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“How long have we been here?” I whine for the tenth time that day.
“I don’t know, maybe forty-five minutes or so.” Bridget says, equally as frustrated.
Jackie steps her level headed self in, “It probably won’t be too much longer. Look, the line is moving already!”
“Thank God!” Bridget eagerly runs up the last few steps we had been waiting on for nearly an hour, waiting for our three minutes of pure exhilaration. The two of us dart up after her to the top of the tower, where the entrance to Typhoon, the water rollercoaster, awaits us.
The ride attendant tells us to organize ourselves from shortest to tallest, I sit down in front, Bridget behind me, and Jackie settled behind her. Excitement and nervousness bubbles up from our insides as we all climb in. Jackie still isn’t completely sure she wants to go on this ride even though we had told her during our wait there was nothing to be afraid of.
The anticipation dissipates as the conveyor belt moves our raft forward. We sit in the raft, clutching the grips of the handles, almost about to go over the big drop when we abruptly stop. An attendant says, “Oh, it does that sometimes. We’ll just give you a push.” Two of the heftier attendants hop up onto the landing and with all their might push us down the drop that as I look ahead, seems to go on for miles. My stomach drops and I hold my breath as my two friends do the same behind me and we all scream out of joy and fright. Water sprays us in the face as we go barreling down the slide. The green sides of the tunnel we pass through whoosh by and become a blur of net and plastic. My stomach settles back to its original place as the first drop is over and we make our way back up another conveyor belt for the next drop.
“Oh my God! Why are we stopped?” Jackie yells when we come to a screeching halt on our way up the belt. This time we skid upwards and our momentum peters out. I look to each side and the whooshes of net and plastic are no longer blurry. Bridget and I stay quiet as we look back up at the stairs, where we once stood, which now seem so far above us. We have no idea what just happened.
“Excuse me,” a loud, automated voice comes over the intercom. “The ride Typhoon will be temporarily closed due to technical difficulties. Thank you and enjoy the rest of your fun filled day.”
We sit there in our wet, freezing cold inner-tube and look at each other with confused faces. Do they not realize we are all sitting in the ride? Stuck, with no way out? They gave us, the victims of this catastrophe, no direction. As Jackie begins to scream in small increments, one after the other, we all slightly panic.
“Ahh! Ahh! Ahh! Ahh! Ahh! Ahh!” She goes on for what seems like an eternity. Short high pitched screams that seem to follow a bar of sheet music. In my nervous state I begin to laugh uncontrollably and Bridget just stays quiet, holding on to the handles much tighter than before, and occasionally asking what to do.
“People on the raft,” again a voice over the speaker, but this time it sounds like a boyish squeak. “Stay calm please. Someone will be there to assist you soon.” Easy for them to say. How does anyone stay calm when their best friends are sitting behind them, one gripping onto their shoulders for dear life and the other screaming uncontrollably? It doesn’t happen. As my cheeks start to burn and I become a bit dizzy and my laughs have turned into small hiccup like giggles, I look back at the tall wooden stairs that lead to the ride, to see hundreds of people staring back at me. I turn to our screamer. “Jackie, be quiet. It’s okay.”
“Amanda! Stop turning around, we’re going to fall!” Bridget yells at me as I giggle still. By this time Jackie’s piercing screams have gotten to both of us and the tension has settled in. I keep turning around to talk to them and continue to be told not to by Bridget. Jackie, the usual calm one of the group, has quieted down a bit and is now just breathing heavily, about to combust from terror. Her face has turned a dark shade of purple and tears are streaming out of her eyes. Bridget sits there, teeth clenched and very stiff, still gripping the raft. I continue to lightly chuckle, trying my hardest to stop and just wish for help to arrive soon.
“It’s gonna be okay guys. Nothing bad is going to happen.”
“Something bad has already happened Amanda! We wouldn’t be stuck here if it hadn’t!” Bridget snaps nervously.
Out of nowhere we hear an emergency exit open behind us. Our three heads whip around to see a short, heavy set woman waiting at the door which opens out of the side of the slide below us, on the bottom of the slide where the water ends and the next incline begins. Our shoulders fall in relief. We’re saved. “Okay ladies, carefully get out of the raft and step onto the black area. Be really careful.” We maneuver our way out of the raft, almost tumbling down the slippery slope of the conveyor belt to the door where our savior awaits us. Bridget goes first and I follow. Jackie rushes out behind us. We’re free!
“Would you like to ride again?”
In unison we all reply, “No, thank you!”