At the Fair

A short bit from the Wine & Song series, written for my newsletter.

David’s back was sweating. A child with a towering cone of cotton candy ran past him, shrieking. A tuft of pink spun sugar ended up stuck to his leg. He looked at Jazz.

Jazz held up both hands. He was trying not to smirk and doing a poor job of it. “All I said was maybe we could stop. I didn’t even have to talk you into it.”

They had gone up to David’s house in Maine for the weekend and passed the little fair on the way into town. It hadn’t seemed like such a bad idea at the time. “It’s nearly October,” David said. “Shouldn’t they all be in school?”

“Probably not at eight on Friday night? Come on, I’ll win you a  stuffed bear.”

“Those games are all rigged.”

“How do you know?” Jazz said.

“Everyone knows that.”

Jazz shrugged. “I used to be pretty good at them when I was a kid. We’ll see.”

“I don’t want a  stuffed bear,” David said, but Jazz was already giving his money to the man behind the counter. In return, the man gave him three plastic balls and gestured without enthusiasm at the five concentric rings at the back of the booth.

Jazz’s first two throws missed even the outer ring. He weighed the last ball in his palm, wound up like a pitcher, and whipped the ball at the center ring. It went through. Colored lights blinked on and off. A tinny tune played. Jazz looked at David and grinned. “You just gotta get a feel for it. So what do you want?”

“To leave?”

Jazz got him a small plush cactus. They walked down the midway in the long dusk. Lights blinked on around them, and carousel horses with shining glass eyes watched them as they passed. “You really want to go?” Jazz said.

David steered him toward the ferris wheel. They bought their tickets and sat, pressed together, in the worn metal seat. It started up with a jerk. They rose into the sky, went around once, and then stopped at the very top. A breeze blew away the sticky evening heat. Overhead, the stars were appearing as the sky faded from blue to purple to black. Underneath them, the fair lights whirled. Some of the kids had sparklers that left trails of light like fireflies.

Jazz put a hand on David’s thigh. Neither of them spoke. David covered Jazz’s hand with his. They sat, swaying, at the top of the world, until the ferris wheel lurched forward and brought them back down to earth.

If y’all have any ideas for short bits like this, let me know. Maybe I will do more in the future. :)