The Old Arcade

Reads: 143  | Likes: 0  | Shelves: 0  | Comments: 0

More Details
Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic
Short Story.

Submitted: January 04, 2010

A A A | A A A

Submitted: January 04, 2010

A A A

A A A


The Old Arcade
The pier stretched out to the fringes of the sea. Not far past where the sand disappeared into the water. The sun was low in the sky and was bright amongst the lilac clouds but the day was bitterly cold. The sky was reflected in the water and the view from the end of the pier was quite magnificent. At the pier head stood a tall, cold statue of modern art. Nobody was quite sure what it was supposed to be. Along the wooden panels there was a railroad track for which a small tram ran along full of children in the summer. Charlie and his girl walked hand in hand towards the pier head. They both shivered in the cold. At the end of the long board walk, just to the left of the modern art statue, was an old arcade full of very old arcade games and machines. One was a fortune teller with a wooden gypsy puppet pretending to write your fortune. After you put your money into it and the old thing had stopped groaning and shaking, a small piece of pink paper appeared from the metal slot half way down. As Charlie and Sally (his girl) approached the pier head they took a look at the arcade.
 “There’s a sign up there saying bar now open, should we go in?” said Charlie
“Yes, can we please? Look at all the old fashioned arcade games!” said Sally
“Come on then I’ll win you something from one of the machines. It’s too cold out here anyway” said Charlie.
They stepped inside the arcade. There was a sweet smell. Like a candy floss machine was nearby. In the middle of the arcade was a grabber machine. Sally giggled with excitement and danced towards it. Charlie being dragged along by her hand. The grabber machine was filled with sweets and candy. The grabber itself was designed like a crane.
“Oh how cute, these arcade games all look antique” said Sally. “Charlie! Charlie! Will you win some sweets for me from this one? Charlie!”
“Yes, what? Calm down goddamn it.”
“Will you win some for me? Charlie?”
Charlie’s attention was drawn to the bar and the bar only. It was actually more like a café and didn’t look like it served beer. He turned back to Sally disappointed. She was looking at him quite sadly.
“Please don’t be like this, Charles” she said
“Like what, damn it?”
“Please”
Charlie looked at her. It wasn’t the first time he had made her upset. Sally was a very bright and bubbly girl. Very pretty. Very sweet. But she could also be very naïve. Most people Charlie and Sally knew were slightly surprised to hear of their relationship.
“Alright. I’m sorry. Which ones do you want?” Charlie said as the turned towards the grabber and looked through the glass casing at all the candy. Sally smiled again as if she had never been upset and grabbed his arm with both of hers.
“Any I don’t mind” she said and kissed him on the cheek.
“Alright then”
Charlie put the money in, turned the crane and let it drop into the sea of candy. As the crane lifted back up it had a lollipop placed in its claws. Charlie looked confident and victorious. Sally squealed with delight.
“Oh you lovely boy! What flavor is it?”
“Strawberry, here.”
He handed her the lollipop and her smile brought warmness to the cold day.
“What else shall we go on?” she said excitedly.
“Let’s go to the bar first, what would you like?”
They walked over to the counter. Sally had her lollipop in one hand and her other arm linked with Charlie’s. To Sally, Charlie was a loving and caring boy. That was what she wanted him to be. She held him a little tighter.
“What do you mean you don’t serve beer? The sign outside says bar now open.”
“I’m sorry sir” said the waitress behind the counter.
“Sorry shit! What kind of bar doesn’t serve beer?”
“Please, Charlie don’t” said Sally almost in a whisper.
“I’m sorry sir” she said again.
They ordered coffee instead and sat on the tall stools at a table by the window. The whole left side of the arcade was one big window overlooking the sea which the sun was slowly sinking into. It was more red than it had ever been.
“Look how red that sun is” Sally said.
“Yeah”
“It looks just like that strawberry lollipop you won for me, you were very good at that grabber machine, darling. Most people don’t win anything.”
“They’re not as good as me are they, babe” Charlie drank his coffee.
Sally smiled sweetly and admired him. They drank their coffee and stood up to leave without giving a tip.
“No beer my ass”
Sally once again linked her arm into Charlie’s. As they were leaving Sally noticed the fortune teller machine to the left of the door.
“Oh, Charlie. Lets got on this one before we leave! Let’s see what our fortunes say!”
“Hell, Sally those things are all a bunch of shit.”
“Oh please, Charlie let’s see what they say!”
“I can tell you what they’ll say right here and now, it’ll say we’re in love and we’ll get married one day and the rest will just be a load of wordy shit.”
“Please Charlie, come on!”
“Fine, damn it, fine.”
They walked up to the machine. Charlie turned the old brass dial to August (his month of birth) and slipped a coin in it. It began to shake and rattle. The small puppet behind the glass pretended to write and then the machine stopped. A small piece of pink paper came out of the slot. He picked it up and read it.
Why must you always be so dominant? The one you think you love you will not marry. The one you think you cherish you do not love. It will not be long before this person will leave your side should you carry on your selfish ways.
Charlie was silent as he read it. Sally looked at him slightly excited.
“Well, what does it say?”
“This piece of shit must be broken, this fortune is completely wrong!” Charlie said angrily.
“Well what does it say? Does it say you love me and want to marry me?” Sally smiled innocently.
“It’s the wrong one, this isn’t mine. Damn piece of shit, I’ll try another.”
Charlie put another coin in. He left the dial on August. It shook and rattled and spat out another piece of paper. Charlie grabbed it and read.
Your time is running out. She will not stay long should you carry on like this. You don’t deserve her. She deserves much better. Make a change to your selfish ways or sadness awaits you. I cannot be much clearer.
“Damn piece of shit!” Charlie cried.
“Sir, will you please keep your voice down, there are young children here” said the waitress from behind the counter.
“Children shit! Your damn machine is broke!”
“Charlie what’s wrong? Does it not say we’re in love and will get married” Sally’s face had a worried look. Tears were on the brink of gathering in her eyes.
“Nothing’s wrong, babe. This son of a bitch machine keeps giving me the wrong fortune.”
Charlie put in another coin. He changed the month to December. The machine shook and rattled and yet another piece of paper appeared.
“Here we go, this one must be right” Charlie said thinking that the change of month would give him the outcome he wanted.
It’s not going to change. You’ve had your chance. You didn’t read the signs and now you will lose the one you hold most dear. I tried to warn you. I tried to tell you. But you carried on your selfish ways. You have brought this upon yourself.
“Damn it! You piece of horse shit! Fuck you! You don’t know anything!” Charlie shouted.
“Sir, Please! I must ask you to leave!” said the waitress.
Charlie smashed his fist through the glass case. There were gasps of shock from around the arcade. Sally screamed. Young children cried. Charlie began shaking the wooden gypsy puppet.
“You’re lying! You bastard, you’re lying!”
“Charlie that’s enough! Stop it! Just stop it now!”
Sally grabbed Charlie and pulled him away from the fortune teller. His hand was covered in blood and decorated with shards of glass.
Outside the sun was falling deeper into the sea. At the pier head a seagull landed on the railings and dug its beak into its wing. Then it lifted its head up, stretched out its neck and squawked as the day was slowly fading.
“This piece of shit is wrong, babe! It’s all wrong I’m telling you!”
“That’s enough! I can’t take it anymore! I can’t take it!” Sally shrieked.
“You’re right, babe. I can’t take this place either let’s get out of here.”
He grabbed sally with the hand not covered in blood.
“Get off me you bastard!” Sally struggled away from him.
“What did you call me?”
Sally broke loose from his grip.
“Bastard!” she screamed. And ran out of the arcade.
Charlie stood. He looked around. He looked at the broken glass glistening on the floor. The traces of his blood over the wooden gypsy puppet. The pink pieces of paper scattered around. He turned his head. Families sat at the tables in the café or stood at the other machines with their children looking at him. There was silence but for a crying child in a high chair. Charlie could hear nothing. Could see nothing. Just white. Eventually the waitress behind the bar said that he should leave. Charlie thought about how much he wanted a beer. He could have killed for a beer right then and there. He stepped out of the arcade and onto the pier head. The sun which Sally had cutely likened to her strawberry lollipop had gone. They had both gone. Only Charlie was left out of them. Just there on the lonely pier head in the bitter night. Sally; his love; his sun; his strawberry lollipop, would not be coming back. Charlie slouched down and rested against the tall, cold statue of modern art. Still nobody knew what it was supposed to be.
 
J.P. Kenny, winter 2010.


© Copyright 2018 jpkenny. All rights reserved.

Add Your Comments: