Chariots of Thunder

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"Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls," the ringmaster bellowed out from centre ring.

Julius James sat on his Indian motorcycle just outside the ring. Despite the ringmaster's voice reverberating on the walls, his voice barely registered in the rider's mind. It had been the same spiel every day for the past two years. The man sounded like a phonograph, never a word out of step or any variation in tone. Julius found it sickening, but the circus goers lapped it up.

God, he was bored! Julius wanted a bit of excitement. One would think that jumping over train cars, through burning rings, or performing the Wall of Death on a motorcycle would make things right as rain. Alas, when one faced death as often as he did. The mind could not help but grow numb. The mind craved for more, yearned for that elusive rush.

Julius took a swig of Jack straight from the bottle. Over the last few months, he had learned to use this coffin varnish to dull his mind. Only in this state could Julius be free to go through the motions.

"Don't you think you've had enough," some clown asked.

"Quit being such a pill," Julius exclaimed while glaring at the off-duty clown.

The man cringed then backed away, unwilling to go toe-to-toe with the rider. Might have something to do with his sitting on a purring Indian motorcycle? What was the likelihood of an unfortunate accident happening in this situation? Julius grinned, which made everyone in the room uneasy. It appeared that no one liked dealing with his type of crazy.

"Now for your viewing pleasure, a feat never before," the ringmaster's voice faded back into the background.

Julius took another swig from the bottle before he smashed it on the ground. He pulled out a cigarette and lit it before the show began. The hellish hue from the burning embers created the impression that he was swimming in the lake of hellfire. At least that would be a change of pace!

"Julius," the ringmaster called out.

The blowhard was about done with his speech and soon it would be his turn to take the stage. From his bike he scanned the crowd before they became a blur, hoping to find his good luck charm.

In the crowd, he normally saw a pretty young Indian he dreamed of riding longer and harder than the one he performed with. She only had eyes for him, focused on his performance for the duration of the show but was nowhere to be found once he got backstage. Tonight she was not there. Should he be worried?

"Ring of Death," the ringmaster exclaimed, while he stretched out those words for several seconds.

Julius hammered down on the throttle and his Indian roared to life. Just as rocks and dirt were launched rearward, he cast away his lit cigarette and set off a firestorm. May as well give them something to remember him by.

"Fuck," the stagehand/clown yelled out. What an odd thing for a clown to say?

Julius needed every inch to accelerate, he shifted gears quickly to push the engine to its limits. Once he cleared the gates, two stagehands closed the doors behind him. Ahead he saw a wall, his bike gained speed while barrelling towards it. That was a good sign since that meant everything was going according to plan.

Just before he hit the vertical wall he angled the bike moments before reaching the ramp which sent him moving vertically onto the wall. Round and round he would go from there. The crowd went wild, but all the while he wondered how this could be so boring?

In the first few rotations he kept close to the ground, so the audience could adjust to the idea of a motorcycle circling so close to them. Once their cheers waned, he pushed up the wall, edging closer and closer to a little wire guardrail that existed only to comfort onlookers.

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