Step right up, said the hawker, his front teeth crooked and black. She curved her hands around both eyes and took the Midway in small, round portions. Only then could she handle the lights shooting down the ferris wheel’s spokes, the glowing faces on the haunted house, the cavalier swing of the pirate ship.

The only thing you should be doing with those hands is holding on to your tickets, the hawker said, and she refused to acknowledge him. She could smell the cotton candy, and it filled her with sweet, sickening dread.


Genie Gratto publishes more intoxicating fiction and nonfiction at 100 Proof.

Image: Ferris Wheel, Genie Gratto, 2009

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