Max and I sauntered away from our friends, heads up high and our pace quick and upright, almost robotic. However, I glanced through Max’s disheveled dirty-blonde hair and into his normally calm, soft blue eyes, and I saw a caged look, like a mouse trying to free its tail from a mousetrap. And I’m sure the same look was in my piercing green ones as the two of us approached our mousetrap. A hulking mass of steel and screams, the coaster towered all of 150 feet, sending riders on a swirling, twirling journey. My eyes were drawn to the colorful, gaudy sign that read:
Welcome to the Shriek Meister From Howl Haven Amusement Park!
I barely concealed my gulp from our friends, whose smiles were just slightly too large from the dare that they just gave us. As the smells and sounds of carnival food and excitement swirled around us, Max and I continued our swift clip towards the ride, and we found ourselves suddenly standing in the line. My stomach revolved, partly from our predicament and partly from one too many elephant ears.
As the carnie took our tickets, I turned to Max and asked, quietly, “You good?” He only nodded, a thin-lipped nod, and then both of us were ushered onto the ride. I mindlessly swept back my light brown hair, and I started drumming my fingers on the armrest in between Max’s seat and mine, in the front-middle section of the car. The car, which seated about twenty, seemed old, with paint chipping and bits of seat fluff escaping, and thoroughly not safe. I fumbled with my ragged seat belt, and in my peripheral vision I could see Max do the same.Once we were firmly secured, I also saw Max take in a deep breath, but then, right in the middle of it, the car jerked away, and our ordeal commenced. In seemingly no time, our car reached the dreaded incline, and, slowly but surely, our car made its way up, ticking along the mechanized track.
Tick. Tick. Tick tick. Tick. Tick tick. Tick tick tick. Tick tick tick tick. Tick tick tick tick tick tick tick. Tick. Tick. Tick…
And our car stops, suspended in midair for a single, terrible moment, and just then, my mind goes completely blank, switching into primal survival mode. I can barely prepare, and then…
Our car takes the plunge.
It whooshes down the first hill like a cannonball dropping, inevitably, to the ground. Somehow a loud scream escapes my lips, reaching higher pitches than it had ever gone before. With ease, our car, more projectile now, rockets up and down the second hill, and races into the first loop. My knuckles are a deathly pale against the solid metal armrest, and they grip the surface right next to Max’s deathly pale ones.
Then, as we come down the loop and through the third hill, my screeches and squeals somehow turn into whoops and hollers, and a smile almost as big as our friends’ comes across my face. It stays that way all the way through the action-filled ride, and I am so giddy that I stumble getting out of our car. I look over to Max, and he has a grin to match mine. Again, we saunter over to our friends; however, this time our confidence is real.
As we approach, Max and I say, in perfect unison, “Your turn!”