“So long, suckers!” Nora yelled to the people waiting in line from her confined cockpit of Sector 4. Her breasts always looked larger from being squished together from the tight fitting shoulder harness of the death-defying thrill ride. “See you in another lifetime!”
Nora and I had been married for almost three years, and she made me promise our lives would be filled with adventure. I preferred picnics, miniature golf, and an occasional show. Nora enjoyed only one thing in life- being slung around mercilessly on Devil’s Doom. She would make me pay 10 times extra for the metal Ride-It-Again passes that hung around our necks. The key-like passes would let us jump to the front of the line then ride three times in a row without getting out of our seats. I pulled the harness down as it clicked tight against my chest. I still smelled the vomit from the seat behind us from a kid who couldn’t handle the last ride.
“Isn’t this fun, Jovan?” Nora always squeaked as we plopped into a coaster car. “Can we do this for the rest of our lives?”
“Can we do something else for a change?” I yelled even though she was sitting next to me. This would be the twelfth time we had rode the metal beast today, and my head was sore from being whacked around from the sharp twists.
“No, Jovan. I want us to do this forever.”
I looked by Nora’s seat and noticed the main screw of her harness was loose. After riding the coaster hundreds of times, I was familiar with every piece that held the contraption together. The workers ran by each side of the coaster, shoving down everyone’s harness to lock it in place. The tram began eerily creaking across the runway. “See you on the other side of hell!” Nora yelled at the patrons waiting for the next set of cars.
I wanted to say something about the loose screw, but my mouth was frozen. Not in fear, but because Nora would call me a baby or a worrywart. I dreamed of the coaster in my sleep. One big drop, two tight loops, one large loop, then a sharp turn that would shake one’s brains out and make you feel like you were going to fly through the air.
The coaster crawled slowly into the sky. The passengers began screaming before it reached the drop off. The riders in the front already waved their arms in the air. The nut jiggled as the coaster climber higher. Surely the safety crew checked each car after every ride. Or maybe they didn’t. Devil’s Doom was the most popular ride at Thrill-Adventure. Who had time to check every car after every ride?
“Oh, Jovan, aren’t you glad we can do this every day?” I didn’t answer Nora’s question. “Hang on, Jovan.”
I reached over to see if was my imagination or if the screw was really loose. I somehow lodged my Ride-It-Again pass into the grooves of the bolt, then cranked it with all my might. I accidentally loosened instead of tightened it. The bolt spun half a revolution. The coaster descended down the first and steepest drop. As the coaster pulled back up for a two-second pause I reached over again with the metal talisman and turned the screw another revolution. The vertigo from the drop must have made me confused because I turned it the same direction. The bolt began to dangle from its socket.
The coaster twirled its two tight loops. After the pause, the coaster entered the giant loop.
“AHHhh!” The riders always screamed the same pitch when falling into the vortex of death, as Nora called it. I reached over and gave the screw a final spin, again in the wrong direction, and the nut twisted off and fell to earth.
“What are you doing?” Nora turned to look at me.
“Just making sure you’re safe!” I screamed. What else could I say?
The coaster entered the head-bending twist. The one that makes you take three aspirins after you get off the ride. The one that would break your neck if it were not attached properly. The turn that would send you flying to the moon if one’s shoulder harness was not properly secured.
Then, in slow motion, I saw Nora’s harness lift over her head and her body ascend out of her seat. I do not know who screamed louder, the other riders or Nora.
“AHHhhhhhhhh….,” Nora’s voice began loud then quickly faded as the coaster ended its writhing turn.
The rest of the day was ruined for the thrill seekers of Devil’s Doom. The ride braked at the landing and the workers ushered everyone out. Security asked me stupid questions for three and a half hours before they let me go. May the reader not think badly of me. I did what I thought was best. I really had good intentions. I swear to God. I really did.
By Diamond Mike Watson.