The ferris wheel was stuck. Gears mashed or severed. Some girl screaming wild and desperate death at the top, an empty wax paper soda cup flying down onto the planks, ice spreading everywhere. There was nothing that could be done. People stood outside Midway Pizza, just looking up.
The wind came down the boardwalk, sending the smell of fried dough and confectioners sugar, the music of the carousel- little grits of sand, whipping across the rough edge of everything making it smooth.
I was there with two girls, as if I’d just won the lottery. My feathers were all puffed up like some champion peacock let out n a Saturday parade.
Mary & Kate.
Kate was in love with Mary.
Mary liked Kate and the both of them thought I was alright, but I got the impression that it was just because they had no clue where I was coming from. What I was thinking. What I wanted. If I was for real or just some weirdo that would dissipate when the wind normalized.
They liked to drink. I remember that. They’d drink anything you put in the vicinity of their beautiful lips.
Neither one of them had seen the Atlantic Ocean. The line of bars in a strip, flashing lights, stuffed animals more outsized then even the most runaway bloated dream. One Win Choice. Step up, play whatever game you want. No one loses. Come on, win these pretty girls something engorged with blood.
The allure of the arcade. Mary had never been properly introduced to either Mr. or Mrs. Pacman, she was confused about which she wanted to play with more.
I explained, “No one wants to admit it, but Mrs. Pacman is better.”
I treated them to fifty cent drafts at the Sawmill and just like whenever there are fifty cents drafts anywhere, there was a fight that broke out.
A little man lunging at a meathead, the stool flipping over, both of them rolling on the floor, spit, shouts, the bar erupting in havoc and voices. Boyd in his canary yellow Security shirt getting in there somehow, pulling them apart- the red faced, veiny-necked men. Shouts. You’ll have to leave. The both of you. Now.
No one questioned what the fight was about.
It was about war.
Tail. Wet pussy. Tits with hard nipples like antennas receiving signals from the ready to spring dew nectar of nature. Long hair, eyes all done up, shining, searching. Bare midriffs. Hands motioning for you to come over, put your hands anywhere. No holds barred. Sweat running off a peach fuzzed tan shoulder and down the back of a girl in a neon bathing suit. Somewhere, waiting breathless and for the victor, to come fill some void.
Kate smoked a cigarette on the bench outside the shop with blacklight mushroom posters, concert t-shirts, incense. The shop had some stupid name, in the town, us locals called it something stupider- Bong-Depot.
Mary wanted to go into the little booth, get her fortune read by Madame Woo-the Dead.
“I don’t think so,” Kate said coldly, turning her face, exhaling her smoke as the wind tugged it a thousand miles out over the unknown salt ocean.
“Not my thing.”
To me, she looked frightened. Not her thing? More like terrified.
Mary took my hand, took me instead. We sat down in the on the steel chairs. Madame Woo-the Dead took both of our palms of our right hands and scrutinized them.
“There’s someone else.” She said, “But the two of you will one day get married.”
Mary started to laugh.
I paid the three dollars, we left.
Kate was gone from the bench. We found her standing on the fringes of the crowd of spectators looking up at the ferris wheel.
There was talk of the fire department coming with a high reach. Pulling the people out of the sky one by one and introducing them to the ground where they belonged.
That girl began screaming again up there. Her voice was shrill and horror stricken and made us all excited.
While the crowd thought about whether or not the thunderstorm would arrive sooner rather than later, and whether to fireworks would be canceled.
I looked at Kate’s tight jean cutoffs and wondered the way that she would taste and smell if we could somehow get alone.