Thursday, April 14, 2011

“Money Talks”

I just finished a 90-day stretch. My eight at the Branherst Institute for the criminally Insane. It wasn’t my longest, nor was it my shortest, but it was my easiest.
After the first one, a person just learns how to make the best out of his time in there. I like to look at it as a mini vacation. I check in, relax, and enjoy the thorazine. Yeah, my stays just keep getting easier. At some point I might not check out.
Today I did, though, and it felt good. The break was nice, but I’ll be glad to get back to work. First, a quick job for the Boss, then I get to close out the Big Show tonight… That’s my true passion, juggling.
My partner is a clown called Blaze. He handles my pyrotechnics. He’s also the one I’m teamed up with when the Boss has one of his ‘special jobs’, one we don’t talk about. We that from time to time… Rob a bank, kick a Dogboy, pick up some milk… I don’t ask questions, I just do what the Boss says. He signs the paychecks. He gives me the spotlight.
We parked in front of a run down trailer, about a quarter of a mile from the carnival. I could hear that stupid calliope music playing and screams of delighted patrons. I really hated the carnival.
“This is it?” I asked
Blaze nodded, stubbing out his cigar, “This is the address the Boss gave me.”
“And your guy is in there?”
“Yeah, he’s in there?”
I sighed, “Let’s do this then.”
The sooner we got this job over with, the sooner I could get back to the circus. Blaze went up the steps and banged on the screen. I stayed off to the side, eyeing the trailer warily.
The door swung open to reveal a scruffy looking carny in a dark blue jumpsuit. He smelled like gasoline and goats. I was thankful that Blaze wasn’t smoking.
“You Henry?” Blaze asked.
The man scowled, then looked around wildly. He looked liked he should’ve been in Branherst. Finally, his eyes came back to rest on Blaze and he jerked his head in a gesture that said, “Yes” and “Come on in” all at once. We complied.
Inside was cramped and smelled even worse. Machine parts and grease seemed to cover every square inch of the trailer floor. A workbench was holding up one wall. It was here the man walked to and began tossing tools and blueprints around till finding what he was looking for.
“Here,” he muttered, handing a bundle of rolled up papers to Blaze. “Mount Everest, everything you need to know about the roller coaster is in there.”
Blaze handed them to me without taking his eyes off the carny and said, “Check it.”
I looked,
“We good?”
I nodded, “Yeah, we’re good.”
Blaze reached into his pocket and pulled out a roll of bills, then tossed the roll to the carny.
“Can’t believe you sold ‘em out, Henry,” Blaze was saying, as we made our way out.
Henry just shrugged, counting the stack, “Money talks, Clown”

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