I just spent an hour knocking 200-some words out of this.
It is the summer of 1969 and Janelle is a pink blur on her bicycle, trailing a blonde ponytail, cresting the hill on Temple Avenue. Over the rise, she picks up speed, pedaling faster and faster. She tucks her chin to the handlebar as a bolt of electric thrill shoots through her. She makes herself as small as possible to the wind whipping tears from her eyes. She can’t keep up and stops pedaling as gravity takes over. It feels like falling. And in that small bubble of weightlessness, the wind in her ears has her father’s voice, the lilt of it fills her head, it’s sing-song jibe kind and familiar to her, “You’ve done it now, Missy-pants! Missy, Missy, Missy pants! Leaving far too much to chance.”
She smiles as she remembers him leaning in the doorway of her bedroom like he often did, right hand on hip, a thin smile on his face, a smile for his only and favorite daughter.
Out loud she finishes the taunt, “I’d turn around, on the double. Before you get in too much trouble! Missy, Missy, Missy pants!”
She continues, “They won’t catch me papa! They won’t!”
Janelle bites her tongue and the image of her father melts from her mind in the flash of the copper taste of blood. She arcs her bike to the left and streaks onto Forrest Circle, fully aware of the danger as a pedal strikes sparks against the curbing.
Here’s the original for comparison purposes: