The Dirty Dozen
It was a little early to be in
Pennsylvania at that time of the year but there we were in a
coal mining town, in a valley surrounded by mountains. A
creek ran by the edge of town and the carnival grounds was
an old slag dump that had been leveled off, then topped with
dirt. The town made it their baseball park. In order to get
to the park from town, you either had to walk across the
railroad trestle or go about a quarter of a mile to the
upper edge of town to a highway, cross the bridge there,
then go another quarter of a mile back to the ball field.
Most of the townspeople took the shortcut across the
railroad trestle on which three of four trains crossed
daily, loaded with coal. Beneath the trestle ran a small
river about ten or fifteen feet deep and twenty feet wide.
When a train topped the mountain on the north side of town
and started down into the valley, the engineer would pour on
the coal to get up more speed in order to get up the
mountain south of
town. By the time
it crossed the trestle, it would be doing fifty or sixty
miles an hour, or more.
As the engineer
topped the mountain at the north side of town about two
miles out, he blew the whistle to let the town know that he
was coming through.
Well, Monday, opening night, around eight o'clock, a dozen
bald headed dudes, riding motorcycles, rode up to the front
gate of the midway, parked their bikes, got off and walked
on the midway. With their black leather studded jackets,
black leather wristbands, their fingers sticking out of
their gloves, black leather riding boots, some of them
carrying motorcycle chains, they were a real tough looking
bunch of dudes.
As they passed by the candy apple joint, they politely
helped themselves to the apples, went over to a nearby stand
and helped themselves to the stuffed toys. Then they got on
the merry-go-round while it was running, throwing the ticket
taker off. By that time, the carnies were fed up with their
crap. Slim, our electrician, cut the switch that controlled
the power to the merry-go-round and it stopped.
The Dirty Dozen, as the gang was called, got off, walked
over to Kitty's ball game, picked up the balls and started
throwing them at the baby doll prizes which were made of
plaster of Paris and breaking them. When she bent over to
pick up a ball, the leader, a big guy over six feet tall and
weighing at least two hundred, reached his hand up her
dress. She turned and laid a sucker punch on him, but good,
knocking him on the ground.
He got up, wiping
the blood from his kisser and started toward her.
Slim, the electrician, went to work on him with a big pair
of Kleins (pliers). When he got through, the dude was out
cold. He had so many lumps on his head, if he had any hair,
and combed it straight back, it would have looked like he
had a permanent wave.
At that time, one of the carnies yelled, "Hey, Rube," and
all the ride boys came running with crescent wrenches while
agents came running with wooden stakes and hammers.
It was over in less than five minutes. As the bad boys
helped each other back to their motorcycles, with busted
heads, ribs and bloody noses, the leader cried, "It ain't
over yet, you bastards, we'll be back with help." Well, we
expected that and got ready for their return.
To be Continued