Kids and fools I think, that’s who have it best. Maybe drunks too, but only the happy drunks, not the, “I could have rock hard abs if you ever paid attention to me, Janine, instead of constantly taking me for granite,” kind of drunks. Happy drunks are fun and usually approach all situations with a clean slate.
It’s all too hard you know; all of it. We need a leader to run the place so we’ll select two to chose from, sure fine, simple enough, no need to discuss the broken road of sin and slaughter that lead us to those two, no, fine, this should be easy enough. Well, as simple as getting a full ride to the electoral college of fraud arts, anyway.
We over combobulated everything. Dating. Theme parks. Medicine. The wacky and wooly world of Wendy’s hamburgers. Now with real, live yeti meat!
I don’t know what I’m doing. No one does. We’re all walking uphill backward to school with eels, the most unfriendly of sea-dwelling companions, especially if you charged them overnight.
A little girl messed me the heck up. That’s what this is all about. Just a tiny little thing, safe or ignorant, depending on your perspective, to the chaos and moment-to-moment malaise of the unending news cycle. There’s a plague now, or something like it, jobs are fleeing town, convicted cookie thieves are crying victim in the hospital, alleging that the cookies were personal friends of his.
This girl hasn’t seen anything of that.
As the world wrenched itself into an uncomfortable pinch, I performed my silly little job for possibly the last time, a tiny little voice came bouncing in on cotton candy bubbles that said:
“Excuse me, you’re really handsome.”
The interjection was such an oddity that I stopped everything I was doing, put the bote in neutral, cut off of the rest of the guests and the world around me, and dropped to my knee.
“Well hi there…” I began
“My name is Allie, and it’s short for Allison and this is my favorite thing today, and we did so many things, but this is my favorite. I love the animals. Do you love the animals? What’s your favorite animal? Mine is a seahorse. Do you know about the seahorse? They live under the water. This is mommy and…”
At which point the mother, crimson with embarrassment cut the wordy angel off.
“No, no it’s okay,” I said, blown over by whimsical winds, caught off guard by the nothingsomething of it all.
“How old are you Allie?”
“This many,” she said, holding up three fingers.
“Three? I was three when I was your age,” I replied bringing the rest of my guests to laughter while earning a bewildered gaze from my pint-sized muse.
“Come here kiddo, let’s go see the animals,” I said helping her to the front of the bote.
I have a script, it’s likely about 100 pages deep with facts and puns and old jokes, and dad jokes that are really, quite apparent. I’m contractually obligated to use said material every trip, a simple task made tedious by repetition, like swimming the breaststroke with heels on your hands.
I didn’t use any of it that trip, Allie was in charge, microphone in hand, rambling like a little kid, or a very, very tiny drunk, making less sense than a paycheck when you’re laid off, but having the most memorable experience possible. I’m a professional, yet nothing I could have conjured would have topped her charm. They say never work with children or audio-animatronics.
I drove the bote around the corners and through a mystical temple, keeping an eye out for a seahorse that, at least for a few moments, I thought might actually be found. She got me, she broke the broken man in the best way possible. Just a little girl, politely interrupting me with the first thing that sailed across her brain.
Life doesn’t need to be more complicated than that.
The ride’s not operating now, though to be fair, not much is. The viral enemy that’s choking our nation isn’t even allowing a little cough for relief. I honestly don’t know if I’ll be compensated as we navigate this crisis.
And that doesn’t matter. I found a seahorse I didn’t know I was looking for, and she thinks I’m handsome.
*The author is a performer at a world-famous attraction involving lifelike animals and witty banter, and knows how to spell the word, "bote", thank you very much. A lot of people spell it B O A T, but that'd be pronounced BO-AT, and he doesn't speak French.