Figures of Speech: The Theme Park

Out on a remote and largely unknown island, there is a theme park. Now, it must be admitted that a remote and largely unknown island is not a great location for a theme park. However, it is worth noting that this is no ordinary theme park.

As you walk in through the gates (labeled “Figures of Speech”), visitors can look to their right and see a house made of glass. Park guests were until recently invited to step inside and throw stones, but the attraction has since closed due to the sheer volume of broken glass produced. On the left is a roller coaster (“Spiral Into Despair” to those near enough to read the sign) that starts out quite high and then spirals down in ever smaller circles, making riders increasingly dizzy. Further in is the Slippery Slope, a choose your own adventure waterslide: what will your slippery slope lead to? Drugs? The forces of evil? Emotional attachment to your Tumblr account?

But one night when two people snuck into the park, it wasn’t any of these rides that caught their attention. It was another, smaller one at the back of the park, near the exit. This position was probably why the ride caught their attention: our two trespassers had entered the park through this exit.

“Are you sure this is a good idea?” Jill hissed at her friend, Will. (“Names so confusingly similar it makes us ill,” Will once quipped.)

“It night, so the park is closed. How else are we supposed to get in?” Will reasoned.

“Wait ’till morning?” Jill offered.

“Waiting ’till morning is for the weak.”

“That doesn’t even make sense,” Jill complained, but when Will hopped over the (surprisingly short) gate that blocked the exit, she barely hesitated before following.

“Emotional Roller Coaster?” Jill read off a sign curiously.

“Odd name for a ride,” Will commented.

They hesitated for a second, glancing at each other, then immediately made a beeline for the ride.

When they got to the door at the entrance, Will, who’d gotten there first, slowly pushed open the door with a creak that echoed through the otherwise silent park. Lights on the other side of the door flickered on, causing Will to flinch.

“Motion sensitive?” Jill suggested.

“Yeah,” Will agreed, recovering. “Yeah. I thought so. Obviously.”

Jill and Will wove their way through the empty maze that normally held a line of people waiting to use the ride until they reached the roller coaster.

“Hello,” said a cheerful voice, causing both Will and Jill to look around in surprise for a third person. “I’m the emotional roller coaster!” the voice continued. “Please fasten your seatbelts. It might be a bumpy ride.”

“Surely it’s not just going to run itself,” Jill said. “Don’t you need people for safety or something?”

Will shrugged. “It’s a free roller coaster ride, Jill. Just get on.”

With a sigh, Jill followed Will into a car of the roller coaster and pulled down the bar attached to the seat so that it sat across her lap.

“Are you ready?” asked the voice.

“I guess?” was Jill’s reply.

“Off we go!” the voice happily continued, and the ride began to move up a hill. “Oh boy, this looks like it’s going to be a good ride. It gets better by the second! This ride is certainly my favorite so far.” The roller coaster reached the top of a hill and began descending. “Actually, I’m not quite sure about this.” The voice didn’t sound so cheerful anymore. “Oh no. Oh dear, oh dear.”

“What is it doing?” Will asked loudly, to be heard over the voice.

“Being an emotional roller coaster, I guess,” was Jill’s hesitant reply.

“This is such a weird ride,” Will commented, as though it weren’t glaringly obvious.

“Oh no, the ride is tipping sideways, and what if the seatbelts are still being tested and we all fall out and plunge to our deaths?” the voice was saying, though Jill shared the sentiment. “Oh, okay,” the voice continued as the ride straightened out and began to crawl up another hill. This is much better; yes, I’m certainly enjoying this. We’re coming to the top of a hill, and it all looks great. Wait, is that the end of the ride up ahead?” The roller coaster track dipped down a bit. “Yes, it is. That’s too bad. Oh, well.” The roller coaster came to a stop. “I hope you enjoyed the ride,” the voice said somewhat glumly as Jill’s and Will’s seatbelts were came undone automatically. “Oh well, not a problem! New people!” the cheerful tone was suddenly back. “Hello, I’m the emotional roller coaster. Please fasten your seatbelts. It might be a bumpy ride.”

“Well, you’re welcome to put your seatbelt back on, Will, but I’m getting off,” said Jill, clambering out of the car.

That was an emotional roller coaster for which I did not buy a ticket.

 

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