...Or we can blaze! Become legends in our own time, strike fear in the heart of mediocre talent everywhere! We can scald dogs, put records out of reach! Make the stands gasp as we blow into an unearthly kick from three hundred yards out! We can become God's own messengers delivering the dreaded scrolls! We can race dark Satan himself till he wheezes fiery cinders down the back straightaway....They'll speak our names in hushed tones, 'those guys are animals' they'll say! We can lay it on the line, bust a gut, show them a clean pair of heels. We can sprint the turn on a spring breeze and feel the winter leave our feet! We can, by God, let our demons loose and just wail on!
It's a simple choice! We can all be good boys and wear our letter sweaters around and get our little degrees and find some nice girl to settle, you know, down with... Take up what a friend of ours calls the hearty challenges of lawn care... Or we can blaze! Become legends in our own time, strike fear in the hearts of mediocre talent everywhere! We can scald dogs, put records out of reach! Make the stands gasp as we blow into an unearthly kick from three hundred yards out! We can become God's own messengers delivering the dreaded scrolls! We can race satan himslef till he wheezes fiery cinders down the back straight away... They'll speak our names in hushed tones, 'those guys are animals' they'll say! We can lay it on the line, bust a guy, show them a clean pair of heels. We can sprint the turn on a spring breeze and feel the winter leave our feet! We can, by god, let out demons loose and just wail on!
Cassidy's heart tried to leap out through his taught skin and hop into his wet hands. But outwardly it was all very calm, very serene, just as always, and it seemed to last a tiny forever, just like that, a snapshot of them all on the curved parabola of a starting line, eight giant hearts attached to eight pairs of bellows-like lungs mounted on eight pairs of supercharged stilts. They were poised on the edge of some howling vortex they had run 10,000 miles to get to. Now they had to run one more
He wanted to impart some of the truths Bruce Denton had taught him, that you dont' become a runner by winning a morning workout. The only true way is to marshal the ferocity of your ambition over the course of many days, weeks, months, and (if you could finally come to accept it) years. The Trial of Miles; Miles of Trials. How could he make them understand?
At paces that might stun and dismay the religious jogger, the runners easily kept up all manner of chatter and horseplay. When they occasionally blew by a huffing fatty or an aging road runner, they automatically toned down the banter to avoid overwhelming, to preclude the appearance of show boating (not that they slowed in the slightest). They in fact respected these distant cousins of the spirit, who, among all people, had some modicum of insight into their own days and ways. But the runners resembled them only in the sense that a puma resembles a pussy cat. It is the difference between stretching lazily on the carpet and prowling the jungle for fresh red meat.
He was filled with loss and an off-brand of nostalgia for events that were supposed to become part of his past but now wouldn't at all. In the mind's special processes, a ten-mile run takes far longer than the minutes reported by a grandfather clock. Such time, in fact, hardly exists in the real world; it is all out on the train somewhere, and you only go back to it when you are out there. He and Mize had been through two solid years of such regular time-warp escapes together. There was something different about that, something beyond friendship; they had a way of transferring pain back and forth, without the banality of words.
Though Jack Nubbins was extremely talented, Quenten Cassidy had viewed the Specter; when he reached down through the familiar layers of gloom and fatigue he generally found more there than a nameless and transient desire to acquire plastic trophies. He and Nubbins were not even in the same ball park.