The Observer

By: Nathan R. Wellner

Chapter: 1/ Turning of the Wheel

A young man with light brown, tasseled hair milled through the crowd, moving this way and that with the ease of long practice that came with dodging people. At least in so far as moving through crowds went. He smirked playfully as he wove between two older men, brushing by them with a whispered ''scuse me' though his presence went unnoticed. His eyes looked off towards the horizon, falling upon a Ferris Wheel standing against the dimming light of the day. There was a twinkle in his green colored eyes and the young man sped up his pace, eager to get to it. Thoughts of play ran through his mind, and a theme of sugar plums danced within, making him want to laugh aloud.

Third person narrative. That would be how an author to a story would start things off. Well, that would be how a friend I used to know would start off his stories. Something introductive, maybe poetic, but all definitely full of imagery. He liked setting the mood for his work. Granted, he never once wrote an actual story… Correction. He never completed a story, but he always talked about it. Why he never followed through, I'm not sure. I guess it just wasn't in him. My father used to tell me that if something was in your blood than it would make you burn until you got it out of your system.

Funny thing though, he was talking about fevers when he said that to me. For some reason it became my catchall.

But I digress. Fairs. I didn't get to go to them often as a kid, and when I did rarely did I get to do the kind of things that I wanted to do. It's why I'm at one now, some seven years after childhood ended and puberty began. I'm here to catch up on lost time. The line to the Ferris Wheel is long, but it doesn't concern me. I can wait. Sometimes waiting is good and I can use it for…well, anything that my mind can conjure up. Mostly at times like this I like to wallow in sensation and times long gone. Like anticipation. God how I loved that feeling of excitement during the Christmas months. I could never be properly patient enough for the present-giving holiday to arrive, but the days leading up to it had something to them that I always missed once the destined time lacked after it was all over. The only thing that's is the exception to this is anything involving a test. The 'curse of expectation' my mother called it. 'Terror' was the term that my schoolmates and I were more familiar with, and we were always left with a feeling of great relief when it was all over. Death? Chinese Water Torture? All child's play. Stick slivers of bamboo under my nails if you must, but please spare me the exam.

My turn came while I was lost in those thoughts, grinning like an idiot, as I'm wont to (and is my right) and I hopped into the Wheel's carriage, all but sprawling languidly on the seat. One year of being away from home has done wonders for my sense of self-portrayal, not to mention my confidence. At least, that's what I like to tell myself. One of my closest friends used to tell me to 'live in the moment because you never know when it's going to end.' I'm not normally the kind of person who's pushy by nature, or shows off, but today I didn't want to care about appearances. Besides, as I learned a long time ago, no one that I don't already know is likely to remember me, and I'm not likely to remember them. So why bother to care about what they're going to think about me? I try to follow that philosophy, and have done rather well for myself in the one year since leaving home.

The Ferris Wheel began to move and I reclined in my seat…as best as I could anyway in a seat that didn't actually incline. In the end, I settled for resting my feet on the seat on the other end and watched the world shrink beneath me. The setting sun cast a nice, golden glow on my jeans, and I smiled fondly at it. It reminded me of a cat that my folks and I used to own. A Tabby who was a great glowing orb in his own right. Orange, and as fat as fat can be. If he had any more mass, he certainly would have developed his own gravitational field.

Ah, how I was enjoying myself.

I closed my eyes as the angle of the carriage changed just enough to allow the sun to peak out at me and glare into my face with all of its glory. I shifted in my seat. It lacked much in the way of comfort, but I didn't care. I was enjoying myself. Albeit, I was alone (Ferris Wheels, I've been given to understand, are meant to be enjoyed with other people, particularly lovers and family), but I was having a grand old time all the same. This is what I wanted, and I couldn't have asked for anything more.

"I'll bet you're thinking you couldn't ask for anything more," laughed a feminine voice playfully as a hand grabbed hold of my sneakered foot and jostled it. My eyes snapped open in surprise and my feet shot away from their spot. Sitting before me was a woman with short red hair that dangled down around her face like fangs. Her eyes were narrowed into thin slits and she had a playful 'come on' smirk. I stared at her for a second in stunned surprise until the tickle of recognition sparked my brain back into recovery. I scowled and relaxed slightly, slumping down in my seat, groaning. The girl scowled at me, and her smirk disappeared abruptly.

"All right. You want to tell me what that's about?"

"Katherine…" I groaned again before heaving a sigh. There went my holiday time. Completely and totally out the side of the carriage whereupon it splattered like a ripe watermelon. I ran my hands through my hair and met her emerald eyes. "What do you want?"

Katherine snorted at me and tossed her head to the side, annoyed at the tone I was taking with her. I suppose she had every right to be, but damn it if she didn't choose the worst time to pop up in front of me like she always did.

"You know, I don't think I'm going to tell you now if you're going to take that attitude with me."

Cue another sigh from me. Honestly, I can be such a wimp around this person.

"I'm sorry. Was there something you wanted?"

"I can't just see a friend?"

We're friends?

"Well you usually show up when you have something planned," I said, deciding it was best to not voice to my unspoken and dare I say it, most sarcastic question. I knew from experience that it wouldn't have gone down well.

"Fine." Katherine rolled her eyes and crossed her legs. "But it's not something that I can just tell you. You'll have to come with me."

Now it was my turn to roll my eyes. Katherine noticed and fixed a glare at me.

"You always do that."

"You always drop things in my lap."

"Come on, it'll be fun! You like to learn new things, right? Well, I'm giving you an opportunity! You'll love it!"

I wanted to sigh once more. I lost track of how many times she said that to me. I think I stopped counting after five. Still, it was usually best to humor her. I owed her quite a bit. She'd been there for me when I was new to the game and she liked my company. Why I don't know, but every now and then she shows up and drags me off somewhere. I'm sure a wise person or a psychiatrist (though I have doubts about the latter) would be able to discern her reasons as to why aside from making my life interesting in the Old Chinese Curse kind of way. I have yet to discover it. Probably why I bother to keep going on her little trips.

"All right," I conceded, blowing at a strand of hair. "I'll go."

"Great!" Katherine grinned. She leapt to her feet a split second before our carriage ground to a halt back where it had started, and she disembarked. I followed in short order, rubbing the back of my head in agitation. I caught a confused look from the Ferris Wheel's operator as he watched the two of us leave the grounds. He may have been wondering where Katherine had come from, as I had gotten in alone. Oh well. He'll have something interesting to think about for a bit, if he cares to remember the incident at all that is. Most people usually don't.

Katherine grabbed my hand and pulled me along down the street.

"Let's find a more private setting," she said, flashing a smile at me. As we power walked, with her urging more speed out of my legs with every passing second, I couldn't help but think of a line I once got in a Chinese fortune cookie. One that I would always remember until the day that I died.

May you live in interesting times.

Here we go again…