This article contains product misplacement
Slime moulds are in league with Death.
This is about bridge-naming, fell-running and dying horribly: in that order.
To begin: Bridges need correctly naming.
London Bridge was the bridge in London. This is correct.
Edinburgh’s bridge, the Forth Bridge, is misleading. It was the first but some foreigners think we Scots can’t spell fourth, and anyway can’t pronounce the Firth of Forth without losing their dentures.
The Golden Gate Bridge is neither golden nor a gate.
Slippery Bridge is slippery. Now we’re getting to the point. You – imagine – are out fell-running. It’s a rainy day and just above freezing. Snow is melting. The burn (stream to foreigners) is a lethal foaming turmoil carrying rocks the size of cruise ships.
Slippery Bridge is constructed from wooden slats. Its primary function is a breeding place for slime moulds: secondary function is to kill fell-runners.
Wet slime mould is the only material in the universe generating no friction whatsoever: it may have negative friction. At the sight of this bridge even your Mud Claws (Inov-8*) will attempt to unlace themselves and run in the opposite direction without you**.
On a sunny day, when water is low and the surrounding bog only shoulder-deep, you can sometimes catch – and lose – most running shoes. Not Mud Claws – they rarely come off without a pop-up argument:
Shoe: Are You Sure You Want To Remove This Shoe?
Shoe: You Didn’t Run Very Far
You: Get off!
Shoe: There May Still Be Mud
You: We’re in my house, get off, damn you
Shoe: Don’t You Love Me Any More?
Partner: Who are you talking to? Right: I’m phoning the emergency psychiatrist
Occasionally Mud Claws catch inextricably on sunken mountain/trail bikes or the remains of a rider and then it’s a real bugger to run much.
Anyway, back to Slippery Bridge. You reach it and reflect. Things going through your mind are related to:
I’m sinking in bog.
Is there a breeze? (Seriously, even the turbulence of a passing horsefly can cause the inevitable.)
Can I jump the burn? No, although the resulting death would be slightly less painful … possibly.
Who thought up fell-running anyway? It doesn’t matter – the maniac is certainly dead and may be the one stuck to my shoe.
I’m still sinking.
Right: I’m going for it! (What? asks your lone brain cell of risk assessment.) Um … brb
Years ago I reached the middle of Slippery Bridge. How I got that far is beyond belief. In an epiphany of doom I realised no further action from my feet would result in anything other than a tragic selection of final moments. The slightest zephyr, which wouldn’t have disturbed a dandelion clock with sensitivity issues, slid me just slowly enough to realise that a trillion tons of slightly unfrozen flood was going to kill me – and gave me optimum time to fully acknowledge this and become totally miserable.
Death waited, with frosted scythe, on the other bank. S/He was too intelligent to step on the bridge. Just in case, there were several henchmen/women/spooks standing around (also sinking) looking miserable as they clearly wouldn’t be needed, given the conditions. Recently these henchers (Broken Spine, Cranial Injury and Slime Mould Ingestion etc.) have been joined by Dunked Electronic Stuff.
That I didn’t snuff it this time (or any other rock and ice climbing/mountain-biking/paragliding and getting lost in white-outs … oh and some lovely moments in Flinty Grave … incidents) is absolute proof that you can only die in other people’s universes – because otherwise mathematics and probability would resign. Sometimes I wonder how many times the average fell-runner etc. dies and moves onto the next ‘Wow, I’m still here?’ incarnation/reality – after leaving a squishy splat in the last. When asked ‘On what mountain would you like your remains scattered?’ we answer ‘It’s alright I’ve already got it covered’.
Perhaps when we do die in our own reality (of natural causes like bicycle/Audi situations) we present a problem. Heaven could be less than an adrenaline rush and we can cope with Hell anyway.
Thus I’m writing this from the Afterlife Abnormality-Abomination Institution (Fell-Runners’ Wing).
*Amazing: Will grip almost anything – even the firm bottom of 3-metre-deep saturated clay pit/mountain bog while you suffocate.
**Before you say it: I know, but anti-graphene slime moulds are on the way.
©Gary Bonn, 2021