“I’m not old!” said the Old Man.


ferris wheel festival ink sketch“Happy thirty-fifth birthday, babe.”

“Ya know, it’s funny I don’t feel it,” said Riley, “I feel like I’m in my twenties.”

“Well, when it’s my turn to turn thirty-five remember to forget my birthday,” said Nora.

Riley laughed while fanning his face with a hat. The scorching heat must’ve kept people at home because the walkways were empty. They strolled hand-in-hand glancing at the gimmicky sideshows which lined their path. The small trailers were painted to look like different sceneries from barns to swamps. Each container held an animal that was either the world’s largest,  longest, or smallest.

“Should we?” she said

“It’s up to you, babe,” said Riley, “I’m just enjoying my birthday.”

“Okay, then let’s ride all the roller coasters till the crowds get here!” Nora’s wide-eyed and grinning smile lit her face with a youthful excitement that Riley loved. She grabbed his hand, and they ran off like a pair of doe-eyed teens in love with life.

Their eyes fell on The Behemoth. It rose to the sky then twisted and turned in circles. They smiled racing to the gate where the attendant scanned their wristbands. The safety bar squeezed down on their stomachs, but soon their feet lifted off the platform. Slowly they began to twirl then faster till they were twenty-feet in the air.

Their faces went numb, and their eyes rolled in all directions. Just as the speed was becoming too much for them, the ride slowed. When they exited the ride, their legs were wonky, and their heads spun.

“I don’t remember it being that fast,” said Riley wiping the sweat from his brow, “how about we go on the Ferris wheel?”

This wasn’t grandpa’s Ferris wheel. Riley and Nora were placed in pea-pod shaped containers. The doors sealed shut, and the air-conditioner blasted cold air.

“I love this ride!” said Riley.

“Let’s go on that one,” Nora touched the window with her finger-pointing a purple ride which seemed to be going in slow circles.

They were the first in line and thus had first picks of the seats. As music blared from the speakers the conductor, a boy still wearing braces, checked their restraints. Nora and Riley found themselves rising above the platform once again only spinning into faster circles. They flipped upside down, side to side, and in every direction possible.

Nora screamed as the speed turned her stomach into knots. When it stopped, the boy-conductor came around to unbuckle everyone.

“That was fun!” she said to Riley, but he was hunched over holding his head.

“I need a minute,” he said wiping the beads of sweat from his forehead with his hat.

“Are you-” before she could finish her sentence Riley fainted. She held him up in his seat, but his two-hundred pounds was hard to keep stable, so she waved over the boy.

“Just let me rest on the floor,” said Riley as he woke up, “I need water.”

Nora rushed to the nearest food stand bringing back a bottle of water. He poured it onto his face. The conductor-boy radioed for first aid, but Riley shook his head.

“I’m okay,” he stood to his feet, “I just needed some water,” Nora thanked the conductor as she and Riley made their way to the nearby benches.

Hoping the fiasco was behind them, they sat in the shade while Riley drank water and rested his head on the table. But minutes passed, and he was still exhausted, so they called it a day. Nora had an idea, she ran back to the conductor. She yelled loudly over the blaring music.

“Can you call someone to give us a lift to our car?”

“What?” said the boy.

“I’m with the guy who fainted, remember!” yelled Nora.

“Oh, you mean the old man who passed out? Sure okay.”

She held back a smirk then ran back to Riley.

“Old man!” said Riley lifting his head from the table in surprise, “did he really call me an old man?”

Just then a little ambulance pulled up to the benches.

“You got your own ambulance!” Nora chuckled.

“You’re kidding!” mortified Riley turned to see a small truck with the words ambulance printed on the hood.

“Happy thirty-fifth birthday,” said Nora.

“I’m not an old man!” said old man Riley.