Everyone's got a strange tale or two to tell; this is one of mine.
Summer, 1981: I'm on a beat up old ten-speed, coming over the 21st Street Bridge at about ten or so at night. I'd just reached the high point of the arch, and I decided to see how fast I could go coming down the other side. I started down, pedaling as hard as I could.
I'm clippin' along pretty good...the slope's fairly steep, and I'm in tenth gear. I came off the bridge proper, and was barreling down the sidewalk between the two guardrails, when I saw something odd ahead of me....
About ten yards ahead, standing in the middle of the walkway, was a girl, about early twenties or so. She had long blonde hair, pretty face, she was dressed in a white blouse, faded jeans, and white tennis shoes. She was just standing there, her right hand up in her hair, her left down at her side, just looking at me.
I hit my brakes, and began dragging my feet to stop the bike-there was no room to maneuver around her. I got the bike stopped several feet past where she'd been...she was gone.
I looked around for her, but she was nowhere in sight, which she should have been; the area was well-lighted. I began scooting the bike forward, still looking for her, when I noticed something that chilled me....
Ahead, about three yards or so, was a large pothole, almost a yard across, and nearly a foot deep. Had I hit this at the speed I'd been going, I would've been tbhrown from the bike, perhaps into traffic.
Who was she? Perhaps better...what was she?