Aunt Opal was a talker–fancied herself a writer as well, and thought writing letters to her local, state, and federal government representatives was good practice–and no one could accuse her of riding the fence (or carnival rides after a certain September night in 1961). If she didn’t see the merit in a person or thing she would say so, and there was never anything vague or left out when she expressed her opinion.
She came home from the county fair on that September night when she was just a teen and wrote a scorching letter to her congressman, insisting he take action against the inventor, makers, and owners of the tilt-a-whirl. In a post script at the end of the letter, she added the ticket-takers, and said perhaps even the concessionaires selling the corn dogs were involved in the conspiracy. She had a more than slight suspicion they may have had something to do with her horrible experience. (She didn’t put it in the letter, but she vowed to herself never again to eat ketchup on anything when on a date. Grandmother had cautioned her against it, saying ketchup was the devil’s condiment and would give her gas, but she’d ignored the warning; it was mustard for sure from then on.)
In the letter to the esteemed congressman, she blamed all of the aforementioned (noting the list might be incomplete) for the bad dream she would no doubt have that night, and went on to say she was quite disgusted by the sheer audacity of people who could conjure up such tortuous and evil devices.
Topping things off, Jimmy had insisted on walking her home, which was additionally mortifying. She had looked down the entire time, and that did little to alleviate her pain and humiliation, as she could not take her eyes off his bare feet; even his toes had a certain attractiveness about them and added to his already over-the-top allure and dreaminess. He’d removed his shoes and socks to wash off the mess she’d made of them when the tilt-a-hurl had come to a dipping-one-last-spin stop, and carried them in his other hand—the one that wasn’t trying to take her hand and hold it, which was not going to happen.
She closed the letter to her congressman with a curt request that he please not send one of his infuriating form letters in reply this time. This was not about the budget, or the deficit—whatever that was—it was about the evil allowed to run rampant in this world, destroying the lives of young women in small towns all over this great land. How, she asked him (wanting to use all caps in the word, but thinking it might appear she was shouting at him and that would be rude) could anyone think a person would want to spin around at a high rate of speed, bobbing up and down, until they lost their lunch? Well, she concluded, for this young woman, the siren song of the county fair is forever gone! (She was actually shouting in her mind as she finished with that final flourish, and thought the explanation mark was fitting. She thought, too, the use of the term siren song would probably impress him. She didn’t know what in the world it meant, but had read it recently in a famous poem in Miss Chapman’s english lit class.)
Copyright © 2013 C Mashburn
Sharing this with Kellie Elmore on her weekly Free Write Friday feature. Her prompt this week was to use the words, opal, vague, whirl, dream, sheer, conjure, bare, and allure in a story or poem. I normally don’t go in for these types of writing challenges, but for some reason the word opal set my mind to whirling. Go figure.