The Story Behind the 7-Up Spot Dude

Revised 24 December 1996

Devin and I were mountain biking in the McDowell Mountain Preserve (near Phoenix, Arizona) exploring, and having a grand ol' time. While on our ride, we heard a gun shot. Hearing the gunshot was no big deal really. We had been hearing gun shots off and on all day. People go shooting out in the desert quite often in Arizona. I guess it's that lingering 'frontier mentality'. (Don't get me started on how asinine that mentality is.)

Devin and I kept finding cool stuff out in the desert, with which we adorned our bikes. The mother lode, however, was found by Devin. He found a stuffed 7-Up Spot toy. Spot was immediately blessed and enshrined on the handlebar of Devin's bike. Spot even matched the color scheme on the faithful Cannondale. Not long after finding Spot, we turned around and headed home in high spirits.

Then as we were climbing up a gentle piedmont leading to a nice sized mountain, we heard another gun shot. Again, this would not normally have been a big deal; that is, if the bullet had not passed between us as we rode side by side. All three of us (Devin, Spot and myself) dove for the dirt at speeds approaching warp 10, and, while lying in the dirt, 11 more bullets went careening over our heads. They were so close that we heard each one pass us. Devin said he saw one bullet miss me by a mere two inches. We had virtually no cover to speak of, as we were on low, open ground. I rolled in to a very shallow ditch. As it turned out, my hiding spot had yet another unexpected surprise, a dead cholla cactus. Still, as nasty as cholla needles are, they are much better than those nasty little pricklies that come out of a gun, so I held my ground.

Naturally, we were yelling the whole time, but either our attackers did not hear us, or more likely, they didn't care. We were less than a quarter mile from them so they should have been able to hear us. Keep in mind that we were also both wearing very bright clothes, and it was broad daylight. After the twelfth shot, there was a pause, so Devin got up and ran up the road to get their attention (in case they just hadn't seen us). After running about 100 meters up the road, he made eye contact with one of our attackers. Two seconds latter, another shot rang out. If Devin hadn't been prepared and acted quickly, he would most surely have had a rather unnatural hole in his body. This incident made it all too clear that they saw us. They saw us much better than I would have hoped.

Fortunately, immediately thereafter, a couple in a Toyota truck came over the hill, and our attackers ran away. Devin and I tried to catch up to them to get their license plate number, but we stopped to talk to the couple to find out if they saw anything (they didn't), and the bastards (two men and a woman) got away. In hind sight, it's probably best that we never did catch up to our attackers.

Needless to say, we're never going to ride there again. Nor is Spot, who to this day symbolizes the bond that two people who have faced death together share. Spot is now sacred. And 7-Up thought he was just another marketing gimmick! Ha! [grin]