Carnie Justice & Camaraderie

by Ken Mundis

 

One thing I realized on the midway was that everyone sticks together.  Even though you might not like the other guy and he may not like you, you still were part of the carnival family.
 
When it came down to it, it was us against them mentally, spiritually and physically.  “Them” being the marks and the townies.
 
It was the late 80s when I was young, dumb and full of piss and vinegar.  I grew up on rock-n-roll and I liked wearing this scarf I had that was like something out of an old gypsy movie.  Everyone knew me as the kid with the tribal crap. (ha, ha, ha)
 
One night it was almost closing time, things were slow and my best friend (he was also my roommate) Mike was out doing his own thing.   I was sitting on the bally stage taking in the sights: the lights, the smell of funnel cake, and the sounds of Talkers.  As I was watching the townies walk by, these two guys and their drunken girl came up to me and said, “Hey man, my girl likes your scarf.”  I said thank you.  Then they asked me, “How much do you want for it?”   Now any other businessman would have sold it for three times its value.  Here I am, 18 and on my own and with nothing but the clothes on my back, so that $2.00 scarf was everything I had.  I politely said it was not for sale and all of a sudden things turned ugly.
 
One of the guys said, “Well, what if we take you behind that tent and kick your butt and just take it?”  My heart started beating faster, my pulse went up and to be honest I was scared.  All of a sudden, out of nowhere my friend Mike, (we called him Balushie) and some other guys that I had never met before walked up and said, “Hi Ken.”  Then he stuck his hand out to shake mine.  I extended my hand and he pulled me out of the way of the two guys.  When they turned around there were about 20 carnies standing there, young ones, old ones, some with brooms, others with game sticks.  All he asked me was “Are you ok?”   I said,  “Yes!”  Then he told me, “Tell your friends goodbye.”   Well, I know those marks got the picture.  As the saying goes, the hunters were now the prey. 
 
They said, “It’s cool man.”  Then they left and went on to hassle the rock-n-ride caravan.  Now that was a stupid thing to do, because most of those guys were bikers and carnies. 
 
But you know, I realized right then and there, even though all of us on the carnival don't always see eye to eye, no one else will mess with us.

 

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