I jumped off the bus onto a mustard hotdog that someone dropped in the parking lot of the Orange County fair. It wasn’t the most pleasant way to begin the day, but the salty ocean breeze of Southern California flowed fresh into my nostrils and purified the smell of Budweiser and stale urine from the dirty bus. If I had closed my eyes, I would have guessed it was a strip bar.
I entered the fairgrounds and headed toward the bacon-wrapped turkey legs. That’s where my girlfriend, Danielle, said she would meet me. The billowing smoke made my eyes water. The sun beat down hard, and I became aware of my headache.
I know I’m superstitious, but I had to see Amazing Alexandra. She was the robot fortune teller that came every year to the fair. My friends said she would always accurately predict their future, especially if you knew the time you were born. Danielle thought I was crazy, and didn’t want me to waste money on the rusty contraption. But I needed to know. I needed someone other than Danielle or my friends to give me a new direction in my life.
Ka-BUM, Ka-BUM BUM! The drums of a female quartet pounded into everyone’s ears. No instruments, no vocals, just four young girls banging on what seemed like garbage cans and paint buckets. My head split further.
“My bus was late. See you in 30 mins,” Danielle texted.
I had to move away from the smoke. The fair-goers provided free entertainment with their marching freak parade of tasteless tattoos and exposed anatomies. One girl had a lizard on her breast. Another wore mismatched seamed stockings and a garter belt. An overweight boy was munching on a turkey leg by the wooden tables. As I walked behind him, I saw three inches of butt-crack rising above his jeans.
An orgy of scents fused together -coconut oil from some beach girls, fried chocolate-covered strawberries and sweet cigars. In three steps I detected the aroma of cinnamon funnel cakes, smoked bratwurst, and marijuana. The rotating Cosmic Crush ride slung screaming teenagers mercilessly into the sky.
“Be there in 15 mins. Don’t gobble up all the turkey legs,” Danielle texted.
As I shuffled through the crowd I turned and Amazing Alexandra was looking right at me. The management must have scooted the unpopular attraction alongside the face-painting booth. I had ten minutes to spare, and knew this was my opportunity to spend quality time with her.
I inserted my bills and followed the prompts:
Date of Birth: February 25
Place of Birth: Indianapolis
Time of Birth: 2:32 AM
The machine sputtered and Alexandra’s eyes glowed. “Thank you,” she said in a sexy mechanical voice. My mother always told me stories of my birth. I will never forget that I was born on a freezing Tuesday morning at 2:32 AM. A light flashed saying, “Place hand on blue button.”
I did as commanded. A blue light began to glow through my fingers. The machine began with a high-pitched squeal. My mother had always preached that I could do anything in life. I knew I could make great things happen in the world, but I needed validation. Alexandra descended to a low rumble.
A blue cardboard ticket spat from the machine with the date and the fair’s logo. I flipped the card over and read the fortune-
“Dearest Connor, look around you.” How did she know my name was Connor? I never typed my name. I turned to see if someone was playing a trick on me.
I continued reading.
“Everything you see is born from your mind. It is only you who can summon the beauty of your world. Always remember, Connor, the amazing thing about every day is you create it.”
That’s true, I thought. We define our joy by the way we react to situations. When something “happens,” it is only relative to the observer. Feelings of love and reverence can be feelings of fear to another. Happiness to one may be anxiety for someone else. Perhaps we create what “happens” from within ourselves.
I dizzily stuffed the ticket into my pocket. I glanced again to see if someone was watching. Maybe Alexandra was right. Maybe we do create our world. Maybe the things we see are simply how we perceive them. Maybe nothing really exists until we observe. I gazed at the trees in the distance. If I squinted I could make them greener. I inhaled deeply and the air smelled fresher. The sounds of the fair became more peaceful. People were beautiful. I was beautiful.
Then she spoke.
“Dearest Connor. I am so pleased to meet you.” I stared at Alexandra with my eyes and mouth wide open. “I have been waiting for a long time. Since you were born, you were destined to spread this message.”
“My God, Connor. Are you okay?” Danielle’s voice echoed in my ears.
“What happened? Where am I?” I answered.
“You hit your head on the car door. You were helping me change my oil before we went to the beach. You raised up and “bam!” I thought you were lying there dead for the last three minutes!”
“I’m fine, Danielle. I’m fine.”
“I think I’ll drive. You still look a little white. I’m going inside to get my keys. Make sure you have enough coins for the parking meter.”
I rubbed my head and dug a palm into my pocket. There were no coins but just a piece of blue cardboard with today’s date and the Orange County Fair at the top. I flipped the card over, and a cold chill raced up my spine when I read the words-
“Dearest Connor, The amazing thing about every day is you create it- Amazing Alexandra.”
Copyright 2013 Diamond Mike Watson.