The cops left hours ago and took with them the drunk who’d gotten Karened for riding the Penny Pony. We saw it all. Dee says he wasn’t a drunk, just tired. I hope wherever they take him he gets some sleep, though Dee says that’s not how it works dummy, and I don’t argue. Not with Dee. Besides, the Penny Pony’s still going, and that’s why we’re standing here, not even pretending to shop any longer. The brown fiberglass legs churn and churn. I used to ride it as a kid. Thought for sure they’d charge a quarter for it now, but nope, still a penny. Why won’t it stop, I say. Dee shrugs. We both give a small scream when we notice it isn’t even plugged in.
Battery, I finally say.
Haunted, Dee says back.
The Pony raises and dips its head and stares at us with its black, glossy eyes.
Dare, Dee says.
Bitch, no, I say.
She calls me a pussy and hands me the Slurpee she’s been nursing—all melted and more vodka than grapey syrup. She swings her leg over the saddle and sags into it, her hands on the black molded mane, almost petting it. Her face goes quiet, eyes half shut, and she’s actually smiling, like, from joy or something and doesn’t look like she’s running on Red Bull and power bars or like she’s failing her EMT classes or like she’s living out of her best friend’s car, just for a week or so, just till she gets enough for a deposit. And she doesn’t look so tall anymore as her body sways up and down all loose like, and I half think she’s going to fall off, but she doesn’t. Let me, I say. Wait your goddamn turn, she says. Already, a line’s queuing.
Joshua Jones Lofflin’s writing has appeared in The Best Microfictions 2020, The Best Small Fictions 2019, The Cincinnati Review, CRAFT, Paper Darts, SmokeLong Quarterly, Split Lip Magazine, and elsewhere. He lives in Maryland. Find him on Twitter @jjlofflin or visit his website: jjlofflin.com
“Something’s Still Going Down at the Meijer on Central Ave” placed 2nd in our 2022 Blurred Genre Flash Contest, judged by Lynn Steger Strong.