Episode 2: Dream On
9.58. That was the dream. As Malcolm Campbell laced up his green, black, and yellow cleats he stared straight ahead at the finish line. This time he would get it. He could feel it. This time he would no longer just be chasing a ghost, and finally defeat the rival that had been defeating him all morning from the moment he stepped out onto the dusty, old outdoor track. This time, he would finally beat Usain Bolt.
“Come on, doofus! We gotta hurry up! My momma will kill me if I’m not back in time for lunch!” his friend, Adio, screamed from where he stood on the finish line.
“For real! We’ve been out here all morning! We told ya already, you’re not breakin’ the damn record!” Dajuan, Malcolm’s brother, joined in.
They had snuck onto the track early this morning, hopping over the locked fence in the hopes of training for their goals of being future Olympic track runners. Just like Malcolm’s childhood hero, Usain Bolt. But this morning, the fastest man alive wasn’t Malcolm’s hero. He was just a pest.
Come on, man! You’re faster than this! Just do it!
Adrenaline coursing through his veins, Malcolm heard the clap of his brother’s hand, and he burst off of the block, sprinting as fast as his skinny legs could take him. The wind blew his long dreadlocks behind him, and the boy slowly lifted up his chest, extending his stride with each step he took. The world was a blur around him, his heart about to explode out of his chest. Soon, he had crossed the finish line, Adio clicking the handheld timer he was using to track Malcolm’s speed.
Turning to his friend, Malcolm saw the look of disappointment on his face.
“11.3. Boy, you better lay off all that ginger beer! You’re never gonna catch him with times like that!” Adio laughed. Frowning, Malcolm walked to him and snatched the timer from his hand.
“Y’all go home. I’m gonna do one more run. I’ll meet ya back there. I got one more in me.”
The boys looked at one another and shrugged, turning to leave. By the time Malcolm had reached the starting block, they had hopped the fence, leaving Malcolm alone on the hot synthetic surface. The midday sun was in full effect, and Malcolm struggled to keep himself from cramping. One more.
Getting down into his stance, Malcolm closed his eyes and took a deep breath. He could do this. He knew he could. Something deep inside just wouldn’t let this go.
Clicking the button, Malcolm shot forward, the world once again blurring. He clicked the button just as he crossed the line and glanced down, surprised to have finished so quickly. He felt like he had just barely gotten off. Staring at his result, Malcolm frowned and shook his head.
“Damn thing didn’t even record right. Must of pushed it too soon,” he sighed. Shoving the timer into his pocket, Malcolm reluctantly gathered his belongings. Maybe tomorrow. For now he needed to get home. Ignoring the 6.2 that displayed upon the timer’s surface, Malcolm began to walk home, already dreaming of his next race.
Photo by Braden Collum on Unsplash