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After three seasons on the road, the Enchanted Amusements Traveling Carnival troupe grew irritated with each other. Working long hours and forced to live in compact, strained conditions was a combustible formula. Traits once charming and attractive became ugly and selfish. You could only hear the same story, complaint or crush and tales of subsequent heartbreak so many times. While audiences saw joyful faces, resentment was the truth. The old joke that the knife thrower was not a show’s only back stabber, had a p**** of truth. You never know who to trust or confined in. Night into another night. Small towns blending into medium small towns and cities. Costumes from a distant looking glittery, sexy and heroic were really worn and sourly pungent. But like everything else, only when you are in it, living and breathing the life, did you know it. Viewed from the stands it was all fantasy and courage. The handsome, beautiful and brave. The agile, clever and seductive. Week nights, three performances on Saturdays and two on Sundays, then pack and travel on.
The hours after an evening’s last spectacle, before hitting the road, brought out the worse in these merry performers. It was time to unwind, become real and try and drop the act. Morgan was visibility upset. Heavy tears swam down colorful cheeks. Morgan had peeked around the Loony Balloon and Dastardly Dart stall and saw Syndee in intimate conversation with Todd. Syndee relished all attention and enjoyed the game. Good or bad, her objective was to be noticed and to hold and twist that attention. Todd, the handsome egoistical lead rider in the Globe of Death was very willing. Syndee was a versatile performer who seductively inhabited her costume. Whether scooping at the Creamy Treat cart or pitching in at the Tent of Terror, she drew a response. Her favorite role was as Countess Syndella, Predictor of Fortunes. This grand title allowed her an opportunity to be creative and toy with drunken minds. Insincerity… an exhilarating feeling and a quality she was keenly proud of. Morgan was cowed by Syndee. Morgan had believed there was a connection with Todd after some tequila enhanced flirting. Seeing them now tightly together was painful. Morgan felt like a gullible fool.
Van the Escape Artist always saw himself as a peace maker, sensitive to all. When stress was high, his calming manner and little jokes were a relief. One of his favorite bits was to pretend he was locked inside a bathroom stall and cry out “Help, I am trapped!” Seeing Morgan upset, he offered drinks and cheer. But the tears kept streaming. Coleman, gripping his “medicine”, wobbled by on rubbery legs. Van yelled to Coleman to lend a hand comforting Morgan. Coleman, the eternal huckster with a bloodshot bally pitch. He had been in character for so long, the original Coleman evaporated. A true veteran of the midway – name it, he did it – even kootch shows. Now Coleman ran the petting zoo during by day and the popular Dirty Disco Challenge (over 18’s only) late on Saturday nights. But he never lost his sense of humor. He glanced at Van and kept on stumbling. Van hollered to Coleman “Got some time for a drink and to cheer up a pal “. Without hesitation, “I have had seen it all before, and I am not interested in seeing anymore” bellowed Coleman. He self-congratulatory snickered, and continued staggering away.
22” x 28” acrylic gouache on canvas