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The Rider
By Joel Shultz

He rises smoothly, almost imperceptively to his feet, an ominous mountain of fury behind him, a long cylindrical wall ahead.

Dropping vertically, G-forces clicking by, he desperately clings to the steep face, his heart racing wildly.

After eons of time he at last reaches the spiraling trough. Body torqued, calf muscle straining, he punches a resounding bottom turn.

Now he starts to climb back up
Gravity be damned!
Up, up toward the roof of this wild, unrelenting beast.

A split second before impact with the thick, murderous lip, he reaches back and jams on the brakes,
stopping, almost challenging this wretched, hungry bowl,
which, if it has its way, will swarm and devour him,
like a cupped hand snatching a fly from air.

Unlike all the prior tubes he has pierced, this one remains impregnable, and will certainly redeem its less roguish brothers before it.

The last stop, the end of the line.
The last breathing moment between eternity and the unknown.
The Rider has no regrets.

J.A. Shultz

"Joel Shultz is surf geography professor, cultural historian, and efficiency expert rolled into one..."
-- Los Angeles Magazine

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