During a drive to cottage country my friend Anderson and I stopped at a McDonald's for lunch. We watched with amusement as forty car-crazed children climbed in and out of a two story, top of line Playland, a veritable MIR space station of exploration for hyperactive kids.
I imagined myself as one of those tots, doggedly crawling my way deeper into the bowels of that geometric intestinal tract, wondering where it would lead and what there was to see.
I dreamed of finding the very nexus of that strange edifice, a dark and cozy place away from parents and the more timid children, where all the piping intersected in a plane far removed from space and time. That's when I saw The Imp, a dwarf-like gargoyle with pinioned wings and wicked eyes. It held out a bony finger on which sat a curved claw. It scraped a symbol into my forehead whilst I sat transfixed. The symbol gouged into my flesh healed instantly, the mark afixxed to my soul rather than my skin.
"Now go," it hissed with a malignant voice, old and dreary with the heavy eternities of Hell, and I crawled away until I reached the harsh light of the outside world, the incident a barest memory in the back of my mind...
I told this waking dream to my friend Anderson. As we both looked back up at the imposing apparatus with new respect our gaze lingered on the fans overhead, great pinwheels that circulated the air with a hypnotizing WOOMP-WOOMP-WOOMP-WOOMP.
Quickly we gobbled up our hamburgers and took our milkshakes to go. We needed clean air of the open road. Our brush with evil was imaginary but no less tangible. I will never look at a Playland the same way again.