Death in Venice

By Dan Morey

I was riding down Venice Boulevard when a black SUV accelerated from a side street and plowed into me. As my bicycle disappeared beneath its tires, I leaped off, clinging to the grill. The driver, occupied with his phone, drove merrily on.

I pounded the hood. He saw me and hit the brakes, bringing the conglomerate mass of bike, SUV, and human hood ornament to a jerking halt.

“Oh, my God,” he said, getting out. “Are you OK?”

I was surprisingly serene. I told him everything was fine, picked up my slightly warped bike, and pedaled away.

A few blocks later, the strange tranquility wore off. I felt a dull throbbing in my knee, and realized, quite suddenly, that I’d almost died. Years ago, this would’ve been a terrifying revelation. Now it was just embarrassing.

I imagined my parents flying to Los Angeles to claim my mangled corpse and clean out my apartment. What would they think when they found the stack of vintage garage sale Playboys I kept in the bathroom drawer? They’d weep at my pathetic existence, and I’d go down in the family annals as the weird California uncle who was really, really into Jenny McCarthy.

The thing is, I don’t even like Jenny McCarthy. She just happened to be naked and available for under a dollar. When I got home, I threw out all my porn, a bag of month-old pot, and a Spice Girls CD.

Dan Morey is a freelance writer in Erie, PA. He’s worked as a book critic, nightlife columnist and outdoor journalist, and his creative work has appeared in many publications, including The Chagrin River Review, Drunk Monkeys, and Eyeshot. Find him at

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