THE BLADDER OF JACKIE
"I could really use a piss right now.”
“Again? But you just went, not ten minutes ago!”
“Aw, c’mon, man! You know I have a weak bladder. That was uncalled for.”
Seventeen-year-old Jackie Daniels and his best mate, Bluey, sat shivering in the
early evening moonlight, passing the bottle between them. They were waiting for
the security guard to finish up with his patrol of the recently closed down
amusement park. It’d been all over the news, the loud bang and suspicious fire that
had flared up suddenly, tearing through the Ghost Train attraction, gutting it, and
killing several people.
Bluey was a bit of a scallywag, but he hadn’t expected his stupid prank to cause
such devastation and gain such publicity. He and Jackie were always getting up to
some sort of mischief in their drunken revelling. Like the time Jackie had passed out
at the train station, pissing his jeans and throwing up all over himself, while Bluey
went along the platform, lighting all the garbage bins on fire. They were caught,
only because Bluey couldn’t wake his pal, and he refused to try picking him up
after messing himself so thoroughly. He was a fiercely loyal mate however, and didn’t
leave Jackie stranded to cop the blame for his shenanigans. There was minimal
harm done, and they were let off with a stern warning along with a phone call to
their parents to come pick them up.
This time, what was meant to be just a harmless scare tactic had
produced catastrophic results. The two boys were riding the Ghost Train, drunk as
usual, when Bluey thought it would be a good idea to jump out and hide in one of
the dark nooks with a pocketful of crazyjacks and a lighter.
“This is shit,” he had said. “Is this really supposed to be scary? Fuggit. I’m gunna
give ‘em a fright they won’t soon forget!” Before Jackie had a chance to say
anything, Bluey had vanished into the darkness, leaving Jackie to finish the ride on
his own. He sort of agreed with Bluey. This wasn’t really all that scary, but he
had jumped a few times, and very nearly wet his pants, when some mechanical spook
in tattered rags dropped from the ceiling, or when a screaming face sprung up from
the floor beside their little carriage. He knew it was all fake, just a silly ride in an
amusement park, but the goings on in the dark tunnel still managed to get his
heart racing. Not Bluey though. He was definitely the most daring of the two, and
almost always the instigator when it came to getting up to no good.
As the next carriage rolled through, Bluey pulled a handful of the firecrackers out
of his pocket and lit them all at once, flinging them after the passing train and
running for his life back towards the entrance. The fun park was jam-packed with
people that particular Saturday afternoon, and Bluey managed to slip, unnoticed,
behind the ride’s operator and blend immediately into the milling crowd. Not a
moment too soon, either. The instant he made his stealthy exit, several small bangs
and an explosion rang out from the Ghost Train, followed by screams of very real
fear. Smoke billowed out of the tunnel and the carriage inside failed, leaving the
terrified occupants trapped in the rapidly expanding fire which ensued. Jackie
found Bluey hiding behind a fairy floss cart, white-faced and shaken.
“What the fuck did you do, Bluey?” Jackie whispered to his
freaked out mate.
“It was just some crazyjacks! Harmless damn crazyjacks, man!”
Jackie clapped his hand over Bluey’s mouth.
“Ssshhh! We gotta get outta here, man! Let’s go, come on!”
As flames engulfed the doomed ride, the two scoundrels made their getaway
amongst the panicking crowd. Once outside the gates, Bluey stopped, as Jackie
looked around for somewhere he could take a sneaky leak.
“Fuck!” Bluey exclaimed, frantically rummaging through his pockets. “My lighter!
I dropped my lighter!”
“Well, we can’t go back in there now,” said Jackie, shifting from one foot to the
other and grabbing his crotch. “Besides, I really have to piss. My fuckin’ back teeth
are floatin’, man!”
“Yeah, when don’t ya need to piss?” Bluey scowled at his distressed friend, who
looked at him with a scowl of his own.
“Fuck you, Bluey,” he retorted.
“Fuck me? Nah, fuck you! I gotta find me lighter! The pigs’ll be here searchin’ the
joint before long, and if they find it, I’m fucked!”
“Well, you go find your lighter. I’m gunna go find a tree.”
Only the exit gate was open, and people poured out in droves. Nobody was getting
back inside now. Bluey stood, swaying in an inebriated panic, hoping for a chance
to push through the exiting crowd. It wasn’t looking very promising, but Bluey
“Excuse me… Excuse me… Excuse me.” He squeezed his way through the mass
of people, only to be stopped at the gate by a park official.
“Sorry, buddy. We’re clearing the park. There’s been a terrible accident, and
nobody can come in.”
“Yeah, I know,” said Bluey. “I was in there. I lost my wallet. There’s three
hundred bucks in it, and I have to find it. Please, can I just run in quickly? I know
where I had it out last.”
“Sorry, mate,” replied the attendant. “Nobody’s coming in. If you give me your
name and address, we will contact you if we find it.”
Bluey threw the guy a fake name and address on the spot. He was good like that.
Real quick-witted. Grudgingly, he turned around and left to look for Jackie, who
had found a hidden spot to relieve himself, and was now sitting on the grass,
puffing away on a smoke.
“Did ya find it?” he asked.
“Nah, man. The bastard wouldn’t let me in. We’re gunna hafta come back
tonight, when it’s dark.”
“Bluey, the place will be crawlin’ with pigs. Think about it!”
“Then we’ll come back tomorrow night, and hope to Hell they don’t find my
lighter in the meantime,” Bluey replied. He had a worried look on his face.
Jackie wondered if he was more concerned about his missing lighter than he was
about the people who had died, thanks to his idiot stunt.
“Alright,” said Jackie. “Any sign of bacon though, and the deal’s off, OK?”
“Alright, alright! Fuck, you can be such a chicken shit sometimes! You got any
more grog? I need a drink.”
“Nah, man. You had it last.”
“Haha! So I did!” Bluey laughed, pulling the hip flask from his denim jacket,
and taking a large swig before handing it to Jackie. Together, the drunken
buddies staggered off toward home.
The security guard had finished his sweep of the premises and was
driving away. It was time.
“Wait. Just let me piss first. I thought he was never gunna leave! Back in a sec.”
Bluey impatiently watched Jackie disappear into the darkness, but kept his mouth
shut, for once. He never meant to, but he always hacked out on his mate and his
pea sized bladder. It was like an OCD thing, or something. Jackie would announce
his urge, and Bluey would invariably have some smart arse reply to throw back at
him. This time he held his tongue. Jackie didn’t have to be here with him. This was
going to be risky. More risky than most of their drunken adventures together, but
that’s the way it always was…Together. A blood oath they had made two years
previous, after polishing off nearly three goon sacks between them. They had
identical scars on the heel of their right hands, which they had inflicted with a piece
of broken glass to secure their pact.
Jackie returned from his business to an anxious Bluey. During the few minutes he
was gone, his best friend was struck with the seriousness of what he had done
yesterday. People were dead because of him.
“The fuck was I thinkin', Jackie? I killed those people, man! I fuckin’ killed ‘em!”
The look of deep remorse he held made Jackie’s eyes well up. His best friend in the
whole world had fucked up royally, and was now realising the impact of his
“Don’t worry, brother. You’re secret’s safe with me, you know that. Nobody will
“But, I know!” Bluey yelled. “I know…” he repeated again in a mournful whisper,
more to himself than to Jackie. Jackie didn’t say anything, but patted a reassuring
hand on Bluey’s shoulder, then began walking towards the high fence surrounding
the park. Bluey jammed his hands in his jacket pockets and hurried to catch up.
They scaled the fence easily and dropped down inside the eerie stillness of
the amusement park. They stood for a few moments, listening intently for any signs
of security patrolling the grounds. Satisfied by the silence that ensued, they made their
way towards the devastated Ghost Train.
“Man, it’s so different here after dark! Spooky!” Jackie said, as a shiver ran
through him. He didn’t want to mention it, but he really needed to go… again. You
can hold it in for now, he told himself, unconvincingly. Bluey didn’t answer. He
seemed lost in his thoughts, so Jackie didn’t say another word. They walked
together in silence through the morbid scenery. Jackie couldn’t keep his mouth shut
for long, though.
“Are you alright?” he asked.
“I dunno. You don’t seem yourself tonight.”
“Would you? Can you imagine if it was you who was responsible for killing
innocent people? There were fuckin’ children in there, Jackie! Little fucking children!”
“I know,” Jackie replied and put his head down. “Sorry, man. I’ll just shut up now.”
The boys continued on once again in silence. Bluey pulled the bottle from his
jacket and looked at it for some moments as they walked, then cracked the lid and
took two big gulps without breaking stride. He handed the straight bourbon to
Jackie who accepted it wordlessly and stopped to take a drink. Bluey kept walking,
his shoulders hunched and a little wobbly on his feet. The burn of the liquor as it
went down renewed Jackie’s urgency to relieve himself. Without a word, he
ducked behind a wall and let flow. When he reappeared, Bluey was once again
standing there, waiting impatiently. Jackie ran to catch up to his friend, feeling
“Hey, what if the Ghost Train has real ghosts in it ooooOOOoooo!” He was starting
to feel pretty pissed at this stage, and forgot his friend’s sullen mood momentarily.
Bluey just shot him a bemused glare and kept walking. They could see the burnt out
hulk up ahead, and Jackie began to fall into the same mood as Bluey. The smell of
smouldering ash was heavy in the air as they approached the Ghost Train. Its
entrance was blackened and dilapidated, gaping at them in a miserable moan. There
was a slight warm breeze in the air, and the wind whistled morbidly within the
uninviting tunnel. Bluey gave a violent shudder as he stepped over the single line
of police tape stretched across the entrance, lost his footing and hit the ground hard.
“Fuck!” Bluey exclaimed, picking himself up off the rubbly ground, as Jackie
hurdled the police tape clumsily, nearly going down in the process himself.
“C’mon. Let’s do this,” said Jackie. “I don’t wanna be here any longer than we have
to be. This joint is creepin’ me out. Here, you’d have a better idea of where your
lighter might be.” He flicked on the torch, handed it to Bluey, and in they went.
Once inside, it wasn’t just burnt ash that assailed their nostrils, but the
undeniable odour of charred flesh and burnt hair. Jackie paused for a moment,
the alcohol churning in his gut and threatening to come up in a fountain of spew.
Bluey seemed undeterred by the smell. He was slowly walking along the track,
panning the torchlight side to side on the ground as he went. Jackie got a jolt of panic,
as if somebody or something were behind him. He quickly ran to Bluey’s side and
began helping him search. After only a few minutes, which seemed like forever,
their search had still produced no result.
“Let’s go, man. Let’s get out of here. I don’t like this.” Jackie said nervously.
“Just a bit further up. Remember where I jumped out? It was around that next
bend. If we don’t find it by then, the pigs probably found it… in which case, I guess
They continued to search as the tunnel around them got darker, and
considerably warmer. The fire had been ferocious, and parts of the building were
still smouldering, more than a day later.
“We really shouldn’t be in here, Bluey. What if the whole fuckin’ thing collapses on
top of us?” Jackie’s nerves were at an all-time high and, sure enough, his
bladder responded with a twinge.
“We’re nearly there, chicken shit. Don’t go fuckin’ pissin’ yourself over it. We’ll
be outta here in no time. Just help me look, man!”
“You can be a real cunt sometimes, y’know that?” Jackie whined.
“Yeah, I know. Suck it up. You want me to get locked up for this? Man, if I get done
for this, they’ll put me away forfuckinever.” Jackie didn’t respond. He was too
busy trying not to piss himself. He was a lot drunker than he had realised, and he
was having a bad time trying to hold it in.
“I gotta…. Ah, whatever.” Jackie stumbled on ahead into the darkness while
Bluey kept his slow, methodical sweep with the torch. Jackie climbed up onto a
fallen beam and took a leak on the wall.
“YES! I FOUND IT!” Bluey’s voice reverberated throughout the Ghost Train, as
he yelled out in excitement. “Jackie, let’s get outta here!”
Just as he spoke, a loud rumble shook him to his bones, then the cut off yell from
his blood brother…his best mate, as a part of the roof crashed down upon him.
“Jackie!” He yelled and started to run towards him in the dark. There was
no response. “JACKIE!” Jackie Daniels lay face down. His head was concealed by
what looked like a large slab of concrete, and his body was motionless. He had
been killed instantly.
“NO! FUCK NO! JACKIE! No no no no no NO!” His desperate howls were
answered by another loud rumble, and Bluey turned tail, bolting back for the
entrance. Outside the Ghost Train, Bluey dropped on the ground and cried his eyes
out. “You and that fucking bladder. Ya just had to go ‘n’ piss there. Fuck fuck fuck fuck.”
Bluey lay on his back on the dirty fairground. Not only had his stupid, drunken
stunt cost the lives of several innocent people, but he was now responsible for the
death of his best friend as well. He sat up and wiped his eyes, then pulled out the
bottle and drank it until it was empty. He hurled the bottle with all his might at
that damned Ghost Train, then fell back onto his back and let out a series of
anguished growls and yells. His mind began to get very dark. He was well and
truly fucked now, and there seemed no way out of it.
The following morning, the clean-up crew arrived to begin dismantling the
destroyed park attraction. They were shocked to find Bluey, an extension cord
tight around his neck, hanging from the mouth of the Ghost Train. He had ripped it
from a generator that ran the Ferris Wheel and used it as a noose. Fixing it above
the entrance to the doomed tunnel, Bluey had climbed to the top and wrapped the
other end several times around his neck. Standing atop the death trap, which had
taken the lives of young Jackie Daniels and several men, women and children, Bluey
let himself fall forward into a slow motion dive. As the cord reached its full
extension, Bluey’s body violently jerked and his neck snapped. He died instantly.
The amusement park never opened again. It remained though, as a terrible
reminder of tragedy that fell into disrepair, until finally, years later, it was pulled
down for good.