Kerns pic
Falling at the Fairgrounds
by S.L. Kerns

The fields past the basketball goals of the Adair County Fairgrounds were where I learned to ride a bike. Still five, Dad bought me a big BMX for my birthday. It was a sunny day. My folks were still married then. Still happy. Mom stood on the side watching as Dad put me on the seat. My feet dangled down. Dad held me up for balance while I pedaled around the field getting the hang of it.

He let go.

I rolled with more momentum than I had ever experienced, the Challenger bound for space. As the speed eased up the bike became wobbly. I fell over. My body flopped on the ground, the wind knocked out of me. I cried without sound. Without breath.

Dad told me to be a man and try again.

And again.

And again.

Dirty, hurt, and crying, I wanted to quit. Mom pleaded my case. Dad wouldn’t hear it.

“Don’t you ever be a quitter, son! You are better than that.”

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: Around the age of five at my grandfather’s house. We lived there after he passed away. He was a cool man in a rocking band called Mr. G and the G-strings.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This is a story I wrote on my iPhone during my long commute to work here in Kagawa, Japan. I do some of my best thinking on the quiet train with the mountains rolling by. I often piece things together on my phone and then download them onto my laptop and edit them to as close to perfection as I can manage.


S.L. Kerns
may have southern roots grounded in Kentucky, but has branched out to a life in Asia. He spent nearly six years lost in Bangkok before moving to his current home in Japan. He loves soaking in words of wisdom from being an avid reader and a good listener. He also loves bodybuilding, and likes to think of himself as one of the strongest prose writers since Yukio Mishima. He teaches English and has recently begun writing, using his surplus of wild experiences to fuel his stories. His work has been published or is forthcoming in Flash Fiction Magazine, 101 Words, Silver Birch Press, Visual Verse, Degenerate Literature, and 47-16: A Collection of Poetry and Fiction Inspired by David Bowie. He also blogs for Muay Thai Lab. Follow him at