‘Well… a week from now will be Labor Day…and Pounds Hollow will be closed for the season,’ said Billy B. ‘Yes and after that Halloween is here again,’ Jane said with a wide smile. ‘Especially for us since we have Halloween fun for most of September and October,’ Chet observed. ‘I think you all are forgetting our annual trip to the DuQuoin State Fair,’ Darryl implored. ‘Indeed it is time again for the Fair…and the Malones Taffy and Barbecue and Lemon Shake-Ups,’ Neva J. extolled. ‘This year I am going to go behind the curtain at the Headless Woman Show and see if she is truly headless,’ said Jane with a laugh.
‘A trip to the DuQuoin State Fair is like a trip to Europe for me…with all of the unique and strange things to see and the Carnival…which is scarier than the Freak Shows as far as I am concerned,’ Chet noted. ‘Are you afraid of the Scrambler,’ asked The Wiz, who decided to come along with the group to the Fair, or are you afraid of the wizened person who operates the Scrambler?’ ‘Both…yes a bit of both…I cracked my head on a Scrambler at a little Carnival in Eldorado and had to be taken to Ferrel Hospital,’ Billy B. answered. ‘The Scrambler threw me against the metal walls of the compartment and I had to have two stitches and the operator grinned at me with a wide smile and he had no teeth,’ Billy B. continued. ‘I told the Carnival Manager that if anything was wrong with Billy B. I would sue him and he brought us a gigantic Polar Bear stuffed toy,’ Neva J. said with her eyes wide and angry. ‘After the Manager talked to us we drove off and as we passed the Old Wizend Scrambler Operator…he smiled his hideous smile once again and waved and said, ‘Come back soon…for another…Scramble.’
‘Carnivale’, cried the Barker! ‘Enter and partake of the mysteries of the dark side of the State Fair,’ the little man continued. ‘You did hear…did you not…that last State Fair six Carnivale visitors have not been seen again after they’re entering the Carnivale,’ The Wiz asked the group. ‘I read that they were from Eldorado…like us,’ Chet remarked. ‘It is starting to rain and I saw some lightning and heard thunder,’ Neva J. said. ‘Let’s go into the Beer Tent and take shelter until the storm passes over,’ Darryl suggested. ‘Greetings friends…have you traveled far…are you thirsty,’ asked the wizened old man with no teeth. ‘You look vaguely familiar to me…have we met before,’ Billy B. asked. ‘Perhaps only in our dreams,’ the old man smiled. ‘Have you any wine,’ Neva J. asked. ‘We do have some mulled cider and a sweet absinthe…me lady,’ the barkeep answered. ‘How about beer since we are in the Beer Tent,’ The Wiz inquired. ‘We have Mead and warm ale…for men who want to get drunk,’ the Barkeep replied.
The storm passed and our intrepid group of State Fair attendees left the Beer Tent. Before their widening eyes were horses and carriages and oxen to pull the large Carnivale Wagons. None of the Eldorado 6…could remember where Neva J. had parked the ’57 Chevy.
‘Come along now Eldoradoians…you have to earn your keep at the Carnivale…if you want a place to eat and bunk down for the night…unless one of you wants to be The Geek,’ said the bearded woman. ‘Can any of you bite the head of a chicken…’