Six Flags St. Louis, Eureka, Missouri, USA
My memory of the Screaming Eagle would lull me to sleep at night, back in the day. I would dream about that scrapper’s first two out and back hills with pops of deaf-silent air-time. At the top-of his floater hills, it was like two whole damn seconds of blissful air above the track before he came back down. And then, just when you think that bastard’s going to turn around, he takes a left-hand turn to a foresty nowhere, with miles of hills in the distance. No end in sight. The memory of the Screaming Eagle turning that corner into the woods puts you to sleep, and the trees take you away until morning.
But last summer, something terrible happened. Time showed up at the door wearing one of those sea-farer black caps and he asked to see the Screaming Eagle. A man took the Eagle out back in the alley, and that man showed the Eagle a real hard lesson with brass knuckles. You could hear his ribs breaking—he didn’t deserve that. Time loosed the Eagle’s bolts, wore down his track, and splintered his Southern yellow pine footers. Now he rolls real hard on its track, poor guy, and when the speed picks up, he lands with a spine-cracking thud, and you just pray your ribs don’t crack same as his.
Come to think of it, was the Screaming Eagle always this bad? Maybe he was always this way, but in my younger years I just forgave his flaws. Maybe I’m the one who’s gotten older, maybe my old ass is skinnier, and the hits seem harder.
That thug called Time will probably be showing up for me, too, one of these days, and I’m ready to get that bastard for what he did to the Eagle. I swear to God I’m gonna land a punch that’s gonna make my own fist hurt for three days. I’ll sleep good knowing at least I did something to keep Time at bay before he gets to any other John Allen woodies.
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