The machine whirred, woken by a bicentennial quarter into the dust-blackened slit. Rusted gears clicked and an antique metal horse came to life.
"Yeehaw!" Tattered cowboy hat and boots, he rode.
He straddled the mechanical mount, the calliope's tinny melody the backdrop for a Wild West imagination. Orange pistol safely holstered, the boy wound his fingers through frayed nylon reigns.
A sea of sun-warmed prairie grass replaced shopping carts and concrete, hiding from the cowboy's view the woman backed slowly away.
"I'm just gonna get more change."
With a vibrating jerk, the metallic steed came to rest. Impatient, the restless cowboy called to a mother long gone.
12 January 2014