Some Kind of Animal


by James Brown

My obsession with muscle comes to an abrupt and sudden end along a narrow, two-lane mountain highway in the San Bernardino Mountains. Elevation 5,500 feet. Dead of winter. Here I am far removed from the cities and suburban sprawl of the lowlands of Southern California. The night before it snowed lightly and the limbs of the pines bordering the highway are white with frost. It’s a beautiful sight, how the branches shimmer in the morning sun, but the roads are treacherous, slick with black ice, the most dangerous kind because it blends into the asphalt. A shining fine veneer. You can barely see it, if you can see it at all. In years past, I’ve spun out on it and nearly wrecked my car, so I’ve learned to drive carefully. I’m making slow but safe progress when a Dodge Ram suddenly appears in my rearview mirror.


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