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


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


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