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THE SCREAMER SWIPED the smile from the face of the moon for a long, silhouetted instant. Roaring headlong down the drop, plunging into the dark bowels of the coaster to crest a breathless moment later as its own reckless reflection, flickering around the steeples of the carousel.

Shrieking back down the trestlework, through the tangled spars and struts and into the Gallows, a wicked, centrifugal turn of events. Breaking back out of the arms of the sweep, racing over the gallery rafters, hammering the hidden trip-plates with an angry, stacatto percussion.

Storming in furious, futile pursuit the slipstream follows, slamming into the crowd. Bullying out the few remaining candles of conversation. A swirling commotion of popcorn and paper debris settling like a collective sigh upon the queue.

At the head of the class a weepy petticoat is led protesting to the first car by a swaggering varsity letter, his baby browns reeking of bullshit. But our skirt only has eyes for a sorority sister retching on all fours under the railing of the far platform.

Bursting out of the turnstiles two pairs of pimply sneakers rollick for the caboose. Surrendering their tickets, a junketing coroner from Dallas and his third wife wave their name tags adieu at fellow travelers.

Mother Superior waits patiently, her domino-yoked troupe of novitiates straggled in bas-relief like piano flats all along the line. A quartet of young marines, their bare heads cropped in close harmony, divvy up a bottle of red wine, trading secrets with a nun or two. Initiation, discipline, mortality, ceremony.

Farther along another huddle of heroes argue over a sudsy bucket of draft beer, splashing and soaking their fatigues in the loud, bungling process.

As the line stretches on it snakes its way out through a huge ashwhite gate, under a massive set of Bakelite tusks propped up like distended fangs to form a gaping, grinning maw. And always gulling up more willing clots of volunteers, swallowing crowd morsels in regular, pythonesque knots, feeding in a seductive rhythm. Arriving fresh from the snack bar is the model couple sharing a caramel apple. Crunch, slurp. Direct from the Land of Nod FunHouse come eight or nine chubby cubscout knees dangling like ballast from a barrage of balloons and cotton candy. Yum!

Between the wheel and the carousel is thrown a gauntlet of game booths, minor rides and attractions, geek shows and vendors. Flypaper-voiced barkers and shills wheedling and whining. Temptations fleshed out, sent dancing arm in arm like a daisy chain.

At the other noisy end of the Midway the steelfingered skeleton of the Ferris wheel winds and unwinds like God's own yo-yo. Reeling in the years over the rotating hub, slowing the spokes to a fidgety stop, then chasing back under. Reloading, repeating. This is it, snorts the Big Guy, metaphor numero uno. You grab your Expanding Universe and hang on tight, peoples. Fee, fie foe, one fine morning I'm gonna yank the string and redeem this party right fum under you'se.

Send all you sinners the way you came, Entropageddon five gears in full tilt reverse. I'll unzip your DNA's so fast you'll still be kissing your own monkey mamas goodbye while they're sprouting fins and crawling backwards into the proverbial, primeval piss. Wanna guess what wine goes well with plankton? Hold that thought.

The wheel cranks to a halt and the last empty cradle is filled by a pair of angel-faced twins. Two blonde, busty bookends rocking happily back and forth as the Safe-T-Bar slams shut. As the wheel rattles on.

Of course, I could have it all wrong. Sometimes I think theUniverse is more like a wet dream. Would you lookit the gazongas on these babes. One sudden stop, one little flip of the chair at twelve o'clock high and I'm giving harp lessons over a cozy, candlelit dinner for three. AlleyOops!

At this point the scene shifts, and God appears as a baseball fan chanting:

"While winking an eye at the man in the moon
I happened to spy a balloon on the rise
Caught in the pupil of the night
Drawn like dust into the light

Homer's Moon
Harvest moon
October moon in a darkling sky

The rites of Spring
The boys of Summer
The poet flings a mother-hummer

It's not the swing that drives hambone
Not the heart that grips the throat
It's the rock that chips the stone
The hammer that meets the note

Dreams, loves, like the lives they reflect
Are strung upon scaffolds of cause and effect
For a moment without regret
Simply give better than you get."


This page last updated 7/26/2005. This fiction Copyright 1986, 2005 David Donaldson.