A Short Story

6:22

carnival carousel entertainment 1403653

He could not sit still at one spot for too long. His attention span, worse than anyone you can imagine. He was often warned by friends and family that he needed to focus, they told him he’s not going to get anywhere in life with his lack of focus. It’s not that he wasn’t interested in things. In fact, for the amount of time he was focused his focus was such that he could find a needle in the grass but the problem was, it didn’t last very long. The pun is not intended if that’s where your mind went, anyways he still managed to get by. His life was fulfilling. “As long as he’s happy that’s all that matters” people would say about him before shifting their focus away from him.
This problem that everyone thought was going to be a big one didn’t turn out to be so bad after all. In fact it got him a special job in the entertainment business. He started working at the Carnival. It soon became his home, that’s where he hung out, that’s where he lived, that’s where he ate, showered, slept and he loved it. Jumping around from one stage to another, from one thrill to the next, that was his thing. That’s how time went by for him. Performers would use him to rate their performances. If you could hold his attention for longer than 5 minutes you’re selling gold! He could have been a performer’s worst enemy if he was their audience but here he was their best friend, it’s all about perspective after all. They sure figured out a great way to make the best of him. Performers would use him to calibrate their acts before they took it out to public. The target would be to maintain his attention for as long as possible.

All sorts of people worked at the carnival. Helping with the day to day administration didn’t require any special talent but if someone was to pick they would say she was a very good listener. She could listen to anyone with the most curious eyes. That’s about the only thing she was good at. For her getting better at things was never the goal or maybe she just had not found the right motivation to do that. ‘The problem’ if that’s what you want to call it, was that she enjoyed the moments too much. Being surrounded by all these people who were really good at things, all the talented ones, didn’t bother her. Her talent was her comfort, a comfort the others could not really afford to have. It bothered some and even though they wouldn’t say it out loud you could tell that they were not too comfortable with the ease she was coasting through the roller coaster of life.
Today she was trying a new trick she had picked up from God knows where. She jokingly gathered a small audience of her friends pretending to be a magician and decided to try out her ‘unripe’ trick. She asked for a coin from the audience. With the coin in one hand and a pen in her other hand she started with the words “So this is a very classic magic trick. I’ve got a coin and a magic wand”. Someone shouted “That’s a pen”. “Yup this is going to be my magic wand today” she replied in a calm mellow tone. She moved the pen up and down in an arc getting ready to make the coin disappear. “So i’m gonna, i’m gonna use my wand to make the coin disappear or maybe the wand disappears” at which point the pen actually should have disappeared if things went according to plan. But instead, there was a crowd dying with laughter, hysterical laughter! ‘The wand is in your hand’ someone shouted. “Ah shit” she said while laughing at herself. There was something strange about her expression, it was disappointment mixed with hints of amusement. It was as if she didn’t expect to do much better anyway, as if deep down she was laughing at her actions too.
He tried to stop it in a failed attempt of trying to be nice but he could not hold his laughter for long. He was rolling on the floor as well. He joking asked her to try to do it again and reassuringly said ‘I think it’ll work if you try it again’ when all he really wanted was to see her fail again. With a frown on her face she threw the pen at him and missed by a mile. This triggered another chain of laughter. She was a little embarrassed but even she couldn’t help but laugh at her own silliness. He went ahead and offered her his own pen “here try it with this one”. She asked for a coin and he said ‘A coin? This is to try hitting me again, I think the magic trick is already perfect’ with a smirk on his face that was ready to break into laughter at any time. Another bucket of laughter spilled, while she gave him a middle finger and raised the pen to hit him. He tried to get away as if he almost knew this would happen but this time she got him. There was no end to her excitement. She jumped out of her chair until she noticed he was lying motionless and looked rather sad. Apparently he was hurt! She apologized with concerned eyes and asked if everything was ok only to discover it was a fucking bluff! After a few laughs and playful angry gestures were exchanged he offered to teach her the magic trick she was trying to perform. She thought for a moment. After all that just happened, she did not know whether to trust him anymore, but something inside her just made her say  “Yes please do it, I wanna learn it”
“There you are! You know everyone’s been looking for you, I thought you were going to be back in 5 minutes?” A man said from behind as he approached the group. “I’m sorry I lost track of time I was trying  to teach her a magic trick” as he uttered those words, his head began to process what had just happened. He quickly looked at his watch to check the time and it said “6:22”. He had been there for longer than 20 minutes without even realizing. This is the longest he had stayed put in one place. This realization sort of worried him but deep down it felt good as well, because running around all the time does get tiring. He walked away with the strange man, promising his friend he will be back to teach her the magic trick. As he walked close to the stage where another performer will try to captivate him he reached in his pocket to discover the ‘Magic Wand’. He mistakenly carried the pen in his pocket. ‘Well now I have to see her again’ he thought.