The Ferris Wheel
Peter A. Weiss
Copyright © 2017 by Peter Weiss
All rights reserved.
This is a work of fiction. The names, characters, places and incidents are products of the writer’s imagination or have been used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, actual events, locales or organizations is entirely coincidental.
“How’d you see? And how’d you get free tickets?”
“I’m on a break. Just happened to be sitting there. Seen and heard it all. Watched it too.”
“I don’t do too well with the girls,” Paul said. Then, “You a cowboy?”
Lilly was wearing cowboy boots, tight jeans, a flannel shirt and a cowboy hat. She had leathery skin and wore no makeup. A long ponytail hung down her back.
“Good guess,” she said. “But no. What’s your name?”
“Well, hey Paul. Hi. Like I said, I’m Lilly.”
They walked to the end of the line which was considerable. Lilly held Paul’s arm the whole way. Paul noted she had a firm touch and when she let him go, he saw she was freckled under that cowboy hat.
“You know I could jump the line,” said Lilly. “But I was hoping we might get to know each other a little while we wait. So tell me the most important things about yourself. Fast.”
“I’m eighteen. Still a virgin. Looking to not be. Working class, smart, college freshman.”
“Impressive,” said Lilly. She took Paul’s hand. “That was great. I travel with the rides all year round. Twenty, not a virgin and no, you’re not getting laid by me. High school dropout, love music, really would have picked you.”
The line moved forward a little. Paul took Lilly’s hand. “You pick up guys a lot?”
“Just about never.”
“That the truth?”
“Odds are we never see each other again,” said Lilly. “So, what do you say? No lies. No games. No BS. How come you’re still a virgin?”
“Not what I wanted.”
“You must have had chances.”
“A couple. Never seemed right to close the deal.”
The line moved forward more. They were almost up to where they’d be getting on the ride.
“Once the girl was drunk. I could have. Just didn’t seem right. Once the girl really wanted to but she was only fifteen. I was seventeen. Once it was gonna be a train. I didn’t like the idea and told my friends they ought to back off. I just walked away. I tried to take the girl with me, but she wanted to stay. Go figure!”
“Let me guess,” said Lilly. “Your friends laughed at you afterwards.”
“Much worse than that,” said Paul.
“They called me pussy, spread it around that I backed out and was punk. Then it went around I was gay, not from them but from the rest of the people who found out. Nothing wrong with being gay, but I’m not.”
“That’s horrible,” said Lilly. She squeezed Paul’s hand and drew him close to her. She looked at him. He looked at her. They were drawn to each other.
Dusk was descending. The carnival lights which had been on for a short while became pronounced. Lilly kept him close until they stepped through the gate to get into the Ferris wheel box. Paul got in. She walked over to the operator.
“We’re in nineteen,” she said. “See to it we stay on triple ride.”
“You know you could have jumped the line, Miss Lilly,” said the operator.
“I know,” she said.
She joined Paul in number nineteen, sat next to him, up against him. The worker closed the door and they went up just a bit so the people in the next car could get out and new people could get in. This went on for awhile. They were quarter way up, then a bit more, then finally the wheel started turning.
“Put your arm around me, big boy,” said Lilly.
Paul did what she asked. “What’d you say to the operator?” he asked.
“I told him give us a triple ride.”
“How you get that pull?”
“My father. He owns this. Well half since he has a partner. I travel all year round.”
to be continued
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