I started looking at the girls with a new look plus the fact that a few carnies went on the make, thinking I was gay and wound up with half their teeth knocked out from a pair of brass knuckles I had. Dad had to pay for sewing up their lips and getting them a set of choppers. He wholeheartedly agreed to retire me as a half boy and half girl.

After that, I became the Human Volcano (or the fire eater), ticket seller, head of the ruffles and a talker....and God's gift to the local girls.

Dad used to say that three days in town and the broads would come looking for Buster and Fats with mattresses on their backs and he wasn't joking.

I don't know why but the girls in the small towns that the local studs couldn't touch with a ten foot pole would crawl in the pad with the carnies with enthusiasm.

A lot of times, the ride boys would pick up a gal and shack up with her for the season. The carny managers welcomed the gals because it meant that he had another ticket seller. Back in those days, they didn't have just one or two central tickets booths like they do now, where you have to buy a strip of coupons for five or ten bucks. Each ride or show had individual ticket boxes and the gals came in handy selling tickets.

A lot of the ride boys made their beds in the possum bellies under the trucks and the gals bedded down with them. The carnies called the gals "Possum Belly Queens." I know a few of the 'possum belly queens' that wound up getting hitched to side show owners and carney owners or became topline strippers, making big money.

I had my share of shackjobs, but they were none called 'possum belly queens,' because I flopped on one of the stages in the ten-in-one, covered with canvas. Dad nicknamed them "Canvas Back Kittens." Of course he didn't mind as this gave him another bally gal or someone to work the sword box and illusions.

Well, everything was rosey that season. Mom and Dad closed with over ten grand in the kick (pocket). By then Mom liked her brew just a little bit too much and Dad and her would get in some hellish arguments.


To be Continued

 

Posted here courtesy of Midway Publications - Copyright 1999 William T. Usher All rights reserved

 


If you have information about William T. Usher please email us at the Sideshow World

 

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