Monday, April 22, 2013

Ups and Downs

            “The Tilt-a-Whirl is a far more adequate description of life than the classic roller-coaster view,” said Franklin.
            “Why do you think that,” asked Marion.
            Frank sat up in his chair and leaned over the lunchroom table. Marion moved in closer to hear his response. She put down her protein drink and moved her salad off to the side. Franklin put his hot dog down.
            “A roller-coaster always goes in a straight line. There may be loops and twists, but it is always moving in one direction along the rails and it never deviates. The Tilt-A-Whirl just seems to be all over the place, spinning and twirling over an undulating frame. It just seems, to me, that life is more like that,” said Franklin.    

            Franklin leaned back and picked up his hot dog and took a seemingly satisfying bite. Marion considered this statement about life. She’d never been a fan of either roller-coasters or the Tilt-A-Whirl. She was always more of a carnival game type, but not the rides. They made her feel nauseous.

            She liked eating her lunch with Franklin because he almost always had something interesting to say. He was a little weird though. Most of the rest of the store employees wouldn’t even really talk to him. He did often seem to smell of Limburger and his hair was the greasiest she’d ever seen. But he did have a kindness that Marion felt was lacking in the rest of the Mega-Copy employees. He was also older than most of the other employees and he seemed to have a little experience under his belt.

            “So, what do you think,” asked Franklin.
            “I don’t really know. I never really thought about it much. I mean, I guess I can see what you’re saying. I’m not much of a carnival ride girl. Maybe I’ll ride the Ferris Wheel every once in a while, but I never really think about it as a metaphor for life,” said Marion.
            “The Ferris Wheel, now there’s a metaphor. The highs and lows of staying in one place without ever really going anywhere but in a giant circle,” said Franklin.
            “Well, I never think about it like that. I just don’t think about life like that. I come to work here, I go home, I hang out with my girlfriends, I see my niece and I sleep. That’s about the extent of my life. So I don’t guess carnival rides are all that relatable to me as a way of explaining life,” said Marion.
            Franklin had finished his hot dog and was now jamming French fries into his mouth. He looked down at the table and the mess he’d made. Mustard had plopped off the first hot dog and splattered the front of his blue work polo shirt. He hoped Marion hadn’t noticed. He felt like she was someone who understood him.

            “My life is totally a Tilt-A-Whirl though. I mean, I have a lot going on in my life. I’m not going to be a tech with Mega-Copy forever you know. I got big plans,” said Franklin.
            “That’s good. I’m glad you have plans. I just don’t know what I want yet. I mean, I’m only 24 years old and I don’t think I really have to know yet,” said Marion.

            Franklin wiped his chin and Marion looked at him.

            “I like you Marion. I want to take you out on a date,” said Franklin.
            Marion stopped sipping the last of her protein drink through her straw. She almost coughed.
            “That’s so sweet, but I’m… I’m not really looking to date anyone right now. I’m just not really into that right now. I mean, you’re so nice and we’re friends and I wouldn’t want to mess that up with, you know, anything…weird,” said Marion.

            Franklin put his head down and considered his ever expanding beer gut.

            “I understand. I wouldn’t want to screw up our lunches together,” said Franklin.

            Marion nodded. The lunchroom door opened and Gary came in and went to the microwave.

            “Well, I should get back to my electronics counter,” said Marion.

            She stood up from the table and moved past Gary. She threw her remaining salad away and went out to the sales floor. Franklin slouched in his chair. Gary was pressing buttons on the microwave filling the small lunchroom with annoying beeps and boops. The microwave finally whirred to life and Gary started humming. He was humming a Queen song, Another One Bites the Dust.

            “Up yours Gary,” said Franklin.

            Franklin stood up from the table and hurried through the lunchroom door.

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