Mr. Thomas tossed his hat on the side table and slipped off his smothering coat jacket.
“Margaret, I’m home.”
She came out of the kitchen wearing a ruffled apron, her face heat flushed.
“You’re early, Hubert,” she said, offering her pink cheek for a kiss.
“Look what I have.”
She smiled. “What are those, dear?”
“An anonymous donation at the office. We’re going to that new park, Disneyland.”
Just as she tried to hide her skepticism, a crash boomed on the floor above them. Their two sons dashed down the stairs, one chasing the other, yelling like crazed animals.
Hubert almost caught one by the arm. “Do I have to take my strap to you?” he yelled after them.
“Please dear, not again. It only makes things worse.”
Hubert grumbled that the rest of Anaheim was in line with them.
The boys poked each other, starting another pushing match.
“Boys,” Margaret pleaded under her breath. “Let’s have a nice day, shall we?” She took a handkerchief from her pocketbook and chased the smudge of chocolate on one boy’s face, but he dodged away.
Hubert lit another cigarette and tried to ignore them. He repositioned his fedora, trying to make the moist band more comfortable against his hot forehead.
When they finally reached the front of the line, they offered their coupon books to the attendant. “Ah, the special yellow tickets.” He flashed a grin, ushering them to the front car. “The youngsters will be here, and you two folks, those in the front are for you.”
Margaret almost protested, that the boys shouldn’t be unchaperoned, but she needed a break from the constant contention.
Joyful music played with children singing as they entered the cool relief of the shade. Their car slid down the waterway into the growing darkness, humming along to the amplified music. Suddenly, they turned sharply. Then dropped and jerked sideways. She screamed, and thought the boys did too. Hubert was silent, but he crushed her hand beneath his on the bar pressing down over their laps.
Water roared like Niagara Falls. Lights flashed, blinding Margaret and Hubert. Another twist, a jerk, a drop. Margaret wanted off. Hubert ground his teeth. It wouldn’t end.
Their car bumped gently back against the loading dock. Hubert and Margaret blinked in the bright light. They were confused. How long had they been inside? Their memories were confused, their perceptions altered. They almost remembered when their car took a different turn, separated from the rest. But they’d never remember when the attraction stopped time, suspending them to work its Magic.
When the attendant lifted the bars and helped out Margaret, Hubert followed on shaky legs. They stepped to the back car and helped their boys out.
“How did you like that, Darlings?” Margaret asked.
“Very nice, Mother,” one said.
“Thank you, Father. I was wrong. It was fun,” the other said.
The boys held hands and tranquilly followed their parents to go see the Magic Castle.
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