A bored carnival worker looks at me. Security might seem light here, but carnies are a suspicious lot, aren’t they? Doing their own shady things?
“What would you do to get him back? To fix your mistake?”
I know my hands aren’t shaking, though my stomach says they should be. Can she see my nerves on edge? Does she think I’m a pickpocket? Do they have some kind of a guild or gang where only their people can work the crowd? What if I draw enough attention that she remembers my face?
“Are you a kind girl? Are you loyal, compassionate, a good listener, a true friend? A good big sister?”
Doesn’t matter, doesn’t matter where this leads for me. It’s Joey, and if something happens to him because I couldn’t pull my shit together… Start moving. Don’t look at the carnie. I smile and try to look interested in a booth full of colorful trinkets and tapestries. I try not to fidget.
“It’s cute that you worry about the child’s life. Death isn’t the worst thing I could do. You don’t have to taint your sweet little soul. I could just keep little Joey for company.”
I see two clowns and a janitor standing in a huddle by an empty tent. Are they on break? Or do carnies work together, whispering of suspicious types who walk alone, riding no rides, playing no games? Fuck it, move, grab one, get out. I only need one. A child for a child.
P.S. – For Twitter #GrimList2019. I had video footage that fit the prompt :). Also, without pitch adjustment, I sound more like the villain than the teen.