Addison In Trouble

Jim held Addison’s hand and guided her along the path past the tulip garden and the wishing fountain.  Jim noticed the young man tossing a coin into the fountain, the bearded gentleman standing behind him, one hand on the boy’s shoulder, the other making gestures as if he was explaining the reasoning behind the offering.  A slender woman with curly hair sat on the bench behind them next to a stroller.  On the far side of the fountain, Jim saw a couple playing with their dogs.  He was attempting to observe everything.  He was looking for anything out of the ordinary.

Jim’s heart was trying to control the quickness of his heart, but he was nervous.  He tried not to think about what he was going to say to the girl when the found a place to stop and talk, but the thought persisted.  There were many times, Jim thought, that taking a mark to a secluded place to “share” something with them was easy.  He’d done it countless times before.  But this girl was special because someone had told Jim to find her.  She was not another face in the crowd to seduce and con out of a large sum of money.  Sure there was money involved, but usually Jim was the only person interested in making contact with these women.  He had been warned, though that the clock was ticking on this one.  Jim knew that in order to get her to trust him quickly, he was going to have to lie to her.

***

Addison did not know anything about this man but thought he seemed trustworthy.  There were things he knew about her that no one would know unless they knew her family.  She was afraid to say yes to following him, but when he said she might be in danger, she reacted and let him lead her across the street from the diner to the park.

She tried rationalizing the situation to combat the fear.  But it overtook her after passing the fountain and her feet stopped moving.

“Don’t stop, please” Jim said to her.  She could see the urgency in his face.  “We have to keep moving.  We’re going to meet someone here in the park and they don’t have time to wait.”

Meet someone, she thought.  He didn’t say that before.

“Ok, what?  I’m seriously going to start freaking out if you’re going to keep surprising me.  I didn’t know we were meeting someone.  You just said we needed to get away from people who might be after me.”

“Right” he said.  “And I have a friend that is going to take us somewhere safe.”

“But why are we meeting him in the middle of the park?” she said.  She was feeling the doubt and panic now.

“Look, you just have to trust me.  Or you can turn back and someone else will pick you up.  And they’re going to be . . . rough with you.”

Addison thought Jim looked on the verge of panic, too.  If this guy’s conning me, he’s had some experience faking.

***

Antonia was knitting.  Her grandson was due a month away, and she wanted to have this sweater ready to keep him warm.  She had to knit through intermittent pain because her arthritis would sometimes flair.  When the pain would swell, she would look up and breathe deeply until it subsided.  On this day she looked up just as a young man and woman were briskly walking on the path past her.  The man was leading the girl behind him, and they both looked to Antonia like they were lost and frustrated.  Her pain had died away, but Antonia could not help but watch the two as the came closer to her.  When the were nearly in front of her bench, the girl broke grip with the man and started to protest.  She was flailing her arms, stomping her feet, and shouting at the man.  Antonia only spoke Russian, so she did not understand what the two of them were arguing about, but it did not seem that they were a couple.  If they had been, Antonia, thought, the man would have tried to take her hand again in a reassuring way.  Instead he put his face in his hands and started to cry.  Language barrier aside, it sounded fake to Antonia.  However, the girl seemed to act apologetic toward the man.  This surprised Antonia, because she didn’t think this girl would be so gullible.  She wished she knew how to speak to her and tell her to leave the man, but all she knew how to say was “Go”.  She shouted it to her several times before the man turned and said something Antonia assumed was rude, judging by the look on his face.  She decided to go back to her knitting, and the girl took off the way she had come.  The man followed, shouting.

Dangerous Attractions

You don’t get to be as successful as I have been in my life by holding on to the “What-Ifs” and the “Coulda-Shoulda-Wouldas”.  Before you know it they’ll stack up and cloud your mind.  You want to always be looking forward, planning for success and returning to the plate every time it’s your turn; adjusting your stance and never taking your eye off the ball.  But even if you’re a motivational speaker and you earn your money by selling people the success tips of life, you’re still going to forget to follow your own advice.  Now and then you’ll catch yourself pining over past failures and yearning for just one more swing.  For me, on nights when I’m alone and I’ve had one too many scotches, the thing I think of is the park.

One might say I was over prepared on this venture.  I had the finest minds of each field collaborating.  The design was flawless, all the way down to the amenities inside the guest transport vehicles.  We literally spared no expense.  And the attractions . . . there was to be none like them.  All that was needed to go forward and to bring my creation to the public was the endorsement of an expert.  He simply needed to come and experience the park himself and see how safe and the secure the facility was and all my dreams, and the dreams of millions around the world, were to come true.

Well, needless to say everything that could have gone wrong did.  I should have known things weren’t going to go well from the beginning when the attractions didn’t work the way they were supposed to.  They were either incapacitated or were not visible to the guests.  Then a tropical storm hit and the power went out.  And no, the storm was no responsible for the power outage.  It was actually the fault of one of my employees who turned it off intentionally so he could get past security and steal company property.  As a result of this power outage, the park facilities were heavily damaged.  One attraction broke through a wire fence and smashed one of the guest vehicles.  Unfortunately, the attorney representing the insurance company was a casualty of this incident.  My grandchildren made it safely to guest operations but not completely unscathed.  One of them was electrocuted.

While attempting to restore the power and bring the park’s systems back online, two of my employees lost their lives and one guest was injured.  By this time the attractions were out of control and a danger to us all.  We were all able to escape the grounds just as the attractions destroyed each other.

So, no, I am not happy with the way things turned out.  If I were given a second chance though, here are some things I would do differently:

1.  I would not hire a hacker slob who looks like Newman from Seinfeld
2.  I’ll maybe spare a couple bucks on the fancy cd roms and build reinforced steel fences.  None of this wimpy power cable stuff.
3.  Children will not be allowed in the park before it is tested and approved.

Here’s to moving forward.  Hopefully those following in my footsteps will learn from my mistakes.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “But No Cigar.”