Nails hammered into the trunk let him climb to the tree’s big branches. He edged out and hung his legs over, swinging them in the air. The sun was on his face. Then he pressed his palms down into the branch, feeling the tension, lifting himself up and pushing out, out, into the sky. He braced his legs, locked his knees, and then he hit. The earth was soft but the jolt was huge, a giant tremor up through his bones, and an impact that forced his thighs into his hips, breaking his pelvis as he crumpled on the ground.
There is something in human nature, I heard it said, that is disruptive. We favour the underdog, laugh too loud, stare too long, make stupid remarks. We are drawn to sarcasm, cynicism and hypocrisy. We tell little lies, become brave and boastful or lazy and stubborn. We accelerate too fast, brake too late, take the back roads, know better. We laugh at understanding, deride intellectualism, groan at athletes, hate art. We don’t trust anyone and mock experience. We spill pints, turn our backs, mutter spite. Me, I chase bicycles up mountains, screaming at the riders, dressed only in my pants.