Journey to Ukazoo
Slide 16: Skateboard
During breakfast at a small Bed & Breakfast among the hills of San Francisco, California, the innkeepers son, Narbendo, and daughter, Ramia were discussing this evenings Arts & Craft/Dance to be held at the West Side Community Center. Ramia, an art student, finding out that I dabbled with art, was insistent that I attend. Some of their discussion also centered around Ramia’s new boyfriend, Kirk Kirk Kirkpatrick, nicknamed “Stony”.
Problem was, Stony used to have ties to the “Rockets”, a rival skateboard group to her brother’s group, the “Alligators” and Narbendo adamantly didn’t approve of Ramia and Stony seeing each other.
That evening while attending the Arts & Craft/Dance both skateboard groups arrived at the community center and tensions between the two groups quickly accelerated. First, each group worked at one-upmanship in the Arts, who pulled off a difficult Graffiti, who found the perfect location for a Plein Air painting experience.
Not striking any boastful edge they turned to the dance floor. The Alligators, with some beautiful Middle Eastern moves and the Rockets kicking up a few Irish jigs, proved equally adept at Dance. Thus, is was only natural that they turn to skateboarding trash talk. A challenge was made. Tonight at midnight both groups would meet at an abandoned cement factory to determine who ruled the streets.
I, among most of the other evenings guests, attended the challenge event. Trick after difficult trick was performed and instead of the expected tensions accelerating, each feat was met with newfound approval from members of the opposing group. Slowly a respect between the two groups grew and Narbendo and Biff, leaders of each group, would give the final say to the two groups becoming friends and sharing their territories for future skateboarding events.
Narbendo seeking to embarrass Stony in front of Ramia, offered a final challenge. A bond of both groups would be recognized if Stony could take “The Hill” without falling.
“The Hill”, highest and longest in West Side area, crossed five intersections before ending at the bottom and adjacent to a shoe factory with 30 foot of parking lot between the bottom intersection and the building, a crucial distance for stopping at that speed. A very reluctant out of practice Stony agreed. As he remembered, once a Rocket always a Rocket.
I took this picture of Stony as he started down the first incline. Speed picking up and crossing each flat of an intersection met with a higher lift in the air before dropping back down several feet into the next incline, sparks spraying as the wheels connected to the surface.
Crossing the last intersection, Stony, in that last thirty feet to the wall, instinctively pushed down on the back of the board, managed to grab the front edge with his hand, turned it perpendicular to the wall and with a slight tilt drove the side edge of the wheels into the parking lot pavement. The board stopped inches from the wall but the momentum sent him crashing into it.
Everyone rushed down the hill and Ramia, first to arrive, dropped to his side, calling his name repeatedly for a response. What seemed like hours to Ramia, was in reality only a minute, but slowly Stony opened his eyes to all the group gathered around. He was sore but alive.
He took the hill without falling, stopping, Narbendo said, was another issue altogether. Narbendo proudly recognized a bond between the two groups and his assurance to not get in the way of Ramia and Stony’s love for each other.
All images and text are copyright Craig L Haupt
Postings of Journey to Ukazoo Slides are every Monday Evening.