Chapter 44:

One Memory


Walking around the empty streets at night under the illuminated attractions, Frankie found herself closer to true silence than she’d ever been.

Not all parks settle down when the sun sets. It’s the worst part about living somewhere popular. Even in Merrytown, she was used to going to bed with the distant sounds of more successful parks still dirtying the airwaves. And as soon as morning rose- some might say earlier than that- the whole Earth would shake with the cries of tourists.

Here, where the surrounding areas were all helpless to compete or bought out as parking space, all she could hear was the rushing water of rides and the footsteps of her crew. She could even make out the chirrs of a few insects.

“Hot night.” Umi commented, not used to such silence.

“When’s it not?” Tagged on Frankie, sass only in good fun. There was even a little grin on her face tonight as she admired the crazy state she’d managed to bring about with her sister’s money.

“Oh, I’m just a nerd about that sort of thing. Once upon a time, this part of the year… the whole world would be freezing.”

“I hope that’s not firsthand experience.”

“Do I look a thousand years old?” Umi laughed. “No, no- before the temperatures became what we know, they actually just went all over the place. Like, I’m sure you know winter was cold back in the caveman days, but it actually got even colder once things started to heat up.”

“Is that when it would snow?” Katie besieged with glowingly curious eyes.

“It snowed before that, too. But eventually, things just… evened out. And now it’s scorching all year round. Not that I’m complaining. Always good weather for a swim! And not to mention the sea’s even bigger than our ancestors had it.”

“I wish it still snowed…” Katie pouted.

“Eh, they’ve got parks for that. Pretty sure you can find that whole Kidneyland subarea in like ten different places across the country. The one with the ice castle?”

“I wonder if I should visit them all, or just one…” Katie absentmindedly stargazed at the invisible stars.

The girls walked past the shop area Frankie had once taken over to set her operation. Without customers, all the markets and games run by smaller contractors were shut closed. Not that Frankie had any intention of playing that stupid rigged duck game ever again.

“We never got to ride the Gigawhale a second time.” She mentioned, looking back over the park without even a little anxiety this time.

“Guess we didn’t, did we? Lead the way, kid.” Umi remarked. “Sheesh, what a day it’s been… you know, I’m not really here to look out for you at this point. I’m just interested to see what you’re gonna do with your alone time. That, and… well, you said you wanted everyone gone but me and your sister, yeah? So I’m not gonna screw up your wish at the last moment.”

“You just wanna have fun with us, admit it~” Katie teased, tugging at the woman’s arm.

“Maybe just a little. Guess I’m kind of a shit lifeguard, huh?”

They ran up the stairs to the Gigawhale like it was a ride in and of itself. Making it a race, the concrete steps turned into a fairly entertaining exercise. When they reached the top, an only vaguely-familiar face awaited them running the riderless ride.


The kid laughed, seeing their coworker again with the same two girls that had thrown their boss into a frenzy.

“What are you doing back on Gigawhale duty?”

“Ms. Pearlman was pissed. Put me out here to waste my time… Ah, well. Someone had to do it. It’s easier this way… without all the guests.” They sat a phone down on top of the baggage elevator next to them. “So, you wanna ride?”

Frankie wasn’t scared of this person. Alone, and with a link to her friend, they didn’t pose a single threat. So she decided she wanted to be the one to answer them.

“Yeah.” She said. “We won’t bother you again.”

“Ah, it’s all the same.” They prepared a raft for the three of them. “I’m not that lazy.”

They readied a raft from the side of the loading bay. As the boat flopped onto the puddle just in front of the entrance to the slide, Frankie lingered on the four seats dividing it. 

“Wanna slack off anyway?”

The four of them laughed as loud as they felt like as they all went down the slide together.

With each turn, Frankie felt a new wave of excitement. The speed of the drop was nothing short of exhilarating, and the water splashing around her as her friends squealed in increasingly ridiculous fashion was her favorite sort of chaos. She swore she had to have been remembering something wrong… this time around, the ride felt like it was at least six times longer.

Katie actually found herself a little worried as they slid down the endless tube. After all, the two of them were basically broke, and with nowhere to go. Even getting home would be a nightmare- if she’d even consider giving up like that. But still, she was happy- because looking at her sister’s face, she could tell that was the last thing in her mind. So she resigned not so much as to bring it up.

In truth, Frankie wasn’t even able to think about Action’s rampage or President Washington that night. The two didn’t cross her mind- not even a single time.

Unlike the last few- that crazy night was spent making a memory she’d actually quite enjoy looking back on, in time.

Steward McOy