Midway Through

Just a little longer, he thought. I can wait. I can sit on this bench and watch the people walk by. He sat just left of center, not inviting company. The people moving through the midway looked like they were being herded and led to slaughter. Very few smiled. Most didn’t look at anyone, just blankly stared ahead. Not one of the cattle noticed him on the bench. How could they not see?

He was slowly losing all sense of time and feeling in his extremities; soon he’d possibly melt right on the ground. Were there no warning signs or were people just showing selective sight?

In a few hours, it would be done. The freak show would pack up and move on. The herds of patrons would look for something else to whet appetites of destruction. He would not be on that bench. He was going to go out with a bang. A whirl. At least he’d make them pause in their tracks.

He got up and walked the midway. Carnies cajoling kids to throw darts and rings. Food vendors flipping treats to quick eaters. Loud music. Bright lights. Smell of grease, smoke, sugar, and leather as he neared the tent with belts and wallets. Purchasing a belt, he walked with purpose toward the Ferris wheel.

He stood and watched cycle after cycle until the sky was dusky enough, all the lights were on. This was it. The time for his glorious end. To tumble from the top of a lit Ferris Wheel was his ideal end. He went to the ticket booth, noticed they had raised their prices for the weekend. He pulled his remaining money from his pocket. Not enough. He had spent too much on what he thought was his last meal of pizza, taffy, and a root beer.

Almost numb but with some disbelief, he turned away and headed home.

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