The Search For Marmax McGrallard Two Girls At Carnival.

Natalia Nestorovich
© Copyright 1999 by Natalia Nestorovich

As we approached the gate to the theme park, tiny butterflies materialized inside my stomach. Karly and I had waited for this day to come, and now that it had arrived we were not sure we wanted to go through with it. We had memorized our schedule: Search for Marmax for three hours, eat dinner, search for another five.

Marmax is the love of my life. Unfortunately, he is the love of Karly’s life as well. I have never set foot near him, and neither has Karly, to my knowledge. We had first seen him at Commiserland National Theme Park exactly one year ago today. He had been standing in line for the scariest roller coaster of them all, the “Cheese Curd-a-chine.” We were standing at the front gate of Commiserland in hopes that we would see him again, and make him realize how much we need him . . .

I toyed with the interlacing threads that made up the red handbag my mother had knit for me last fall. In it I carried a pen and notepad, in case Marmax would like to give me his phone number.

“Ready?” I asked Karly, who was twiddling her thumbs nervously. She ceased to respond, it was as if she had her head in the clouds. I laughed at my clever idiom. It was my laughter that snapped Karly out of her trance.

“What’s so funny?” she asked, and produced a pocket-mirror from her purse to check her outfit and make-up. Apparently she was making sure that I was not laughing at her appearance.

“Nothing,” I replied, as we courageously entered Commiserland. The moment we set foot on the brick pathway, I knew that our goal would not be easily achieved. There must have been one thousand people milling about. However, Marmax would be easily detected, seeing as he was tall and had black, spiked hair.

Karly and I decided to look for Marmax near the “Cheese Curd-a-chine.” We strolled over to the entrance of the intimidating ride and leaned against the fence, trying to look as if we belonged there.

“Hey, you kids gonna go on the ride or not? Get in the line or vamoose!”

I did an about face, and standing behind me was the oldest man I had ever seen. His eyebrows were white and bushy, his face was covered in wrinkles, and it looked as if he hadn’t trimmed his nose hair in years! I normally would have been offended. After all, who was this man I didn’t even know to tell me what to do or where to stand? But today, I was impervious to anyone’s ignoble comments. I had more important things to concentrate on.

Karly and I silently walked over to a bench in front of the Chicken Hut. This is where we had been sitting when we had first spotted Marmax. His back was to us, and at the time we had paid no attention to him. We had simply sat there and ate our chicken poutines. Then, one of Marmax’s friends had called his name and he had turned to face us. His eyes were captivating, and it was at that moment we knew we were in love. Unfortunately, at that moment the line had started to advance, and Marmax entered a waiting shelter, disappearing from view.

This year our luck was not as great. The line for the “Cheese Curd-a-chine” was much shorter, and Marmax was nowhere to be found.

Karly suggested returning to our place by the fence, I reminded myself that the old man might return, and I did not want to instigate any trouble. We had to ask ourselves where else Marmax might be.

I thought that he might be watching the demolition derby, and I expressed this to Karly. I saw the wheels turning inside her head. She was getting an idea. I grimaced, because I know that her ideas are usually far from fantastic.

“We must save our money for Marmax. When we find him, we need to have money to buy him a pina colada, right?” I did not know what she was getting at, and I was not sure I wanted to know. However, I urged her to continue. “Well, we have no spare money to buy a ticket to the demolition derby,” she said, and suddenly I knew what she was trying to say. She suggested that we sneak into the demolition derby grounds by crawling under the bleachers. I refused, knowing that it was illegal. Besides, I did not want my clothes covered with mud and grass when we found Marmax!

Karly’s behaviour is indecipherable, so I decided to plan our next move before she could have another one of her ‘brilliant’ ideas. I suggested that we take a stroll through the Green Gum Theatre.

As we neared the entrance, we were stopped by a middle-aged woman dressed in a red and green Commiserland uniform. She told us that Kyle Smith, a juggler, was performing at this time, and that we were not permitted to enter the theatre halfway through a demonstration. She then informed us that the next show would be in an hour, and that we were welcome to come and observe.

As Karly opened her mouth to speak, I got a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. Sometimes Karly just speaks her mind, even if what she has to say embarrasses me! Fortunately, this time she had something worth saying.

“Do you know Marmax McGrallard?” Karly asked the woman calmly. As I heard these words leave her lips, I felt a bit of hope.

“Yes, I do,” the woman replied matter-of-factly. “You might find him hanging around somewhere.”

The innuendo was obvious. Karly and I set off towards the children’s monkey bars. The moment it was in view we saw Marmax sitting atop it, writing in his diary. Karly announced that she thought this was sweet, and I agreed.

I urged Karly to approach him, but she claimed she was too shy. “I’ve never even called a guy in my life, and you want me to go up to one I don’t even know and start a conversation?” Karly asked, looking surprised, “You must be crazy!”

I had thought that Karly had courage. It turned out she was nothing but a coward with a heart full of fear! My luck was incredible today! After all, if it was I who started talking to Marmax, it would be me he fell hopelessly in love with. But as I started to walk towards him, my knees turned to Jell-O. I discovered that I had less courage than Karly!

“Well, what do you want to do now?” Karly asked.

“I don’t know,” I replied, “Let’s go home. Maybe we’ll be more confident next year.”

With that, Karly and I exited Commiserland National Theme Park and drove off into the sunset, making sure not to drive through any store windows on the way home.

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