So you can read my books

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

P is for PARKOUR_The Cost To Free Running


The term was coined by Hubert Kounde.

It comes from "parcours du combattant", the classic obstacle course created by the famous naval officer, George Hebert.

The student of parkour is called a "traceur", most likely spun from Parisian slang "tracer" which means "to hurry" or "to move quickly".

In proper French, traceur is an adjective qualifying something that leaves a trace or a trail behind it.

And in UNDER A VOODOO MOON, Victor Standish is leaving a trail of evolved raptors following him as he leads them in a furious display of Parkour.

He meets the ghost of Pere Antoine who reminds him that he must one day pay the cost to free running:

The ghost of Pere Antoine lunged, grabbing me by the scruff of my neck and the back of my belt. “Victor, you cannot come out of this alive. You knew that when you sent your Alice away.”

He spun, swinging me around and around in the humid night air. “Parkour is more than jumping, young man. It is a way of living life, of spending it in the cause of something bigger than you. It is time you live … and die the cost of ‘free’ running!”

With those last words, Pere Antoine hurled me up high into the night. It seemed as if the stars came down to welcome me.

There was a rainbow rift right in front of my body. I passed through it, the ghost-scent of apricots coming to me. And I knew. I knew.

I was never going to see Alice again … or hear her odd British accent.

I loved the way she talked. When she talked to me, there was a living tenderness in her voice. She just let it flow from inside her … as if she owned all the words in the world, and she loved me enough to make them dance for me.

Suddenly, the world re-focused, and I thumped precariously on the ledge of a tall French Quarter building at least thirty feet high if it was an inch. My head spinning, I took in my surroundings.


Not forty feet from this building was Meilori’s.

It might have been on the craters of the moon for all the good it was going to do me. Dozens of raptors were running towards me. Coming at me from both ends of the ledge.

Scrambling right at me from the roof in a horde of scales and fangs. Racing at me from across the near-by roofs. No port of safety.


In the empty cement courtyard thirty feet below.

I had seen the Sensei make a leap like this and live. But that was onto grass not concrete. And I was no Sensei.

I smiled wide through my labored breathing. No, I was Victor Standish. I pulled up tall despite the pain in my chest. What had Pere Antoine said?

It was time for me to live the cost to “free” running. And to die it as well.
Pere Antoine was right.

Even the harsh Sensei had taught me that Parkour was more than leaping and dodging. It was a way of life. What was its motto?

être et durer ("to be and to last").

George Hebert had changed that motto while rescuing 700 terrified people during the eruption of Mt. Pele : "être fort pour être utile"

("be strong to be useful".)

I looked at the happily crying raptors charging me as they saw I was standing still, apparently trapped. How many terrified street people would these predators eat alive after tonight?

I sucked in a ragged breath. None.

The pain in my chest was worse, stabbing down my left arm. My nose was bleeding more. I couldn’t see clear. Yet, in a way I saw it all crystal clear.

Maybe I wasn’t Captain Sam’s real son, but I could go out as if I were in my death.

The Soyoko had proven that where I would go, they would follow. I smiled like I figured Captain Sam would in this situation.

“Hey, bitches!,” I panted. “Got the balls to follow me?”

I bent slightly at the knees as I faced them and flipped high into the air in a backwards double somersault right off the building.

And oddest thing, I heard the beginning of NIGHTWISH’s “Come Cover Me” in my head. The wind tickled my ears. Man, this was going to hurt so bad!



  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Noon: no comments. no visitors.

    Like the cat said while romancing the skunk, "I do believe I've enjoyed about as much of this as I can stand."

    It's been fun. Roland

  3. Roland, I'm still here! Just a little late today. Stupid work.

    Oh! Was that a swan song somersault off the building? You've got me nervous for our hero. I love learning new words. Parkour sounds like today's "Survivor"--Outwit, Outplay, Outlast.

  4. You sound like me! I try not to pester my brain too much about responses and whatnot.

    When you post excerpts, it's hard to add to it in the comments. Excerpts are one-sided posts that by their nature generate fewer responses.

    I know I've read quite a few of your posts and not commented. I usually bop into crosshairs a few times a week and catch up, and I don't always comment.

    I'm sure that's true for lots of folks.

    I probably would have bopped back out today if I hadn't poked through the comments, too, after reading the excerpt.

    It's the art of lurking.

    - Eric

  5. Jennifer:
    It was meant to be a swan song somersault off that building, but Alice has sworn that Victor would never go where she would not follow. It proves to be a promise she cannot keep in THE RIVAL.

    We have to be careful of the promises we make!

    You have a point, so I try to put a little educational info at the beginning of these excerpts about the concepts, locations, or entities talked about. Your excerpt today was truly evocative.

    L. Diane:
    Victor pulls it off that time. Low readership may be the dreaded thing that kills him in the next few days!

  6. Hearing Nightwish is never odd!
    And you are a fan of singing slugs? Don't think they would fit into your writing (although I'm sure you could do it) but they do make for entertaining movies.
    And the person who comments after me is going to wonder what the hell I am talking about!

  7. Alex:
    FLUSHED AWAY and your own blog are so popular I think most will understand the "singing slugs."

    Isn't NIGHTWISH (with Tarja especially) fantastic?

  8. Yeah, what the...Alex? I hadn't heard of 'parkour' Roland. Maybe your posts are just too deep and meaningful and while this A-Z hop is on, people are in a frenzy to get to as many posts as they can, 'cuz unless you go out of your way and comment on 30 posts, not many are going to come back at ya. And that's a lot of time to invest and one of the things I don't like about this April frenzy.

    Chin up, Roland.


  9. Denise:
    Have you seen the movie PRINCE OF PERSIA? The hero is an expert in free running (Parkour). His exploits as a young beggar boy are a great deal like Victor's early life.

    The movies CASINO ROYALE and DIE HARD 4 both spotlighted villains expert in parkour.

    I have been debating if blogging is for me anymore. The jury is still out on that.

    Thanks for visiting and commenting, Roland

  10. My Bug (ie: 13 year old son) is working on some of these moves. How do you block this shiii from the internet? *sighs*

    The other day my landlord caught him and a couple friends on top the shed. Luckily the trampoline was there to catch them. But still . .

    It would be to my advantage to come up with some gymnastics money for him. May be cheaper just to shut off the internet :)

    I'm having to play catch-up on a lot of blogs. I took a blogger break during April, but keep finding myself clicking on some blogs, and catching up, and not commenting on everything. And then there is the limited blog time, and I feel guilty for the blogs I'm not getting to, the books I'm not reading, the posts I'm not preparing.

    Is it December 2012 yet? Seriously, I'm ready for the end of all things :)

    Ok, I'm going to listen to some Night Wish now and hopefully not get any drool on the second job application I'm filling out.

    Have a good week Roland if I don't make it back soon.