I see the skeleton of a Ferris Wheel looming in the distance, so I get an idea. A dingy little camper serves as the carnival employment office. A lady with the word LOVE tattooed across her knuckles in jerky blue ink hands me an index card. She tells me to write down my name, it doesn’t have to be my real one, and a phone number. “Check back Thursday,” she hacks through a cloud of cigarette smoke.
On Thursday, I’m assigned to work for Big Gary. “You’ll know ’em when you see ’em, honey,” wheezes the employment lady, pointing down the midway. I find Big Gary, an enormous black-haired man wearing a bright white polo shirt. He hands me an ID tag and my own white polo shirt emblazoned with the carnival’s logo. Big Gary shows me how to run the game. The premise is simple, take the fishing pole with a ring instead of a hook dangling from the end, snag the bottle that’s laying on it’s side and tip it up, win a cheap stuffed animal.
He waddles around the perimeter of the game, tipping each one up in quick succession. He hands me the pole, but I can’t do it. He laughs, explains how the game is rigged, then tells me to be back at 10 am the next day for opening. He’ll pay me in cash at the end of the two week run of the show. Continue reading