Margo Roby, for her Tuesday Tryouts, http://margoroby.wordpress.com/2011/10/25/popcorn-turkey-legs-spinning-teacups-tuesday-tryouts/, wanted us to remember an incident like a ride in a theme park and write a poem of sensory imagery. Well . . . I kind of did that, except it came out as prose. It may be possible to turn it into a poem, but I doubt it.
THE HOLLYWOOD TOWER HOTEL
by Mike Patrick
I’ve never been afraid of anything. Spiders, snakes, bats, heights, crowds, they’re all the same: piece of cake.
Went to Disney World with the grandkids. It had been a few years. There were new rides, and one caught my eye: The Hollywood Tower Hotel.
They tried to build a little tension during the wait in line with a sign warning those with heart problems to skip the ride. Very psychological. Big whoop.
It looked like fun; started innocent enough, an attendant strapped me into a seat—all pretty normal. The ride started sedately with a rolling tour of the hotel boiler room (suppressed a yawn). Then, into the freight elevator.
A leisurely ride to the top, albeit a little bumpy. Everything stopped . . . for about three seconds, then there was a shudder as the wall dropped away from in front of me. It was high, but no big deal, I saw that wall drop about five times while standing in line outside.
Then, the elevator started down. It didn’t fall down, it was launched down—like a rock from a slingshot.
Mother of God, something’s wrong! My thinning hair disappeared in a puff. My eyelids flapped like a flag in a hurricane. My underwear performed a self-wedgie with a full twist and my testicles crawled up and hid inside my navel.
The stop at the bottom was abrupt. I lost four inches in height due to disk compression. My testicles left my navel at the speed of sound and flattened to the thickness of a penny on the seat while my hemorrhoids jotted off their last will and testament before self-destructing.
Just as I was regaining control of my sphincter muscles, the elevator began to rise—like it was strapped to a ballistic missile. My shoes reached escape velocity and entered another dimension as my already abused testicles began doing a drum roll on the seat. Tears, forced from my eyes by wind pressure, hit my jeans hard enough to rip holes. Just before I passed out from lack of oxygen, we went into freefall.
The three hotdogs I’d had for lunch exited my mouth and attempted to reassemble before my eyes. We left them there at our apogee as the damn ride started down again. I could feel myself lifting out of the seat so I grabbed the lap bar. Finger by finger, I was slipping from the bar to certain death when the thing abruptly stopped again with all the joy of its previous plunge into Hell.
I started shouting the Lord’s Prayer as loud as I could in hope of divine intervention . . . but the thing rolled sedately back to the debarking area. The whole ride took nine nanoseconds.
I would have gotten off if I could. The attendant was laughing when he told me he’d never seen the fire department use the jaws of life to peel someone off the lap bar before.
The Disney people told me I couldn’t ride The Hollywood Tower Hotel any more—hah, like I’d want to.