“None of these dragon stamps looks like me,” Nick observes testily, craning his snaky neck over my shoulder. “This one is breathing fire, which I can’t do, thanks to you–”
“–I thought you’d given up on that idea,” I observe. He twitches an ear, as if dislodging my comment from it.
“…And this one looks like a snake or a salamander, or something…”
“I think they call that kind a worm.”
“And this is that Chinese kind of dragon. I’m not sure those things even exist. Now, this one is–well, breathing water or something, in the ocean. I don’t know, I suppose that could be me, if I decided to go sink ships or something…”
“Why are you always talking about destroying things? Get your claws off my shoulder.”
He does so–slowly, no doubt pretending it was his own idea–and lies down in front of me, with his back to me. But his ears are canted back, listening for any word or movement. After several moments of silence…
“I’m ignoring you,” he says. Several more moments…”I’m still ignoring you.” The ears quiver. Then, since he requires constant attention–
“You’re ignoring me back! I knew it! No fair!”
“I don’t think you know what fairness means. Do you want me to tell you a story?”
“When do I ever not want that?”
“OK, then. Let’s pretend that you were a man…”
“I don’t know, that might be boring.”
“…at the Fall Festival.”
“Do I get to destroy anything? Can I eat all the cotton candy?”
NICK AND ME AT THE FESTIVAL THIS YEAR
I had been avoiding the Fall Festival, because 89 degrees did not seem like fall. (Oh, it might be climate-change fall, but that doesn’t exist, right?) Besides, I’m nervous in crowds, so I usually grab something from the booths right next to St Joe, on the edge nearest my house. But Nick texted me that he had ride tickets, and I had been wanting to ride the Scrambler again, which they don’t let anyone do alone. Which is rather odd, since it doesn’t even turn you upside down. If it did, I wouldn’t be on it.
I tracked down the aforementioned Nick, with his mate and his kids, Things One, Two and Three. (Thing Three is still a baby, and had no particular interest in the festival.) Nick and his kids had just been on some ride that simulates weightlessness. “So did you like it?” I asked him. “Of course not! It was horrible!” Rather odd to hear from an Army helicopter pilot. “I’m still nauseous,” he grumbled, but it availed him not, because he had two kids who wanted to go on rides, and most of the rides they wanted required an adult as well. So he kept muttering under his breath, “Hurry up, before Dad dies,” and such.
I want you to take note of the NOBILITY of this man, making their cart on the ride SPIN FASTER because it made Thing Two squeal with glee, even though, once it was over, Nick was biting his lip to keep from throwing up.
And he proved himself a GENTLEMAN as well, because, even in his weakened state, he accompanied me on the Scrambler, letting me step up onto his hands (I plan on having him spread his coat over puddles for me to walk on in the future), and carefully positioning himself on the outside, so he was the one who got bumped into as the ride turned. (I was trying not to bump into him, but I wasn’t trying very hard.) I also told him the story of a Scrambler ride in my past, where my strapless top popped off, and the guy I was with pretended not to notice. Nick said that, if that happened now, it would be a “desperate bid for attention,” which reminded me why I hate him. Nevertheless, he is now my official Scrambler Partner, and if he throws up, he’ll be on the outside and it won’t get on me.
BUT OF COURSE, I MADE ALL THAT UP. HERE’S WHAT REALLY HAPPENED…
I went to the festival with Nick, who insisted on flying up to the top of a building, and then swooped down onto a clown and ate all his cotton candy.