Tales From the Road

Admittedly it has been quite some time since I updated this series and for a moment I was going create a page for it, but decided against that because I would create empty spots in the archive.  The notebook where I had written about my experience traveling the carnival circuit with a 10-in-1 sideshow was also out of my possession for a significant amount of time, so adding content was kind of difficult.  Having it by my side once again, I  am happy to finally be able to complete this project and might compile into a magazine much like Electric Eden at some point in the future.  To catch up on previous articles, simply click the category tag below the post or find it in the Category links on the right side of the blog, sit back and enjoy.

September 13, 2005 – 12:33 am – Things  To Remember

  • Jerry, this guy who joined the crew when we were in Hamburg to work the dunk tank, really enjoys talking to me over the others for some reason.  Apparently there is something about me where people are more willing to open up and share intimate details with of their lives.  Jerry tells me stories about being an ex-skinhead and spending time in jail.
  • The Boss shared a tale about this group of Hell’s Angels who wanted to get on the Zipper, but there was no room and they started to get angry.  The Cole Brothers Circus sends aid to the Carnies in the form of chain-swinging elephants.
  • King’s Brace: two corners of a banner line; one pole with two braces.  Key to the structure of banner line, which will fall if the Kings’ Brace is weakened.
  • Two days ago the sideshow crew ventured into town searching for amusement and decided to catch a movie.  Our original choice was not available but we agree to wait for another show time in two hours.  We headed over to a diner to eat and then played the awesome Carn-Evil arcade game in the lobby of the theater prior to the movie.  Brothers Grimm could have a bit more gruesome but overall it was rather enjoyable and a fun twist on classic fairy tales.
  • Since we lack access to the outside world, Timmy wanted to try and connect to the Internet using his laptop.  There were not many open signals in the area he could pick up on, but when he did find one the computer was hooked to a pole in the middle of a field to supply it with power.  We all took  turns checking e-mail though I had mostly spam and a rather short message from Jon that reminded me of how much I miss him.
  • Went shopping with one of my fellow female performers which turned out to me a rather amusing experience since people in town have apparently never seen someone with visible tattoos and stretched earlobes before.  The opportunity to tell them about the show and how they should come visit always gives us a laugh though.
  • Jerry is also the former own over some controversial on-line propaganda site, or so he says, and recently explained the meaning of tears as prison tattoos.  The story of how he earned his was that he defended himself against a drunk guy at a bar who wanted to start a fight.  He hit the guy once; the guy fell and hit his head on an icy step which in turn killed him.  Jerry was sentenced to prison for 5-15 years for manslaughter and that was when he got his tear, though I forget the difference between filled and unfilled.
  • Jerry says that a driver’s license is just a government conspiracy to keep tabs on people to see where they go and whatnot.  His scars and missing teeth are from a motorcycle accident, he claims to have dated Anton LaVey’s daughter and has a tattoo on his chest that he did himself while tripping on mushrooms.  It was supposed to be the Superman emblem but came out as a demon face.
  • Any time I walk around a lot the Carnies are always complimenting my tattoos, telling me how clean the work is and that they like the bright colors.  Little  girls mention that they like the “big hoops” in my ears and any police I have encountered are dripping in real southern charm when they ask curiously polite questions about my modifications.

Walking back from the bathroom, Marlboro menthol ’72 in hand, buzzed from smoking a bowl and drinking whiskey with a side of vanilla cherry cola, I find myself staring up at the half-eaten moon and never thought I would be where I am now.  This is where I want to be and I want I want to do; I am enjoying it greatly and find it hard to believe that I have the opportunity.  Still I miss you, thinking about you constantly and wishing on the stars that you can hear my thoughts, hoping that I dream of you when I sleep.

September 14, 2005 – Down  South

We settled into Frederick a week ago and it has been a steady work pace since then.  Both tents went up before one day, before nightfall for once.  The fact that we are on grass now makes driving stakes much easier and so set up went faster.  Two people were also added to the crew when we were in Syracuse.  Mike is rather quiet but will crack jokes one might miss if not paying attention and does everything he is supposed to without complaint.  Jerry is certainly much more outgoing and even assisted with setting up the banner line for the sideshow.

During down time I have used the opportunity to go on a shopping trip that yielded a mini fridge and air mattress, though I am still undecided on how comfortable it is to sleep on.  Any time I move the whole thing shifts which makes climbing down from the bunk a lot more awkward.  Groceries were a bit expensive but I also purchased enough to last until we made the next jump.

Last week Ma made the crew a delicious spaghetti dinner and last night we had a BBQ.  Unfortunately it did not go as planned due to a malfunctioning thermostat on the grill.  Hamburgers and hot dogs were cooked in the kitchen while I helped brown sausage on a hotplate.  Should note here that everything was beef and pork free; the sausage in particular was quite tasty.

Vick and Hana have returned from Buffalo and he brought along a few new props that he fabricated, along with a snake box for Damien that I paid him to make.  It was well worth the price and allows me to keep an eye on my baby to ensure that he has enough water.  Must invest in a heat source for him because it gets cold at night and he needs to be kept warm.  The crew does not seem thrilled that they came back, as we had assumed they had left for good.  The thought that we had not seen the last of them entered my mind as well, but too many factors pointed to the opposite happening.  Besides, I know the other girl would not be too happy if it was just the two of us rotating on the bally stage.

Reg has been a constant contributing factor to keeping things interesting around here with drunken escapades he has become well-known for.  So far he has had two days without pay from being too hungover to work, got knocked on his ass by Boss Jr. for mouthing off, and got locked in his room by Jerry for being obnoxious when everyone was trying to sleep.  None of this has stopped him from drinking, but I have noticed that he is more reserved during the day and puts effort into getting things done, reserving night time after work to have a beverage.

There is a whole list of things I wrote last night I am trying to make sense of so I can properly document the late night thoughts.  Right now the crew is not doing much aside from waiting for paint to dry so the final touches can be applied and the stage can be reassembled.  Then all of the props can be arranged in their proper spots and we will be ready to open on Friday.  While the fair only lasts eight days, being here early allowed us to get some things done at a steady pace.

Later on I plan to shave the sides of my head and finally dye my hair.  We might all go out bowling or something tonight and I don’t want to scare the locals too much.

September 21, 2005 – Frederick Fair Fun

On a recent trip to town I was checking out the DVD section because Jerry has a player and television in his bunk, but said he would be willing to set it up so that everyone could watch movies together.  For some reason, my attention was caught by a movie called Swing Kids which is about group of youths in Nazi ruled Germany who gathered in secret to listen and dance to swing music.  The description sounded interesting enough so I decided to buy that along with an anthology of Tales From the Crypt episodes.

After taking care of our duties of the day, Jerry wanted to have a movie night and said he had a great idea.  Before we knew it he was hauling extra mattresses out of the bunkhouse and positioning them on the hill that it was parked next to.  This formed a crude couch but it was better than sitting on the grass and everyone had fun finding a comfortable spot.  It has been agreed that this will be the way we always watch movies.

The other day we were made aware that a few groups of deaf children could possibly come see the sideshow and so we should be prepared to do a simpler version so that they could understand what we were doing.  The great thing about the linguistics of sideshow is that it tends to be universal without really needing to be translated.  When we saw a bunch of these kids filter into the tent, we were all on our best behavior and were careful to slowly explain what was happening in as few words as possible, so that those who were using sign language to interpret for everyone else did not have to rush.  It was a really enlightening experience and the expressions on their faces said more than words ever could.  This is one of those things that makes doing this more valuable than monetary compensation, and I pity any performer who has never felt that appreciation.

When we had first arrived here and were watching the rides being set up, a worker fell from the small metal roller coaster he was helping put together and OSHA came out to investigate the whole thing.

Talk about the tree lot has picked up and I have decided that I will stay on to be a part of that.  If everything works out right I can be back in New Jersey for my birthday, which I obviously would love to spend with Jon.  Though I am usually too busy to even think about him, at night when I am laying on the air mattress waiting for sleep to come, he always fills my head.  Being unable to communicate with him makes the whole situation just that much more difficult but I don’t want to seem like I am complaining.

Every day I wake up and get ready knowing exactly what I have to do, and every evening I have a sense of satisfaction despite being worn out.  Nothing could make me want to give this up and my heart will just have to deal without Jon for just a while longer.

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