Surgical Strategies

Now the racers came streaming into sight over the top of the ridge, on to the short flat stretch before the final descent began.  Here, the riders slowed slightly, aiming water bottles at their mouths or turning to speak to other cyclists.  The sun was just past its zenith, the sky brilliantly blue.

The group began to roll down the slope, picking up speed.  In Cedric’s left hand the laser pointer moved, sending a tiny beam of red light dancing among the leading cyclists, dazzling and flash-blinding their aging eyes.

Startled riders turned their heads away.  Bicycles swerved, wobbled, careened into each other.  Caught in the chaos, five elderly folks tumbled to the pavement.  As they fell, Cedric fired the small gun in his right hand, the sound of the shot lost amidst the metallic cacophony of a cycling catastrophe.

A figure standing on the side of the road jerked convulsively and catapulted backward, disappearing into a cactus-filled ditch.  As the body vanished, a small furry-looking object twirled sideways, landing on the edge of the road.  There it settled like a flattened brown squirrel, its trajectory closely observed by a turkey vulture floating overhead.

The crowd was churning and shouting.  Four of the fallen cyclists were writhing in pain, and one sat groaning, holding his elbow.   No one looked in Cedric’s direction.

Cedric stood, pocketed the pointer and gun, folded his chair and slipped it into its canvas bag.





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