by Colleen Eren
He gestures for me to enter quickly . A cigarette between two fingers, his arms are a dark green jungle of tattooing. A few whistles from those in line behind me ends my hesitation. I slide into the ferris wheel car with its half-blinking bulbs and rusted bar and feel a pinch. Torn vinyl seating scratches my legs. He jams the bar down across my lap and I wonder how long he has been working these cheap nighttime festivals with funnel cakes and ring-tosses and drunk teenagers. His face is hard and wrinkled, the thinning hair pulled back in a rubberband.
The car jerks forward and up in a swoop. A cacophony of grinding wheels, as the obstreperous voices in the cars above grow louder. “Holy shit!” Popcorn falls between the metal beams to the cement below.
I am the only one alone, and with a delicious sense of artistic solitude I seek the deepening blue skies above the neon lights of the carousel tent, seek the delicate marine wind above the fulsome waves of fried sausage burnt sugar hotdogs and popcorn. Another lurch forward and up. And another. And up…
Suspended on top, I swing, and have lost the sound of the others. Beyond my vision, the sea is there, exhaling salt and the promise of the unknowable. A dull white noise is all that remains of the crowd below. I resist looking over the side, having consigned my life to the man with the tattoos.
His cigarette’s done
next one tucked above his ear
I get in line again
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