This is The Carnival


This is The Carnival.

It is not so much a place or a thing but an entity. A being. The Carnival is alive. What you say to the man who cheerfully takes your dollar bill at the entrance and stamps the back of your hand is known by the roustabout patching the awnings above the midway sideshow and the quiet mustachioed man who runs the Whirl-O-Thrill.

We like it that way. We tend the dirt road that leads to the wide clearing atop Old Cob’s Hill, making sure it’s not too muddy and never overgrown, because The Carnival will come soon. And come it does, whole and bright, its cheerfully inviting music wafting townward on the last Friday of May. It’s a holiday for us. Carnival Weekend. Of course we bring money to spend on rides and games and delicious pleasures like funnel cake, snow cones, and treats we see in no other place like Purple Bug Bites and the Dimburger.

But we also bring our cares.

We haul up all our heavy winter sorrows and worries about the coming summer. We arrive with hearts filled with regret and lament. The Carnival soaks up all of it, every last bit, and gives us lightness and delight to us with every barker and winking con, every daring acrobatic twirl, every ecstatic blast of the Human Cannonball’s fieldpiece.

And when it disappears between the tick and the tock of Sunday midnight, we wish it love and mark our calendars for next year.

I found it difficult to write a story about a carnival that didn’t in some way strongly echo Ray Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes or the short stories that later became that novel.  This story is less creepy than you may have come to expect from me, but I think you’ll agree that it is very much a “Jimmie” kind of story.

Which is, of course, just what I want to write! Oddly enough, it is very easy to write a story that isn’t you at all. One of the toughest things about writing stories, I’ve found, is consistently writing stories that are my stories instead of stories I think others might want me to write.

Play along with the writing prompt here.

(Photo Credit: StockSnap on Pixabay)