I’ve been a subscriber to The Sun Magazine for several years. They print honest, moving, socially relevant pieces you won’t find anywhere else. And it’s ad-free! One of my goals was to appear in their Reader’s Write column and at long last, I have succeeded. My short story on WEIGHT was one of about 20 chosen for publication in the March 2019 issue:
CODE 88 BROWN
I worked at an amusement park one summer in college, helping people on and off a small rollercoaster. The ride’s safety equipment consisted of a seatbelt and a bar that snapped down over riders’ laps.
With heavier riders, securing the safety bar was a challenge; even the loosest setting pressed uncomfortably into their thighs. Really large people simply couldn’t ride and no matter how tactfully I broke the news, it caused a scene. Some would plead with me to keep trying; others would yell obscenities or threaten to have me fired.
I had only thirty seconds to get one group of riders out and the next buckled in, so I was always on the lookout for large people. If a patron had trouble navigating the turnstile due to size, the worker stationed there announced “Code 88” over the PA system, followed by the color of the patron’s shirt.
One busy afternoon, a Code 88 Brown alerted me to an obese man on the platform. Although I’d warned him about the tight fit, he stuffed himself into the narrow seat and egged us on as two, then three of us, struggled to lock the bar. When it clicked into place, the man howled in pain, but there was no time to investigate: a full train was waiting to pull up and unload.
The operator hit the button and the brake released. While that poor man continued to wail, we pushed the train out of the station, then high-fived each other for a job well done. When Mr. Code 88 Brown returned at the end of his ride, he was still screaming. Our efforts to secure that safety bar had broken his leg.
Have a comment? Click HERE to share it!