Category Archives: Lauri Martin

Rollercoaster by Lauri Martin

“There’s no rush,” Luke said.

But Linda pretended not to hear him, careening their Chrysler Le Baron through traffic like a greased pinball.

Luke’s fingers clamped onto the seat cushion and his shoulders tensed to keep from ramming into his mom whenever they made a sudden swerve to the left.

Since there was nothing he could do to slow her down, Luke decided to close his eyes and pretend his mother was not in a manic phase and driving north on the interstate at rush hour. Instead he sat next to her on a rickety rollercoaster at the state fair.

Luke pictured himself in a bucket seat attached to a long train of cars riding a narrow gauge track through wild curves and up a trellis one hundred feet in the air. Somewhere along the track a skinny man with bad teeth held the levers that controlled their speed, their direction, their destiny, and this made Luke sigh with relief.

They hit a pothole. Luke screamed.

His mom yelled, “Wooooo,” and laughed.

She swirved to the right.

He heard metal scrape metal, the blare of horns.

Luke squeezed his eyes tighter. He pictured the carnie working the levers, struggling to trip the brakes, but instead of slowing they went faster jerking through curves until they sailed, twisting on a corkscrew and landing with a slam and a splash.

Luke was shaking. “What a ride,” he said when he found his voice.

Linda just stared out the windshield at the cattails.


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