Return of the Dirty Dozen


The next morning, I walked across the railroad bridge to the store (it was a couple of blocks away) to get May and me some cigarettes. On the way back, in the distance I heard the train whistle blowing. At the time, I was just half a block away from the bridge and thought I had plenty of time to get across before the train came by.

Just as I got on the bridge, I saw two small kids sitting on one of the rails, tossing rocks down into the water. By now, the train's whistle was much louder. As I got to where the kids were, about the middle of

the bridge, I turned and saw the locomotive, with the engineer leaning out of the window, about to cross the bridge.

Knowing that the kids and I couldn't outrun it, I grabbed the kids under my arms and jumped. We hit the water about fifteen feet below. Luckily, we hit in eight or ten feet of water. When we came up, May and Volco, the fire eater were in the water with us and helped us out to the bank.

Other than swallowing a little water, the kids were OK, without a scratch on either one. As May and I dried them with a towel, their mother came running, hugged the kids and thanked me over and over for saving their lives. Hell, I didn't think that it was so damn heroic, anybody would have done the same thing under the same conditions.

For the rest of the week, they brought us spaghetti, lasagna, wine, homemade pies, cakes, you name it, we got it.

During that week, the flat stores (crooked gambling games) had a few squabbles, to be expected, but nothing serious. Then came Saturday.  About nine in the evening, there must have been at least a hundred motorcycles pulled into the parking lot, all around the front gate. They parked, got off their cycles and walked in the front gate. Wearing all of their paraphernalia, carrying chains, clubs and beer bottles, they gathered at the front of the midway.

The big dude, the leader of the 'Dirty Dozen,' was in the front with band-aids sticking all over his noggin.

I put on my brass knuckles. May was holding a wooden stake in her hand and I said, "I might get clobbered, but a few of them will have to get false teeth and have their lips sewed up." May said, "Yeah, and their heads too. I'd like to bounce this stake off of the big sonofabitch's head."

We turned around to see how many of the other carnies were behind us and saw a gang of the townspeople coming toward us with pick handles, hoes, pitchforks, shovels and shotguns. Some of the women even had rolling pins and meat cleavers.

I said, "Damn, they're even coming from the back end of the midway! Somebody's gonna get killed in this, for sure!"
Well, they walked right by us, up to within ten feet of the big dude and stopped.

A big Italian spokesman in front of the townspeople said "What's a matta widda you guys? You gotta somating loosa uppa stears? You wanna to fighta dese apeople? You gotta to fighta ussa firsta, OK? Dese is a gooda people! Dese ees a man, he save a baby's alife (and he pointed to me)!"

"No! You no agonna hurta dese apeople! Firsta you agonna die! We can'ta have a churcha party widouta you aguysa starta a fighta. You betta getta backa to Shamoken awhere you acome afrom."


With that, the motorcycle bunch backed off, got on their cycles and left the lot. We worked the rest of the night without incident, took the shows, rides and concessions down and moved to another town sixty miles away.


To be Continued


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


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