The roller coaster came to a full and complete stop just after they’d slid past the loading area and the control booth, just as they’d descended the small slope that would take them into the ride proper. Ahead of their train, Veronica saw the tunnel of pulsing blue lights grow suddenly dark. She heard the sounds of the Space Mountain “energy surge” fade into silence. And then she turned around in her seat, as best she could with the T-bar restraint keeping her in place, and she asked her cousin, “What the hell is going on here?”
Michael shrugged and said, “Dunno.”
The overhead lights came on, washing out the attraction’s eerie ambience. A few moments later, one of the ride attendants came bouncing down the set of stairs just to the left of their vehicle, a heretofore invisible set of steps which descended down the slope and into the now bright white light of the tunnel.
“What’s going on?” cried Veronica to the attendant.
“Nothing to be worried about, m’am,” he said with a smile. “You’ll be on your way shortly.”
“Chill out,” said Michael. “I’m sure they’ll figure it out soon.”
Veronica held her left arm up, twisted her wrist back and forth. “You see what time it is, Michael?”
“Oh, Jiminy Cricket,” said Michael. “Not the damn schedule again.”
“We’re supposed to be leaving for the next park in twenty minutes, and we haven’t even gotten in line for Dumbo yet, let alone ridden the stupid thing.”
“If you were that concerned about Tracy getting to ride flying elephants, why didn’t you have Des and Jenna take her over there while we were in here?”
“Because I want to see her on the ride,” said Veronica. “You don’t understand, Michael. Getting your kid on all the rides she wants to ride is only part of it. The other part, the bigger part, is being there to watch her enjoy them. That’s what makes the interminable flight and the hellish heat and the exorbitant price of the watered-down soda all worth it. Otherwise, what’s the point?”
“I think the point is to enjoy yourself,” said Michael. “But, I mean, if you didn’t want to ride this ride, we could’ve—”
Veronica turned her head to look him in the eye as best she could. “I wanted to ride Space Mountain, Michael. It was the one thing I wanted to do for myself. I’ve told you that.”
“Okay,” said Michael. “I’m just saying… If you wanted to do Dumbo instead, we could’ve come back another—”
Veronica sighed and turned away from him again.
“What is it about Space Mountain anyway?” asked Michael. “You’ve avoided every other thrill ride in the place.”