Saturday, April 01, 2006

People of The Carny World

I've met a lot of great people on the road, many are my friends to this very day.
To say it was a shock to my young mind being thrown into this alien society with it's fucked up mess of the weirdest and harshest people you can imagine is an understatement. All shapes and sizes, colors and creeds, gay and straight. You name it. Everyone had their issues and wore them on their sleeve, and no one gave a shit.
Remember, this was a conservative time in the country. Gays were still hiding in the closet. Society hadn't accepted them yet. No one looked twice at them or judged them in the Carny world. We were all just the same. Just people. A family.
These days people with purple hair and tattoos and piercings of every kind are the norm. They all feel proud and unique, they're expressing they're uniqueness. I have to chuckle when I see them now. I remember a time when those people existed only in the Carny world and mainstream society hated us. People didn't dress and act like the Carnies back in those days. Now it's all the rage and a new generation. I remember when it was localized to a small group of people society as a whole didn't like or trust and flat out rejected until it came time to be entertained.
I remember once on a hot summer night in the south decades ago. I was taking a break off the Midway. I was watching the lights of the rides whirling around in the night sky. A well dressed beautiful lady came and sat by me and began talking as if we were already in a conversation.
"I just love the Carnival!" she said in her southern drawl as she watched the Midway.
"I come to see the wild people as much as the festivities. They haven't a care in the world. If only I could be so free!" Her voice trailed off and she lit a cigarette.
I didn't say anything. I didn't give a shit. I was a kid. I finished my break and headed back to the Midway and "The wild people!"
I came to realize that most people are locked into life, or a version they live that they feel is the right one.
Carnies don't give a shit. We live one spot and one minute at a time. When the show is done we tear down and move on to the next city. 
That first summer was like a boot camp. Being yelled at all the time. No one coddled me out there. No one was coddled. You pulled your fucking weight. If the work was done and the boss made money he didn't give a shit what you did in the wee hours when the lot was dark. Just show up for work in the morning.
I remember one of our jumps that summer a truck broke down and we got stranded in this little town and some shitty motel. I was bunked in with the bosses son who was in his early 20's. I was 14 or 15 at the time and not old enough to get in the bar with the rest of the crew who were all older. I ended up sitting in the shitty motel room by myself with a bottle my older crew mates left with me. 
I was a kid, I didn't drink, I didn't know how to drink, but I gave it a shot. It tasted awful and I couldn't breath for a second after that first one. I sure liked the effect though. So I sat there on the bed watching TV and drinking shots till I puked all over myself. It only took a few. 
About the time I was done cleaning the puke off me with a shower Keith....the bosses son, came rolling in the door with Brenda, a really hot blond that worked on our crew. That guy got laid like crazy. He was always banging a different girl off our crew or another crew every night.
Anyway, as usual there'd been a fight over at the hotel between some town people and our Carny crew so everyone was kicked out and some went to jail. It was the three of us for the rest of the night in that motel room.
So the party continued on with the three of us in that tiny motel room till dawn. Of course I was just a kid and the youngest on the crew and obviously a virgin and constantly the butt of jokes with the older guys and Keith.
The girls thought it was cute and I just wished I was so much older and cooler but I wasn't. I was a kid. A virgin to sooo many things coming at me on the road.
I was feeling better because I'd puked and was done with drinking for that night but we smoked some joints and those two kept drinking and making out on occasion and thought it might be a good idea if I got my cherry popped by Brenda who was 21 and seemed so much older and sophisticated to a kid like me.
"Oh Brenda you gotta ride this kid and pop his cherry!" Keith said a number of times. 
"He's probably never even seen a chick naked before!" He joked.
Of course I hadn't, I was a fucking kid. The closest I'd ever been to seeing naked women was in a Penthouse mag I had at home under my bed that I jerked off to when I had the chance.
Back in those days there was no Internet and porn everywhere. The closest you'd come to seeing a tit was if you stayed up really late and watched one of those foreign channels where you couldn't understand anything.....and then you might see a tit on TV at 4:00am. But that was it. Then you ran to bed and jerked off.
I was high as a kite by this time and everything seemed like a dream.
"Oh sweety I'm gonna do a strip tease for you" Brenda said as she put her drink down and stood up. 
Keith reached over and turned the music up and Blondies "Call Me!" was playing. I'll never forget it.
I was so fucking stoned I just sat there watching while she danced away peeling her cloths off. I remember a thought briefly crossing my foggy mind....I wondered what my friends back home were doing at this moment and then it left. I didn't really give a shit. I knew I was having a much better time.
I remember Keith had finally passed out and Brenda was swaying around the room naked as Air Supply's "I'm all out of love" played softly on the radio.
"I'm all out of love....I'm so lost without you...I know you were right believing for so long!" As Brenda mouthed the words swaying away with her eyes closed.
She was so beautiful, she was something to see. To me she looked like the girls in the magazines teen guys like me jerked off too. But here she was right in front of me, dancing for me. This Carny life was the fucking shit.
It was all like a dream as she made her way over to me sitting there on the bed. I went to speak, to say what... I don't know or even remember now. I wasn't nervous. I was in a foggy dream.
"Sssshhhhh!" She said as she pulled my t shirt up and off and threw it on the floor. She gently pushed me down on the bed and crawled on beside me undoing my pants and sliding them off. We got under the covers and she kissed me deeply again and again as she rubbed her body against me. My mind didn't know what to do but my body did so I let it.
Brenda lowered herself onto me slowly and gently and I shuddered, I was home. Her embrace, everything about the experience was beautiful in some strange majestic way I can never fully describe. I lasted a lot longer than I ever thought I would or she thought I would. She rode me until dawn and we both passed out exhausted. Well I was exhausted. 
I awoke to trucks starting and activity outside. I was alone in the room and still foggy but rested. It was afternoon. There was a lot of motion outside so that meant everyone was up and ready to go. Our truck must be fixed. I got my shit together and got dressed hauling my duffel bag out the door and into the hot sun. Last night seemed like a dream.
Everybody was packing there shit in the trucks and waiting for the boss to get back with the guys who'd went to jail the night before. When they saw me they all started ribbing me and talking about my cherry being popped and laughing. I was pretty embarrassed, everyone fucking knew.
"Good job buddy!" Keith said as he walked by to put his shit in the truck.
"I knew you could do it!" He gave a thumbs up and a big grin.
I felt like the whole fucking world knew and was looking at me. 
I was beat red as I put my shit in the truck. Every fucking person walking by said...
"Heard you got your cherry popped, good job!" Then laughed.
The worst was from the girls. Marybeth was a cute red head who worked on our crew in a game and she was always so nice to me.
"It's ok stud muffin!" She said.
"Everyone knows everything about everyone around here!" She kissed me on the cheek.
For the next couple seasons the girls called me "Muffin!" It was embarrassing. I wanted a cooler nickname than "Muffin!" 
When the boss got back with the guys that were in jail we hit the road. I rode in the truck with him and Brenda and even he knew and laughed and bugged me about it. 
We pulled out of town and onto the highway and on to the next city and the next adventure with me smiling all the way.

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