by Phil Geusz
©2000 Phil Geusz -- all rights reserved
This story is available from Amazon.com, as part of the Amazon Shorts program.
Jeffrey Dawson really liked the Scrambler. Its wheels-within-wheels motions were too complex for his young mind to predict, and the continually changing acceleration amidst the gaily-painted trailers was heaven on Earth to a small boy. He laughed and giggled in pure ecstasy until, gradually, the allotted time passed and his carriage came to a smooth halt.
"Mommy!" he cried out eagerly as he ran towards the exit turnstile. "Henry! That was fun!"
"Wowsers!" Jeffrey's mother Marge said, turning towards her child for the first time. He'd waved over and over as he careened past, but she had not been looking his way. It's hard to kiss your boyfriend and watch your child at the same time. "It looked like fun to me!"
"Yeah!" Jeffrey replied with an eager grin on his face. "It goes around really, really fast! Sometimes you slide one way and sometimes the other. I had to hold on so tight!" The young boy convulsively clenched an imaginary rail with both hands, gritting his teeth in silent pantomime of the effort he'd made.
But Mother wasn't looking. Her face was turned towards that of her boyfriend Hank. They were holding hands. Almost desperately, Jeffrey thrust himself between the two of them. This was supposed to be his day! "Can I ride again, Mommy? I want to ride with you this time."
Gently she pushed her boy aside. "Mommy doesn't go on rides. You know that, Jeffrey."
"Aww!" he replied, dancing in frustration. "It's not hard. I can hold on for you!"
Mrs. Dawson smiled, and for just a moment Jeffrey's normally cold world warmed. "I'd like to. I really would. But Mommy gets sick."
"Aww!" the boy complained again, though this time more quietly. He kicked at the dirt with a well-worn sneaker, then a new thought occurred to him. "How about you, Henry? Would you ride with me? Please?" He jumped up and down in tiny little hops to emphasize his need, brown puppy-dog eyes desperately seeking love and affection from a world that seemed remarkably unwilling to offer anything of the sort...
If you want to know what happens to Jeffrey and his mother, you'll have to buy some Cotton Candy of your very own! Only USD 49¢, from Amazon Shorts.