Five Feet from the Finish Line

The Devil & Me
By Cliff Harrison

I shouldn’t let the cat out of the bag and go spoiling a good story prematurely, but I’ll tell you why I chose the title, “Five Feet from the Finish Line.”  That’s what it feels like.

One of the stories I’ll publish one day in an up and coming installment of The Devil & Me is about a snowmobile race I was in back in the 70s. There I was leading the pack darn near a half a lap ahead of the nearest snowmobile coming up on the finishing line. Five feet before the finish line my drive belt broke, stopping me dead in my tracks.

There I sat unable to even push my sled across the line for a win. I was clearly ahead for most of the race and I only had sixty inches to cross the finish line and be the winner to take home the trophy. Sixty inches!

I just shook hands with the devil and thanked him as sled after sled passed me by as if poking fun at me for being that close to a winner only to be the worst loser of the entire race–dead last.

I feel like that now. Five feet from the finish line.

I’ve got so many writing projects that I just know are winners but I can’t even get up enough energy to get them put together and published in the organized order they need to be in. Five feet from the finish line is where I am at stuck with a broken drive belt that went just like that.

I guess today I’ll make more than one entry in my journal.

I can see the finish line. I can touch the finish line. I just can’t get across the finish line. It’s like in my mind as if I’m a cowboy in one of those old western movies and I’m crawling in the desert trying to reach the watering hole that is really nothing but a mirage while buzzards circle overhead. I’m just about there. But almost isn’t good enough and those birds of prey are starting to call out to one another communicating about the bodacious dinner that’s coming up.

Better men than me would have committed suicide by now. Just end it. Put themselves out of their misery. But not me. I like hanging around and giving the devil a hard time.

There are too many demons in this world to just up and leave them. It’s more fun hanging around and making their life miserable like they do God’s Children.

So, I guess I’ll just have to plug along and do what work I can. My writing could be so much better if I didn’t have this demon inside of me holding me back while draining my energy.

Well, what do you know? I meant this to be an entry for my journal. But you know what? I just wrote a piece for The Devil & Me. Why not? Maybe I can push my sled over the finish line.

The Devil & Me is a syndicated column by Cliff Harrison

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