In 2002 the story was published as part of the collection Everything's Eventual: 14 Dark Tales.
The story concerns a man named Alan Parker, who is a college student trying to find out what he wants to do with his life. He gets a call informing him of his mother's recent stroke, which is terrible news since his mom has always been the person closest to his heart in life (his father died when he was young). Left without a car, he has to hitchhike to the hospital to see her.
At first, he is picked up by a bizarre old man with a stench that drives Alan to walking. This brings him to a graveyard, where he finds a headstone for a man named George Staub ("Well Begun, Too Soon Done," the headstone reads). And as fate would happen to have it, the man who gives Alan his next ride is George Staub himself.
During the ride, George reminds Alan of the amusement park ride he was always too scared to try as a kid: The Bullet in Thrill Village, Laconia, New Hampshire. He then tells Alan that he has to make the toughest decision of his life: George is taking either Alan or Alan's mother to "the other side" with him, and before George reaches his destination, Alan must pick who goes with him. In a moment of fright, Alan saves himself and lets George take his mom.
George shoves Alan out of the car, where he reappears alone at the graveyard. All he has left of George is a pin-button ("I Rode the Bullet at Thrill Village, Laconia," it reads), but when Alan reaches the hospital, he finds that she is still alive. She does not pass away for several more years, (the day the button disappears) but when she finally does, he still feels guilty. "Fun is fun and done is done," Alan concludes at the end of the story. "Take your button and get out of here."
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