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It's a Small World



               “Welcome to ‘It’s a Small World’”, you hear the tinny voice cheerily blast out of speakers nowhere to be seen, as the boat lurches forward. “For your safety, please remain seated throughout your voyage keeping your hands, arms, feet and legs inside the boat, and please watch your children.” You check that your possessions are secure in your lap, then look up in anticipation of the show that is about to take place on the banks lining the shallow canal of water. The familiar tune starts playing, just as it has countless times before:

It’s a world of laughter,

It’s a world of hopes,


To the left, pairs of animatronic dolls

rotate in circles along an oval track, with

plastered smiles and bright clothes. The

faces of carefree innocence.

A princess in a fabulous gown of soft

pink twinkling lights rotates her metallic

wrist slowly in greeting.

Bright trees stand rigidly straight as two

chipmunk figures move up and down

the trunks on built-in tracks.

A white rabbit holds up a clock in front

of a blue-dressed Alice.

Rows of well-dressed children in

costume form a choir and their jaws

unhinge repeatedly in joyous melody.

From the invisible ceiling, steel ropes

suspend a magic carpet, atop which sits

a prince on an airborne adventure.

The fairy godmother waves a wand and

a pumpkin becomes a carriage, rags

become a magnificent gown.


Despite the pre-ride warning, you reach

out to dip your hand in the water.

It’s cool and refreshing, you can almost

feel the vitality of Fantasyland coursing

through your veins.

You think to yourself,

I’m never going to die.

A world of tears.

And a world of fears.


To the right, a man sits in front of a

desk, hunched over and staring blankly

at his screen, wondering when he’ll be

able to pay off his student loans.

A girl stands in front of the mirror,

sucking in her cheeks, casting shadows

across her face. Not Instagram-worthy.

Thick black smoke pours out of the

chimney of a power plant, and mother

nature shudders.

A patient in the psych ward grins and

whispers We’re all mad here.

Clusters of empty beer bottles litter the

floor, and a haggardly man is passed

out on a couch.

Tangled plastic IV tubes deliver saline,

electrolytes, and morphine to sustain

the patient lying still on the hospital bed.

The doctor holds the X-ray, examines

the tell-tale mass slowly hijacking the

spine, and grimly shakes his head.


Despite the pre-ride warning, you reach

out to dip your hand in the water.

It’s surprisingly warm and viscous, and

your stomach turns when you find your

fingers coated in blood.

You realize with horror,

I’m not prepared to die.

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