Fiction from John A. Buchholz
The ride operator stood at a control panel along the fence, and as he idled the engine, the scooters gradually drifted to a stop and dangled two feet above the pavement. Laughing, Tootsie, Annette, Bobby, Henryand some others climbed out of their scooters and staggered toward the exit gate. As Henry swayed past, he took off his Dodgers cap, wiped his forehead and rolled his eyes at us. “Holy cripes!” he exclaimed. “That’s the best ride I ever been on!”
I helped Lauren into a cherry-red scooter, climbed in next to her, and tested the big steering fin mounted on the front to be sure it maneuvered easily. Over on the tower’s other side, Jimmy sat with Helen Iberius in an orange scooter that matched his hair. He threw me a big grin and a thumbs-up as the Nesbitts sat bobbing in a blue scooter right behind him. Their mouths were wide-open and moving in unison, and I knew they were singing.
When all the scooters were filled, the attendant checked safety bars and made a few adjustments, then walked to the control panel and pushed a big button. The electric motor whined, the overhead circular girder system groaned and surged forward, and all the scooters abruptly lifted and shot ahead in unison.
My stomach felt like it was four feet behind me, and I turned to my left and belched as Lauren screeched and grabbed the safety bar as the sudden acceleration pinned us against the back of our seat. I looked over the side at the tarmac below as the superstructure creaked. Within seconds, the overhead cables were straining at maximum and the scooters were sailing at top speed.
I turned toward Lauren. The color had drained from her face, her brow was furrowed, and her eyes were thin slits aimed straight ahead. Her jaw was jutting, her lips were tightly sealed, and her golden hair was flying behind her.
I bellowed “Isn’t this great, Lauren?!” into her left ear, but she didn’t respond, so I decided that it was time to impress her with my maneuvering skills.
To read this entire story, pick up Issue Five of Bluff & Vine at Longs’ Cards and Books in Penn Yan, or by visiting https://www.amazon.com/Bluff-Vine-Issue-Literary-Review/dp/B09L3R7911/
Bluff & Vine is accepting submissions of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and cover art until September 15, 2022. Details available at http://bluffandvine.com/submissions/