The following prompter was provided;
Write a story using the following components:
1) A funhouse
2) The end of the season
3) A Father and Son
Title; Reflections of Summers gone!
I can feel the approach of fall. The changes course through me. I can feel the days getting shorter and the night's dampness working its way into me. I hear that he new school year starts tomorrow. I wonder what will they do to me now that summer is over? Has my time finally come? Will I be allowed to survive?
I can remember the day when I was the most popular one of them all. The late days of spring were crowded with thoughts of me. Conversations were centered on visiting me. Billboards were printed boasting of my many qualities, innovations and highlights.
Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Is it age, or is it just the times? I watch the ticket taker out there in front, he looks bored. There is nothing for him to do today, it's been like that most of the summer. I can see how he's biding his time until tonight when his obligation for the summer is complete. He'll head back to college in a couple of weeks. He just has to finish out today. I can remember when he would have needed help, the lines were so long, and I was filled to capacity every day, even the last day of the summer.
And now I sit here, forgotten. Ah, I hear the clickity-clack clickity-clack of Roller Coaster rumbling by. Sounds like they're running three trains today, the lines must be long over there. Roller Coaster never took any patrons from me. The year they built him the lines were long for both of us. I remember people running from him to me and from me to him. No, it isn't Roller Coaster's fault. If anything we were a team. Do you know Roller Coaster, do you know where have all my visitors gone?
Ferris Wheel still stands across the way. Quietly granting a view of three counties to all of her patrons. She never took a visitor from me. I can see that her lines remain unchanged too. Is it the technological era? The new generation brought up on Pac-Man, Missile Command, and Getaway Driver? Somehow they are unable to relate to me. Could that be it Ferris Wheel, could that be what took my honor from me?
Well look at who is coming my way, it's Tom Hunt. Tom I know you well. You and Becky Davis spent many an hour with me. I heard you moved to Los Angeles, what year was it? Oh yes, it was the year Billy Jessup twisted his knee on the slide. Remember Tom, I used to have three slides. Shiny stainless steel slides, with dips and turns. They were always popular. Then Billy tied to go down one of the slides in his stocking feet while standing up.
He walked just fine the rest of that night. He rode Roller Coaster five times, and Tilt-a-Whirl and Octopus as well. Two days later, in the morning before the carnival opened for business, he was standing in front of me, with the administrator and that nasty man in the coal black suit.
"A dangerous environment" The man said to the administrator.
"Poorly designed and conducive to danger." He called me.
Why did that man hate me so much? Had he never been through my doors? Had he never been young once? What did he see when he looked at me?
They put up yellow tape in front of my slides that day. "Part of the settlement" I heard someone say. That winter the slides were removed. I heard many complaints all the next summer about the slides being gone. For several years after that people would ask when they were going to put the slides back in. They never did put them back, Tom. No, I'm sorry, you'll not be finding those slides in here.
I see you looking up and pointing at me now Tom. Who is that with you, Tom? It certainly isn't Becky Davis.
"You're mother and I used to spend a lot of time in there Joey." I hear Tom say to his small companion.
"Really? When did you guys do that?" I hear Joey ask.
"We'd come here every summer, all the gang did. It was the best hang out spot in the county. We'd go in there and ride the slides. There are three of them. I think you'll like the slides best."
"I always like the slides dad, is that why you brought me here?" He asks
"Before your mom died, we talked about coming back here to show you this place while you were still young enough to enjoy it. We spent so many summers together here we felt you would get a chance to see what being young was like for us."
"Did mom like the slides?"
"I think she went on them for me, but for the two of us, together, it was the maze. They have a real maze in there, Joey. And it's dark, so you have to feel your way to get through it. While you're feeling your way there are also all kinds of surprises to make it interesting."
I'm so sorry, Tom. I know how you and Becky got lost in that maze every time. And I know that you did it deliberately. I remember Tom, I was there when you and Becky kissed for the first time. I was there when you and Becky got excited and, well Tom you know what happened that day too. How do I tell you that the maze is gone?
You see, Tom, Rhonda Flemming ran into one of the walls, and she walked out with her nose bleeding. She came back in the morning with another of those men who hate me. They spent two days painting all of the walls in the maze black and adding lights. I'm sure you and Becky would never have done the things you did with all of those lights on in there.
Oh, but they weren't done yet, Tom. Remember the floor blower that you liked so much. Well, with the lights on the boys were waiting by it for the girls to walk over it and have their dresses blown up. That's right, Tom, they removed the blower. The shaker boards and the spinning disk went next when Darrin Edwards hurt his ankle, and Cindy St. Claire got sick and threw up. Oh yes, then came the day that Timmy Stevens got lost. He couldn't find his way out. He screamed for nearly 10 minutes. He cried as they led him out.
Another of those men, you know, the ones that hate me, came by with Timmy's parents.
"Emotional trauma." He said.
"Psychological damage" he called it. He said Timmy suffered from "Post traumatic stress." And he accused me of being, "A dangerous environment," again.
They are giving me a bad reputation, Tom. Well Tom, it's no longer a maze, it's just a hallway with lots of turns now. Painted bright white, with no surprises. No one ever takes his girl in there anymore. At least not the way you and Becky used to go in there.
"Oh, that's right, there's also a crazy mirror room" Tom tells Joey.
"What's that?" He asks.
"It's a room with lots of mirrors, some pointed so you cant tell which way you're going, and others that are bent so it mikes you look like you have funny shapes. Your mom and I used to go in there and laugh and laugh at all the funny shapes we could make of ourselves."
Gosh, Tom, didn't they tell you about Cheryl Atkins? Seems she suffered severe headaches and eyestrain from being in there too long. I heard them say that the settlement will only allow three mirrors. They decided to play it safe, so now there are only two. People don't spend the kind of time they used to with the mirrors either.
Did I mention the Rope Bridge Tom? You didn't spend much time there, I remember. Ed Starky didn't know the difference between parallel bars and a rope bridge. He was showing off to some of his friends when his hand slipped. The day after he fell they took out the Rope Bridge too. By then it didn't make much difference anyway.
I see Tom giving the ticket taker his tickets. Go back Tom, you won't recognize me. I'm not the same, I'm not the place you loved anymore.
"What have they done to this place?" I hear Tom ask.
"Dad, this place is boring." Joey says.
"Joey, this isn't the place your mother and I loved so much." He says.
"What's wrong dad? Why are you crying?"
"This was a special place, Joey. There was so much of your mother and me in here. We did so many things together in here when we were young. I wanted to share that with you. But they've taken it all away. They've taken my past and they've ruined this place. It's not a Fun House anymore."
"I'm sorry dad."
"It's not your fault. I just wish I knew why they took such a fun place and made it so boring."
Because fun isn't safe Tom. They decided that I had to be absolutely safe for children to enjoy me. What they didn't realize is that fun isn't safe, and safe isn't fun. So they made me a Safe House, and no one likes it here now.
I can hear Tom outside now "Why did they ruin this place?" He asks.
"Hey man, I just work here for the summer. You'll have to ask the administrator. Anyway, they're tearing this place down over the winter." The ticket taker answers.
"How can they?" Tom asks. "There is nothing left to tear down."
I see Tom carry Joey on his shoulders over to Roller Coaster. Tom, can you tell them for me? Tell them to beware of the Lawyers, they'll be coming for them next.
The Lawyers will come, and make them all so, so, safe!