The Fairground

This is part of a writing challenge I gave myself a while ago, but never got around to finishing. I must use five random words in the first sentence, and then see where it goes from there. If you want to see another example of this, check this out. Deb, unless I get some of these stories from you, I’m putting you in the next one. Anyway, I hope you all enjoy this piece, The Fairground.

Carly had spent all of last summer standing at the entrance to the local fairgrounds, checking the tickets of the everchanging homeowners and parents and children that desired admittance to the grounds, frequently lapsing into daydreams of gunshots and adventure and excitement, before being awoken by the small bladder of the poodle the fat old woman was bringing in with her. And she had really liked those shoes, too. Oh, the things she did to pay for college. In fact, that was why she was at the fairgrounds, again. Through the entire school year, she had been hoping, praying, that she would find something that would make it unnecessary to return but, like that nerdy boy that likes you, but you hate, and your parents find cute, she had had to say yes to their offer of employment.

The fairground itself was run by Smiles. His other name was Mr. Boss Man. What his name was really depended on the day. If it was dark and cloudy, or if there were a lot of rude people around, or children of any sort, he was Mr. Boss Man. If it was bright and sunny, and less people – once in a blue moon – then he was Smiles. Carly considered it very important to check each morning to see which one he responded do better. She really didn’t want to face his sonic boom of a voice.

There were several other members of staff present. Most of them were around Carly’s age, and insisted on being known by their first name. The rest were permanent members who worked directly with Mr. Boss Man in managing the fairgrounds – everyone else was relegated to the boring, menial tasks of admitting guests, cleaning up after guests, directing confused guests, and telling guests that no, that was not the proper place to set up the tent and yes, they would need to move it. Sometimes it was like being a walking manual.

Now, there were several means of escape one could employ for this work. One of the major ones, reading, was only used by newbies who didn’t know they would have neither the time, nor the comfortable seat, to sit down and read for even ten minutes uninterrupted. This also went for puzzles, like Sudoku and the Crossword. The only real form of escape was witty banter with the fellow workers. Of course, this was rather hit or miss. Last year, there had been a pair of girls who had hit it off immediately, spending their time on hair, gossip, and discussing relationships – you know, the sort of things that make one seem little more than a mouth. Carly had no patience for them, or for the nerd who had joined just for the Renaissance festivals that met every few weeks. She really hadn’t had anyone to talk to last year, so it pleased her that her friend Ray had joined the team for the coming summer. Now she would have someone to suffer with.

Come the first day of her summer work, she rose at the break of dawn, munching on cold, chocolate cereal before heading off to the fairgrounds. There, Smiles liked to begin each day with The Speech. The Speech was essentially the news bulletin for the day, where Smiles told them who would be there and what to expect. Oh, and then there was the motivational part at the end, but Carly never listened to that. She just pumped her fist when everyone else in the team did. Briefly, she glanced over at Ray, who seemed excited by the prospects of the day.

“This is not going to be a good day,” Carly told her friend.

“Why not?”

“Just watch the parking lot.”

The parking lot was the easiest measure of how intense the day would be. Granted, some signs could be divulged from whatever those who had rented the fairgrounds were assembling. Carnivals and Renaissance festivals, however odd Carly might find them, always attracted large numbers of people. For these days, the parking lots filled up fast, sometimes even by dawn. For other events, though, the parking lot was largely empty, and the work light. But today was not one of those days.

No, today was an infinity line day. Carly hadn’t learned in Geometry that a line is a segment that extends to infinity; no, she had learned that here at the fairgrounds. Primarily by being the person checking them all in. After an hour, she wasn’t sure which hurt more, her legs or her mouth. She didn’t think people were meant to stand and smile for such a long time. And she had hardly dented the line.

That being said, she could have danced when it came time for lunch break. She met up with Ray, and together they got their lunches from their cars, sitting at messy benches while discussing their day. Ray went on and on about their work, about roaming around the fairgrounds picking up trash. Carly had to agree that that was one of the worst jobs to be assigned. She remembered clearly from last summer, noticing all sorts of trash, from the infinitesimally small to the kind that’s so large, you starts wondering if you’re at a convention for blind people. Or maybe Apathetics Anonymous. But would apathetic people even have a group, since the whole point of being apathetic was to not join any groups and just lay around all day, uncaring?

After lunch, the two of them were on trash rounds for about an hour before they were at last released. Finally! Freedom! When Smiles announced that they could leave, Carly let out a call that would have made William Wallace jealous. After bidding her friend goodbye, she raced home, celebratory music blasting out of the stereo, the glass somehow unshattered by the volume and intensity. Then, at home, she checked off her calendar for the day. Work was over.

One day down, sixty-nine to go. Well, not counting days off.

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3 thoughts on “The Fairground

  1. Rob says:

    That first paragraph (about the poodle) is hilarious! And I love the part about making William Wallace jealous. Of course, it assumes a certain knowledge about history. Or about Mel Gibson movies.

    Personally, the story reminded me of my experiences at Big Ticket, picking up trash. And being amazed at how messy (and lazy) people can be.

    Now go ahead and write one with Deb in it!

  2. virginia meyer says:

    Just enjoyed a pleasant little story while getting my day started. And thankful that I never had a job like that.

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