I used to work at a plastic brick-oriented theme park, which for reasons of my own shall remain unnamed. I didn’t actually work for said park, I worked for a separate company and happened to be stationed at the theme park. This unnamed company had bought out all of the carnival games within the park and was run by it’s own employees, including myself. However, we all wore the same polos with the park’s logo on it, so park guests never knew any different.
In case you didn’t catch the key word, I’ll re-illiterate. They bought out the carnival games. I ran carnival games. I was a carny. I was a sober carny with a full set of my original teeth; yes it was quite the paradox.
My job at the unnamed theme park, was essentially to lie to people and take their money in exchange for a 20% chance of winning a ten cent toy. It was great. Not to say that people didn’t win, plenty of people won, if no one ever won, no one would ever play. It’s like Vegas, but kid-friendly.
My favorite game to run in particular was the Camel Derby. It was basically a horse race but with camels. You would sit at this ski-ball station and roll the ball into the holes, if the ball got into the highest holes, the camel would run faster across the track. If you beat the other players, you won the prize. It was my favorite game because there was a winner every race, which translates to the ability to say, “I give out a prize every time,” in a very loud microphone.
One day, a women and her three-month-old daughter came over and I explained the game to her. Usually we need two players to play the game, but I decided to bend the rules a bit and let them play at one station for one three-dollar round. Right before we were about to begin a large group of people came over and started to check out the game. I am paid to say, “Hi, want to play?” so it comes at no surprise that I said “Hi, want to play?” The moment those words left my lips that women with the bubbly little baby in her lap, completely froze and stared me down. Her eyes turned to slits and I could almost swear she was baring her teeth.
We played and she lost. The group left with their prize and she just sat there. She sat there with that stoney look on her face as if to say, “you disgusting slut.” I knew that it stupid that she had lost and I understood why she was upset, so I offered her another game where she would race herself for only a dollar. She said no, she had paid enough. She got up in a rage over how I baited those other people to come over and threatened to report me. I would “never work in this town again.” It’s a well-known cliche, but up through then I had never heard someone actually use it.
It was near the end of the day and I was tired and had some extra stuffed turtles. So I gave her a turtle. Some would say I did it was because I was afraid of getting reported and losing my job. Not so. I had done my job and my boss would take my side, I gave her the stupid worn-out neon piece of poorly stitched crap to shut her up. But she didn’t. She thought I was trying to bribe her and strode off to find my employer. It was that day that I realized I did not want to spend the rest of my life in retail.
I’m Lauren the Largemouth Bass and this was almost a self-revealing blog post.