just when you thought it was safe to live

Picture a carousel.

The ride starts smooth, slow, in ease.

The rotation speed ramps up a little. Horses lift and fall faster. Stagecoach seats stay put but shake some.

Like a pilot in  a plane hitting turbulence, a carousel pilot announces over the PA system: “Sorry everyone. Just mechanical abnormalities. We’re working on balancing them out.”

He says so through his tobacco-stained teeth. Canine (cuspid) on the right’s missing. Upper lip in a whisper of a curl suggesting a tic, a sneer, a malformation from birth.

He shifts a black handle from 2 o’clock to 4 o’clock. Horses bob like yellow floats on a restless sea. Kiddies clutch silvery shiny poles. Parents watch nervously from the perimeter.

“Mommy! Mommy! Horsey’s going too fast!”

“It’s OK, honey,” mommy shouts when horsey swoooooshes past.

“The man’s trying to fix it!!” she shouts through cupped hands. Reassuring words that won’t reach her child’s ear in the whoooooooooooosh.

“I’m so sorry folks!” the pilot announces loudly over the din of wind and spin. “Seems to be an issue with the braking system. Our mechanics are working feverishly beneath the carousel to fix this right now. The kids are strapped onto the horses and carriages so they’re safe.”

There are no mechanics beneath the carousel. No mechanics period.

He glides the crank from 4 o’clock to 6 o’clock.

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