Scene 1

carny copy

Mid morning. The carnival periphery. Everywhere dusty fine dirt the color of baby shit, interspersed with ugly gray rocks. 50’s vintage trailer, faded pink stripe on rusty edged exterior. Carnival command headquarters. Interior is cluttered. Cramped living quarters. Piles of filthy dishes developing mold in the tiny double sink. Alcohol bottles (one fifth vodka type) filled with various tints of water, ala food coloring, (objects d’ art) placed in lining the window sill.

Agnes lounges at the sink washing a dirty drinking glass. Her loose fitting, slinky shirt constantly falling off her right shoulder, exposing her black bra straps and thread the bare sections just above her breasts. The cascading fake silk requiring constant, if subconscious, adjustment and rearrangement. An attention getting ritual.

Agnes is in her mid-thirties. Stringy brown (actually dish water blonde) hair. Single mom. Her and her first husband, a fighter pilot of some renown, had parted ways after a few intense, extremely sexual, howbeit violent years. She came away from that ill fated union reeling from several miscarriages and a scared[JC1]  soul. She did however emerge with a son, Lindsay… and $50 per month child support. The fighter pilot flew away into glorious battles and breasty ladies cheering on the sidelines. Agnes ran fast and hard through a line of endless lovers awash in a sea of vodka and cigarettes.

After 7 or 8 years of pursuit or escape, depending upon how you look at it, She met Butch. They met at a party in Dallas. Chemistry took over quickly. Soon the alchemy became quasi-permanent. Carnival life seemed to suit her. Travel from town to town. A community of whores, homeless and wandering souls journeying nowhere but together on the voyage.

Butch was a gruff but charismatic character. At times charming. Other times, down right mean. Mood largely dependent upon circumstances, alcohol and the dark forces of nature. Butch was in his late 30’s or early 40’s. Although sex brought the couple together, something of mutual lostness and dependency kept them so. Neither the adhesive of lust or love… rather something in between. Closest akin to companionship emerging out of a respect for their own vulnerability and mortality. Some unspoken pain or fear was their true bond.

On another, simpler level Agnes was the Carnival administrator. She had a gift for figuring stuff out, planning and compensating for disasters along the way. She was sexy, funny and above all things resourceful. In her teens she was touted as a genius who was destined for greatness. Her innate ability was eclipsed however by her emotional crippled-ness. An eagle with clipped wings. Inevitably, on the verge of some breakthrough or opportunity, she would sabotage it somehow. Ground level was made of safer, surer stuff. Most of us are chained to the limitations of our own making.

Butch, for all his faults was excellent at surrounding himself with people who could cover for him. He had a knack for eliciting a strange, fierce loyalty from people. That was his charm. He was at once a commanding, dominant, aggressive personage but retained a childlike vulnerability, broken-ness and innocence. At times you feared him and wanted to run for cover. At other moments you felt sorry for him and wanted to coddle him.

Butch and Agnes had been together for 3 ½ years now. This was the 4th season for her and Lindsay to travel the Carnival circuit with Butch.

This particular morning, Butch and Jim, their accountant, were huddled together around the small dining table topped with piles of receipts and bills. End of year tax planning session. Also the ti me [JC2] when lines of credit had to be renewed with the banks for the new season. Reports had to be filed. Questions had to be answered. The reckoning for last seasons excesses and failings.

The adding machine having spewed up strings of abstract numbers lay coiled like a dead snake. Butch’ attire: flannel shirt with faded plaid design and worn jeans. Jim with crisp suit & tie is uncomfortable in the cluttered, dirty setting.

Agnes (to Jim), “Get you a drink?”

Butch (in his charismatic, friendly, good ole’ boy manner) “Come on Jim, how about it?” (lifting his own bottle o’ Bud)[JC3]

Accountant refuses, goes on to describe their bleak financial situation. Inflation is getting unruly. Banks increasing interest rates again!  Medical and liability insurance is sky rocketing. Ticket sales have been dropping off. 1969 season was a very bad. “It’s going to be a tough sell to the banks this year. They’re becoming much more conservative.” Jim warns with regret.

Butch (angry & in denial) defends, “Just bad luck.” Last year was a mother fucker for the whole country. We were no different then everyone else. We’ll do better this year.”

Jim urges, “It’s definitely a trend. Things have been going down for some time.” Every year, ticket sales get worse. Last year was the worst. It’s not just you. The carnival business isn’t what it used to be. People are different now. Other things got their attention.” Jim seems to retreat to some private revelry.

Agnes offers, “ What if we get another loan, fixed things up a bit, did some additional advertising? There’s still a lot of life left in this old girl.”

Jim pessimistically replies, “There’s no way the bank are going to advance you more money… In fact, on paper the Carnival is currently insolvent. I’m afraid, once they see the figures, they’ll pull the outstanding loans and close you down. They’ll be expecting to see a financial statement. I have to…

Buster (furious now), “They cant do that! This carnival has been in my family for over 60 years. My father did business with Southwestern. He and the president used to play poker for over two decades[JC4] . Doesn’t a 30 year relationship count for anything?

Jim soberly replies, “I’m afraid times have changed. It’s all mergers and acquisitions. New policies and procedures. It’s not personal anymore. A new corporation came in bought out the bank. Then it merged with another conglomerate. They really don’t have the power…”

Jim starts to interject something more but Butch interrupts him and continues, “A couple of years ago they were begging me to take out more loans. Now, you say they would pull our loans!”

Jim apologetically, “I’m afraid so. I’ve seen them foreclose on lots of businesses over the last 6 months. It’s been especially bad for the farmers.

Butch, “Fuck them! They’re killing the farmers. They’re killing small businesses. God damned bureaucrats.”

Agnes (she “gets it” sooner, looks for a possible solution), “ What if we improve our sales?  What if things pick up this season? Things could still turn around… couldn’t they?”

Accountant (skeptical, shakes his head), “I don’t see how… (looks at Agnes who implores him with her eyes and looks hopeful) Well, I could stall for a few weeks, maybe a month or so but…

Agnes (more cheerful now), “Thanks, I know we’re going to have a better season, I can just feel it. (said with an infectious, sensual, almost innocent faith)

Butch is angry and sullen. He leans against the kitchen cabinets silently sulking.

He is ignoring the conversation, lost in his private, dark contemplation.

Jim (Gathering up his papers and such), sighs, “Well, I wish you much luck, you’ll certainly need it.” Jim shuffles uncomfortably out the door. Closes it carefully and quietly. As if he sneaking guiltily away after some heinous transgression.

Butch mutters, “Fuck him, the rotten cockroach! He doesn’t know what he’s talking about. God damned bank. They’re all blood sucking, lying leaches.”

Agnes soberly and sternly, “Butch, it won’t help to bitch about it. We’ve got to do something. We can change things. It doesn’t have to get worse. We’ll give this place a face lift, modernize… (becoming inspired, excited) We’ll do some colorful advertising. We can go into the towns before and do some promotions. We’ll give them a free pass to the freak show… or two free tickets to the game booths. We can organize a parade coming into a new place. I’ll wear something really sexy…”

Butch (Grabs another beer. Catches the vision but with a different interpretation) “We can cut corners, trim a lot of expenses around here. People have had it too good for too long. I’ve been too easy on them. Too giving. We can tilt the games another notch, shorten ride time. Raise prices on the concessions. That will more than make up for the ‘free bees’. We’ll hire a few less arms for set-up. Put the ‘squeeze’ on the kids. (Butch moves to Agnes and squeezes her ass) They can handle it. We’ll show those bankers and bean counters.”

Agnes pours herself another drink. (Vodka, no rocks) Butch downs his Bud. His thirst becomes diverted into another direction. Butch starts sporting with Agnes. Fondling her body, mostly focusing attention on her ass and tits. Agnes responds warmly.

Butch seductively, “We’ll give them a show they won’t forget. We’ll pull out all the stops. Toss off all restraint.”

Agnes engaging in the sexual banter, “Shove it in their faces. (thrusts her body forward) Make them eat their words.” (stretches up and bites his ear and layers kisses down his chest, opening his shirt)

Butch with a deep, gentle tone, “We’ll strip off all their bad vibes.” He takes her shirt and pulls it down and back over her shoulder and draws her strongly closer. Reaches down and grabs her ass hard with both hands. “Those pussies, we’ll kick their ass and lick them at their own game.”

Agnes squirming and rubbing her body against Butch, whispers in his ear, “Or you can lick my pussy while I kick your ass… or I can lick you while you kick… Buster groans and moans. …and groan and squirm. You can choose. (Said slowly as she reaches around, grasps his hands and guides them between her legs while stroking his groin at the same time. He jerks a bit as she touches him.

Butch moves his callused hands down her tender skin… between her breasts as she leans back. Butch quickly fumbles with the buttons on Agnes’ shirt and yanks it down. He pours wet licks and kisses down her neck and shoulders… down onto her tops of her sloping breasts, just above her bra line.

He continues to slither lustfully down her hot body. He unbuckles her pants and pulls them down, off her legs. He quickly strips off his own jeans while continuing to urgently fondle her. He lifts her up onto the counter, unwraps her breasts and begins to suck passionately on them.

Agnes warns coyly and teasingly, “Hey, the kid’s in the back room!”

Butch (Seductively), “Maybe he’ll get an eye full, this time.”

Agnes plays along, enjoying the game. She grabs Butch’ crotch hungrily. She sensuously stretches, lifting her hands lazily above her head, arching back… her body language clearly demonstrating she belongs to him entirely, for whatever his passions direct. She is surrendered. A willing slave in command.

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