Step Right up Folks, Step Right up!


Copious, Superfluous, Latrine.

Music blared from unseen loudspeakers as Truva Allen walked past the Ferris wheel.  Row after row of lights lit the Midway.  The lights were strung high on poles and attracted all manner of insects.  They beat themselves silly against the hot bulbs then fell to the ground to be crushed by girlfriends who were “like, totally” dragging their high school boyfriends to test their strength and win them a teddy bear.

Truva was not one of the airheads.  She was supposed to meet Matt here at eight but had come at six to look at some of the exhibits.  All Matt ever wanted to see was the cows and pigs.  She liked to see the quilts and the little rabbits.  As she walked up and down the aisles of the rabbit tent, the smell of fresh popped popcorn kept her mouth watering.  She cut it short and went to find the popcorn vendor.  Extra butter?  Do you even have to ask?

A popcorn and sausage dog later, Truva headed for the horse shows.  The program said they were hauling sleds in teams.  The raw display of power always thrilled her a little, it was scary and exciting at the same time.  She could see the funnel cake stand nearby; squiggly little masses of fried dough with “real butter!” and powdered sugar sprinkled on.  Truva had skipped supper, she knew there would be a lot to eat tonight so why not wait?  It was so much fun to stroll through the fair, eating a funnel cake and taking her time.  She headed for the horse show and munched on the way.

Truva licked her fingers after finishing.  She eyed the grease left on her napkin.  Ick, that’s carnival food for ya.   Good thing she didn’t eat this stuff everyday, but a little bit wouldn’t hurt.  She tossed the napkin in the trash and watched the horses pull their sleds.  They finished at a few minutes after eight, whoa look at the time!  Truva jumped up and ran for the door, Matt would be here and she was supposed to meet him.  Well, that was no big deal, she knew where he would be.

She passed another popcorn stand.  Truva could see the yellow butter and the fake orange salt stuff being liberally added to the pot.  Butter in the pot, butter flavor in the salt.  Getting butter poured over the top was really kind of superfluous wasn’t it?  You were getting butter, mixed with butter, then covered in butter.  It was starting to sound gross.  Where was the blooming onion vendor?  That’s what she wanted anyhow.  Truva found a stand farther down the Midway and a few minutes later headed for the calf exhibits.

“Truvie, gees where have you been?” Matt asked when she came in; he was irritated.  He had to work tomorrow and tonight was the only time this weekend he would get to see her.

“Hi to you too, honey.  Here, eat the rest of my onion.  I don’t feel like finishing it.”  She handed it to him and took a drink of her cola.  Matt took one look at the greasy, soggy mess in his hand and tossed it into the nearest trash can.

“I don’t see how you can stand to eat that crap,” he said.  Matt had lettered in track and field; he didn’t eat this stuff.  Truva didn’t answer.  The building stank of fresh manure and she felt the slightest bit queasy.  It was nothing that copious amounts of soda wouldn’t fix though.

“How’s my Baby tonight?” Matt kissed her and he tasted like cotton candy.  Truva smiled, he was so sweet sometimes.  Oh, get it?  Cotton candy sweet!  Laughing at her own pun, Truva kissed him back.

“Come on,” he said.  “Let’s go do the Ferris wheel before it gets too crowded.”  Truva allowed herself to be dragged over to the ride.  She stood in line behind him, arms around his waist.  It was getting a little chilly, and in no time she was standing in front of him with his arms around her.  When it came their turn, they stepped up to the platform.  The ride stopped and Matt hopped in, plopping into the seat and swaying the basket a little.  Truva looked on a little nervously.

“You better not rock the basket Matt,” she warned.  “My stomach isn’t so good tonight.  I think it might have been that onion I ate.”

“I told you about that stuff,” Matt said.  “You gonna be okay for the ride?”  Truva nodded yes.  They went up a short way and stopped.  The carnie was loading every other basket.  In a few minutes they went up a short ways and stopped again.  Truva always found that aggravating.

“I hate this part of the ride,” Matt said, echoing her thoughts (she loved it when he did that).  They both wanted to get on a ride and just go.  Doing it this way took up time.   They finally lurched to the top and stopped.  She looked out across the countryside.

“It really is pretty up here, isn’t it?” She asked.  Matt smiled and put his arm around her.

“Yea.  I like how the moon shines on the lake and makes like – a trail on it.  It looks like someone took a humongous magic marker and smudged a line going up the middle there.”   He made scribbling motions with his hand.

Truva looked at Matt.  He could be such a guy sometimes – with the macho chest thumping mentality that most high school boys had.  Sometimes however, he could say the most insightful things.   She looked out again as someone from down below yelled.  Just some kid just playing, but it was too late.  Truva looked down and vertigo instantly kicked in.  She felt her stomach rebelling, and had all she could do to keep from throwing up.  Matt took one look at her and then hollered down to the carnie running the ride.

“Hey!  Hey you gotta let us down now, hey dude!”  The carnie looked up suspiciously, like he hadn’t already heard this ten times tonight.  Matt waved and made sure the carnie saw him.

“I’m serious man, you gotta let us down!”  He pointed at Truva.  “My girlfriend is sick!”

The carnie reluctantly brought their basket down, to the angry cries of the other riders.  Truva jumped out and made a beeline for the nearby bathrooms.  Of course, there was a line.  At least she was on the ground again.  Matt caught up with her.

“Hey, you okay Babe?”  Truva nodded, not really sure.  She just wanted to get inside before she threw up on her date.  It would be all over the school before her shirt made it through the rinse cycle on the washer at home
“Would you get me some water Matt?”  A cold drink would be so good right now.

“Okay but just wait for me here, alright?”  He didn’t want to lose her in the crowd.  Truva nodded.  Matt bent down to kiss her and thought better of it.  Instead he hugged her and told her he would be right back.

No way I’m gonna kiss her right now, he thought.   Maybe this will teach her not to eat that greasy food.  He stopped at the hotdog stand and bought a bottle of water for each of them, just in case.  He stopped just for a minute to talk to some friends.

Meanwhile, back at the bathrooms, things were starting to pile up.  Truva had made it to the doorway at least, and the line had stalled there.  The women waiting in front of her were getting a little impatient.  How long does it take to…you know?  One minute, two?  What were they doing in there, redecorating??  Truva felt ill.  At last it was her turn.

About this time Matt and his friend John came to the bathrooms looking for Truva.  They noticed two girls exit, holding their noses and frowning.  How hilarious.   Being the high school boys they were, they started making jokes about exactly what would smell so bad…and if they struck a match in there would it blow up the latrine?

An older woman came out fanning her face; she seemed to be in a hurry too.  Matt and John were practically crying they were laughing so hard, but they straightened up when Truva came out.  It was an automatic response.  Cute chick?  Stand up straight, puff your chest out.

“You look a lot better,”  Matt said.  “Here’s your water.”
“Thanks honey,” she replied.  “I feel better.”
“Did you, you know, get sick?”  He asked quietly.
“No, I didn’t have to.  I sure had to go though. Weird, I feel like I just lost 5 pounds.”
John peeled away, silently dying with laughter.  Matt maintained.
“Well I’m just glad you’re feeling better.”  He gave John the finger behind her back.  John mimed an explosion with his mouth and hands.  Truva caught the movement out of the corner of her eye.
“What is he doing?”  She asked.
“You don’t… want to know,” he said, shaking his head and putting his arm around her, “he’s just being an idiot.”
John checked messages and started laughing.
“Man, let’s go.  Jeff and Tommy are going to ride the roller coaster with a can of coke.  They‘re gonna shake it up real good and open it when they go down the big drop!”
Truva and Matt looked at one another, then bolted after John.  This was going to be way too good to miss!

5 responses »

  1. Great job of recreating a moment in teen life. And I miss going to fairs (I think!)

    I miss those great county fairs too. Every fall, they were so much fun. I regret not being able to take my daughter to any decent ones down here. At least…none are like they were back home.


  2. I agree, the telling of the story made it easy to picture everything. Ah, the memories… And they sure don’t make fairs like they used to, at least, not around here! But the tiny, little fair I first went to with my grandfather, when I first came to the United States, in San Francisco, CA, was on the roof of the Emporium (which no longer exists, of course), will always be on my memory as the [bestest] (word borrowed from my youngest grandson) fair!

    ~Virginia, aka HomeRearedChef


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