He was the operator of the Tilt-a-Whirl at the FunTimes Carnival… A “Carnie” who’s life consisted of living out of trailers, draining the shitter and standing in front of a rickety 60 year old carnival ride that was about to turn into a horror show at any moment. He would often get made fun of by the highschool jocks because his left leg just couldn’t quite bend like the right one, so his foot was always being dragged behind, like some annoyingly persistent little sibling in the wake of his shadow. And his shoes were always more worn on that foot, especially along the inside.
FunTimes didn’t offer any sort of employee benefits or anything, so his teeth were sort of like wood. They looked like those fake hick teeth that you buy at Halloween to go with your redneck costume… Only, it wasn’t Halloween, and his teeth really were bad. He tried to cover them up as often as possible, but there was no helping him. When your diet consists of candy apples, cotton candy, corn dogs, and popcorn… and you don’t have a dentist, you’re pretty fucked!
Carnival folk were always transients, gypsies looking to escape. Most of them had sketchy pasts, a history they’d like to forget, or warrants out for their arrest. Most carnies came and went, very rarely did they stay with the carnival for longer than a year. He was the exception. He had nowhere to go. His daddy was locked up in some Arizona State prison, his mom had died years earlier of mouth cancer (smoking) and he had no siblings. Social settings were not his forte, he had a hard time just
responding to the questions he got from the carnival goers (usually followed with harsh stares and thoughts resembling “are those his real teeth?”).
While on tour in New Mexico, he decided to get fucked up on some mescaline after the Carnival closed one night. Having only ever been a hash oil smoker and a heavy toker, he was unfamiliar with the chaotic and radical journey his mind was about to embark on. He reluctantly ate a few small disc shaped morsels of mescaline (peyote) chasing them with beer. He watched the others around him as they eventually got giggly, trippy, and weird.
Soon he started feeling like he was the only one sober. He was convinced that the mescaline hadn’t hit him in any sort of way. Mildly disappointed, and a little tripped out by the others, he decided to wander off into the desert.
Slowly the lights from the carnival got further and further away, until he was standing there in darkness, with nothing but his thoughts and the sounds of the desert. He sat down and lit a smoke, a Lucky Strike! After taking only a couple of drags his cigarette started to melt in his hand and his hand was burning. He jumped up and tried to toss it, but it had melted into his hand, and his hand no longer looked like a hand, his entire arm had morphed into a giant burning, smoking cigarette.
He ran back towards the carnival with his cig arm smoking away, occasionally stopping to try to stub it out in the sand, to no avail. He got back to the group and frantically looked at them with panicked
“fuck my arm… what should I do man? IT’S A FUCKING SMOKE MAN…. HELP ME!!!”
The rest of the mesc-ed up carnies broke out into a roar of laughter. He stood there with his arm straight up in the air watching it in absolute horror as it smoked away and the ashes accumulated, occasionally falling down into his hair and onto the ground.
His eyes were fixated on his arm, as the rest of the group gasped for air and held their stomachs in pain from laughing so hard.
“No… Fuck NO…. Oh fuck. Not again” he cried.
His focus shifted from his arm to his leg, his already fucked up leg was now smoking just like his arm, only at a more rapid rate and the ambers seemed to glow a more violent Red.
“Can’t you fucking see what’s happening here?” he shouted.
The group just kept laughing, unable to control themselves. One carnie spouted out “dude you’re fucked”.
Frustrated and fearful about what was happening to him he ran into the carnival grounds in search of salvation. He threw his body into the duck pond extinguishing his cigarette body parts. He let out a sigh of relief.
Overwhelmed by the incident and perhaps the psychoactive ingredients in the drug too, he made his way over to the Tilt-a-Whirl, because it was the only thing that he could think of that provided him with some comfort.
He started up the ride and curled into the fetal position in one of the cars. He tripped out for a while on the ride, but not nearly as much as he would have, had he not been on it. After an hour or so, he began drifting off to sleep.
In the morning when the carnival opened, he was found laying naked on the ride, which was still going, and he had some ducks sitting with him.
He never smoked again.