Writing Practice – 11/16/2018

Winter Wonderland

Is the name of an old, abandoned theme park in southern Mexico. When you walk in, all you see is rust. Orange, crumbling dust particles, eating away at the edges of the rails, at the supports to the roller coasters strut, turning the insides of the buildings, which once housed happy families, laughter and a population of teenagers to staff the place, into the outside.

The rust has come on gradually, over the years, eroding the color of the paint on the walls, and in partnership with the creeping vines and roots of the invading trees, the place now has a falling-over-from-three-too-many-beers look.

It used to be a fun place. It opened over forty years ago to much acclaim, fanfare, parties, raucous celebrations nearly every weekend; the place was a blast. Families loved coming throughout the summer, because southern Mexico is, how shall I say this delicately, beastly hot even on a good day. The place had backers willing to pay ungodly sums of money to create snow in summer, so this thing was a cultural marvel. An attraction that brought tens of thousands to its door every morning, waiting for the chance to go sledding down a hill, to dive into the Polar Plunge with the Polar Bear (not a real bear, just a big fat guy with white body paint), and throw snowballs at one another and lick icicles they pulled of themselves from the special drip-factories sprinkled liberally throughout the place. And the could do it all in the comfort of their shorts and t-shirts, because these tourists were on vacation, they were having a good time, so they just wanted to go with the flow and make everything happen just right.

They enjoyed the experience. They watched the animatronic dancing penguins. They rode the Arctic Rush, the big, bad roller coaster. And, they apparently trafficked in a lot of drugs.

Because, you see, I guess fake snow looks a lot like cocaine. It was about three years into the whole thing that they (mostly just employees – mostly. There was one or two higher-ups who knew, they claimed they didn’t, but come on, with that much going on beneath you, how could you not? If you didn’t, then you should be fired for incompetence and jailed for stupidity, too) got busted, literally, for smuggling drugs through. The park was apparently a big front for a refinement center, and they used the whole “trucking in snow” idea to then “truck out snow to the regional operations centers” to move the product around.

So the cops busted them, shuttered the place, sent like eighty or more to jail, and now Winter Wonderland sits, slowly decaying , succumbing to the forces of nature – wind, rain, root, and creepy-crawly thing. Should someone ever try to revive it, it would be one hell of a job. And not likely to succeed – memories run deep around here, and to jus the people. The land remembers, too.

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