This is a piece I wrote when the State Fair came to town. Thought I’d trot it out for something different this morning. Stretch my muse and make her exercise a bit today. Hope you enjoy my little flash.
“Spin to Win.” The guy called out to anyone who passed.
“Wanna take a chance?” Carla nudged my shoulder with hers.
I shook my head and kept walking. My destination was straight ahead and to the left. Madam Zena’s was located in the shadows away from the glaring midway lights and the barking carnie.
“I thought we were gonna have some fun. When did you stop believing in your good luck?” She let out a frustrated sigh.
Carla was right, I had an old rabbit’s foot in my purse, and a lottery ticket for next week drawing. Plus, I do love a good bingo game. I’m always looking for a new exciting adventure and dragging her along with me. In my pocket, I clutched my key ring and rubbed a small, silver charm. The four clovers hadn’t brought me any good luck yet, but I couldn’t give up hope.
How could I resist the posters and flyers that plastered the town advertising the small carnival? Most of the girls at work thought the rides were dangerous and cheesy. They were right. But Carla, didn’t have a problem tagging along with me. Friends forever, she was always willing to tag along. Why, I’d bet a whole month pay she’d even run away and join up with the circus if I double dog dared her. I’m so relieved I didn’t dare her. I’m so very relieved.
I tipped my head back and stared at the rusty cars swinging from the Ferris wheel. Loud, tired music drew my attention to the carousel where faded and chipped horses moved in slow motion. There isn’t anything exciting about this sad carnival. I wouldn’t be asking Carla to join this, whatever it was.
“There.” I nodded toward a door decorated with a moon and stars.
“Alright, now you’re talking. She can tell us where to find the Prince Charming of our lives, and then we can get out of here.” Carla said.
“I don’t want to find a guy.”
I didn’t bother to explain. All Carla ever thought about was boys. I stepped forward and opened the door. The darkness wrapped around me like a cold fog. I shivered as someone walked over my grave. Goose bumps marched up my bare arms. I no longer felt cute in my white tank-top and denim shorts. No, instead I felt naked, vulnerable, and exposed. Standing here in this tiny room, I wasn’t sure a full Kevlar vest would give me any comfort.
“Hello?” I said.
The darkness swallowed my voice. I cleared my throat and tried again. “Hello.”
A match flared. I jumped back and landed on Carla’s foot.
“Damn, Lacy watch what you’re doing. That hurt. We going in, or what?”
“Yeah, sorry. I….”
A small flame flickered and we both turned to focus on the old crone lighting candles in the middle of a small round table.
“Come in, come in, have a seat. I’m Madam Zena,” she said, and with a gnarled and feeble hand waved us toward a round table.
We eased into the room and into the chairs. I stared at Carla, she showed no recognition, no sense of déjà vu. The sounds of music and calls to the fun seekers faded. My eyes focused on the crone sitting across from us. Before I could ask for her help, she spoke.
“Spin to win.” And with a wave of her bony hand the table began to spin.
Her laughter filled the room and the candles sputtered leaving us in the dark. Someone screamed. It was me.
I awakened to calls from the midway. “Here, little lady, over here. Spin to win.”
We stood at the entrance. Not again. Tears filled my eyes as I walked back through the midway. I just wanted to find my way home. I’d had enough adventure.
“Wanna take a chance?” Carla nudged my shoulder.
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