I wrote this story back in 87, from a suggestion from a friend to write about my worst fear.
I wrote this story back in 1987 (when I was 22) it was suggested I should write a story about one of my biggest fears. Note that this was written several years before marriage and kids.
Last 10 Seconds
It's June 15th in a small bar somewhere in Indianapolis, Greg Smith is sitting mumbling that life stinks and telling everyone that gets within hearing distance that tomorrow is his 28th birthday, but no one pays much attention to him. Greg leaves the bar just after midnight to go back to his apartment, from there he goes to the roof and sits on the ledge waiting for the sun to rise and he starts singing to himself, "Happy Birthday to me, Happy Birthday to me..."
* Christmas morning, and a 5 year old Greg Smith is sitting in front of the tree opening up his Christmas presents, a big smile covers his face as he sees a new rocking horse with a cowboy outfit laying across the saddle. Greg hurriedly grabs the outfit and puts it on. Then he gets on the horse and giggles with joy as he rocks back and forth shooting invisible Indians.
* It's Prom night the band is playing a slow love ballad, everyone is out on the dance floor, Greg is with his date Sheri Jones, they are dancing very slow in each others arms, looking deep into each other's eyes. When the song ends they kiss and walk back to their table hand in hand very much in love.
* A bright sunny day in July, a group of kids are riding their bikes through some woods, they are racing each other along the narrow paths and steep hills, as they pass one certain section of the path that is less than a foot wide to the right is thick with trees and the other side is a cliff that drops at an 80 degree angle to a small creek. A 10 year old Greg tries to pass his younger brother his front tire slides
off the edge of the path and sends him and his bike rolling down the hill into the shallow creek 65 feet down. After the shock of hitting the water and then being hit by his own twisted bike Greg stands up in the creek with blood and mud covering his face and arms, he wipes his eyes then looks up at the path where the rest of the kids are starting to climb down, he then passes out falling onto the bank just as
his friends get there.
* Its a birthday party with about 20 kids, Greg blows out 2 candles a "1" and a "6", after they eat cake and ice cream his parents take him out in the back yard. It's a sunny day, Greg's parents give him a set of keys which go to his last present, which is a custom built 67 black mustang sitting at the top of the
hill with the sun reflecting off the windshield and chrome.
* It's a dark and rainy day Greg and his younger brother at about 7 and 8 are out playing in the mud and water, they're throwing mud balls at each other and are both covered in mud from head to toe, they're laughing and having a good time. The rain starts coming down harder, rinsing the mud off of the boys like a giant shower, then the rain starts to feel like little pins hitting their skin so they run into the garage.
Mom walks out into the garage and sees the boys, she just shakes her head and says "well it looks like you two had fun today" the boys look up at her smiling through their dirty faces, she then hands them both towels and they start drying off with mom's help, giggling and laughing.
* A station wagon starts sliding sideways on the rain slick road it then flies off the road, wraps around a telephone poll and bursts into flames. A 17 year old Greg is sitting with his younger brother and sister crying, they are at a funeral sitting in front of 3 caskets, the minister is praying over the Father, Mother, and older sister which had died in the car accident. The kids are so upset that their aunt had to take them home before the funeral was over.
* In a dentist office a 6 year old Greg is sitting in the dentist chair with tears in his eyes, as the dentist has the drill getting ready to put in some fillings.
* On a bright snowy day Greg, his brother and two sisters are about 5 through 9 years old they are sledding on the hill in their backyard, they spend all day on the hill taking turns using the 3 sleds and also enjoying a few snowball fights, they would also build small ramps in the snow and see who could jump the farthest without falling off the sled.
* It's another depressing day in court as a 27 year old Greg is being divorced by Sheri, they are battling over the house and custody of their 2 year old son. The court battle is long and ugly, in the end Sheri gets the house, full custody of the boy, and most of the rest of the estate, Greg received one car, personal belongings and was refused rights to visit his son. He leaves the court room in tears.
* In a large mall Greg is starting his first job at a record shop. He really gets along with the customers and they enjoy his concern and willingness to help them with their problems. He is always smiling and he enjoys his work. On his first day he works with a guy named Eddie who teaches him the ropes of record and stereo sales. When there are no customers they pretend they are different rock stars dancing around wearing sunglasses and acting crazy.
* Greg and his brother at age 9 and 10 are out in the small front yard playing with their dog and Frisbee. The boys throw the Frisbee back and forth and when one of them misses it, the dog runs to catch it. Sometimes the dog will jump and try to catch it before the boys can. They play like this for about an hour when one of the throws curves out and as the faithful pet leaps and makes his final catch he lands in the road in the path of a passing car. You could hear brakes echo in the trees and smell the burning rubber, but the camaro was going to fast to be able to stop in time. The body of the dog was thrown about 10 feet in one direction as a bloody Frisbee is thrown another. Blood is spattered across the nose of the camaro and across the two boys who are now screaming hysterically.
* A group of teenagers are sitting and standing around their cars in a parking lot talking and watching other sports cars out cruising on the main road which they call the strip. Greg is sitting on the hood of his mustang talking to a new girl in town her name is Sheri, they both then get into the car and pull out onto the strip. As they drive along Sheri asks questions about the town, school, people, and other small talk. She then takes his hand in hers and gently strokes the back of his hand with her fingers and then she lays her head over on his shoulder and he tells her about the group from school and about his dreams of becoming a writer in the future.
* Greg and his brother are with their uncle flying in his plane, they fly over their school and home they can see their friends out on the ball field playing. Then the uncle lets the boys fly the plane a little bit as he teaches them how to read the gauges and talk on the radio.
* A group of teenagers are riding on "The Beast" a roller-coaster at Kings Island amusement park. They are screaming and laughing with every turn and dip, in the front seat Greg is sitting with Sheri, and every chance they get they steal a kiss until the ride is over, then they go to the top of the Eiffel tower, and they just look around the park and then Sheri kisses Greg and says "I Love You" and Greg answers with "Ditto".
* Greg is now 9 and he is playing on the beach with his brother and sisters building a giant sand castle, and playing Frisbee then when they start to get hot they run and jump into the water and start playing and splashing in the waves till mom and dad join in on the fun.
* Greg and his wife Sheri are having an argument about not being able to get along with each other anymore. Sheri finally gets so upset that she storms out of the house and drives off, leaving Greg sitting on the bed with his face in his hands crying.
* A 9-year old Greg is sitting on the edge of his bed with all his attention deep in a Spider-Man comic book, with not a care in the world, just lost in the adventures of Spider-Man fighting the bad guys. Hanging on the walls of the bedroom is all kinds of Spider-Man and rock music posters and sitting on the shelves are models of cars and planes.
* The forest just outside of town where the kids bike paths are, is on fire and the wind is blowing it towards town, there is a crowd watching the fire department battle the blaze from nearby parking lots and roofs of taller buildings. Greg is with a crowd on a parking lot close to where the fire began with his 35mm camera taking pictures of the men fighting the blazing inferno for the school newspaper, a friend of his is asking people around the scene questions and writing it all down to go along with the pictures.
* Greg is 20 years old, he is sitting on his front porch with Sheri swinging on the porch swing, Greg is playing his guitar very softly singing a love song that he wrote for Sheri, she is watching him play like they were the only 2 people on earth. After he finishes the song she leans over and says "That was Beautiful". She has tears in her eyes he then gives her a kiss and tells her he loves her.
* A car dealer is showing a 24 year old Greg and his wife Sheri around a car lot describing the advantages of owning each car, but Sheri already has her mind set on the hot looking Red Trans-am she saw sitting on the frontline of the lot. After looking it over and test driving it they decided to take it, so after they pay for it Sheri pulls out of the lot with Greg following her in his mustang. Sheri squeals the tires when she leaves so Greg does the same behind her.
* Greg (21 years old) and Sheri go backstage at a Van Halen concert to meet Eddie and the rest of the band, Eddie even signs Greg's guitar. The band signs their concert shirts and even takes the two out on stage and lets Greg sing a song with them as Eddie plays Greg's guitar, Greg plays Eddie's guitar and Sheri plays one of Michael's Bass guitars. The whole concert was being taped for a live concert video so the band promised to send them a tape when its finished.
* A high school class room where a 16 year old Greg is talking to some friends before class starts then the teacher walks in, the kids scatter to their seats as the teacher announces time to start class.
All the students moan as they start settling down at their desks. The teacher then starts handing out sheets of plain paper and tells the students to start writing a story off the top of their heads, Greg starts to smile as he begins to write.
* Greg is now 22, he is typing away at a computer inventing a new video game. A game screen is shown on 1 monitor as Greg adds more to the program listing shown on a second monitor. He leans back to rest for a second when his wife Sheri walks in with a couple of Pepsi's and asks how the game is going? He
tells her he is stuck but he'll figure out what's wrong soon enough.
* A small band is playing at a school dance the lead guitarist is Greg he is 17. Greg plays a couple of great guitar solos, and the band plays mostly covers of current bands, but a couple of the songs were written by Greg, even the love song that he wrote for Sheri.
* A 14 year old Greg is sitting in the back pew of a church on a Sunday morning with his friends from the youth group, they are passing notes and talking, not paying any attention to what the preacher is saying. Greg and his brother are drawing pictures and passing notes with some of the girls in the group, they are talking about a youth rally coming up and what they are going to wear when they go, because it is going to be a 1950's theme.
* A 3 year old Greg is sitting at a table with his parents and his brother and sister, they are eating a birthday cake that was for Greg's 3rd birthday. He has cake all over his face and hands, his brother is just as messy so mom is taking pictures of them as dad tries to get them to eat the cake not throw it at each other.
* The family is out at the lake having a picnic, Greg and his brother are out in the water swimming when Greg sees his brother start to panic and go under. Greg starts swimming over to his brother and grabs him around the waist and starts to pull him towards the beach Greg then pulls him out of the water and gives him mouth to mouth that he had just learned a few weeks before, which revives his brother before the ambulance arrives.
Its June 16th in the early morning, a crowd is gathering around on the street in the middle of the crowd is Greg's lifeless body laying twisted on the street in a pool of its own blood. A person is overheard in the crowd saying to another "I saw him jump and he never yelled or screamed the whole way down, he was just silent". The other person replied "Hmm, I wonder what goes through a person's mind during that time?"