Never judge a book by its cover. That’s what the boss says.
I suppose as sayings go, it isn’t all that deep. C’mon they’ve got board books and puppets singing catchy songs about it to toddlers. By the time they’re old enough not to crap their pants, they’ve moved on to other things, like look both ways before crossing the street. But it’s still true. You can’t tell by looks who’s going to be a good candidate and who isn’t.
Take tonight for instance. A group of high school girls come giggling up to the fun house. You’d think the one hanging back a bit, the one with a nervous laugh, who looks like she’s about to twitch right out of her skin will be the one who sees. Sometimes, you’d be right, but not tonight. No, it’s the one who seems to be leading the group, acting like the only thing she’s scared of is chipped nail polish. She sees.
Not right away though. She doesn’t notice a thing when I hand her back change for her ticket in – and she shouldn’t because part of what I’m paid for is to look ordinary. But while she’s in there, she sees. She sees something behind the strings holding up the fake zombies. She’ll notice something weird in the reflections in mirrors. She’ll see there’s something not really fake about the fake blood.
And I’ll see it. That’s the other part of what they pay me for. I always see and I always remember the ones who just know there’s something underneath the popcorn smell and peeling paint, whether they want to admit it to themselves or not.
Like I said, it’s a different kind of person every time. You’d think little kids would always see but they don’t. They do have a better chance than the average adult, but that’s no guarantee. And of the adults, sometimes it’s the guy in a business suit, sometimes it’s the gothed out punk. You never know on first sight, but you can see it when they leave, if you know what to look for.
I know. And I tell. Then the boss sends the others to collect. It’s pretty smart when you think about it. Why bother with people who can’t see a damn thing? There’s not even any fun in that. But if you know already who can see? Oh yeah, makes getting what you need a lot more efficient. You know the screams will come easy with them.
Song choice: I'll Be Seeing You
This bit of flash fiction was inspired by the picture prompt at Magpie Tales.