The bike belonged to my erstwhile roommate. He’d left it at the house a constantly rotating group of us shared just south of the University of Memphis.
I was peddling it harder than I ever had before.
In my head, I was trying to reassure myself that alarm clock had broken, that it couldn’t have possibly been me forgetting to set it.
I was too responsible for that.
I wasn’t believing me, either.
I cut over the train tracks at Southern and made my way straight for the heart of campus. I had mere seconds to get the English building and take my final.
I’d already made up my mind to dump the bike at the front door. I wasn’t going to waste my precious time locking it up.
That’s when I saw it, a fuzzy grey squirrel, sitting in the middle of the walkway, flipping its tail irreverently, directly in my path.
I was going to fast to stop. Its little beady black eyes dared me to keep coming.
I was playing chicken with a squirrel.
At the last second, I ditched into the bushes and felt something snap in my arm.
They give exemptions for medical emergencies, right?
The University of Memphis campus is ruled by squirrels. They are everywhere, they are fearless, and they – not you – demand the right-of-way. The exact scenario of a squirrel refusing to move from the path of an oncoming bike happened to me many years ago. I ended up running into a bench, not the bushes.