Thursday, September 6, 2012


Just transferring a few old stories over to this space from the (now defunct) Cliffhanger blog. The fair is in town this week but the good people who inspired this particular ramble have long gone. They're on Facebook now, which is awesome, but not the same.


So you've been working twenty eight days in a row and it's about a hundred degrees in the shade only you don't have any, because your awning blew to smithereens during a thunderstorm.

Two spots back.

You got a two hour break coming up as soon as Popeye gets back, that S.O.B. (always an extra fifteen minutes behind) but after that you can go over to the popper and get a discount lemonade from that red-headed girl, the one with the pierced lip, the one who looks right through you; and head on over to the bunkhouse, lie down for a while, on that thing they call a mattress.

Again today, you won't get to do laundry because the laundromat closes at midnight and two hours isn't enough time for you to walk there, do the clothes and then walk back. You think maybe tomorrow you'll be able to catch a ride up there anyway, with the ice man and hopefully get it done before tear down this time, instead of after.

You lean on the fence, waiting for customers and notice across the midway, that hose that Billy said wasn't leaking has turned the grassy spot in front of the doniker, into a quagmire in ten hours and just as you're studying it, a kid falls down ice-cream-cone-first in the whole mess and you can't help but laugh as he seems now, stuck there like one of those suction darts.

You light a cigarette, knowing you'll have to put it out as soon as someone comes around, and hope that the three you have left will last until you get off work.

An hour and thirty seven kids later, you make it to the house.

It's like opening a freezer door and it almost makes you queasy for a second but you adjust and crank on that piece-of-shit CD player that Cowboy sold you two weeks ago, for fifteen bucks. It kicks and sputters, so you hit it with the heel of your hand and miraculously, that fixes it and you say 'I'm The Fonz' to no one in particular. You sit on the edge of the bed, being careful not to bang your head again on the upper bunk and wonder what the chances are of getting a room in the fifth wheel. Maybe you decide they are nonexistant since you told Smitty to stuff it back in winter quarters and, he still remembers.

You open the bottom cabinet, remove your shower bag and manage to find the last pair of clean socks, stand up and open the door again. The thick heat rushes in and the bunkhouse does its little rock as you step off the second step. Just as you put your key in the dead bolt lock, J.T.'s old lady strolls right behind you and into the shower. This, you believe, could take an entire forty five minutes so you go back in mumbling, and lie down on the bunk alongside someone else's graffiti and wonder for the third time, if Lisa really is the bomb.

You turn over. Twice. And as your wet shirt starts turning cold in the air conditioning, you close your eyes spend a good, long minute, wishing you were HERE.

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