The County Fair

…The county fair smelled like funnel cake and horse manure. It sounded like carnies calling out as you walked by, yelling for you to play their games. My dad said all the games were rigged, but I was never good enough at them to be able to tell, and I wasn’t convinced he was either. Once I won a poster of the band 98 degrees. I don’t remember what game, only the prize. It was small, only 5×7 inches, but I loved that it was behind glass. Sometimes I’d run my finger along the edge just to feel how sharp it was.  I’m pretty sure I clumsily shattered it within the week. The fair was too warm, humid, and to me, came with a sense of danger or maybe just an inability to predict what was going to happen next. Screams were everywhere, coming from happy children riding the rides set up less than two days before by men I’m not sure I would now so quickly trust with my life. Sometimes I rode the cages. The cages were like a  ferris wheel if the placid, romantic benches were replaced with squirrel cages that twirled 360 degrees as the giant wheel whisked them up and over, over and over. I wouldn’t be surprised if I still had bruises from the safety belt cutting into my thick thighs. I also liked the ride that looked like a blue octopus wearing yellow space-ships on the bottom of its tentacles like roller-skates. I would load into one of the ships and feel the octopus’ arm lift me up and down as her body spun me faster and faster until I was nauseous; once I threw up a single pea. Eating at the fair was always more complicated than it needed to be. I remember standing in line for thirty minutes just to be served scorching hot french fries drenched in ketchup, so hot that you shoved them all in your mouth as fast as possible so they didn’t have the chance to burn your fingertips. The saving grace was the funnel cake, a delicacy my family waited for all year. Funnel cakes are little more than fried dough covered in powdered sugar…

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