“A Colossal Mistake”
Great, this is my first time visiting Six Flags, and my day has to end with being trapped on the Colossus. Why did I get on this Ferris wheel? I don't like heights.
Stars smattered the darkened sky, and the park dazzled its guests with dancing lights of the rainbow, but none of those beauties touched Leslie’s nerves. Leslie ground her teeth as her thoughts dwelled on the things that could go wrong while she waited in the broken Ferris wheel. The thought of the 180-foot drop to the unforgiving cement continued to put the otherwise hardened punk on edge. A dull jabbing jolted her from the unwanted thoughts, the jabbing being the pudgy finger of the man sitting next to her. She panned her whitened gaze to the side, regarding him, and scowled.
The stranger pulled his finger back to push his thick, wired frames into place upon his nose. Leslie sighed as the same nasally voice that carried on through her night spoke up again.
"As I was saying," the man cleared his throat, "this attraction has been around since 1984, and I think it's at the peak of beauty at night like now because, as you can see, there are over 2,000 lights that flash in a spectacular display. I should know because I'm a Ferris wheel enthusiast."
Leslie groaned in irritation at the constant, boring spew of information that she would categorize as pointless trivia I could give a rat's tail about. She flopped her head to the side to regard the man, "Look, buddy, I couldn't care less about this sparkling death trap, so if you—"
"My name is not Buddy, it's Eugene, and I don't appreciate your attitude to the fascination of architecture."
"Okay, Eugene, I don't appreciate your snotty attitude and your lack of perception. You can see that I'm not interested in your freaky Ferris wheel bull-spit, and I swear on everything unholy if you ever talk to me like I'm lowly again, I will end you. You're lucky that the carriage is enclosed because trust me, I would throw your sack-of-manure carcass overboard and watch you become splatter art!"
Leslie exhaled through her nose and snapped her head forward, crossing her arms over her chest. The slurping of snot next to her followed a few moments, and her demeanor sagged. She turned towards Eugene and rubbed a hand along her jaw as she witnessed the grown man crying, internally beating herself up for lashing at him. It wasn't his fault that fear plagued her mind.
"Hey, Eugene, I'm sorry that I was a jerk to you and something that you're passionate about. I know how it feels to get your dreams and stuff dumped on, and it's not right. You see, I'm afraid of heights, but, a little while ago, an acquaintance of mine called out my reputation, so I came up here to prove them wrong. I get angry when I'm scared because I've seen and done worse things in my life, so I hate the fact that something as domestic as a Ferris wheel terrifies me."
"I should apologize as well for my rude behavior. I don't have many friends due to my lack of social skills and my odd love for amusement architecture, and it infuriates me when the things that make my life bearable are belittled. You're right I should have properly read your body language and stopped while I was ahead, but alas, I have the constant urge to pester anybody within earshot hoping that I can finally overcome my social awkwardness."
He attempted to wipe his nose on his shirt sleeve but managed to worsen the smearing of his face and glasses. Leslie huffed a laugh and reached into her jeans pocket. She pulled out a grease rag and handed it to him as a peace offering. Eugene cleaned his face and tried to hand the rag back to Leslie, but she held up her hand.
"Keep it. I have plenty more of those back at my bike shop."
Eugene's eyes widened in awe. "You work on motorcycles? That's so cool! What got you into mechanics?"
Leslie cracked a grin, the first of the night, and looked towards the city lights. "It's a long story, one that should be told over some drinks or lunch. If you're interested, I could indulge you. For now, though, how about you re-tell some of those architectural facts about the park?"
Eugene's eyes shown bright with glee, and the two strangers became friends as they made the most of their time together on the broken amusement ride.
The night reached its darkest hour, cloaking the Ferris wheel dwellers in exhausted irritation. Their remaining sliver of hope threatened them with abandonment, but the ride whirred to life. The other riders celebrated their stroke of fortune, but Leslie and Eugene couldn't compress the feeling of loss as the two new friends had to part ways. When Leslie and Eugene's feet met the sorely missed ground, they shared a smile. Leslie scurried to a food cart and snatched up a napkin. She patted her pocket and withdrew a sharpie, followed by scribbling on the napkin. Leslie jogged back and slapped the paper-like material in Eugene's hand.
Eugene scanned the chicken scratched phone number and the name "Leslie Barnes" next to a drawing of a skull. When he glanced back up, Leslie was weaving her way through the crowd towards a rugged group of people. Leslie, after all, still had a reputation to maintain, and a few people she knew had a bruising coming their way for doubting her.