The Grey Ferris
by Jeff Baker
“Okay,” Ross said. “In another minute, kiss me.”
“What? Are you crazy?” Burt said. “Your Mom and Dad are…”
“Sitting down in the beer garden,” Ross said. “In another minute, the Ferris wheel will turn enough that we’ll be hidden behind the building and nobody can see us.”
“But everybody can see…” Burt started to say.
“Not up this high if we don’t hang out the edge of the car.”
“But we’re…” Burt said.
“Do you love me?” Ross asked. His eyes were wide and his lower lip was shaking a little.
“Yeah, yeah I do.” Burt said. They’d never said that aloud before.
Ross’ Mom and Dad had driven the two teenagers over to the county fair. Neither of them had a car yet. Ross stretched his legs and Burt stared at his bluejeans-covered thigh.
The Ferris wheel creaked as it started moving again. For a moment they were at Twelve O’clock. Then One O’clock. Then it stopped at the Two O’clock position.
Ross glanced over at the building that filled their field of vision.
“Okay…now,” Ross said.
The two young men embraced and kissed. It wasn’t the first time but it was the closest they’d come to kissing in public. Certainly not in this little town at their rural high school.
They hadn’t started by embracing, but Burt moved his hand behind Ross’ back. Ross rested his hand on Burt’s leg. It felt like the stars, Sun and Moon were swirling around them.
Then the Earth moved.
The Ferris wheel started up again with a “clunk.” Burt and Ross sat back in the seat, sure they’d heard an electric pop when they pulled their lips apart. They grinned at each other.
The wheel turned and the two of them stepped off trying to look like two high school buddies looking for popcorn, girls and games while maybe talking about college.
“My Dad’ll kill me. I mean, really.” Burt said.
“Yeah, my folks too.” Ross said.
“I turn 18 next summer.” Ross said.
“I’m 18 in March,” Burt said.
“We get out of town as soon as we both can,” Ross said. “After we graduate.”
“Yeah.” Burt said.
They ran into one of Burt’s cousins who was at least in her 40s and would be in the area forever.
“You boys having a good time?” she asked.
They looked at each other and grinned.
“Yeah,” they said.
Next summer seemed so far away.
AUTHOR’S NOTE: This story just popped into my head and went a little differently than I imagined. I thought I hadn’t put enough detail in it or that I should leave it at a cliffhanger. But I think it’s fine the way it is. And I borrowed the title from Ray Bradbury’s fine story “The Black Ferris.” ——–jeff February 1st, 2022