The Crone from Mercury by Pamela Francis

The full moon total lunar eclipse in Aquarius was the talk of the universe and this 51-yr-old double Gemini was on the Loco® in Vegas.

From the moment I saw it I was pretty certain I wanted to ride. But I had doubts about the others. Soon-to-be 16 yr-old Malachi can be hard to call when it came to things that put you out of your comfort zone. So I didn’t take for granted that he’d ride with me. Daddy (pushing 50) had a tendency to waver and waffle so long about things that time and opportunity would just dissolve away like dishwash bubbles. And Jun the 3rd grader…? When I looked up at the almost perpendicular incline that confirmed the vertical drop to come… I knew Jun would pass.

Still, I had to get on the Loco some time in this seven-day odyssey we were on in Nevada. Daily 117-degree heat would be withstood. Not having a refrigerator or microwave in our room would be finessed. The smoky casinos with their miles long stretches of filthy, beat down carpets, jangling bells and glitzy enticements would be tolerated. And the Loco…? That yellow, Volkswagen Cabriolet-looking 4-seater with the gleaming silver wheels and the vertical drop…, the sideways parallel dip…, the corkscrew twist into upside down forward vertical downslope…? It would be conquered.

I would come out of this with more than 20,000 points in my newly-acquired time-share condominium. I would be able to say I had ridden a Scary Roller Coaster.
At my age.
Even with the suspected arrhythmia.
And the salt n’ pepper (heavy on the salt) hair.

I know I keep bringing up my age or tying everything back to the fact that I’m older/getting older… but I’d like to think that I do this more as a delightful barometer of a life persistently lived in the fun zone than as a shrill messenger from the “kingdom of non-recapture”. I may be a crone, but I’m a mercury-ruled one, and there are still expectations to fulfill. And just to prove it, along came Jonah.

Jonah had an accent from whence I know not, and big, blue, wide eyes that looked a little dark-circled underneath. He never said how old he was but Malachi and I placed him at about nine. Oh yeah, I dragged Malachi into it by pretending I just wanted to show him around the Adventuredome amusement park so he’d be able to come back later by himself. But I was also prepared to plunk down $24 on two adult ticketed rides right there… right then. And that’s what happened when we stood there together looking up at the twists, turns, drops and speeds; heard the roar of wheels on tracks… the screams…

I’ve always been a roller coaster girl. But I don’t think I’d been on a good one since… ’95. Unless I counted the water rides I’d braved in 2012 and ‘15. That one where you lay on your back with your arms crossed over your chest and your ankles crossed and wind up at the bottom of an aqueduct, clumsily standing to your feet and pulling your swimsuit bottom out of your keister. And that other one… the one with the raft that starts out moving forward from the top of a 12-story high drop and then swirls into reverse sending you backwards down a tube of rushing water like some kind of toilet flush adventure… Love those! Water is different than tracks, though. Water is water. Tracks are like… the wind.

I got on line with Mal, then quickly darted off to rent one of those little mini lockers to safely house his iPhone29 and my android LCheap. The kid in line in front of us was alone, we’d shortly find out, as the line moved along nice and steady, and our position in the lanes emerged with still no sign of a parent or family member. His name was Jonah and he was telling Malachi that the other really scary roller coaster on the property was closed down because two kids had died on it. He went on to use his full body to illustrate figures falling from upside down cars. Kid was thoroughly trying to freak us out. I know not why.

Keeping a cool exterior, I guided us to the front car, explaining that this would be the place to best feel all the heart-thumping terror this ride had to offer, and reminding Malachi that we could always look up the details of the alleged “death by falling from the Canyon Blaster” on Google later.

Long story short, I put Jonah and Malachi in the front seat of the first car – against all their fears – and took up my spot in the seat just behind them. Ooh that drop!! Everything I thought it would be. We decided not to buy the photo of our facial expressions. Mine was the most embarrassing. But I had some swagger in my gait for the remainder of the day and gave myself a quiet thumbs-up for going there.

I could still see the faces of the two young ladies next in line, waiting their turn, with those “I wonder if we should be doing this” looks as our coaster rolled into the return bay. Their eyes rested on me and I saw them regain the courage to proceed. And Jonah…? He wanted to go again. But I declined. After all, he had on the all-day wristband; We had plunked down 12 bucks each on a whim. So we parted ways, my mission complete.

Just doing my job. As the crone from Mercury.

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  1. One Response to “The Crone from Mercury by Pamela Francis”

  2. Wow! You are far more brave than I am! Loved reading about your experience–you always make me laugh.

    By Andrea Felcone on Aug 3, 2018