Bounce House Hell


It was inevitable. I crossed paths with one of those bouncy houses. Brautigan took one look at it and nearly fell on his knees begging to go. Since he’s only three, there was no way in hell I was going to let him in by himself which meant it was going to be the two of us. We waited in line behind this six-year-old who couldn’t keep his hands to himself, kept ear-muffing the kid next to him with the palms of his hands.

Finally it was our turn. It was no big deal. We bounced for three minutes and it was over. But then he spotted the bouncy house next door. This huge thing with a giant bouncy slide. Brautigan had to go on. There was no changing his mind. So we waited in line. The guy who was supposed to be in charge was flirting with some teenage girl. I asked, ‘Should we go in now,” and he said, ‘Yeah yeah, it’s fine.’

So we crawled along this maze thing until we arrived at a little foam climbing wall. We climbed up without much trouble and slid down this little slide. Not so bad. Then, we crawled along this other maze and arrived at a big climbing wall, like 8 feet tall, and that’s when I said to myself, ‘What the mother fuck was I thinking?’ Brautigan took one look at it and turned around. I said, ‘Where are you going?’ and he said, ‘I’m not doing that.’ Little kids were coming at us, charging up the climbing wall. And I knew we had no choice but to turn around. There was no way I could heave myself and my child up that climbing wall. So we backtracked till we got to the little slide and I hoisted Brautigan up to the top without much problem but then there was me. I couldn’t climb up. I kept slipping down. I tried again and again all while holding Brautigan steady at the top so that he wouldn’t be trampled by the scores of oblivious kids siding down. Brautigan looked worried. And that’s when I realized I was in a life/death situation. So I made a growling noise and tried once more with all my might to climb up that slippery germ infested foam wall but I still couldn’t do it. Brautigan’s eyes got wide. ‘Can’t you get up, mama?’ he asked. ‘Of course I’m going to get up, my love.’

As a last resort, I dismantled a piece of the velcro foam that held the slide together and finally, heaved myself up. By this time, I was sweating and shaking but I grabbed Brautigan and finally we escaped into the sea of smiling crazed looking children at which point Brautigan saw the giant Bouncy slide again and said, ‘But Mama, I thought you said we could go down the big slide!” Thankfully at that moment an airplane appeared in the sky so I said, ‘Look! A plane!’ and as he said, ‘Oh, wow!’ I picked him up and ran him to the car.

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