100 Hours of Humo(u)r – Hour 19: Keep on Zippin’!
[An entry from our first of four flash humor contests. Our winner, Beth Harling wasn’t the only entrant who wrote about zip lining!]
Las Vegas, Nevada
Yes, I realize there are those Indiana Jones types out there who will, without so much as a thought to making out their wills, launch themselves headlong into adventures such as hang gliding over pits of piranhas or parachuting (for FUN, no less!) into a jungle infested with person-eating tigers and chiggers.
I am not one of those people. I am the person on the sidelines mumbling, “Damn fool!” and claiming I get just as large a thrill from exploring the inner motivations of human behavior.
So it was within a haze of stunned disbelief I found myself being carried skyward one, two, three, four and, yes, five floors up in the elevator to the platform that held the greatest risk I’d taken since, ignoring warnings that I would surely break a hip, I had donned a pair of roller skates at my granddaughter’s birthday party and showed the kids how it’s done. Make that ‘how it’s not done.’
Anyway, back to my story. I was in Vegas with my friend, Ginger. We’d been friends since we were toddlers. (Yes, I have a picture of us in our snowsuits, with actual toddling occurring.) We are now both grandmothers and hit Vegas Downtown once a year. She made me promise even before we landed at McCarren that I would zipline the length of Fremont Street with her. I had cavalierly tossed, “Sure—I’ll do it if you’ll do it.” I figured, being the more adventurous one (she actually dived into the lake once without her water wings) either she would do it and I could follow steadfastly behind her, absorbing her courage as it came downwind. Or she would turn chicken. Either way, I was gold.
On the bus ride Downtown, my palms sweated. My heart pounded. Or vice-versa. We weren’t walking into this just willy-nilly. We had prepared. We knew one of the requirements is to sign away all liability on the part of the Zipline company, ‘up to and including DEATH,’ it said, or something equally as disconcerting. Worse, we knew we would have to tell our weights, but we had that all figured out. As self-respecting women we’d lie our asses off. But if we had to step on the scale, we’d do it together, so they could get a general estimate of our load on the line.
They were weigh (ha!) ahead of us. They MADE us get on the scale one at a time. Up in the elevator, across the uneven scaffolding (could they make it look any more makeshift?) and across to the Launchpad of Death. Where two guys—about six years old each and their whole lives ahead of them—strapped us into harnasses, at which point I decided that: a) The line was going to snap the moment my weight sagged it and 2) there was no way in hell I could step off the edge of the platform into the Drop of Doom.
“Wait!” I screeched. I changed my yaaaaaaaaaaahhhh!!!
Before I could even tell them I needed a Depends, size medium, I was off, flinging, flailing and a couple of other F-words, catapulted down Fremont Street. clutching at the millimeter of cable upon which hung the soon-to-be remains of my dear grandchildren’s inheritance.
I looked back—Ginger was clearly 30 feet behind me. Hey–I was winning! Quickly I calculated the trajectory of the cable, jet stream velocity, and the likelihood of my meeting Christian Grey. I was going to live!
I was winning! Winning and screaming! And not dying! SO cool!
I pictured my victory at the rapidly approaching landing platform—the presentation of the bouquet, the loving cup, and the reporters taking my story of triumph over adversity. A glorious payback for the time Ginger ate the last Hershey’s Kiss in the fourth grade! Ha! At last—Justice!
I glanced up—holy cow, I was still traveling at about 400 mph and was within 20 feet of the platform. I’m going to crash! I’m going to go down in flames! I’m going to—OOOOMPH!—brake and stop.
So that’s it?
Kelley Chikos blogs at kelleychikosblog.blogspot.com.
Her story was entered in our first flash humor contest on stepping outside one’s comfort zone. We’ve got three more of these contests coming up during the 100 Hours of Humo(u)r and they’re open to anyone who wants to enter!
If you’d like to learn more about the art and science of humor writing, Dave Fox’s fun and informative online course is on sale at a big discount for the duration of this “100 Hours of humo(u)r” online party. Find out more here!