The Telling

red and white roller coaster on railings

Photo by Min An on

He waited until her husband was out of the room, then he threw his empty plastic cup at her head. She ducked and it clattered on the wall behind her, a few drops of beer landing on her dress.

“I thought you were going to tell him!” he hissed.

“Knock it off!” she hissed back, her face furious.

“You are making this much harder than it needs to be!” he whispered fiercely.

Her husband’s voice boomed from the hallway. “Darling, where did I put that book I was talking about? It’s not where I thought I left it.”

“It’s on the dresser in the bedroom, love,” she called to him.

She turned to her brother. “You are being an ass. Stop it. Stop it now.”

“Margo ya gotta tell him. He’s going to find out and just explode.”

She shrugged. “And if he does? Nick, just stay out of it.”

“Stay out of it?” he snarled. “It’s my life too. It’s my money too. It’s a lot of money. A lot.”

“She gave the money to both of us,” Margo said. “It’s our inheritance. And he won’t understand.”

“Understand what?” her husband said, standing in the doorway. “What are the two of you whispering about in here?”

Nick stood. “Your WIFE has something to tell you.” He opened the sliding glass door and went out to the deck.

Margo looked at her husband levelly. “He’s talking nonsense,” she said. “He’s just trying to stir things up.”

He moved into the room and sat down opposite her.

“I don’t think you are quite telling me the truth,” he said. “I know you too well, Margo.”

She threw up her hands. “FINE!”, she said. “But you need to hear me out, before responding.”

“Fair enough.”

“Nick and I have always had a dream, since we were kids. We talked and talked and talked about it. We drew it out. We made stories about it. It became part of our childhood mythology. We were quite rabid about it. Even as we got older, teens. It was always there. I have mentioned it lightly to you…but I never really  expressed what it meant to us. Always did, still does.”

Her husband was silent, his head tilted to one side, looking at her. She saw the truth settle in on his face. He began to laugh.

“Is this about the Amusement ride store? Is that what this is all about?”

Yes,” she said. “We’ve taken our inheritance and bought property to make it a reality. Nick’s finishing up the designs on it now. He’s worked out all the mechanical kinks.”

“I don’t believe this,” her husband said. “Why would you do this without talking to me?”

“Because you have always laughed. You’ve said how silly it was. You’ve mocked it.”

“Oh come on,” he said. “A store that’s half amusement ride and half shopping experience. It’s not remotely practical.”

“It’s even more practical now. Look at how much shopping has moved online. People want a fast easy experience. OR they want fun. People are spending money on all kinds of extraordinary adventures. We’d give them both. If we do this right, and we will, people will come from all over the country. Maybe even all over the world to shop with us. We can charge a bit more for the shopping end too. We’d have an amazing brand. Sell tshirts and souvenirs. It’s going to be unlike anything ever seen before.”

“I don’t know what to say,” her husband said. Nick came inside from the deck.

“Good,” he said. “She’s finally told you. I can tell from the look on your face.”

“Tell him what you designed,” Margo said.

“The design of the store will be both sleek and sophisticated,” Nick said, “But also with a shade of old-fashioned dime-store appeal. A wink from the past. I figured out how the dynamics of the shopping cars will work. They’ll

have a bumper car feel, but with storage for the purchase items, and perhaps a rocket ship feel to the front. There’s some change in gradient so it feels like a soft roller coaster. The aisles will be curved, so they’ll feel more motion. They’ll be able to choose slower or faster. I’ve figured out how they can reach everything from sitting. They can choose scary ride, if they want, or just gentle motion. I’ve built in all kinds of variables. Surprises. They’ll see new things each time. They’ll want to keep riding.”

“And what is your role in all this,” her husband asked her.

“I’m on the merchandising and marketing end. I’m designing the color palette, the theme, all the items for sale. The uniforms, the bags, the signage, the music, everything.”

Her husband sighed heavily, and ran his hand through his hair. She looked at Nick and frowned.  “I just have one thing to ask,” he finally said.

“What is it?”

“Can I at least help pick out the name?”

Nick and Margo laughed.

“What did you have in mind?” Nick said. “Because we kinda have a name picked out.”

“Tell me your name first.”

“We were leaning towards Kool Kart. Or maybe Shopping Kart. Kinda ironic feel.”

“Those are too generic,” her husband said. “You need a name that reflects how unique you are.”

“Agreed,” Margo said. She leaned forward. “Do tell, darling husband of mine.”

“I think you should focus on the riding part,” he said. “Call it THE ZIP. A take on the classic Zipper roller coaster. And your tagline can be simple. RIDE. SHOP.”

“I love it,” Nick said. Margo nodded and stuck out her hand.

“Shake,” she said. “Partners always.” The three shook hands.




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