I Was A Teenage Blockhead

Part 2

by Walt Hudson

 

I would like to start out by thanking all of the great people that have given their permission to use this story and their artwork in our "Good Old Days" section on Sideshow Central. I would also like to take a moment to let you know how it all came together.

 

Walt Hudson emailed me and offered to let us use his story "I was a Teenage Blockhead".  In returning his email I thought I should contact James Taylor since this article appeared in his publication Shocked and Amazed Vols. 2, 3 & 4 http://www.atomicbooks.com/43/shocked/index.html. James also gave his permission.

As I was reviewing the article, I really felt that the original artwork would be as important to the article as it was in the original publications.  So I contacted the artists and have received permission from Mark Frierson, Robert Kathman and Nicolas Wm. Aumiller to use their illustrations. 

 

John Robinson

  ____________________________________________________________________________    

"I Was a Teenage Blockhead" 

Reprinted with permission of 

Walt Hudson, James Taylor, Mark Frierson, Robert Kathman and Nicolas Wm. Aumiller.

 

When last we left our hapless hero, Walt Hudson, he had become the only 16 year old with his very own two-headed pickled punk. Well, okay, a bouncer, but he did get his little gift after one of his friends, Muscles the Indestructible Strong Man, was brained by the owner of the freak baby show for trying to force himself on the owner's wife. Walt had already survived the death of Mr. King, the show's big snake, he learned all about gathering a tip, found out that a workaday tattooed woman can be the blow-off to the show if you pitch the act right (and if you've got nothing better to give the marks in the annex), and discovered sex on the midway in the form of the Wild Jungle Girl. Not bad for a kid working the show every day after high school. Rejoin Walt now as he readies to hit the road again and become the human blockhead he was born to be.

It was about an hour before the carnival opened and I was sitting on a lawn chair out behind the tent. Tessie came out of her trailer and handed me a cold bottle of cola. She also had one and sat down beside me.

"Here, Walt. Let's toast your new act. The human blockhead. Now you have two banners out front showing what you can do."

 

"Yeah, but I still wish Muscles was with us to do the act." We drank the soda. I decided to question Tessie about her tattoos.

I knew I was taking a chance because many carny people refuse to talk about their private lives.   "Tessie, how did you become a tattooed girl ?"     

 

"Seems like I've been asked that question a thousand times. It all started with my daddy and long before I was born. Daddy was a merchant seaman and away from home for months at a time. On one of the trips there was a guy on the ship with them who had a tattoo kit and knew something about tattooing. So a lot of the sailors had tattoos put on, including my dad."


"Daddy eventually had his whole back and his arms tattooed. Took him a couple of years to have it done, of course. Well, Daddy became so fascinated with tattoos he would have one put on his body in just about every port he'd sail into."


"Daddy finally settled down in Norfolk, VA, and became friendly with the feller who ran the local tattoo parlor and he taught Dad the trade. That's how Dad met my mom. She came into the shop one day for a tattoo and it was love at first sight. They was married within a month and I was born nine months later."


"So your mom had tattoos, also?"


"Yeah, but just a couple. Anyways, when I was six months old my dad put on my first tattoo. Did a little heart on my rump."


"You mean he tattooed you when you were six months old?" I could not believe anyone would do such a thing to a baby. I tried not to show my shock.


"Yep. And every year for my birthday I got another tattoo. I really didn't mind it at first. I liked it. When I was little I used to show them off to all my little friends. I
kinda liked the attention they was giving me. But then when I got to junior high school, things changed. I had to take showers after gym class and the other girls (were cruel and made fun of me land called me a freak."

 

"Even though I didn't have any Ion my arms or legs and you (couldn't see the tattoos when I was dressed, the boys at school I never asked me out on dates. They I didn't want to be seen with a freak.

 

I finally quit school at 16. One I spring a traveling carnival was I playing Norfolk and I joined the side show and have been in the business ever since. Mazie's been travelin' with me for the past five years and 1 guess I'm as happy as I most folks."

 

"Well, Tessie, you are the star of the show!"

 

"Yep. And they even pay extra to see me and buy my photo," she smiled. The calliope music on the merry-go-round started up. "Well, you know what that means. It's just about show time. Gotta go get dressed up."

 

We tore down the show and had everything packed just before it began to rain. There had been a slight change in plans. Roger the dwarf quit our show to join the "Streets Of Paris" girlie revue. Roger owned the car and Tony Dee had no transportation, so Doc decided Tony would ride part of the way with him and Emma and then he would relieve Bobo and me who were driving the truck carrying the show. Doc wanted us to travel in a. caravan over the 400 mile route he had laid out for us. That way, if anyone's vehicle should break down, we could help out. We would be stopping every few hours for a rest break and to change drivers.

Doc led the way. We followed with the truck and Tessie and Mazie brought up the rear. The roads were good and there wasn't much traffic late at night. Since this was before the days of the many superhighways and beltways, our speed was limited and we traveled miles and miles along unlighted roads. There were no highway rest stops and we had to seek out all-night diners as we passed through the many small towns.

It was raining hard the first couple of hours and the monotonous sound and movement of the windshield wipers was almost hypnotic. I talked with Bobo to make sure he stayed alert as he
drove the first two hour shift.

 

"You know, Bobo, I really enjoy doing the blockhead act you taught me and I get a kick out of the look on the marks' faces when I hammer the spikes up my nose. I think I would like to learn to do other acts, too. Is it hard to do the bed of spikes?"

 

"Naw, there's nothing to it. The board can be any size you want it to be. The one I use just covers my back. It is about 15 inches by 25 inches. The secret is that all the nails are evenly spaced on the board. They're only about an inch apart over the entire board, so you lave to drill holes in the board before you hammer the nails in. Otherwise, you'd split the board."

 

"Do you have to file off the points if the nails to dull them?"

 

"You can, but you don't have to. The nails on the board I use are jointed. You lie down on the nails as flat as possible. Your entire back rests on the nails." "Does it hurt?"

 

"Just a little. But you get used to it. It feels like lying on a pile of mall stones. You feel it but there is no pain. I like to do it and when get up they see the little dents the nails make on my back. It is great to hear the marks' comments. I'll let you try the nailboard at our next stand."

 

"Great. I really want to learn it. Do you know how to eat fire?" "Nope. But I'm sure someone can teach you. You should have asked Roger the dwarf when he was with us."

 

'Bobo, how did you get into the sideshow business?" I never thought he would tell me. He was secretive about his past, but once he started, he talked for about fifteen minutes without stopping.

 

"A year ago, last winter, after I ran away from the detention center, I was bumming around Miami doing odd jobs, hustling and turning tricks."


I was a naive sixteen year old and had no idea what he meant. The only tricks I knew about were the magic ones. Of course, I never admitted my ignorance.  "This one guy I shacked up with named Kinky Karl was a carny. He had a grind show and told me all about the business. He made enough money during the summer to keep him in style all winter long. He told me I should learn a sideshow act and he would get me a job during the summer. I hate stayin' in one place very long and by traveling with a carnival, I'm in a new place every week. Also, it's hard for people to track you down and find you."          

 

"How did you decide on the human pincushion act?"


"I didn't; Kinky Karl did. He said I'd have to do something very few others could do. So we worked out the act. We pierced my ears, nose and the nipples on my chest with red hot needles. We put catgut through the holes so they'd stay open until they healed. Then we put rings through them. Now the holes are permanent and the pins go through the holes."


I shuddered thinking about the puncturing process. "Was there a lot of pain?"


"Naw, not much. Of course I still run a pin through the flesh in my forearm each show but the pin doesn't go straight in, just under the skin and it runs parallel to the surface and out again. It's in there just deep enough to draw a little blood! I like doing it. It turns me on. Sometimes I take a needle and thread and sew a button on my
belly! That really shocks the hell out of  'em!"

 

I decided to drop the matter. I am sure Bobo would have made a great subject for a clinical study of masochism, but I was not inter­ested in any more of his gory details.

 

"Anyway, last summer Kinky Karl took out his grind show which was a display of torture equipment on the Happy Wonderland Shows and I went with him to help out. There was a side show on the carnival and they were glad to hire me. You know, there aren't too many people who do the stuff I do."

 

I agreed with that and could understand why. "Bobo, are you happy now? Traveling and working in this show?"

 

"Don't know whether I'd say I'm happy. Maybe just satisfied."

 

It had stopped raining. "Hey, look! Doc's pulling in at that diner up ahead. Let's get a cup of coffee. Then, Walt, it's your turn to drive."

It was 3:30 a.m. when we pulled up at the all-night diner. Tony Dee, Doc and his wife had already gone in and Bobo and I waited until Tessie and Mazie parked their car and then we entered together. The three gals sat in one booth and the four of us guys sat in another.


Two truckers at the counter were talking to the lone waitress and there was a short-order cook in the small kitchen. The waitress looked like she was glad to have some customers and gave us a friendly smile as she handed us the breakfast menu.


The two truckers were talking and laughing loudly and the burly one with the thick black hair rolled up his sleeve and displayed a large tattoo of a parrot, which took up most of his upper arm.

"Ain't she a beauty? I just had it put on last week."

His bald-headed buddy admired it. Next, he decided to share his pride and joy with the rest of us, and he came over to the girls' table and flexed his arm.

"How do you like it, ladies?"

"Not bad," said Emma, as she winked at Tessie.

"I've seen better," said Tessie.

"Oh, yeah? Where?"

"Here!" and with that Tessie stood up and took off her blouse and revealed her entire tattooed torso.

"Wow!" said the parrot's owner. "Where'd you get those?" His eyes widened as he could hardly believe what he saw. "I ain't never seen so many tattoos on one person before."

The rest of us laughed at the expression on his face. The waitress came over and the cook came out of the kitchen to view the human art gallery.

Emma spoke up. "Tessie is the tattooed girl in our side show."

"Here," said Mazie, as she reached into her purse and took out one of Tessie's souvenir photos that she sold in the show. "Now you can see the rest of Tessie's tattoos. You can keep the photo." She handed it to the trucker.

"Gee, thanks. These tattoos are beautiful."

"Can I have a photo, too?" asked the cook.

"Sure, here's one for each of you." Mazie distributed the photos and Tessie autographed them.

After they all thanked her, the cook spoke up, "Coffee and donuts are on the house for all. Anything else you pay for."


We all had breakfast.

It was around noon on Sunday when we pulled into the fairgrounds. All of the shows were unloading and setting up. We found our spot on the midway and began unloading the truck. We were fortunate to have the help of three local men to assist in putting up the tent.

They were good workers and with the seven of us we made good time getting up the top and bannerline. By the time we got the platform up and the lights rigged inside we were all exhausted and glad that we had a day to rest before the fair officially opened.


That evening I sat on the bally platform and watched the other shows, rides and games spring up on all sides.

Doc Williams walked over. "When you get time, take down the Indestructible Boy banner. We are going to replace it with Grace's banner when she joins us tomorrow."

"Is Grace the featured freak you have been talking about?"

"She sure is! Our bona fide freak!"

I had heard Doc use the term before but I wasn't quite sure what it meant. So I asked him.

"Well, kid, there are three kinds of freaks in the business. The first are the real freaks, the people who are born different. They may have a deformity or a skin ailment or a glandular misfunction. They may

be born without limbs and call themselves armless or legless wonders. They may have a skin condition so severe they call themselves alligator skin boys or elephant skin girls. They might have multiple limbs or be dwarfs like Roger or fat like Wee Willie who quit our show back in Philly.

They might be Siamese twins or giants."

"The second kind of freak is self-made. Tessie is one of them. Most of the half/man half/woman are self-made freaks. Well have one of those joining our show in a couple of weeks. He will become our annex attraction."

"The third kind of freaks are out-and-out fakes and are the worst. They don't usually fool the public these days. I saw one boy who had a fake tail pasted on his ass and he called himself Pony Boy.

Another guy had a couple of small animal horns glued to his head and booked himself as The Devil's Child. You can't get away with that faked stuff and expect to do business."

"What about the magic act I do?"

"You are called a working act, just like Bobo's pincushion and the fire eaters and the snake charmers and any other novelty act. We need your type of act to fill out the show, but a real freak is what brings in the marks."

Grace McDaniels and her 17 year old son Bob arrived on Monday afternoon. She was a real freak all right, and called herself the Mule-Faced Woman. Her entire face was a mass of purple colored, bulbous tissue causing it to have the likeness of a mule's head. She was the ugliest person I have ever seen. But, she was a gentle, pleasant and friendly lady and we all liked her immediately.

Her son traveled with her and Bobo and I were glad to have another kid our age around. Bob drove the car and took care of his mother, who appeared to be in her late 50s. (In those days, anyone who was over 40 years old was ancient to me.) Grace had poor eyesight and Bob led her from their trailer to the tent and helped her up on the platform. He was with her most of the time and was a very devoted son.

The next morning another member joined our sideshow. Rose Hester, a little old lady with a grandmotherly look, drove up in her car, which pulled a very small house trailer. When she stepped out of the car, Doc went out to meet her and gave her a big hug. It was obvious to all that they were old friends.

"Rose, you look younger than springtime."

"Doc, you're still full of blarney. Where is Emma?"

Emma came out of her trailer and greeted Rose. Next, Doc introduced her to us.


"Rose is the best cold reader in the business."

I smiled and shook her hand. I had no idea what he was talking about. Later Bobo told me a cold reader was like a fortune teller. I wondered what a fortune teller would do in a ten-in-one. It did not take me long to find out. Rose set up her small table and two folding chairs at one end of the tent. That was all she needed.

Doc hung a small curtain up in front of these so Rose had a bit of privacy as she gave her cold readings.

(Cold Reading is the ability to meet a person, a complete stranger, and with absolutely no gimmicks or trickery give that person a character reading. The reader/performer appears to know-all about the person's past, present and future and, to use a trite phrase, "knows all, sees all and tells all." He can reveal inner hidden secrets the person has told no one else.)

When it came time for Rose's bit, she would give a brief spiel and sell tickets for the reading. "As you pass down the midway you will probably see a gypsy fortune teller, palm reader or someone selling horoscopes. I want you good folks to understand I am not a fortune teller, mind reader or mentalist."


"I am a psychic consultant and I give character analysis. Everyone here has questions about his daily life that he would like answered, problems he would like solved. Together, we will do it. I am going to tell you how to achieve the happiness, fame and fortune each of you desire and need to succeed in life. Each of you will receive a private reading and the donation is only .25 cents. You may take your ticket now and each will have a number on it. When I call your number I will give you your reading."


Her readings only lasted about 5 minutes each but she sold so many tickets that the people often saw the rest of the show twice while they waited to get to see her. If there was a large crowd in the tent, Rose raised her fee and even though she got fewer people she made more money.

 

I got to know Rose very well and one day about three weeks after she had joined our show we were relaxing out back of the tent and I asked her about how she did it. She was very open about her techniques and shared them with me.

 

"Well, Walt, I'll tell you. You have to like people. You have to want to understand them and you have to keep studying them. It takes time and years to become a good reader. Keep your eyes open. Notice small things about people. When they come in, shake their hands. Are their hands rough or smooth? It could be an indication of the kind of employment they have. Look at the kind of clothes and jewelry they wear. Do they wear a wedding ring? Fraternal or civic buttons? Are they healthy looking? When they approach are they nervous or calm?"

 

When you talk with them, never ask a direct question. Be a good listener. Remember and use the information they give you and feed it back to them later in the reading. Reinforce your correct statements. Build on a positive point once you have hit upon one. Most people come to you because they have a problem and it is usually about business, health, money or sex. Once you discover which it is you can begin to give your advice."

"Help the person; reassure him; build his ego. Tell him what he wants to hear. Don't give medical advice or legal advice."

She went on and on revealing her techniques and I soaked it up like a sponge. I never saw a person leave Rose's blow-off unhappy. They felt she had given them a new outlook on life. Many made appointments during off hours for longer readings and she always baffled them with her so-called psychic powers. She sincerely tried to analyze people's problems, guide them and improve their self image. She was a poor man's psychologist and social counselor, only her fee was a fraction of what the so-called experts charged.

I decided I would continue to learn as much as I could from Rose so that one day I would be able to give cold readings.

Although Rose Hester and Grace McDaniels (the Mule-Faced Woman) were both senior citizens, they loved working outdoor showbiz and they became good companions and always spent their spare time together.

We were setting up on Monday near Charlotte, NC, and another senior citizen showed up at our top. She was looking for Grace and I showed her where Grace's trailer was.

Doc came over. "Walt, was that Grandma Carver?"

"I don't know. I didn't ask her name. Why? Are we adding another act to our show?"


He picked up the back tent flap and looked out. The lady was
talking to Grace. They seemed to be old friends.

 

"That's Grandma, all right. She's the free act at the fair this week.

 

"You mean she works for nothing?" I asked

 

"No. She is paid by the Fair Board. A free act is one that the public sees for free. They use them to encourage the crowd to stay on the fairgrounds later at night. They will announce that Grandma will perform at 10 o'clock, then they will change it to 10:30pm. They will keep upping the time and will eventually put her on about mid­night. While the people wait to see the act, they will walk around and spend more money on food, games and rides.

 

"What does she do?" I asked. I couldn't imagine what a seventy year old lady could do to convince several hundreds of people to hang around until midnight

 

"You see that 80 foot ladder over there?" He pointed across the fairgrounds. The ladder was erected straight up in the air and held in place by guy lines.

"Well, Grandma Carver climbs to the top of it and does a high dive into that five foot tank of water at the base of the ladder!"

I couldn't believe what I was hearing!

"And, if conditions are right, they will pour gasoline on the water and set it on fire!"

That dear, sweet, elderly lady having cookies and tea with Rose and Grace was a high diver!

Doc introduced our featured attraction, Grace, the Mule-Faced Woman, who was led to the platform by her son Bob. Grace made her entrance with a veil over her face.

"And now, ladies and gentlemen you are about to see one of the strangest creatures you have ever seen and will ever see. When Grace McDaniels removes her veil you will see why she is called the Mule-Faced Woman. If you shock easily or are inclined to feel faint when faced with something that repulses and horrifies you, then I
suggest that you turn your head and not look upon the face of this lady as she removes her veil. If you must watch and do feel faint or nauseated, raise your hand and one of our nurses will come to your aid with smelling salts to ease your distress.

 

Our nurses were Emma and Rose who carried bottles of smelling salts and, on more than one occasion, they used them.

 

"And now as Grace removes her veil, we ask that there be no unkind comments."

 

A hush fell over the crowd. Some of the marks did turn their heads and others gawked in disbelief as they viewed what must have been the ugliest face they had ever seen..

 

"You will notice the color of the skin on the lady's huge head is deep purple. Her skin looks like raw meat, and notice how large and protruding her chin and jaws are. Her lips are thick and observe how she has trouble closing her mouth over those jagged teeth. Her eyes are set back into her head, and because of the sagging flesh of her forehead and eye lids she has trouble seeing.

"Her profile looks like a mule's head and that is why we call her the Mule-Faced Woman. If you have any questions, I shall be happy to answer them for you because Grace's mouth is so deformed, it is difficult for her to talk and even harder for her to be understood."

There were always a few standard questions: "How old is she?" "Was she born this way?" "Is she married?" "How does she eat?"


Doc would answer all questions and then go into the photo pitch. "And now for those who would like to help Grace financially, you can purchase a photo of her. Printed on the back of this souvenir photo you will find a brief biography of this dear, sweet, courageous lady. The money she receives from these photos will help her to live during the winter months when she cannot work in a traveling show. Each photo is only 10 cents and you may want to get one for your friends who have missed this educational exhibit."

Bob, Emma and Rose passed among the crowd and just about everyone bought a photo card.

Doc turned to me and signaled for me to take over and make an opening (announcement) for our annex attraction, Tessie - The Girl with the Strange Body. I enjoyed doing this, along with the magic and the human blockhead acts I did in the show. The spiel I used was the same as the one Doc had used. It drew the crowds so there was no point in trying to improve upon it.

As the crowds headed for my end of the tent, Bob took the photo money and his mother to their trailer parked in back of the side show tent.

Tessie and I finished the "blow off and joined Mazie and Bob who were sitting out back of the show tent trying to get a breath of fresh air before it was time for us to return.

Rose was inside doing her cold reading spiel and she would be followed by Bobo with his bed of spikes and his human pin cushion act. Doc would start the blade box when Bobo finished. Emma came up to us and made an announcement.

"We just got word from Larry Lorraine that she will be joining us at the end of the week as our new annex attraction."

"That means I will be back on the main stage," said Tessie.

"You will for the spots where we can exhibit Larry Lorraine. Where they won't let her work, you will be back in the annex," replied Emma.


"Mom and I worked several dates with Larry Lorraine last season. What a character, a real odd ball," added Bob.

"What does she do?" I asked.

"She, or it, is a half man/half woman weirdo," answered Bob.

"You mean there really is such a thing as a half and half? I thought hermaphrodites were faked." I didn't know how, but I knew I would find out from Bob.

"Some are faked, but not Larry Lorraine. When she shows up, she looks just like a girl. And when she strips, her body is a girl's from the waist up. She has a beautiful set of boobs! But from the waist down she has both sets of sex organs, male and female. The male kinda grows out of the female," explained Bob.

"Wow! I'd like to see that!" I said. I couldn't contain my curiosity about such a person.

"Oh, you will see it all right, Walt. She not only shows it, she uses it whenever possible. A real nympho. Sh'll be after your body and everyone else's. Likes guys and gals. Swings both ways!"

I blushed and stammered, "I think I will just observe like the rest of the marks."

Tessie chimed in, "Well, she'd better not try to mess with my Mazie."

The conversation ended when Doc started his blade box speech and Mazie entered the tent to do her pretzel gal routine. Emma went in to collect the expose "ding" money from the marks. I could hardly wait to meet Larry Lorraine.

After the last show that night, Bob and I wandered over to the cookhouse to get a bite to eat. Bobo was supposed to come with us, but he picked up a rich farmer who propositioned him and he took off with the guy to make a couple of bucks. Bobo never turned down a chance to hustle. It was one side of his personality I could never figure out, but it was his business and I never questioned him about it.
Larry Lorraine arrived at the end of the week and started work in the annex at once.

Tessie moved back into the main tent and still kept her glamorous appearance with the wig and heavy makeup, but instead of her flashy wardrobe she wore a modest two piece bathing suit to display her tattooed body. Tessie was no longer the star of the show but just a regular act, although it really didn't make much difference to her because she made the same salary.

Larry Lorraine was a hermaphrodite with a bad case of nymphomania. This half man/half woman became our biggest attraction although her performance was not mentioned in our bally and there was no banner depicting this strange character.

Bob had been correct. Never had I seen anyone who constantly talked about sex like Larry Lorraine. She was far more emphatic than Muscles had ever been, and he was bad enough.

There was only one week where Doc was unable to exhibit her because of the local "blue noses." All the other dates in the small Southern fairs were "wide open" because the show's patch had paid off all the local authorities and LL, as we called her, was able to perform unrestricted. Only adults were admitted to the blow off attraction and Doc made the openings.

"Now folks, behind this wall on the other side of this tent you are going to witness the most bizarre attraction you have ever seen. First, let me introduce you all to a very fascinating and beautiful personality."

LL came out from behind the canvas and stood in front of the crowd. She was dressed in a beautiful red sequined dress and smiled at everybody.

"What you see before you is a beautiful gal who is our star attraction, but she is so unusual we dare not advertise her act on the outside of the tent."

LL left and went behind the canvas to prepare for her act.

"Now because we do not advertise this attraction on the outside,

it is not included in your general admission ticket. There is an extra charge for what you are about to see and we make no apology for this policy.

"When you enter this tent, you are going to view the entire body of Miss Larry Lorraine and you will discover that she is not a beautiful gal but is, in fact, a hermaphrodite. A half man/half woman. That's what I said - a half and half. You will see her body in its entirety. This attraction is as bare as my right hand."

Doc held up his hand and stared at it, turned it around slowly as he showed the front and back of it, like he was showing off a rare piece of art. All eyes followed his hand. "You must be 16 years old, or older to enter. And since we do not wish to embarrass any of you sensitive folks, we have erected a partition down the center of the tent so that the men and women will be separated as they enter. The ladies will go to the right and the men to the left. When you enter I want you to go right up to the edge of the stage. Get as close as you can so that you can see every detail of this strange body. The fee for this attraction is 25 cents, and now you may enter. Those of you who are under 16 years of age please go to the other end of our main tent where you will be entertained by our magician on stage number one."

LL began to lecture.   "Folks, please step down front, as close as you can so that those in the rear can move up. Thank you.   I am known as a half man/half woman or a hermaphrodite because my body contains the sex organs of both male and female. I have been featured in medical journals throughout the world and have had my photograph in Life, Pic and Look magazines. I have been written up in Ripley's Believe It Or Not! column and was featured in the film, SHE-FREAK."  LL droned on and on with the sing-song memorized speech.

"I was born 25 years ago in Scranton, PA. of normal parents although I never really knew them. My father and mother were not married and he ran off before I was born. My dear mother struggled to raise me, but she died of consumption when I was four years old.

"I was placed in a Catholic orphanage and raised by the holy sisters. Because I have a penis, I appeared as a boy and was raised as one for ten years. When I reached puberty, my breasts developed and the sisters examined me closely and were amazed to discover that I also had a vagina. I have a set of testicles which are very small and undescended."

LL would pause here for shock effect. People were not used to hearing talk like this in public, and LL got a real turn-on watching the expressions on the faces of the marks. (Today such talk is mild compared to what is discussed by Dr. Ruth, Geraldo and on other T.V. shows.)

"And now I will show you my body."

She seductively removed the top part of her costume and bared her breasts. The men all leaned closer to the stage. The women were too embarrassed to look around and continued to stare at LL.

Next she removed the rest of the costume and exhibited the lower part of her body. Both male and female sex organs were slowly and brazenly displayed. Her eyes were on the shocked faces in the crowd.

"For those of you who want more details on my life, I have prepared a booklet with two photos of me completely nude and also a brief biography. My aides will pass among you and the cost is only 10 cents."

Bobo took the side with the men and Mazie sold the booklet to the girls.

"Now if any of you would like to have a personal photo taken with me, please stay and I will tell you how."

The women left the tent first as LL wanted to get rid of them. LL moved to the edge of the stage close enough for the men to reach out and touch her (and  a few of them did). She encouraged questions and bantered with them, which frequently bordered on the obscene. This led to word-of-mouth advertising and business grew as the week progressed. Some guys came back four or five times to see LL.


I remember one fair that we played in the south near an Army base and on payday there must have been a thousand soldiers on the fair grounds.

LL announced that she would pose for personal photographs for those who wanted to bring their cameras. (This was before the advent of the Polaroid camera.) The soldiers brought their own cameras and a "professional" photographer took photos of them with LL posing in any manner they desired. The fee was five photo poses for $3.00. This was a great deal of money in those days and there must have been at least 100 soldiers who came back during the daytime when the fair was not open to the general public to have their photos taken.

Only one person was permitted in the tent at a time. The photographers were Bobo and me. It only took us about three minutes to snap the photos and since we used the soldier's camera and film, it was clear profit for LL. I never saw so many dollar bills change hands so quickly. I often wondered where they got their rolls of film developed because those were not ordinary poses. I pictured hundreds of photos being circulated around the Army base. Of course, Bobo and I also had a series of photos taken with our featured attraction, Larry Lorraine!

I awoke on Thursday morning, climbed out of my sleeping bag, grabbed my soap and towel and headed over to Tessie's trailer for my daily wash-up routine. I also decided to take along my razor to remove a week's supply of "peach fuzz" that was growing on my face and chin. As I entered the trailer, I could see that Tessie and Mazie were upset.

"What's the matter?" I asked Tessie. 

"We've been robbed!"

 

To be continued!
                              

 

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