Sunday, January 5, 2014


It's a long one today, folks! :)

Part Five

“Are you okay?” Mr. Bored asks as I blink, sitting up.
“What just happened?” I say.
Then it all comes rushing back at me.  The way the roller coaster car crashed into our little room.  The rebellion.  Amber, Echo, Mr. Bored, and Slick.
Amber’s in the corner of the room, yakking away on her phone.  “We have an emergency.  A roller coaster car just veered off the track and severely injured my friend--”
“I’m fine,” I call, trying to stand up, but black spots bore into my vision and I collapse onto the ground.
Mr. Bored rolls his eyes.  “No, you’re not, so stay down.”
“I’m fine,” I insist.  
Slick is bending over me.  “Are you okay?” he asks in a childish tone.  No more twenty-two-year-old euphemisms.
“I’m fine,” I say, trying to smile, but my leg is throbbing and I have a massive headache.
“Thank goodness nobody was in the coaster when it crashed.”  Mr. Bored gets up and goes to survey the damage.
Amber’s still talking on her phone.  “Can you get some people over stat--we’re talking danger, here, lady!”
Mr. Bored comes back as Amber squawks, “What happened?”
“Is she loony in the head or what?” he says.
“She’s cool,” I say, although she is loony in the head.  Lackadaisical one instant, snappy the next.
My father did WHAT?!” screeches Amber suddenly.  Mr. Bored, Slick, and I simultaneously wince.  “No--no--no.  It’s just a conspiracy theory, lady.  Trying to get the police away from Phantom FunPark--Phantom FunPark?  You know, the amusement park?”
She stamps her foot in anger.  “We have injured people here!”
“Get me the phone,” I say to Mr. Bored, who agreeably goes and snatches it from Amber’s hand.
I prop myself up against the side of the rolled-over coaster.  “Ma’am, she’s not crazy in the head.  There’s a crashed roller coaster car here, I don’t care if somebody something-or-othered--”
“There’s a hot air balloon crash on the 405 and we need our police to take care of it ASAP,” the 911 lady says, almost in a bored tone.  
I roll my eyes at Amber, who’s standing over me with her hands on her hips.  “There’s a roller coaster crash at PFP and we need to take care of it--”  Suddenly, I let my voice trail off and knock on the floor, hoping it sounds like my head thumped onto it.
I look at Mr. Bored.  “Say something!” I hiss at him.
Before Mr. Bored can do so, Slick picks up the phone and screams into it, “She’s passed out!  She’s passed out!”
Proudly, he hangs up with a stubbly little finger.  “Did I do OK?” he grins at me.
I grin back at him, despite the pain coursing through my right leg.  Great.  How am I going to rebel with this?
“You did amazing.”  I shoot a dirty look at Mr. Bored, who says, “What did I do?”
“What’s next?” I ask Amber.
She shrugs.  Now that the world isn’t safe, she’s back to her old shrug-shrugging ways.  It looks like I’m in charge.
Mr. Bored looks at his watch.  “It’s six o’ clock,” he announces to nobody in particular.
Six o’ clock!  Suddenly I remember my parents.
“My parents!” I exclaim.  “Courtni!”
Slick begins to whimper.  “Daddy,” he whispers.
Amber looks slightly annoyed.  “We’re a rebellion.  We don’t leave each other.”
“We don’t leave our families, either.”  I get up.  No more black dots; I’m good, except for the dull throbbing of my ankle.  Probably just sprained.  I’ll live.
I cautiously walk out of the room, stepping into darkness.  There’s enough light to see that the tracks are empty.  The fake semiscary props seem deserted.  Why aren’t there any monster guys behind them?
There’s a narrow catwalk going alongside the tracks.  I walk towards the props--
“AAAGGGHHHHHH!” roars somebody from behind me.
I let loose an eardrum-piercer, whirling around.
Mr. Bored.
“Don’t you leave anybody alone?” I say furiously.  I walk past him and stick my head into the room.  Slick is playing AngryBirds again.  Amber’s whistling.
“Let’s go out.  I need to talk to my family.”  
Slick puts the phone down.
Amber says, “OK.  Afterward, can we go eat pizza in the pizzeria in the Haunted House?”
I shrug.  First I tumble into a secret room and am recruited for some rebellion I’m not even sure is real.  Then I meet three people, all of whom have ridiculous names.  (I have to admit--Echo isn’t much better).  Then a roller coaster car crashes into the room, injuring my leg.  Why not add a pizza pit stop to the resume?
I hobble up the catwalk, the rest of them following me.  Blinking in the sudden sunlight, I realize that the roller coaster ride is deserted.  There aren’t any employees, and the line is completely empty.
My heart pounds.  Has something...happened?  Were Amber’s parents able to, you know--capture everybody?
I realize then that the entrance to the ride is blocked off by a dangling sign hanging on a chain.
Ride Closed.
My heartrate slows as I climb over the chain and join the humming crowd of oblivious people.  Where is my family?  What are they thinking--me suddenly disappearing on the ride?
Emily?!” Courtni’s voice hurtles closer, and she grabs my arm and starts hugging me.  “Emily!”
My mom and dad come through the crowd, and there’s one huge family pile on top of me.  
“What happened?” My mom’s asking, and my dad sounds angry and tired and hurt all in one, “Where have you been?”
“Oh, I made a little pit stop,” I say casually.
My mom pulls apart.  “How could you make a little pit stop, Emily, on a ride that’s going thirty miles per hour?”
Trapped.  I dart my eyes around, thinking of a semiplausible excuse, when Mr. Bored steps in smoothly.
“I’m Kenneth Pearson,” he says, like introducing himself to completely unfamiliar people is natural.
Courtni gasps, and my mom and dad look mildly impressed.  “Kenneth Pearson?” Courtni exclaims.
“Who’s Kenneth Pearson?” I ask.  The name sounds familiar...
Courtni looks at me like I’m the crazy one.  (Well, maybe I am).  “You know.  Game On?  Game On 2?  Game On 3?”
“The one you made me stand in line for hundreds of hours to go to the midnight premiere?  The wimpy one with the terrible acting?  The one where the guy does all these flips and ends up splattering lemonade all over himself in front of the girl whose belly button shows?” I say, then look at Mr. Bored, who holds out his hands and smiles supposedly winningly.  Do I look like I was born yesterday?
“Whoop-de-doo,” I say sarcastically.  “Anyway, he and Slick and Amber--” Slick and Amber are revealed from behind Mr. Bored’s spread-eagling arms “--um, met, and were wondering if we could go for pizza and just hang out.”
My dad bends down.  “Hi, Slick.”
Slick beams.  “Hi,” he says.
My dad looks at me.  Then he looks at Mr. Bored.  Then he looks at Amber.  Then he looks at Slick.  Then he says, “OK.  But be back here by--” He checks his watch.  “Seven-thirty.”
“Um, we were actually wondering if we could go on rides, too,” I say.
My parents exchange looks.
“Where are their families?” my mom asks.  She gives me a raised eyebrow look, with a glance at Mr. Bored for emphasis.
I make what I hope is a “no way, Mom,” expression.  
Slick pops out with, “Amber brought me here.”
“He’s my younger cousin.  I have to babysit him,” she says perkily.
I’m not sure if they’re lying or not, but granted Amber’s wide-eyed innocent expression, I’m pretty sure they aren’t.
When will the wonders never cease?
My parents look at Mr. Bored.
“I’m here by myself,” he says.
“No paparazzi?” I ask sarcastically.
He looks at me.  “I was wondering what it’s like to be a normal person.”
“Well, I guess you know now,” I reply.  “You get stuck in an anti-conspiracy-theory rebellion.”
What?!” my parents and Courtni exclaim at the same time.
“Echo!” Slick, Amber, and Mr. Bored yell at me at the exact same time as my parents and Courtni.
I jump.  “Oh boy.  Um...Mom.  Dad.  Courtni.  You notice how all these people are wearing all one color?  It’s not a flash mob.  It’s a conspiracy theory.  Amber’s parents are planning to rob the park, and Amber’s trying to stop it.”
They just stand there with their jaws dropped.
“Wait...a conspiracy theory?  Like in James Bond?”  Courtni’s a little starstruck right now.
I roll my eyes.  “I promise, it’s not as glamorous as it seems, Courtni.”  As if on cue, my ankle starts throbbing again.
Mr. Bored blurts out, “And we really need to get somewhere right now,” and grabs my hand and starts pulling me away from my open-mouthed family.
Amber and Slick hurry along after us.  I jerk free of his grip, and he says, “What, is it so bad to let somebody be nice to you?”
“Yeah, it is so bad, because I always feel really bad when I’m not nice back,” I throw at him.  Then I say to Amber, “Are we still headed to the pizzeria?”
Amber shrugs.  “If you want your parents to find you, sure.”
“So you’re saying we shouldn’t.”  Sometimes talking with Amber Harttman is like talking with a seesaw.  
“Then, on the other hand, their HQ is in the pizzeria,” Amber mentions dreamily.
That settles it.

The pizzeria, here we come.

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