I Was A Pre-Teen Rube
I think the best part of growing up in
the seventies was all the carnivals that would sprout up all
around our town, starting every June. The best one of all was the
one that would come to the big Atlantic Thrift parking lot, just a
few blocks from my house.
The whole family would go and ride the
rides and eat funnel cake, at least once while it was there - but
NEVER, EVER, would we go into the big tent with all the bright
pictures on the outside. There would be a Bally tape blaring over
the loud music, telling us about the wonders to be found on the
inside - Alive!
I would ask, “What’s in there?”
“Nothing”, would be the reply.
“There must be something”
“Nothing nice, how about the Ferris
I hated the Ferris wheel. I just knew
that whatever was in that tent must be something really fun. The
Bally tape said I would be shocked. I wanted to be shocked.
So, I pressed the subject.
“Look,” She said “There are poor, sick
people in there, and they are being taken advantage of! It’s
awful! Nice people don’t go in there - if you pay the money, you
just encourage the whole nasty business!”
Well, the Bally tape didn’t say
“awful”, it said “amazing”. I just had to see it. Anyway, I knew
that I was never allowed to do the most fun stuff , and I was sick
of it. Time to take a stand. The next night, mom had to work, so I
put my paper route money in my pocket, and met my friend George
from down the street. From his front porch, we could hear the
music from the rides - Steppenwolf, Argent, Yes (Roundabout for
the Roundup!) . We were going to have fun!
“Hey” he said as we walked up the
road, ‘did you hear about the girl that got killed at the fair
“No, what happened?”
“In the Spook House. They still didn’t
find her head”
“C’mon!” I didn’t see anything about
it in the paper. “That didn’t happen”
“Did too!. My brother’s girlfriend
knew her. There are devil worshippers living in there. They drank
her blood, and they took her head for a ceremony”
Well, if one of the older kids said
it, it must be true! We walked the rest of the way to the fair
thinking it over. As we entered, we could hear that Bally
tape…”Bloody Mama! She’s alive! “ Pretty exciting.
“She’s killed a hundred Men!…not for
the faint of heart! Enter if you Dare!….” On and on it went, she
must be something!
“Let’s go in”
“It’s probably dumb!” He argued
“C’mon, I’m going in - Chicken!”
“I’m not chicken, it’s dumb!”
“….From the darkest jungle…A
terrifying Killer…Keep your hands at your sides!…” I just knew
it was Bloody Mama, not some devil cult, that killed that girl in
the spook house! I had to see her.
“She’s some kind of jungle savage” I
told him “She might be naked!”
In we went. And there she was - a
python. Not eating anyone. She was naked, though. Seemed
she was sleeping. Next to her was a goat with an extra leg.
Nothing awful, no sick people. I knew my mother didn’t know what
she was talking about! And it was over, we were back on the
“Wanna go in the Spook House?”
And off we went. That was 30 years
ago, and I just recently told my mother. I think I’m grounded.
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