I never should have listened to you.
|“You go ahead. I’ll watch from over there.” I pointed to the fence near the ride’s exit.
“You’re not getting out that easy.” Marty led me toward the end of the line. “We didn’t come all this way for you to watch.”
I stopped after only a few feet. “You won’t hear me complain. I’m perfectly fine just watching you enjoy your hobby.”
“It’s not just a hobby, I’m an enthusiast!” He said as he tugged at my hand. “I haven’t missed a Coaster Con since high school. Have you ever even ridden one?”
“In middle school. It was awful—a loud, shaky deathtrap. Every second of that ride felt like my last. I made a deal with God—if I survived, I’d never get on another one!”
“Technology has come a long way since those days. They’re faster, yeah, but a much smoother ride. Computer modeling makes them incredibly safe.”
“This is the perfect coaster to ride to confront your fears. It’s a real pussycat!”
“If I get on this ‘pussycat’ and live, you promise never to ask me again?”
“Promise. Now let’s get in line before you change your mind.”
I was breathing deeply as the attendant tightened my belt and secured the safety bar. As the coaster began click-clacking up the first incline, I saw Marty loosen his belt. “What are you doing?”
“Catching some big air. Relax. This is my 185th ride.”
“Are you crazy?” I screamed as the coaster accelerated into the first curve. Between screams, I sobbed as I chanted, “I’m okay. I’m okay.” Fighting panic, I kept my eyes focused on my shoes. As we finally coasted toward the station, I turned to Marty. “I never should have listened to you!” There was nothing there beside me, but air.
Winner Daily Flash Fiction Challenge 12.22.10
Featured in April 29, 2015 Short Stories Newsletter "Cut Your Clutter!"