It’s a tradition, a staple of the city, even the province. Those were the arguments always made when someone brought up retiring the Hurl’a’Whirl. It wasn’t the sort of attraction that gained any notoriety outside their town, which made the provincial claims doubtful, but every now and then some roller coaster aficionado would come across a reference to it, make the trek out, and give them a little boost on the tourist scene. More than a little, in these days of social media, and they used those rare dollars to boost their case for the coaster’s protection.
Those claims that made the case for revenue in dollars always seemed to brush over the cost in lives, and that the roller coaster had a kill count. It wasn’t hyperbole and it wasn’t mere injury. The thing had killed people, more than a few, and every time one was lost the argument came up again, and every time the money and tradition won. It was almost as if the lives didn’t matter, as if they were the cost of business and tradition, as if they were even expected.
And that was a thought that got everyone in town laughing at you, if you cared to voice it. There had been some, over the years, usually the outcasts and the oddities, who had pointed out the number of people who had died on the coaster and good fortune that had followed, but they were lumped in with the conspiracy theory crowd, despite the ability to predict an economic up-tick every single time the Hurl’aWhirl claimed a life. It was stronger than correlation, and the only thing better would have been to predict where the money would appear, but it was always different and it was never connected to the theme park.
They weren’t talking about a couple thousand dollars of a boost from some influencer’s photos and hash-tags, no. This was the sort of boost that kept people employed and in their homes for two generations, money from grants or development or business. There were corporations with absolutely no need to look to their little town for anything in the world who would suddenly decide it would be the home of a pilot project for a new Made in Canada line. It would be some new government initiative for small town development. It would be some eccentric rich person with a need to experience small town life by pouring as much money in to the local area as they could in an attempt to get some big cities amenities into that goal.
All the while the theme park trundled on and the Hurl’a’Whirl rattled in its tracks. When the money ran out, as such money always did, when the corporations or the government or the rich person moved on, well, then there was another “accident” and something, something different from the last time, would happen. There’d be the needed boost, and the whole cycle would start again, ups and downs that mimicked the Hurl’a’Whirl’s track, complete with a loop-do-loop.
Every time the argument happened, every time the coaster was left to keep on running, people would think about the rumours. They would watch the money come in on schedule, and they would ask themselves the obvious question. Were the people arguing in favour of the coaster really that concerned with nostalgia and the past, or did they know the tradition they were protecting was one of human sacrifice?