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VARIOUS TEXTS: JUST ALONE FOR THE RIDE by Dennis Kurumada

I leaned back on the seat and watched the back of Dick's head as he steered. The '55 DeSoto rumbled along the rain-soaked street.
This evening's gonna be a total loss, I thought. Things have gotta be pretty dull when all you've got to do is drive around with a friend who just got his license. But it beats sitting home. So there we were, five of us. Dick and Phil were in front. Reid, Steve, and I were in the back. We were all cold, damp, and bored. Man, we needed something to do!
"This is really crummy. I think we..."
I was cut off by Phil. "Hey, let's drive up to somebody ... some kid ... and flatten him."
"What?" I said.
"We drive up slow, then swing open the door real fast, and knock the guy on his can."
We all looked at him kinda funny.
"Well, it's something to do," Phil said.
"Aw, why not? Okay, we'll do it."
We began looking around for a victim.
"You guys are nuts," I said. "What if he calls the cops?"
"You worry too much. Whenever we wanna have some fun, you always chicken out."
"There's one!"

lt was raining hard, but we could see the blurred figure of some guy under a streetlight on the corner. Steve laughed.
"Oh wow! This is gonna be funny."
A couple of us started laughing.
"Will you guys shut up?" said Dick. I guess it made him nervous.
The kid was about half a block away. The street wasn't too busy. Only a few cars were around. Dick started weaving across the road.
"Stop fooling around!" I said.
Steve got on the door, ready to open it. Then everything started happening too fast. The guy at the corner stepped out into the street. The car swerved. The door swung open, and Steve started falling out. He grabbed my arm, and we both fell back on the seat. Dick got scared and threw the car away from the kid. The headlights flashed on a frozen figure. I could see his face, eyes wide, mouth open. There was a squeal of tires on the slick street and a hollow thud as the figure was hurled, rolling across the roof. I got all mixed up.
"Ken Benjamin!" I said. 'I think that was Ken Benjamin!"
Dick slowed down. Then he juddenly started speeding down the street.
"Dick! Stop! I know that guy! Dick, will ya stop?" He didn't hear me. "Stop the car! He's my friend!"
I hit him on the shoulder and grabbed his shirt. He turned around. Tears were blobbing up in his eyes.
"Shut up, you jerk! You want us to get nailed for man-slaughter?" He hit my arm.
What a stupid thing to do! I got so scared that I started shivering like crazy. I just couldn't believe it. I felt sick.
"Hey!"
I looked up. It was Dick. He was looking in the rearview mirror. There was a car behind us.
"Is he following us?" I asked.
"Well, I' ll lose him," said Dick.
The car lunged forward as it picked up speed. I looked back. The headlights shone through the rain, about two or three hundred yards away. Dick hung a sharp right up a narrow street.
Hardly anyone ever comes up this way, I thought. lf he follows us up here, he's really following us. I looked back. The headlights were even closer.
We started up a winding road. I looked back and could see the brown Volvo as it cut through the street ponds. Yeah, I thought, a good guy would drive one of those Volvos. What if he catches us ? Ken was my f riend. Hit and run, hit and run kept going through my head. I kinda hoped that guy would catch us.
We were out in the sticks by now. The roads were winding a lot. The Volvo was so making his move, and was closing fast. But as he rounded a curve, he turned too sharply and his car slid off the road. He couldn't have been hurt. Everyone was relieved. After that, Dick drove us all home.
It was 12:30 when I got home. Nobody was awake. I started pacing around the kitchen. I was so scared. I didn't know if we had killed him or not. I turned on the radio and listened to some music. But when the news came on, I turned it off. You idiot, I thought. Ken was your friend. Go to his mom or something. Well, I didn't hit him! It's not my fault! Those other guys ... it wasn't my idea ... no! You were in the car. You're responsible, too. Hit and run, bit and run.
I got in my car and drove for a while. Then I started remembering things Ken used to say.
'I don't know what to do!" I was shouting as I drove. No answer. My mind burned. "Go see Mrs. Benjamin, you coward!"
But I couldn't. I just couldn't. When I got home, the lights were on. My mother was in her robe.
"Your friends are here," she said. "I don't think that two o'clock in the morning is the right tirne to...."
I didn't listen. I just went into the front room. Dick walked up to me and said real low, "I heard on the radio that he's not dead. He isn't even hurt bad."
I didn't say anything. I just looked at him.
"No one knows," he went on. "So maybe we can get away with it."
He could see I was getting mad. I could have killed him.
The others stood up and came over. I didn't say a thing. I just walked out the door, got in the car, and left.
It took me a while to find Ken's house. lt was gray brick, and the lights were on. Maybe it wasn't gray. I don't know. Everything looked gray. I walked up and rang the doorbell.

Source: That's Life, F. Schöningh, Paderborn 1984
pp. 5-7

Assignments:
1. Summarize the story in about 200 words.
2 a. What does Dick do after the accident and why does he later go to the narrator's home?
  b. Describe the narrator's inner conflict and why does he eventually go to his friend's home?
3. What text type is this and from which point of view is the story told. Substantiate your findings.
4. Do you think that such behaviour (except for the narrotor's) is common among young people nowadays?



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