Story Time! County Fair, Swinging Ships, and Pinky

Story time! This one takes me back… before puberty, before girls, before driving cars, but long after getting over my thumb-sucking addiction.

…That’s right I’m fourteen years clean!

When but a wee lad learning to play piano and starting (home) school the annual county fair rolled through the state of Georgia yet again, and this time it was bringing a Demolition Derby!!!

Cars smashing against each other, jumping over mounds of dirt, spinning out of control, ramming into concrete boundaries, AND cheap admittance! How could a young J-Flo pass up the chance!?

And it was a fair! Amusement rides, festival games, fair food, I mean come on! It was going to be Six Flags for a cheap price! Fun, fun, fun, fun!


…But little J-Flo did not know the difference between ‘county fair’ and ‘Six Flags’. And he was soon to learn…

The smashing of dreams began when the ‘games’ let me down… In the form of a small gambling stand. And Pinky the rat…

Behind the scenes, Pinky was trained to follow the smell of cheese. And the cheese could appear in a number of places for him, specifically FOUR places, red, blue, yellow, or green. And it was the hand that fed him to choose where his glorious dairy prize would go. His old… white bearded… Hawaiian shirt wearing… owner. I cannot remember his name… so I will name him ‘Dream Crusher’.

DC for short.

DC had some prizes that resembled my favorite video game character, Crash Bandicoot.

I wanted Crash to come home with me! The only thing standing in front of me was DC and his trained con-rat Pinky.

…I wasted all my quarters on that one game…

…And Crash never came home with me.

I was devastated! These games looked so easy in the movies! How could this have happened to a little boy?

DC happened… DC and his thieving rodent!!!


Needless to say I learned a valuable lesson that day… I learned that on the side of trying to rule the world with Brain, Pinky was a carny! I couldn’t wait to tell my friends!

Next was the Demolition Derby, the main event!

Which turned out to be the main disappointment…

I never knew one passion men can obtain during midlife crisis is to get a broken car and rear end other broken cars for fun! FUN!

That was not fun! There were no explosions! No ninety-foot jumps, and no explosions! It was a rip off! It… IT… It was totally worth five dollars for entry!

…And now that I look back I realize that I had great expectations and high hopes for a lot of things…

But finally there were the fair amusement rides. Most of them were okay I guess, nothing to thrilling and pretty safe for the most part. I mean my brother was frightened while on the spinning apples, the rip-off of Disney’s spinning teacups, so I did get some twisted joy spinning that thing as fast as I could!

My brother even discovered the joy of food that day with the infamous ‘Turkey Leg’. He gobbled a leg that was the size of his torso!

But the worst was yet to come… The main ride, the main point of THIS story, was the life-threatening, heart stabbing, cheap and half broken thrill of the county fair…

…The Swinging. Ship…

I can still see it clearly… Pharaoh’s Boat… Some sick humorous biblical joke that made no sense! The Pharaoh’s Guillotine is more like it…

It was the last ride we had not ventured onto. The park was closing, and the sun was getting REAL low. It was a right of passage we would have to take some time in our life, one that took much motherly coaxing to do (yes she was there, poking us with her trident so she could revel in our misery).

Christopher was already crying when we were sitting down in it before it started. We sat in the middle, and the other victims sat on the very end, those brave fools…

At last the ride started, and it began moaning underneath to gain momentum. It took a few small swings back and forth before it really started swinging! The Pharaoh began laughing, and the swings were going higher, and higher, and higher!

At last it was finally into the full swings, we could see the gears that propelled at the base. Christopher began with the praying, and I began with the screaming.

Screaming to turn the ride off. You know, that screaming that all the little kids scream, thinking that the operator will hear them.


The cries for mercy went unheard…

It was so bad on that ride that the safety bars, (THE SAFETY BARS) around us began falling back and forth when the ride would have us upside down. We were holding on to our safety bar as hard as our ten year old bodies could hold! Our safety bar was not about to let us go! We were Floyds! And we were going to survive!

And then the ship came to a slow down and eventually stopped.

We soaked our mothers shirt in tears and agony. They were tears of fear, and relief. The nightmare was over, and the Pharaoh had had his torture with us. And we vowed to never ride a swinging ship again…

…And that I would one day rescue Crash Bandicoot from the claws of Pinky!!!!

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