Scene 4

carny copy

Buster knocks on the faded tin door. A hollow, muffled metal ‘thud, thud’. Inside the trailer, Butch and Agnes are interrupted as they are finishing up their fucking session. Buster knocks again.

Butch rises from his frolic on one arm as if wiping dribbling beer from his cheek and chin and snaps, “Who the hell is it?”

“Me, Boss,” chirps Buster who looks around nervously. He is used to Buster’ various diversions over the years. This one with his latest catch has lasted longer than his other flings. Plus there’s the extra baggage of the kid. Buster is surprised by the relative longevity. It rather bothers him.

“Hold on a minute,” Butch panting and grunting as he completes his final contorted thrusts. After he cums, Butch grabs a nearby brew and upends it as Agnes squeezes out the final drips of his passionate attention. Agnes looks at him with a warm, satisfied smile. She is used to grabbing what she can of him between numerous interruptions and alcohol. Butch glances back at her as he takes a long drink with a mischievous, ‘aren’t I a real stud’ look.

Quickly recovering, moving on to business at hand, Butch rolls off her and heads for the door. He brushes the wet brown-red hair back out of his face. Agnes is a bit slower on the rise. A cat-like stretch. Butch pulls on his jeans but remains bare chested. She reaches over and turns the radio down (that coincidentally has been playing the same Dylan song). Butch opens the door ½ way. Agnes just has her black bikini panties on. . One side of which noticeably stuck on the crack of her rather shapely ass. She slips her shirt on, turning her back to them as they hang at the entrance. She buttons one button, the third one down, and dreamily scans the room for a smoke. Butch; “So what’s up? Who’s he?”

Buster, distracted by sight of Agnes but trying to keep up a front of professionalism, “I need to talk to you about a couple of things.” Glances at Agnes with a nervous grin. Agnes smiles back at him, flirting while she finishes fastening most of her buttons. Noticing him noticing her. He notices her noticing him noticing her. Feels kind of uncomfortable. Agnes casually saunters back, and ducks her head through the curtain.

“Lindsay… (pause) Lindsay (a little more urgent now) I need you to go get me a pack of cigs… Butch looks past Buster to Lobo with a mix of apathy and suspicion… sizing him up in less than 2 seconds. Buster continues, Things looking o.k. overall. I need a couple of more backs for tomorrow when we raise the tent. We found a couple of the tie rods on The Rocket that are all rusted out, need replacing.” Bearings in The Snake are burned out. A couple of the (Bumper) cars are torqued totally but I think we can get another season out of them. The rest is just cosmetic.

Butch is half listening. Not totally there. Nods impatiently. “So what’s his story.” Talking about Lobo like he’s not really there or some piece of furniture. Buster introduces Lobo. “Oh yea, well… says he can fix just about anything and is an artist to boot. I thought we might could use…”

“Hmm,” suspiciously grunts Butch. “Yea?” Well, Come in, we’ll see.” Buster ushers Lobo in. Butch scoops left over accounting shit to one side of table, and drops to the edge of the seat. His hairy beer belly drooping over his jeans. About 15-20 pounds of accumulated beer residue. Like a camel storing water, Butch regularly stashes a good beer buzz away in his hump for the rainy day of oft’ dreary memories or present toxic irritants. Then again fat insulates against cold weather as well as frigid souls.

Agnes gives another flirtatious look to Buster, as she walks around him, letting her hand lightly brush his shoulder as she passes. “Hi Buster, how’s things?” Buster just smiles and shrugs muttering, “O.K., I guess” She traipses over to the couch still searching for nicotine. She bends over to check under the stuffed chair besides the couch where they have just been fucking. Her bikini panties framing a lovely scene as the back of her shirt rises.

Butch notices them noticing and heartily slaps her ass. Butch, with his accomplice Agnes, likes fucking with people, making them uncomfortable. It’s a game they play. Flaunting their sexual stuff. He pulls her down to him and gives her a long, wet tongue kiss while slipping his hand under her shirt and rubbing her ass. She enjoys making men want her. Especially when she is safely in the arms of her man. She pours in on for show.

She stands over Butch hugging him with her tits in his fact. She glances out of the corner of her eye at her audience. She acts like a cat rubbing its tail in your face when she wants to be petted. Butch reaches under her panties and gooses her. Agnes yelps at jumps away. “Agnes, get this shit out of the way, will you… Jesus! It looks like a fucking pig sty around here.” Butch establishes his control of the situation and over all. Everyone in his kingdom… his subjects. All bow to the king.

Butch looks through Lobo’s portfolio with casual interest. After pondering the images for a moment, he fires questions at Lobo about his ability to paint some big murals.  Lobo responds affirmatively. Butch continues, “Where did you learn to do all this? You must have had a lot of time on your hands. Are you one of those draft dodgers, those perpetual students from California or somewhere. Spoken is the “red-neck” tongue of the day.

Lobo is a closed book. Doesn’t offer much response. Butch is curious, more so because of Lobo’s elusiveness. It’s a challenge to him. A nut to crack. “You a Jap?” Lobo gives him a cool stare. Avoids the questions. Changes the subject. Tries to engage in safer, small talk. “Yea, I can brighten up those gargoyles and carousel animals, give ‘em a fresh coat of paint, maybe neon colors, I think will get attention…” Butch retreats into his own private revelry for a second. Lobo continues…be real attractive. maybe even help bring in more business even.” Seems to intuitively sense the waning sales and troubled condition. I think…”

Butch pops back into the moment. Defensive. He angers quickly, climbing over Lobo he says, “One thing you got to get right first off, you ain’t paid to think. You’re paid to do. We don’t need thinkers, we need doers. That’s the problem with America…”

Buster squirming anxiously, “Boss, can I go? I got to go see to…”

Butch temporarily distracted from his diatribe. “Yea, sure. I need to talk with you first.” He leads the way out the door, a respectable distance, out of ear shot. “Money is real tight right now. The fucking bankers are putting the squeeze on us…” Buster is visibly concerned. “Is it bad?” Butch; “We’ll have to lay low for a while. Make a few changes around here. Can I count on you?” “Yea, sure Boss. Of course you can.” Buster is perplexed by the question. Butch resumes, “This is just between you and me. Got it?” Buster somberly nods. “ We’ve got to come down real hard. Take some drastic measures. Won’t be able to hire any extra crew…” Buster starts to object, but then yields after seeing there’s no way to alter Butch’ course.

“We got to cut advances, just for a few weeks or so… Shorten the rides. Skim tickets. Tilt the games” Buster is a little overwhelmed by it all. He hasn’t figured out all the implications but his brain is swimming. “What are we going to tell the…” He is interrupted. Butch, who has been brainstorming in free fall stops abruptly. Grows serious as death. Stares directly and intensely into Busters eyes. “We don’t tell them nothin., understand?, nothin’! Buster is silenced and serious. “If they don’t like it they can hit the road. Just till them that’s the way It is.” There is a few seconds pause to take in the force of the directions.

Butch’ tone changes. It is more familiar, desperate. One of Butch’ remarkable talents to be king and a child at the same time. He moves from command to implore in one breath. He searches Busters’ eyes as if it were a prayer or a plee for help. “Look, do whatever you need to do. However you need to do it.” (Implies he can/should use force to get the job done.

Trust and need are presented in unspoken exchange. He’s obviously Butch’ enforcer.) Reaches into his pocket. Gives Buster a wad of twenties. Warmly puts his arm around his shoulder. “I know I can count on you. You’re the only one with guts and brains around here… ‘cept me of course. They both laugh. Buster heads off to take care of the shit.

Meanwhile back in the trailer, Agnes is agitated, still searching for a cig. “Hey, You got a cig?” Agnes does needy, vulnerable and a little neurotic.  “Sorry” Lobo replies, rather stoically. Agnes is checking him out. Eyeing him. “ Where you from? (Not really expecting an answer) …Not from ‘round here, I can tell that.” Long sigh, ‘oh well vintage. “Just here and there,” Lobo says guardedly. Agnes takes interest in the several unusual scares and tattoos that adorn Lobo’ forearm and biceps. “Where’d you get the scars?” Agnes touches them. Goes behind him and lightly brushes her tits against his neck and shoulders. He’s hardened to it. A bit perturbed, not taken in.

“Hmmm.” Agnes saunters around Lobo and purrs, “I really like your stuff, you’re a real artist.” She strokes the edge of the table as she wanders. Lobo remains defensive. “They’re so passionate! So powerful.” She picks up a sketch of a medieval battle scene. The victor’s spoils include a semi-clad maiden. She is extremely perceptive. Sizes him up, his weaknesses. Coyly; “Being an artist is lonely though.” Trance like. “All those visions… ideas… feelings burning and churning inside you. Sometimes gets so violent, they just come bursting right out of your skin…” She catches his passion. She must be an empath, or something. Lobo is impressed yet disturbed by her insight. He is touched.

“Sounds like you must be an artist yourself.” For a brief moment, Agnes’ cloak of control slips dangerously close to falling off, revealing an honest vulnerability. “Well, I… when I was younger, much younger I…” Agnes seems much younger now. Almost innocent. She looks away as her thoughts drift off to some painful memory. Lobo is curious and open. Agnes recovers, “but that was then and now is now. She gulps down the remainder of her glass.

The piercing squeak of the tin door opening signals Butch’ return. Butch stabs impatiently. “So, anyway… back to you.  The job pays $250 a month. We take out $20 for lodging & $30 for food. You’ll be fixin’ the shit that needs fixin’. Helpin’ set-up & tear down… In your “spare time” paintin’ what we say needs paintin’. You got that so far?” (Said condescendingly) Lobo doesn’t respond. Butch continues, “It will be 12 to 16 hour days, 7 days a week. We don’t stand for whining. You bed down in tent. No front money. No drugs.” No response needed.

Agnes who is brushed aside by Butch, recovers and calls for Lindsay. Rough and commanding. Yells twice. Butch pauses to size up his catch. Lindsay, shamed faced, comes through the curtain. He stands silently… shy, sullen and sulky.  Agnes puts her arm around him.  He freezes up and pulls away. He stares at Lobo, who doesn’t give him much notice. Agnes goes on, “I want you to run down & get me some cigs… And don’t stop and mess around either, hear me? Just get the cigs and get your ass back here, O.K.?” Speech a bit broken.

Butch snorts, “That’s Agnes’ kid.” Shifting the target of his cruelty, “Hey kid, you been spanking the monkey back there?” Lindsay response, or lack thereof, signifies the affirmative. Butch is taking great pleasure in embarrassing him in front of a stranger. To Lobo. “Yea, the kid’s a little pervert. He likes to spy on people. A little voyeur. “Butch!” Agnes scolds. Lindsay looks away extremely uncomfortable. “Whatever you secrets have, you better watch out! He will find you out. (Subtle threat to Lobo) Again, Lobo doesn’t reply. He looks with sympathy to Lindsay who retreats inside himself and feels very uncomfortable.

Instead, Lobo stands up in calm protest and moves toward the door. “O.K., whatever… So where do I go, to start with?” Butch calculates his answer, still perplexed by Lobo. “Go See Buster.” Issuing a final warning, “Just remember, we don’t stand for trouble makers around here… people who upset the balance. We have our own system. We know how to take care of people who won’t go with the flow.” Butch smirks. Lobo casts a last wary glance at Butch and heads out.

Butch murmurs to Agnes as he watches Lobo march off. “Something’s wrong with that guy. I can smell it. He’s hiding something and I want to know what. I don’t want no one bringing trouble here.”

Agnes gives Lindsay some cash. “Morboro Lights, not regular or menthol, hear me? Bring back the change.”

“Hey kid, does your little weenie get hard watching us? Agnes chides him, half heartedly. “Give the kid a break, will you Butch?” “Yea, I’m just kiddin’ with him, right Lindsay? Butch gives him a cheerful slap on the back. Lindsay shrinks away and grimaces.

“Kid, I need you to do me a favor, I want you to check out this Lobo.” Lindsay ignores him. Grabs face and gently pinches cheeks with a hard edged humor. “Hey kid, did you hear me? When he’s not around sometime. I’ll take care of that. Lindsay is disturbed. “I want you to go through his stuff and find out about him. Bring me back word, you got that? Lindsay pulls away. Still pouting. “I know you’re quite a little thief, so it won’t be hard for you. Everyone’s got to pull their weight around here. Isn’t that right, Agnes.” Butch gingerly slaps her ass.

Agnes backs away, won’t get into the middle. Butch, having sufficiently intimidated and controlled everyone is striking distance, lightens up, showing his more charismatic side. “Here, kid (giving him a $5 bill) get me the new Penthouse. Bring it back with the cigs.” He strokes Lindsay’s hair affectionately. “Take whatever is left. You can get yourself some candy or something.” When he hesitates, Butch stuffs the money into his pocket. Butch’ touches seems disquieting and “prickly” to Lindsay.             Agnes, returning to a more ponderous mood, pours another drink. Vodka in a dirty glass. She tosses an empty cigarette pack at the trash can. Butch looks on. Gives a knowing, intense look to Lindsay. Mesmerizing, powerful, difficult to break.  Lindsay is locked in eye contact with him. Lindsay is vulnerable, afraid. Butch is powerful and commanding.

Agnes breaks in while they stare… urgently now, “Lindsay, get going! I’m dying for a smoke.” He responds in monotone, like a robot, still locked in numbed stare. “Yea, O’K. mom, I’m going.” Butch wordlessly walks off, through the curtain toward the back of the trailer. He ducks in the tiny bathroom for a quick shave and shower. Lindsay watches him leave.

For a moment they linger embracing the silence together. There is an overwhelming sense of sadness among them. For Agnes… So many things unspoken. So many things need to be said. Where to begin? How to explain, to make things right which can never be made right. Futility and frustration. Lindsay waits and hopes his mother will somehow reach him. He has hoped that before. Disappointed he is resigned to his fate. He is alone… forever. He will make it. He must be brave.

“You best be going now.” Agnes says gently. “Yea, I’ll be back as soon as I can, Mom.” Lindsay looks down in quiet compliance. Agnes gives Lindsay an appreciative and affectionate pat on the butt as he finally scurries off. The feeble trailer door slams in hollow accord. For a second, she looks very worried and old as she watches him scamper down the windy Texas desert landscape. The dusty yellow clouds quickly consume him, and she is left alone.

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