||edHelper's suggested reading level:
||Flesch-Kincaid grade level:
||doldrums, effeminate, efficacy, furor, glutton, green-faced, heretofore, indolent, kiddy, liability, placatingly, scruff, spontaneity, super-sized, supersede, heed
||Clearmoon Carnival, Game Row, Scream Machine, Would Willow, Soon Willow
Print Carnival Daze
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By Brenda B. Covert
1 André eyed the flotilla of ducks bobbing toward him and grimaced. What had made him volunteer to take Willow and Stoney to the Clearmoon Carnival? It might have been entertaining had it just been André and Willow. But with Stoney in tow, André had a legitimate excuse for succumbing to the doldrums. Willow's baby brother was a super-sized pain. It was on that basis alone that André made a snap decision never to have children.
2 Under the indolent gaze of the bored game attendant, Stoney snatched up three of the plastic yellow ducklings. "So what do I win?" he demanded.
3 The attendant showed Stoney a display of trinkets. In a moment's appraisal André realized that he could have bought two or more of each object at the five and dollar store for the price it cost to play the game. No wonder they bragged, "A winner every time!" Even when every consumer won, the game still made a big profit.
4 André tried to talk to Willow about the games, but she refused to heed his warning. "Don't be such a pompous old man," she told him. "Stoney's having fun, and that's all that matters."
5 André barely concealed his irritation as they continued to move along Game Row. He looked longingly at "The Scream Machine" in the distance. Now that was his idea of fun. Would Willow mind if he slipped away for one little ride? She shot him a look that told him not to try it.
6 When Stoney wasn't wasting money on games with cheap prizes, the little glutton was wolfing down caramel apples, funnel cakes, and cotton candy. André hoped that the child would have the decency to wait until he was home before exploding. That was an experience André wished to avoid.
7 Suddenly Stoney's gaze was captured by giant spinning bears. "Hey! Let's ride that!" he shouted. Without waiting for an answer, he raced toward the carnival ride.
8 André held back. Willow reached for his hand. "Come on. It'll be fun!" she said.
9 André sighed at her display of spontaneity. He would have preferred to discuss the pros and cons of mounting a ride built for little kids. He fantasized about gripping Stoney by the scruff of his little neck and shaking the pudding out of him. How dare he drag a couple of teenagers on a baby ride?
10 They were shown to a giant pink teddy bear. With a surreptitious glance at the surrounding crowd, André reluctantly climbed into the bear's tummy and sat down beside Willow.
11 It was dark inside. Good. That made it less likely that his friends would spot him in there.
12 The ride began by moving the bears slowly in a wide circle. Stoney strained at the turn wheel of their private bear. His little cheeks puffed and reddened, but the bear did not spin. He added a few grunts, but they didn't make a difference. André chuckled at the determined boy's attempts, but he had no intention of helping--that is, until he spotted Logan and Kyle, two friends of his, hanging out with a couple of slurpies.
13 Daring to hope that a spinning bear would conceal his presence, André grasped the wheel with both hands and pulled. It began to turn. Motivated by the imminent threat of being caught on a kiddy ride, André forced the bear to spin at a supersonic rate of speed. Willow pleaded with him to stop, her voice growing weaker even as Stoney's voice took on a panicked tone.
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