Sunday, December 8, 2013

TRAPPED Sunday Serial Part One

Part One

My name is Emily Hudson, and I do not like Phantom FunPark.

Make that IDONOTIDONOTIDONOTIDONOTIDONOT like Phantom FunPark.  Reasons why:

1) Phantom FunPark is not fun, mostly because the word “phantom” is in front of the word “fun” and those two should not be put together.

2) Phantom FunPark is basically a bunch of hay mazes and rides involving unstable wooden carts going through dark tunnels where people in really, really bad monster makeup pop out at you at the precisely expected moment.

3) Phantom FunPark is the highlight of our town, Phantom City.

Don’t ask me who named Phantom City, because I honestly don’t know (and I don’t want to know).  But Phantom City is the worst possible name, mostly because I live in it, and I hate ghosts.  Anything related to ghosts.  “Phantom” is basically a synonym for “ghost,” so I hate phantoms too.  They give me the heebie-jeebies.  I’m fourteen and I still can’t read Harry Potter, because *guess what?* there are ghosts in them and the first time I read the part about the Bloody Baron I fainted and ended up in the ER.
True story, not cool story, so I’m not going to tell it again, bro.
Phantom FunPark is the typical amusement park.  Lots of overpriced food and super-tacky souvenirs, tourists gaga-ing over everything, the like.
For some reason, though, my family absoLUTEly LOVES Phantom FunPark.  We’ve had passes since my dad was in diapers.  We even personally know the guy who takes people’s pictures and uploads them to their pass.  His name’s Bill Myrey.  I think he’s the only good thing about Phantom FunPark, mostly because he hates it, too.  He’s what you’d call a kindred spirit.

We go every single week.  And we always do the same things: the classic Phantom FunCoaster, get a churro, go through the Maze of Doom (there are the Maze of Death, the Maze of Destruction, and the Maze of Doom) and get a slushie.  Then we run through the Phantom FunGauntlet, where these monster and phantom guys run at you and throw little squishy balls at you and scare the heebie-jeebies out of you until you don’t have any more heebie-jeebies.  But then somehow I find more heebie-jeebies to run out of because after that we stop for a pizza--in the Haunted House.  It’s scary enough having to go inside a darkened, unfamiliar pizzeria.  It’s scarier when you have to get the pizza in the Haunted House.
And I am NOT JOKING.  There is a pizzeria in the Haunted House.  It’s one of the most popular attractions.  It’s the best gimmick.
It’s the worst thing in the entire park.
This Wednesday is no exception to our unwritten PFP rule.  As soon as I get home from school and dump my backpack on my desk, my older sister Courtni peeks into my room and says, “Get your homework done; it’s PFP time!”
“Noooooo,” I groan.  I have a paper due Friday and I haven’t even researched it yet.
“Yeeeeees,” Courtni tells me, and swings out of my room.
Courtni and I are complete opposites.  Her room looks like a princess’ bedroom, while mine looks like a normal kid’s room.  She has pink wallpaper, and yellow curtains, and a white carpet.  I have posters hanging by one piece of blue painter’s tape and magazines, socks, and STUFF lying around the floor.  You can actually see her carpet; all you can see of mine is one little patch under my desk.  The rest is covered with what my mom calls “junk” and what I call “resources.”  
I guess it is junk, but I can’t let anything go.  Whenever my mom comes in with a cardboard box and tries to tell me to let go of my special roll of tangerine-colored string, or a funny black tire-like object I found in the park the other day, I always think, What if I need to use it? and beg my mom to let me keep it for “just one more week.”
I mean, the orange string could be useful, right?  
I feel like sometimes I’m just a complete alien in my family.
I get my homework done--i.e., doodling numbers while staring into space, researching my paper on Wikipedia, and reading about two sentences in my science book--and go downstairs to have a snack.  My mom’s made peanut butter cookies, but apparently they aren’t for me, because when I try to snag one, she says, “NO THOSE ARE FOR THE PTSA!” and I’m shoved into the living room.  Courtni’s watching America’s Next Top Model, which I think is kind of a pointless show, so I go upstairs and wander into my dad’s office.  He’s getting ready to go to Phantom FunPark--putting our passes into his wallet, putting on his well-worn black-and-white “PFP” baseball cap, and popping in a breath mint.  
“Ready to go?” he asks when he sees me.
“Dad, can I just stay home?” I say.
“This is a family outing.”
“Dad, can we go on a family outing to, like, the movies or something?  We’ve already done everything there is to do at Phantom FunPark.  I know all of its little trivia facts.  I even know when the clowns pop out at you on the FunCoaster!  Can we just do something...a little different?”  I’ve pleaded with my dad a hundred thousand times, so I know it’s useless.  
He says the same thing, as he always does.  “We can never agree on anything other than PFP, so we’re going to PFP.  Can you imagine Courtni and Mom watching The Action Adventures Club 2 with us?”
“Yes,” I tell him, but no, I can’t.  My dad and I like watching action flicks like Mission Impossible and Top Gun.  And you can’t forget James Bond.  My mom hates guns, and Courtni likes romantic comedies.  They like the stuff like You’ve Got Mail and Sleepless in Seattle.  
But we all agree on PFP, for some reason.  At least three-fourths of our family does, and I’m not old enough to disagree, SO we always go to Phantom FunPark.
And it looks like PFP, here we come.

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