This is a Dark Ride (Week Ending October 27)

This is a Dark RideYears ago, there was a television program called The John Larroquette Show. John Larroquette starred as a recovering alcoholic who had become the manager of a bus station. The show had a dark humor, characterized by John’s attitude toward his addiction. During the first episode, he hangs a carnival sign on his office wall that reads “This is a Dark Ride.”

For the uninitiated, a dark ride is an indoor amusement ride in which guided vehicles travel through specially lit scenes. If you’ve ever been through a ride like the “Tunnel of Love” or Disneyland’s “Pirates of the Caribbean,” you know what we mean. A dark ride doesn’t have to be literally dark, but often darkness is used to conceal what comes next.

That sign, and its implications about our lives, has stuck with me for nearly 20 years. Life is very much a dark ride.  Our future is concealed by the veil of time. It offers unexpected thrills around every turn. Sometimes the surprises are happy ones, but often they are terrifying.

Our flash fiction assignment for this week was inspired by the season and the classic novel Something Wicked This Way Comes. Writer Ray Bradbury combines horror and fantasy in a story of a traveling carnival that comes to a small town one October. The carnival leader, Mr. Dark, fulfills the townsfolk’s secret desires … but at a price.

We asked our writers in the Cafe to channel their darkest thoughts and write a short story for Halloween. They have been thinking about carnivals and the strange awful things that could be lurking in those traveling shows.

So climb aboard. Keep your arms and legs inside at all times. This is a dark ride.

Until Next Week,

The Cafe Management

Cafe Management is run by the administration of The Confabulator Cafe. We keep things running smoothly, post stories by guest authors, and manage other boring back-end tasks.

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