67: Just Desserts

67: Just Desserts

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Just for Preteens

Just Desserts

Whoso diggeth a pit shall fall therein.

~Proverb

It was a smaller version of a Ferris wheel, but instead of an open seat, it was an enclosed, cage-type thing designed for children, with two seats facing each other. A large lever between the seats could be pulled toward or away from the rider, causing the cage to rock back and forth. If you held the lever back long enough, the cage would go upside down and make a complete turnover.

The summer I was nine I was considered responsible enough to accompany my little brother, who was three, on various rides and my mother decided this one would be safe enough.

It was also the summer I not only learned a valuable lesson in physics, but also that what goes around actually does come around, and that one must live with the consequences of bad decisions.

We had gone around a couple of times when I decided to add a little variation to the ride by operating the lever. We began to rock as the cage went up and down in its big circle, and my brother began screaming for me to stop.

The more frightened he became, the more I enjoyed the ride. Finally I made the cage turn completely over, much to the terror of my little passenger. My mother was shouting from below for me to stop, but I was having so much fun I didn’t hear her.

Then it happened. My brother was so terrified he had an accident. I’m not talking a little water here, I’m talking heavy-duty stuff that escaped from his loose-fitting sun suit, and went flying every which way inside the enclosure.

The lever was stuck in the hold position so we kept turning over and over. I was so busy shielding my eyes, I couldn’t free it. The stuff just kept ricocheting from side to side, top to bottom, around and around in the little cage. I wanted to scream for the operator to stop the ride, but I didn’t dare open my mouth!

Finally it was over. The cage came to a standstill, and I had the option of remaining in it or facing my furious mother. But she decided that I had been sufficiently punished for the evil treatment of my brother, and all she said was, “It serves you right.”

Then she said something about “just desserts” — but I sure didn’t feel like eating anything.

~Jackie Fleming

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