The Theme Park. Short Story.

Hope everyone’s week is progressing well! As you may have seen from my tweets I went to the Irish Natural History Museum. Mentioned Giraffe testicles lots, that wasn’t really intentional. It was a fun day, wandered around town, got Starbucks. Looked like a jackass in Starbucks, ya know. The usual.

When asked for my order, my mind went completely blank. Not just a little, but completely. Every coffee related term, anything related to size just went completely away. Right then and there. Luckily there wasn’t a queue because I think I may have just started saying words. The barista listed off a few different types of coffee and I was like “YES! That one!” While thinking, “I swear to god, I am allowed out in public unattended, no I didn’t wander away from a group home or anything.” Oh. What fun it was. It was also the iciest frappachino I have ever drank. I had to scoop out the ice. I love eating ice though, so it worked out awesomely. And it was delicious. I don’t really drink coffee that often, I’m not really pushed where I get it from though. Usually it’s a frappachino in Starbucks or a mocha everywhere else. I think going through the ordeal of looking like a jackass really helped my enjoy the coffee that much more.

On with the show!

———————————————————————————————

The Theme Park.

There was only so much more of this that he could take. The heat, the people, everything. It was getting too much and he knew that if he didn’t find somewhere quieter, somewhere cooler, he was liable to snap. It didn’t matter who would be at the receiving end of his rage, at that point the only thing that would concern him would be releasing it. He moved through the crowd quickly, accidentally bumping into many, ignoring indignant cries, he kept going, searching for a break in the crowd.

Finally, there it was, a small salvation, an oasis. He burst through the final ranks of people and entered the shop, it was cooler, much, much cooler than it was outside, as he stepped through the door a blast of icy cold air washed over him, soothing away some of the rage. It was still busy inside the store, but there were fewer people in here than out there and that was the important thing. So as to appear to have a reason to be in the shop, he approached the rows and rows of drinks and spent a few minutes deliberating over which one he should purchase. A soft drink was too fizzy and not cooling enough, water was cooling but was missing something, bottled water always tasted funny to him, a strange taste that hid beneath the water then lingered on the tongue. Fruit juice was too sweet, too sickly to properly quench a thirst. Finally, he picked a bottle of water, flavoured with a hint of strawberry. He had drank it before, it was fine whilst it was still cold, but the artificial flavourings became sour the warmer the water became. He joined the queue and waited. Once he paid for the water, he opened it, then drank half the bottle in a few gulps. The delicious coldness spread through his body, from his throat, to his stomach and outwards. It was glorious. He stood to the side of the shop, still inside, but not in anyones way. People streamed past him, unaware of his presence and uncaring, they too wanted their drinks or snacks. He would have liked to say he didn’t know why he had come here today, but he knew. It was his friends, they pushed him to come. They had convinced him it would be fun, and it did seem like it would be a blast, but that was at home, in the cool air there, where he wasn’t surrounded by thousands upon thousands of teaming people, all stumbling over each other. He considered turning around in the parking lot, just getting away quickly before it was too late, but he had convinced himself it would be fine. It would be emptier inside, it was larger in there, it wouldn’t seem like so many people. But inside was worse, there were more people, far more than he could have anticipated. He took a swig from his bottle, his phone vibrated, but he ignored it. He would check the text in a few moments, probably everyone wondering where he went. It could have been worse, he knew that, but it also could have been better. He felt better in the store, looking out at the people, here it was emptier, like a viewing platform, though he was close, he wasn’t really part of it all, he was separate, immune. He took another gulp of the water, not really wanting it, but drinking some anyway. It was better cold, like most drinks.

He hated being in such crowds, hated when he could feel sweat beading on his face from the heat, trickling slowly downwards, knowing everyone was staring at him, wondering why the hell he was sweating so much until eventually the heat ceased to matter and sweat ran freely, the embarrassment of it all only making it worse. Hated it when he was bumped and jostled by people who continued onwards, never looking back. Hated the noise, the loud screaming, braying, laughing, so loud, so very loud and unpleasant. He took out his phone and read the text, just as he expected. They were wondering where he was and waiting for him at the exit for one of the rides. He took a deep breath, downed the last of his drink. He considered buying another, it would be like bringing a little part of the oasis with him, a cool reminder of the empty place, the calm place, but he discarded the idea. The drink would warm and become useless quickly enough. He threw the bottle into the bin and walked through the wall of cold air that blasted from the air conditioners and into the heat of the day.

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About Alan James Keogh

I am a 26 year old writer who somehow tricked U.C.D. into giving me not only a degree in English and Classical studies, but an Hons Masters in Creative Writing too. Visit my blog where I post short stories twice a week (Monday and Wednesday) and an installment of a serialised novel on Fridays. I did consider writing this in the third person, as though it was written by someone else, but Alan is not comfortable writing in the third person as it seems kinda creepy and unbalanced so Alan decided it was probably best to write in the first person. He hopes it went well for him.
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