Submitted by rtcvers.
“Make sure ya got nothin’ in yer pockets,” shouted the giant ride attendant. Right underneath his bald dome, he had a grey rat-tail sprouting from the back of his head. I don’t think he had more than three or four teeth. “Cause whatever falls to the ground is mine!” He laughed as he spat a mouthful of tobacco juice on the ground.
“You heard the man, kiddies,” Matt called. He, Candy, and I transferred everything from our pockets into our shoes.
“Don’t you have anything in your pockets?” I asked Craig.
Still staring up at the ride, he shook his head. “No, I’ll be alright.”
I shrugged and started up a conversation with Matt, grateful for my companion’s silence. The line moved slowly. Counting the people ahead of us, I thought we’d be in the next group, but there were those token single riders who go and mess up your count. Finally we were summoned forth, and got in the cage next to Matt and Candy. The ogre who ran the ride slammed the door shut in our faces, and we were off.
The ride started off slowly, feeling like a variation on a Ferris wheel. We went up and went down. Then the track we were on began to spin. The cage started rocking, and Craig’s knuckles were white as they gripped the lap bar. On the next upward pass, it happened – we flipped. Our cage tipped backward before lurching forward in a somersault, slapping an involuntary smile on my face.
Side note – I could die while riding the Zipper, and that’d be just fine. At least I’d die happy. As long as my stomach jumped into my throat as I pitched forward, and my cage pressed G-forces on me and blurred my vision, all would be well in the world. Love thrill rides. Love.
Craig, obviously, did not feel as such. We started to roll, and his face turned a beautiful shade of chartreuse. When we stopped, something struck me in the face. “Oh, my tickets,” he said, and tried to grab them as we rocked back and forth. In the process, he poked me in the eye. “Sorry.”
“I told you to empty your pockets – stuff falls out on this ride!”
“Sorry,” he said again, as he tried to catch the string of red paper as it flew by.
We rose to the top and tipped forward again, shoving us against the lap bar. I had the wind knocked out of me, and smiled as we started to roll again. The Zipper was loud; the sounds of motors screeching and chains spinning made it difficult to hear someone speak. But it was not loud enough to drown out the sound of a fistful of metal crashing against your head.
“Ow! God dammit, were those your keys?” A sharp pain stabbed at my ear. I reached up, and my hand came away with a small amount of blood on my fingertips. “Jesus, Craig!”
“Sorry,” the green-faced boy said as his keys raked across his face. He swatted at them, but they evaded his grasp along with the tickets.
The cage sped up. Thank God – this was the last time around. I needed to get off that ride. We reached the top and came down spinning so fast, I couldn’t help but laugh. I was determined to enjoy what little was left of this experience. I closed my eyes and opened my mouth wide, yelling in jubilation.
Suddenly, something rammed against my mouth and a nasty chalk taste was on my tongue. I coughed and opened my eyes. There, rattling against the cage in front of me was an open stick of deodorant.
“Who even carries deodorant in their pocket? Christ!”
Finally the ride slowed, and the attendant started emptying the cages. But not before giving each one a final few spins by hand, exercising his complete control he had over us. After he made Craig barf, I emerged from the car with bloody scratches, streaks of Old Spice, and vomit all over my head, neck, and arms.
Matt and Candy walked over and saw my face. “Jesus, Normy, what happened to you?”
I opened my mouth to speak, but then heard Craig yell out, “Oh man, I lost my wallet!”
I nodded and gestured behind me. “Him.”
Read more of THE PELAAWI PLAYHOUSE SUMMER SEASON OF 1988 in serial form on my personal website: www.artiesievers.com!
There’s a new chapter posted each week!
Normy Addison, high school thespian, has been cast in two shows this summer at the Pelaawi Playhouse. He and his friends are looking forward to a kick-ass break before their senior year of high school. They always get the leading roles, and they’ve lived the easy life for three glorious years.
Sometimes, though, things happen. Things like hot new girls, crazy old girls, flying carnival tickets, penny loafers, dead grandmas, sisters’ Mustangs, Ethiopian lesbians, cheap sparkling wine, thunderstorms, homemade horror movies, angry piano players, friends kissing friends, and deadly conflagrations. Meanwhile, he’s found this totally cute girl and doesn’t want to blow it with her. This will not be Normy’s typical summer.