Fun Station U.S.A. was the ultimate one stop shop for fun in our town. You may have had something similar where you grow up. It was a huge warehouse type place that included everything from arcade games to ball pits to basketball courts. This place had everything a young child would need to have a great day. So you could imagine my excitement when my friend asked if I wanted to tag along with his family as they went to celebrate his younger brother’s birthday. At this time we were in middle school, a few years older than the brother’s friends who were still in 3rd grade. We had to be the mature responsible ones this day to keep those little buggers from getting into any kind of trouble.

As soon as we entered this magical land, we all dispersed. First we hit the arcade games. Then we run through the rope maze like maniacs. My adrenaline is jacked. Then we head to the sports section to really go wild. The batting cages were next on my list. I run in, put on the helmet, pick up my bat, put in my coins and get ready to make magic. First pitch is thrown and I connect setting off that loud TING noise you get off the metal bat. Second pitch, connect. This goes on and on till I run out of tickets. What I did in that cage was nothing short of amazing but I was shocked to see the cage wasn’t surrounded by ecstatic fans.

Pleased with my performance, I drop the bat and rest the helmet on the ground. Head held high and a pumped up chest, I walk to the gate and push to exit, but it doesn’t open. I check for a lock or handles but don’t see one. I push again but still the gate doesn’t budge. Absolutely puzzled, I start inspecting the gate. Why can’t I open it. I mean I got in here, I should be able to get out no?

What started out as a little shake has turned into a full on assault. I’m now using my entire body to shake this fence open. I’d try to climb it but I’m standing in one large cube. I’m trapped in this cage. I’d say I’m starting to panic now. I pick up one of the bats and start banging it against the fence. I plead with people passing by “umm excuse me, can you help me I appear to be stuck. If you could please just go get somebody.” Everyone is too busy having fun to come help me.

Fun Station USA? More like DEATH station USA. At this point I don’t think I’ll ever get out. I know this fence has holes in it but I’m starting to have trouble breathing. I haven’t tried shaking the fence in a while, so I try that again, this time more vicious than before. After all, this could be my last chance of freedom.

Finally, I see my saviors. Two of the third graders I was brought there to babysit walk by the cage and I make one more plea for help.

“HEY!!! PLEASE HELP MEEEE!!! I CAN’T GET OUT!!!”

The kids look back puzzled and walked towards me. I watched as they walk right past me to the side gate of the cage, and with no effort at all, open the gate door.

See what had happened was I was so excited when I entered the cage that I thought I entered straight behind the batters box. I forgot that I actually walked in from the side door. I was so overcome with panic that I just focused on the wrong gate and never checked the side.

I quickly composed myself, thanked them for their heroism, and followed with a “You know I was just kidding right?” Not sure if they believed me, but I bribed them with some arcade tokens to keep quiet just in case.

 

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