The Seattle Mariners arrived at the amusement park in Arlington, Texas bright and early Saturday morning, brimming with excitement for the day of fun to come.
“This is going to be totally awesome!” Danny beamed.
“I can’t wait to ride the DEATH-DEFYING DOOM COASTER,” exclaimed Robi, as he readjusted the velcro straps on his sneakers.
“Do you know why they call it ‘Six Flags’?” announced Mike, to no one in particular. “It’s because six different nations have governed Texas throughout its history.”
“I want another juice box,” said Guillermo, who clearly didn’t need another juice box.
“Now, now,” responded Papa Scott sternly. “You all know it’s Yovani’s turn to pick the first ride.”
Regrettably, Yovani chose the infamous Hit Vortex of Death, and the entire gang was subjected to a terrible experience in which the line was too long, the harnesses smelled weird, and the Texas Rangers strung together four consecutive two-out hits on their way to 5 runs.
After a boring second ride, it was Guillermo’s turn to choose. “Let’s go on Double Trouble!” he announced, after 10 whole pitches of deliberation. “That’s a great idea!” Taylor bubbled, and the duo doubled up on two Double Trouble doubles:
As a proud chaperone watching attentively from the beer garden, I maybe got a little too caught up in the moment:
Motter did it!!! He went the other way!!! I didn't think it was possible but he did it!!! Lord almighty. Talk about going with the flow.— Zach Milkis (@Milkis_Good) June 17, 2017
Rides four and five were uneventful enough, (Robi dropping his hot dog on the ground was about as exciting as things got), but that soon changed with the sixth.
It was Mike’s turn to choose.
“Ooh, let’s go to Dinger Town!” he shouted, wiping a mustache of rocky road ice cream from his lip. “Are you sure?” asked Papa Scott, his brow furrowed. “That ride is only for big kids.” Mike crossed his arms and frowned up at Papa Scott. “I am a big kid.”
As it turned out, he sure was:
The gang celebrated with snacks and candy; Ben even fit seven whole pieces of bubblegum in his mouth at once. They were so busy joking and laughing that they hadn’t noticed Nelson stopped smiling.
“Hey guys, where’s Dan?”
Everyone froze. Dan hadn’t played with them in nine days, and had wandered off before, so they were justifiably worried. Nelson decided they should retrace their steps, and it didn’t take long for the group to find him.
He had never made it off Dinger Town.
Poor Dan. He had gone around and around three whole times before anybody thought to stop the ride.
After they sat Dan down in the shade with a cold pop and a Game Boy Advance, Rob got to pick the last two rides of the day. And despite being the new kid, he did okay. Of course, however, it wasn’t enough to turn things around completely. The day was already ruined.
“I’m never coming here again,” Danny said. “Ditto,” grumbled Yovani. “I hate Texas,” sighed Dan, never looking up from his Game Boy. “I hate rollercoasters,” Kyle added. “I actually kind of like rollercoasters,” mumbled Jarrod.
The sun descended lazily over the yawning Texas sky as the gang ambled toward the exit. Arm in arm they walked, depleted and disheartened, yes, but not devoid of hope.
“Hey, it’ll be my turn to pick the first ride tomorrow!” a nasally voice chimed in, breaking the silence.
“Shut up, Christian,” everyone answered in unison, breaking a smile. Soon their strides grew longer than the shadows they cast, as the promise of a new day beckoned softly through the southern twilight haze.