Walk The Planche
Ebb and Flow (But Mostly Flow)
By Cole Nowicki
Two pairs of C1rca shoes, still in the box, sat at the foot of the bed. They were AL50s. He didn’t know C1rca made those. He didn’t know Adrian Lopez rode for C1rca. He didn’t know who Adrian Lopez was. He hadn’t chosen them, but he didn’t care—they were free. He earned them. He’d filmed that part for the homie’s video, it premiered online, it got shared around a little bit, and that’s when Doug at the shop asked him if wanted some shoes.
“You like C1rca, Adidas or Cons?” Doug asked. It was a strange thing, being asked to choose which company would invest a few dollars in your potential. He chose C1rca because he wanted to support core brands. Doug respected that, so did his friends. They gave him a fist bump but shit talked behind his back.
“Why wouldn’t you want to be on the same team as Jake Johnson?”
“Dude, he’s not actually on the team. He’s flow. Sorta. Doug just gave him some shoes."
He skated the AL50s and even filmed a few tricks in them. He posted the clips on Instagram and tagged @c1rca, Doug and Adrian Lopez. They all liked the clip. Lopez even commented, leaving the devil horns emoji. He was finally getting somewhere, he thought.
The next month he got two more pairs of AL50s, skated through them, stacked clips, posted them online and again collected likes from all of the right people. The next month was the same, as was the month after that and the month after that. His room started to fill with empty shoe boxes. First he ran out of room under his bed, then his closet become sealed shut like the shoeboxes were caulking. His Instagram feed turned into an infinite roll of clips of him in AL50s, whether he was warming up at the spot, doing fun dork-tricks at the local curb spot with the homies, or just classic appreciation selfie videos where he’d shout out C1rca for hooking up the goods while smoking a spliff.
His roommate decided to move out of the two-bedroom they shared and he took it over, tossing armfuls of empty AL50 boxes into the open space; the room that once held his friend now holding the little fragments of proof that his dream was not just a dream. Slowly the stacks of boxes slithered out into the hall, taking over the living room and kitchen. He’d return home from a session, sweaty and beat after getting just the right amount of tricks for his next Insta edit, and he’d have to struggle just to make it through the door, pushing back against the boxes.
Finally, during one of these weekly struggles, he could no longer fight it. The boxes pushed back, knocking him off of the stoop of his house into the grass. He looked himself over, making sure he was okay. The veins on his arms bulged and hung from the bones. His joints ached in a way he’d never noticed before. He took out his iPhone and switched the camera to selfie-mode. He didn’t understand. The man in his hand was not him. It couldn’t be. He moved the phone around, capturing this head he didn’t recognize from all angles. It was old. Grey. Liver spots formed an archipelago across its nearly barren scalp. He tried to catch his breath. A few AL50 boxes fell from a second story window. How long had he been flow for? He watched the Insta edit he’d made earlier that day. In it an aged man Front Rocked a four-foot quarter pipe.
“Keep at it!” Adrian Lopez commented—devil horns emoji.