Funhouse Mirrors

We’ve found ourselves in a rotting, collapsing carnival. And how? Some say we’ve always been here, others say they wandered towards the brightest light from the darkness outside the fence. Almost all pretend it’s still alluring. Fun.

A particular group have become obsessed with the high striker. After the first few swings we realized the trick and moved on but others stayed hopeful. They theorize, scheme, and train, convinced that some day they can hit the bell. Nobody ever has. The game is rigged. But even if it weren’t, the rubber stopper removed, the bell would not ring. It’s so rusted that each time they swing the mallet the bell disintegrates slightly, currently resembling a spider web it likely won’t last much longer. I wonder if the players will notice when it finally disintegrates.

There are others who buzz around, watching the grid of incandescent bulbs blink and blink and blink but still seem excited by the patterns. They observe their bodies in the funhouse mirrors, swelling their stomachs, and flailing their limbs in an attempt to even out the reflection. They talk about the weight of the life-sized cardboard cut-outs of people with faces that someone once recognized, but we see them rock in the breeze.

We too sit facing the façade. But we’ve grown sick of the games, the empty calories of cotton candy and popcorn, and bored with the thrills but we remain planted here, watching. Are we different than those who buzz around? If we were we would likely wander off into the darkness.