Marie looked at the horizon, coasters tore out of palm trees and scraped at the blue sky above them. “Mrs. Brown?” said a voice, she heard the voice but the voice sounded far away, in another land perhaps. The voice was dry and wispy like the rattle of willow leaves. “Mrs. Brown? Earth to Mrs. Brown!”
Marie turned and saw Clyde, who had just gotten out of the car. He handed his camera to her, she caught a whiff of him, Axe body spray and pot. The display screen on his camera cast a magical moony glow. Dense and dark and still smelling of summer, the trees laced their branches across the parking lot from the little picnic area.
Marie’s last name was not Brown, she just happened to have a crush on a guy who’s last name was Brown. “You want me to take a picture of you and Pauline?” she asked.
A smoky-looking LA haze sprawled across the mountains, which distorted them and magnified them. The haze and the haze surrounded Knott's. It was obvious, Clyde had handed her his camera.
“While you guys are taking photos and getting your stuff together, I’m going to head into the park,” said Ralph, his eyes moon bright. He threw his hand in the air and walked off, away from the blue truck. “Get me some front of the line Silver Bullet action!”
Before Ralph even left the parking area and got onto the sidewalk, the rest of the group was with him. They ducked into the tunnel that seemed to belonged in the bad part of Hollywood. Where hookers would beg you for sex and homeless men were either Schizophrenic or doing speed. The tunnel was a creepy place!
Ralph's light jacket rippling around in the keen breeze. The breeze was off of the ocean, and cold, but Mazine liked the way it rippled her clothes and combed back her hair. The tunnel would have been even worse at night.
Trash swirled around their feet. Clyde shivered, the world around him was shivering, on the edge of winter. The cold wind threw Ralph's dreadlocks around, Ralph curled his upper lip in disgust. Oliver closed pulled his red jacket and closed out the cold. On the other side of the green lit tunnel was the theme park.
Knott’s Berry Farm. Shades and shadows slithered over and around the shops across the street. Trailing wisps of dry air, sticky-sweet boysenberry doughnuts, and the warm smell of fried chicken. Knott’s Berry Farm was Marie’s favorite place in the whole world. Marie tugged at her skirt, which was mere milileteres away from indecensy.
She didn’t care for the coasters which they so bragged about, she cared about the berry. The boysenberry. Any who tasted the berry couldn’t blame her. “We all have passes right?” asked Marie. Everyone nodded, taking in the smell of her perrpertmint gum and herbal perfume. “We can take the back way in, cut off the ticket line people.”
The back way was more of the scenenic route. You got a close up view of the wooden beast known as Ghostrider. The path then curved around the Passholder building and you got in line. The ticket area was usually packed. They came to the wooden beast, separated by only a high black fence.
“That’s a good sign!” smiled Mazine. “I don’t hear a lot of people!”
Ralph stopped and pointed the employee entrance. “Hey guys, we could get in for free,” he said with a smirk.
Mazine groaned, gave Ralph a dramatic eye roll and flashed him her purple Knott’s Berry Farm pass. Mazine's eyes blazed with annoyance. “Yeah, no shit, it’s called a pass,” she sneered. “Or did you leave yours in the car?”
That raw October chill chomped away at the tip of Clyde's nose. “I ain’t going back to get your pass,” sneered Clyde.
“Like I’d give you the keys to my truck,” sneered Oliver to Clyde. Oliver didn't much care for Clyde, he was a treasured artifact of a not-quite-right womb. Ralph waved off his friends and disappeared into the employee entrance. Marie, Mazine and Oliver stood as Clyde and Pauline walked in with him. Mazine neared the entrance. “Mazine!”
“I never got to see Knott’s through the eyes of an employee!”
“Mazine has a good point,” said Oliver with a shrug.
"Oliver!" cried Marie. Marie clenched her teeth until her jaw muscles throbbed. Mazine had gone through the employee entrance. Oliver was following. “Oh, for craps sake!”
Marie groaned and went into the entrance. She looked around and didn’t see any of her friends. “Oliver!? Where is everyone!?” Marie cried.
“We’re by Ghostrider!” cried out the voice of Pauline.
Marie saw a directory standing in the middle of the entrance, a big map. Written over most of the ride names were the word Death. Marie took her finger and scrubbed off the Death. Dry Erase marker. Of course. Halloween Haunt was next month. Cute. “Can you guys wait there!?”
“We ain’t moving until you get here!” cried Mazine. She sounded scared. Frightened.
Marie made her way towards Ghostrider, sighing. There was always something so special about the entrance to a theme park and they had snatched away from her. There was no way Marie could have fought for that, she was an introvert. Granted, Knott’s Berry Farm had little to no whimsy within the gates.
She guessed she couldn’t complain that much. Looking around at the little Ghost Town that she passed on her way to Ghost Rider, made her realize why she loved Knott’s. Marie found herself on the ground as the world around her shook, earthquake. The sky became dark and the air turned black and sinister. The sound of Oliver screaming boomed over the rumbling earth. “Clyde!!”
The Earth stopped shaking and she looked up, the moon had replaced the sun. The coasters still stood. The buildings still stood though they now looked to have seen better days. Marie stood. “Oh G-d,” she breathed, looking around. Ghost Town had become just that, a ghost town. “What happened!?”
Litter clamored at her feet as she started to run towards Ghost Rider. The top of the biggest hill seemed to disappear into a layer of fog. The mine tunnel entrance for the line of the wooden beast had fallen! Pauline was on her knees along with Ralph, digging and throwing rocks back. Hoping Clyde was still alive.
“Marie! Oh thank the G-ds you weren’t hurt!” cried Mazine.
“What happened here?” asked Marie.
“That earthquake caused the mine to collapse and Clyde was inside the mine,” said Oliver.