Wednesday, August 4, 2021

FONDEST WISH - WRITERS 750 CONTEST 4

     I have been having a blast writing for the Writers 750 contests! If you love writing, be sure to read all the way to the end for information on entering yourself! Hope you enjoy my award winning story:

 Fondest Wish                   


FONDEST WISH

 
  Jim, carrying Linda on his shoulders,  walked under the brightly lit archway as happy childhood memories flooded his heart, the smell of fried food, the screams of thrill riders and thundering rock music blaring from high mounted speakers.  The Carnival, a timeless place of wonder and excitement, a place to  leave the real world behind, if even for only a few hours.  Jim’s heart swelled, as his giddy little girl giggled with anticipation, pointing at the illuminated chaos.  “Daddy, I want cotton candy, please!” 


Jim made a beeline to the truck emblazoned with happy cartoon children, purchased a large plume of sugary joy on a stick and handed it up to his very excited daughter. “What do you want to do first, princess?” Jim asked. Linda’s eyes widened as she saw a pretty teenage girl walking alongside her jock boyfriend, carrying a giant stuffed bear. “I want you to win me a giant stuffed bear, daddy!”


Jim took a deep breath and said, “Ok honey, one giant stuffed bear, coming up!”  He was pretty sure all these games were rigged, but, he reassured himself thinking, if Jock Boy could win one....    His anxiety rose, however, as he saw the various games of skill, each costing a minimum of two dollars per play.  He found himself longing for the days when all you had to do was lay your quarter down on a number and take a chance on a spin of the wheel.


Forty dollars and an hour of frustration later, Jim realized he was not good at popping balloons with darts, throwing rings over bottle necks, or knocking down milk cans with a softball. Shamefully, he attempted to bribe his daughter away from the obviously fixed games with a ride on the Carousel.  Linda, normally  a happy compliant child, caught Jim off guard when she,  in a very uncharacteristic manner, stomped her little foot, placed her tiny hands on her hips and defiantly stated, “I want a bear, you promised!”  “Sorry sweetie, Daddy’s just not lucky tonight.”


“C’mon, Pops, you don’t want to let down the little lady, do ya?” the sly carnival worker  said with a smile, winking at Linda.  “Tell ya what I’m gonna do buddy, take a free shot on the house, if ya win, ya get the bear.”  “Thanks,” Jim said as he reached into the bucket of balls, “I really appreciate this.”  “Think nothing of it,”  the attendant smiled, as he leaned over and touched the tip of  Linda’s nose with his finger, “I hate to see such a sweet young lady go home empty handed.”  


Jim pitched as if it was the bottom of the ninth in game seven of the World Series with two outs, two strikes and bases loaded.  Unfortunately, Jim was not going to lead his team to victory this night, he watched as five milk cans fell and the sixth one tottered only to remain upright.  Linda’s anticipation quickly turned to disappointment as the man in the booth raised his hands and shrugged his shoulders.


  “Almost Pops, ya almost nailed it.”  “Come on honey,” Jim said, reaching for his daughter’s hand, but Linda refused to budge. The man in the booth leaned in towards Jim and, in a quiet voice, said, “I don’t do this for everyone, but I got a good feeling about you two, tell ya what, there’s a game booth reserved for VIPs and everyone wins, if you’re interested, go back around the Monster Fun House and head down the passageway, there’s a tent set up, go inside and ask for Lu,  tell him Johnny Legion sent ya, he’ll take good care of ya both.”


Jim and Linda headed behind the Monster Funhouse, as Legion instructed, and found a poorly lit passageway, one most would not have noticed.  Just as Legion promised, at the end of the  path stood a tent.  Jim hesitated, but Linda grabbed his hand and began pulling him toward the flaps, “C’mon daddy!”  Jim took a deep breath, ignored the ominous feel of the place  and allowed his little daughter to lead him inside.  


All trepidation fled as they entered the brightly lit interior and were met by a jovial man in top hat and tails, “Welcome my friends! How can I help you?”  “Uh, Johnny Legion sent us, he said this was a VIP game.. I was trying to win my little girl a bear.”  Jim felt a little foolish until  he heard Linda’s sharp intake of breath as she pointed to the giant plush bear hanging next to a numbered wheel.  “Look Daddy, it’s perfect!” Jim had to admit, it was probably the most amazing stuffed bear he had ever seen. The fact the bear was the only prize in the tent did not register in his mind.


“Ah, yes! Please, please come on in!” Addressing Linda, Lu said, “I see you have your eye on Reginald, my finest bear!” “Uh huh,” Linda replied as she nodded. “Is this what you want more than anything else in the world?” Lu asked her. “Yessss,” she almost whispered, entranced by the prospect of walking out of the tent with such an amazing prize.  “Well,”  said Lu, smiling broadly, “I just happen to be in the business of granting your fondest wish!”  Lu gestured to the counter as he stepped inside the booth, “All you need to do, Dad, is lay a quarter down on one of the numbers and see if you can match the wheel.”  Jim immediately pulled a quarter from his pocket and laid it on number seven.  Lu spun the wheel with a flourish as little Linda held her breath.  As the wheel came to a stop, the indicator landed dead center on number seven.  Linda squealed with delight while Jim gratefully thanked Lu. As Linda stood hugging the bear, which was almost as big as her, Lu winked at Jim and said, “It’s that easy, my friend! Now, son of Adam, what is your fondest wish, hmmm?  Don’t be shy, everyone wants something.” Lu’s conspiratorial smile was hard to resist.


“Well,” Jim reluctantly replied, “the thing I wish for most in the world is to have Cali back, my wife, Linda’s mom.  She passed away last year.”  Lu, rubbed his chin as he contemplated Jim’s request.  “Actually, I’m not in the raising the dead business,” he muttered, as he averted his eyes upward, “That’s someone else’s department.  But, if I understand you correctly, you really wish little Linda here could have a normal life with a mommy and daddy to love her, right?”  Jim looked down, “yeah, I do, he mumbled.”  Excellent request my friend!  Do you happen to have another quarter?”


Jim reached into his pocket and pulled out another quarter, without too much thought, he placed it down on number twelve, the day of the month in May he married his beloved wife.  As Jim placed the quarter down, he did not notice the tiny pin sticking up on the counter until it  jabbed his finger.  As a drop of Jim’s blood landed  onto number twelve, next to the quarter, Lu said, “Nevermind that, son of Adam, it will only increase your luck!” 


“Ready?” Lu asked as he reached out to spin the wheel. Jim merely nodded.  Lu gave the wheel a good spin and just as before, the wheel stopped dead center on the number Jim had chosen.  Lu clapped his hands, “Look at that! Another winner!”  Suddenly, Jim clutched his chest and fell to the ground dead.  Linda, mesmerized by her new bear, did not even notice.  Within seconds, a timid couple entered from the rear of the tent, clutching each other’s arms, each with a tiny pin prick on their fingers.  Lu gestured magnanimously towards the little girl and told them, with the tenderness of a loving father, “And here, children of Adam, here is your fondest wish, a daughter to call your own”


As the man and woman joyfully, if not a tad bit guiltily, directed Linda from the tent, anxious to get on with the business of being a family, they passed two non descript men, dragging Johnny Legion between them, into the tent. “We swear, Lu, we didn’t tell them anything!” Legion whined, as the two men stood before Lu.  The man on the left said, “Lu, huh? Cute, but this game's over Baalzebub, the boss wants to see you.”  A fly landed on Johnny Legion’s head as he asked, “what about us?” The second man said, “Oh, I’m sure there might be some pigs around here somewhere.”  “Oh, no! Not that again,” said Legion, “we’ll just leave” 


Suddenly, the two men, Lu and the tent swirled up into the sky in a pillar of fire, disappearing from sight.  Where a brightly lit tent once stood were only one dead body and a very bewildered carnival worker named Johnny  who seemed to have lost track of the last few months of his life.



To learn more about Writers 750 you can check it out here: https://writers750program.com/


The writing contest is open to everyone and happens every month. Also, if you are interested in becoming a better writer, I encourage you to check your my friend H.M. Shuldt's book.


Whatever you do, do it unto the Lord!

Now, go live as Christ... and give the devil hell!

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