Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Tuesday Prompt

Ansel Adams on color


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  2. The line
    If it exists at all
    Bright new light
    Harvest gold
    Autumn's orange
    Sanguine red
    And then
    Rust decay
    Is not
    So distinct as we might like

  3. This makes me excited and nervous, both at the same time. I'm not sure I'd want to ride a Ferris Wheel after this poem.
    Great imagery!

  4. Nevets, beautiful and yet oddly depressing. In a good way though ;)! Made me reflect on life and my quickly approaching decrepitude.

  5. Decrepitude??? Deb - uh uh. No way!

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  7. It was just around sunset at the Firehouse Carnival. My friends from school and I were all hanging out there, riding the dizzy-ish spinny rides, eating bright blue cotton candy and trying to win stuffed animal prizes at the booth games.

    As Julie, Colleen and I exited from a kiddie coaster (where the three of us had squished into one seat), I heard a familiar voice behind me calling my name. I turned around and saw Donna Ellis standing there, waving and grinning. Wow! I hadn’t seen her in, like, ages practically, because her parents pulled her out of our school last year so she could go to some special private school, which I heard cost a ton of money. I think someone told me that her mom and dad thought it would be better for her. I wasn’t sure why, exactly, although I had a pretty good idea - but whatever.

    Anyway, she was really happy to see me, and the rest of the old gang, of course. And I was kinda glad to see her too. She was always the kooky girl: you never knew what to expect when she was around. We all talked at once, trying to catch up and everything. You know how it can be. Then, all of a sudden, it seemed like pretty much everybody started heading over to the Ferris wheel. Donna joined us, which seemed great – at least, at first.

    I should mention here that I had this teeny tiny fear of heights. I still do, to be honest. So, although I liked Ferris wheels, they did spook me just a little. But I wasn’t going to not do it – because that would have been totally uncool. As it happened, with Donna in our group, there was an even number of kids to ride the ride. Donna said she wanted to go up on it with me.

    So, when it was our turn, we both got onto the seat in our car, and the attendant locked the bar. As the Ferris wheel rose up, Donna began swinging the car back and forth (which the sign said you shouldn’t do and which I really didn’t want to do either.)

    “Isn’t this fun?” she said. It was a statement - not a question.


    “Aw, quit being such a spoil sport!” She rocked the car even harder, so that our feet were practically parallel to the ground.

    “I’m gonna barf,” I said.

    “Oh, all right!” Donna stopped rocking the chair. She looked at me and frowned. “But Ruthie, when did you start being such a drag?”

    “Same time you started being even crazier, I think.” Uh oh. I think I shouldn’t have said that. I’m in trouble now – and at a bazillion feet up in the air, too! Crap!

    Donna didn’t say anything, but the look on her face wasn’t a good one.

    Finally, we reached the part of the ride where the operator person on the ground starts letting people off the ride, which would have been a really good thing, except we were sitting up at the top of the Ferris wheel. You know what that's like: you sit there – up really high, like – for what seems like forever. And it was at this point that Donna whipped out a book of matches.

    “You smoke now, too?” I asked.

    “Sometimes,” she replied, “but not right now. Okay?”

    I sighed with relief. That is, until she started lighting matches and tossing them down below us.

    “Oh my god! You’re gonna kill someone! Are you freakin’ nuts or something?!”

    She laughed.

    I tried to grab for the book of matches but she somehow managed to maneuver them to her hand that was on the outside, away from me. And, as I grabbed, our car started rocking violently. Even worse than before.

    “Yes! Yes! Yes!” she yelled. “Isn’t this awesome? C’mon. It’s time you lived a little, Ruthie!”

    “Look, Donna,” I pleaded, “Please just chill. You’re really scaring me. Okay?” I thought I was going to start crying, which was all I needed right then.

    Donna sighed. “Okay, Ruthie. Whatever. You win.” She sat still and didn’t say another word for the rest of the ride.

    Finally, the ride came to a stop for us. I was never so glad to get off anything in my entire life. The other kids came over and joined us. I didn’t think they figured out that it was Donna who was throwing the lit matches down on them, and I didn’t say anything about it either. Donna looked strangely sad, just the same.

    “I just wanted to say hi and hang with you guys for a while. For old time sake, you know,” she said. “But I have to run now. So, umm - it was really great seeing you all. And Ruthie, you rock. Like always.”

    With that, she turned and headed towards the exit gate of the fairgrounds. As I watched her disappear into the crowd, I heard Colleen whisper to Julie, “I never understood how Ruthie and Donna were friends and all, because they’re so different and everything. But I sure am jealous.”

    If only they really knew.

  8. RJ, that was simply awesome. Here I thought her parents had pulled her out because she was pregnant. Now I know it was probably because she was throwing flaming chipmunks into locked rooms full of small children and incapacitated elderly.

    Great story!

  9. I was afraid Donna was going to shove Ruthie out of the bucket!! Whew. You had me going there. Great story!

  10. "You must get the blue, mademoiselle. It matches your magnificent eyes," Seth took both of my hands in his and dramatically pleaded.

    "Oh my, I am afraid my mother warned me against the likes of men such as yourself!" I played along, batting my eyelashes frantically.

    "Okay kids, what'll it be? Blue or pink? I ain't got all day here." Our flirting was interrupted by the cotton candy vendor who apparently had not one romantic bone in his scrawny body.

    "Blue," I sighed, disappointed that this sugar-slinger had ruined our moment.

    As we silently watched the man capture the blue sugar threads around the white paper cone, Seth took my left hand with his right, neatly lacing our fingers together.

    The warmth of his hand melted my insides like butter dripping over an ear of corn. It was all I could do to keep from grabbing a fistful of that thick dark hair and crushing my mouth to his.

    "Not a good idea for the first date, Lindsay," I scolded myself.

    I couldn't risk scaring him off. Seth was not a serial dater. In fact, it seemed he had only one love - basketball - because he never dated. Never. It wasn't for lack of offers. The guy was gorgeous...6'2", hazel eyes, and just enough muscles to make every girl love basketball.

    And here I was with him. Alone. Even if this was all just a dream, I didn't care.

    "C'mon Lindsay, you'll love it," he said as he steered me toward the ferris wheel.

    "I hate heights!" I insisted. I didn't care if I was with Superman. I was terrified.

    Those hazel eyes must have hypnotized me because I followed him up the ramp and into the bucket of the ride.

    Eyes closed, I clutched the cotton candy as if it would save me from certain death when the wheel jerked into motion and we pitched forward and up.

    "Open your mouth," Seth whispered in my ear.

    "What?" I squeeked, eyes still closed. Seth took that moment to place a bit of spun sugar on my tongue. As it melted, so did I, forgetting that we were about a million miles above the ground in a creaky metal bucket.

    I opened my eyes to see the sunset bleeding scarlet and gold into the sky that we were suspended in.

    "Perfect, isn't it?" Seth whispered again, turning to smile at me.

    Before I could answer, his lips were on mine. I never wanted the ride to stop.

    The whistles and laughter coming from the ground finally caught our attention. Forgetting my fear, I looked over the side of the bucket to see what all the noise was about.

    "Oh my god," I moaned, feeling the heat of embarrasment take over my face.

    Seth was already laughing so hard he could barely breathe.

    "Check it out Lindsay," he pointed at the woman wearing my pile of cotton candy, "Marge Simpson!"

  11. So, this is where the frameworks go to die. To the soutwest, you can barely make out the scorched iron skeleton of the original Tantor. I guess you could call it an elephant graveyard since the innards of the second and third are also here.

    We have old scaffolding, radio towers and rusted derricks. The speaker towers from the '69 and '79 Woodstock.

    The most prominent feature, and the reason most folks pull off of I-40, is the twin Ferris wheels that tower 25 feet over our privacy fence. Visible from the road! There's actually a pretty cool story behind how we got 'em.

    P.T. Barnum and the whole Ringling crew were passing through west Texas. Pasted up signs advertising the Tallest Dual Ferris wheel in the World, Allowing Riders to See Coast-to-Coast. Well, Barnum went out and got absolutely cross-eyed on mezcal. The lion tamer had to handle all the set up and ringside announcing.

    Made a horrible mess. Nothing was scheduled correctly. The clowns were stampeded by elephants, but played it off pretty well. The tigers and the trained dogs. . . well, the circus didn't have to buy much meat that night.

    But the worst part of the whole ordeal happened after dark. Nothing got staked down well. The side-show tents were blown down in the night which frightened the big cats, which spooked the elephants and they stampeded (it was a common theme that night) right into the dual Ferris wheels.

    Bang Crash.

    Well, that sobered up ole Barnum. He woke up in a holy fury and the circus was packed and out of sight in a cloud of dust before the prarie stopped ringing.

    He abandoned 'em, my grandaddy built this place around 'em. Now we get all the metal scrap that no one else can handle. All because my granddaddy imported mezcal.

  12. B., amazing! The pace, the images...what can I say? *sigh*

  13. Nevets- Fantastic companion piece. So cool.

    Lighty- Did Donna cock her head to one side and open her eyes really wide when she was lighting the matches and laughing? She did in my mind.

    Deb- Great story! And I love the phrase sugar-slinger.

  14. Deb - what a riot! Marge Simpson-hair! bwahahahahaha

    B Nagel - that was awesome, You could feel the dustcloud as the circus fled. And what an astonishing idea. You really did look sideways for the story in this prompt!

    CN - you really are a poet!

    And to answer the question about Donna and Ruthie, no, Donna never even considered pushing Ruthie out of the car (although someone else may have been a different story.)

    While they were sitting at the top of the Ferris wheel, waiting for it to come back down, the breeze was fairly light that night at dusk, which was fortunate, because although it danced the girls hair around somewhat, it also helped to extinguish the lit matches before they ever actually reached anyone below them.

    But it's an interesting idea about Donna cocking her head and all - and yes, she did look something like that.

  15. Well, Mr. Nagel, the bad news is that you have typositis. It's manageable. With a steady regimen of literature, lexicons and liberal amounts of practice, you should be out of the woods in no time.


  16. Nice stuff, Deb and B. Nagel. Both very evocative, though in completely different ways.

    There were a lot of stories on this prompt that were nicely self-contained short-shorts. Goodies abound!