Everett ripped the electrodes off his head and wiped away a syrup of sweat and adhesive residue from his brow. He exited the booth. It hadn’t been a reenactment; he’d smelled the wet earth and budding flowers, felt his damp, jittery hand in Jenny’s. That moment, as remote to Everett as self-awareness is to a mayfly, disappeared again as he stepped out of the ride. “That was so real. Can I go one more time?” he said to the ride operator.
“One visit per day. It’s company policy. It messes with folks if they’re allowed any more than that.”
“I’ll give you fifty bucks for ten minutes.”
“We’re closing for the day.”
“One hundred dollars.” Everett considered punching the carnie and hooking himself up to the machine. “We were laughing… she was smiling.” He grabbed the ride operator. “Give me a job application, you don’t even have to pay me. Just let me go back.”
“How do you think I ended up working here?” said the operator.