Chapter 49:

Ride Operator


Ratguy’s Rampage was not a new attraction. The character for which it was named was old, unpopular, and frankly, had not aged very well. There were no fans of this ride, nor did anyone specifically dislike it. Some felt it was too dangerous, others claimed it wasn’t scary enough. Either way, nobody thought of it that long. It was the sort of thing that fell out of one’s memory quite easily.

This humble ride was the sole pride and joy of a man named Vincent Stamos. Forty-four, owner of a single sharp white suit he wore everyday. In 1998 NGP, he became the ridestock owner of this machine, earning revenue off of it and some park facilities. He didn’t have to operate it, but really felt he ought to. Without him, after all, people would probably up and forget the thing existed.

“Step right up, yes! Method of payment? Ah, offered up front! My absolute favorite.” He pocketed the cash of a guest that day. “You a fan o’ the rancid ratster himself, or didjya just hear tell of the best ride in the whole park?” He laughed as the kid went up to join the next batch of riders without answering.

He didn’t know who Ratguy was when he bought the ride, but had acquainted himself pretty damn well from geeks online, or so he thought. He was a big fan in the sense that he managed to misinterpret the character into an idol for his capitalistic ambitions in a world that always seemed to be kicking him down. He’d never talk about it to his friends outside of work, but if you asked him while he was on his podium, he’d tell you he was the biggest fan of the rodential antihero in the whole world.

“Hey, uh…”

Stamos snapped out of his constant nostalgic recollections of his own life to see two customers approaching him. Before his character could slip, he promptly set out to transfix them with his ringleader-esque charms.

“Welcome to the heart-poundin’-est, authentic rat-feelin’-est ride in all of Venge City! How will you be paying?” His excitement drooped a little at the sight of Katie’s rider’s license.

“Uh, well, actually, sir…” Frankie stammered. “Me and my sister, we… give us a job. We need money.”


“Ahaha, so sorry sir!” A tad embarrassed, Katie stepped up to the plate. “What she means to say is, we’re willing to offer some helping hands in exchange for a salary! Would that be okay with you?”

“Wait, so you… you don’t wanna ride?” The man scratched his mustache, still disappointed even knowing he wouldn’t earn much revenue from a licensed rider.

“We certainly could ride it! It could… get us an idea of what we’re working with. But mainly, we just want you to hire us, as… some kind of assistant!” She replied with a friendly smile.

“Oh. Huh… well, uh… I don’t need much help just flipping the switches or anything, but… you know… I might be able to step up my marketing if I had two lackeys at my disposal. It’s a deal, kid.” He straightened his tie and stuck out both of his worn hands. “So there’s two of ya, yeah…? Whaddya say I can getcha… five hundred an hour? That seems fair.”

Katie went to shake before she was stopped by her little sister’s arm.

“Two thousand.” Frankie demanded.

“Whooo-wee!” The ridestock sounded, this close to slapping his knee. “You two better be the best damn minions a guy’s ever had if you want that much.” He continued to speak to them, holding up the line.

“We will be.” Frankie spoke bluntly, sinking back into her business mode.

“So you’re willing to do whatever it takes… for the sake of this ride, right?” Stamos glared, checking her conviction.

“You say it, we’ll do it. Let’s get to marketing this damn ride already.”

Stamos heed and hawed, reaching out to shake both their hands with his crossed arms. “Deal. Deal deal deal. Let’s get to work.” He smirked, the plans already hatching in his balding head. 

Steward McOy