintain his temper.

  So aggravating and so smug these people.

  So selfish.

  The evening remained humid, but the air con was running on low and kept the hot air outside at bay.

  The slight beer buzz had began to slip from his grasp; tensions of work and life resurfacing, prodding him, his boss asking him questions about the Cambridge account, and again he chased away the boss and the deadline from his thoughts.

  Roger again tooted the horn, this time expressing his growing temper a little longer, then made a half hearted effort to pull round the bloated cyclist, but there just wasn't space, without him risking God knows what shooting round the corner, but, oh this was too much.

  ‘Oh sod it,’ he announced pushing up a gear and darting round him, bike rocking from side to side, cracking his window down a touch then calling to him, ‘pull over you wanker, you're too far out,’ with a degree of satisfaction; a slight release of tension, as Roger contemplated at last the pleasant weekend ahead.

  The cyclist hadn't reacted to his shout, which was a shame, he thought; without the cyclists angry return, it made him doubt himself a moment, wonder if his aggression was unwarranted. But he knew watching a cyclist gesticulating in the background would have provided a small shot of pleasure.

  Selfish sod.

  Except.

  Roger groaned.

  Another one.

  Dressed in the same black and white lycra adorned by the first. Part of a club?

  This rider appeared in somewhat better shape than the other, but still another lane hogging, inconsiderate sod of a cyclist with nothing better to do on a Friday evening than get in the way of hard working commuters trying to get home, so once again be found himself stuck in a two person traffic jam in the middle of nowhere.

  ‘I just want to be home,’ he groaned at the back of the cyclist's head.

  This guy seemed a little faster than the last, but Bradley Wiggins couldn't go fast enough for him right now. He tried to edge out and round him, but the figure prone across his machine also veered outwards, causing Roger to curse again and settle in behind him.

  What was it Margaret Thatcher said? Any man over the age of thirty riding a bike was a failure? Something like that.

  Probably not true these days though, given the pile of Bromptons in the work kitchen belonging to the well paid management consultants now running, now ruining, his office.

  Not failures then? Not workwise anyway, but there was something broken about this lot surely? Just move over. Get in close to the curb and let other road users, tax paying road-users by the way, get past.

  There were no red lights out here on these lanes, but no doubt if there were the road hogs would be running them. Although, Roger had to admit, he'd run red lights too if he could do so with the impunity of a cyclist.

  In frustration Roger pressed hard on the accelerator and forced himself violently around the cyclist, whose lycra Roger now realised was adorned with a skeletal rib-cage design, crisp and white against the ivory black fabric, buffeting the rider, just making it past without clipping him, then pressing his right foot down even harder as he pulled away from what he considered to be the riders mid-life crisis, heading back into his own, waiting for him in the fridge and in his internet history.

  Tacky and graceless, but certainly more appealing than squeezing his chunky, middle aged torso into stretchy sports wear. He laughed to himself, acknowledging that his idea of good wholesome fun might not be appreciated by all, certainly not the missus, but he was glad to be past them, home free...

  Roger moaned aloud.

  Another one.

  Clearly part of the same cycling club, the skeletal design decorating this one too. Another one to shake off.

  Yet try as he might to swing past, there seemed to be no passing him, the rider drifting right out into the road each time he tried to overtake him on a path overloaded with sharp, forbidding corners.

  He hated getting stuck behind cyclists on this endless stretch of road, the tight lane and winding corners twisted and turned sharply and made it a bugger to overtake, except, yes, foot down, up a gear and he was narrowly round the selfish sod as well but, “oh shit,” he groaned, what was it with this lot?

  No escape; another two app
earing as he turned the next corner. Still, he knew the winding road was about to straighten out slightly for a small stretch so he dropped in behind them, ready to leave them all behind as he hit the short straight.

  Needed to be now, he thought, or he was back into more winding country lane and he'd be stuck behind this lot forever.

  In his rear view he now noticed one of the cyclists he'd overtaken loom into view, catching him up now, then another one immediately behind, riding their slipstream.

  He groaned, then noticed his air conditioning appeared to be working overtime, he emitted a small shiver with a shrug of his shoulders as he turned it down a notch, then, as this didn't seem to make a difference, off entirely.

 
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