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-Patch-
Wyrmling
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Joined: 21 Oct 2013
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 06, 2016 8:59 pm    Post subject: New Faces Reply with quote

Patch sat in what amounted to a small little lobby within Bossman Benny’s office trailer. A couple of second hand chairs probably pilfered from a garage sale some years ago provided the sparse furniture while several old bally flags hung from the walls and covered up the cheap plastic siding of the trailer, their colorful depictions of various carnival acts serving as eclectic tapestries and told the history of carnival life and acts. Patch allowed that antique bronze gaze to roam over the scenes advertising a Blockhead named Sphynx, the faded head on the canvas having a dozen nails sticking out from the skull, an Indian Fakir from faraway lands contorting his slender body to fit through an old tennis racket, and on down the line. Easily ten grand hung from the walls, the banners now considered
collector’s items…no wonder Benny was cheap.

Patch returned his attention to a copy of Amusement Business, the AB as it was known, and flipped through the glossy pages of the magazine advertising new rides for sale, pitching new games and publishing other general information on carnival life. That he found it hard to concentrate came from Benny’s booming voice on the other side of the thin wall, the Boss clearly in a mood from the sound of it. Patch closed the magazine and pitched it back on the empty seat next to him and settled in. Benny’d set up a meeting right at Lot Call, Patch dragging himself to the trailer early in the morning after a long night of set up, the other carnies no doubt already at breakfast. Patch’s stomach rumbled at the thought and he cast his eyes towards the office door yet again.

Benny was a hell of a boss…once you figured out how to negotiate his abrasive personality, miserly attitude towards expenditures and constant temper that is. But he was down for the carnival and its people provided they worked hard and didn’t skim. Patch had been with the boss for years, signing on as an agent working a flat joint with such skill that even though the game was rigged from the beginning Patch hardly ever drew any heat.

“Patch!” Benny bellowed from within his office. “Get in here.”

Patch chuckled and reached up to adjust his trilby before slowly uncurling from his relaxed posture. He pushed open the door to see Benny sitting behind his desk, a half smoked cigar clenched between his teeth. To his sides stood Lark, the carnival’s old advance man. He’d traded in those responsibilities by going to law school at night and set himself up as the carnival’s mender. Ever since that debacle down in Sarasota, Lark had been grafted to Benny’s side. On the other side of Benny was Twitch, the carnival’s concession man and nominal number two in the pecking order...someone Patch was decidedly less thrilled to see. The two had a complicated relationship, Twitch’s near constant paranoia making him think Patch was always after his job.

“We having a pow-wow eh?” Patch asked with that easy sounding croon. Never let em see you surprised was one of Patch’s mantras and so he appeared as easy going as ever as he sank down into a chair opposite Benny’s desk. “How ya been Lark? Keepin this one out of jail eh?” Gesturing to Twitch with an affable, if uneven, grin as he crossed an ankle over a knee. A quick sweep of the eyes revealed several cashier’s checks stacked up on the desk. Benny was moving some cash around and clearly didn’t want the banks or the IRS to catch a whiff.

“Been good Patch.” Lark answered with a grin. The two had kind of come up together and worked well with one another. Lark gave Patch the skinny on whatever town they were in while Patch was always forthcoming with gratitude in the form of a little extra cash.

“Took a stroll through the carnival yesterday…we look a little light.” Benny said and scooped the stack of checks down into a draw and away from Patch’s gaze.

“Turnover’s always a grind, Benny. You know that.” Patch answered with a shrug. He was aware they were short on staff which was never a good thing let alone at the start of a swing. “We’ll fill out as the season goes along.”

“Yeah, well…we got us a hard nut this season…took on some investors so we could get us some spectacular rides and such…they’ll be showing up in a couple days’ time. Need us running at full capacity to make it back. I got a couple of backyard boys throwin up flyers in town…you’re my guy to staff us up.”

Patch blew a slow exhale of annoyance. That part about Benny being a hell of a boss under reconsideration at the moment. “Cmon, Boss…you gonna drop this on me now? I already got half a dozen agents out there dinging me for 20 by 20s I aint got, badgering me about their loke, seeing if I got any holes I can squeeze em in…” Patch gesturing through the open mini-blinds to the Midway beyond. “Isaac’s wrapped up Hatch exclusively for the season, best talker we have…all the other shows bitchin they got nobody that can build and hold a tip now…” Patch’s problems were never ending and consequently the man had to be incredibly flexible and creative with his solutions as they all queued up at his door to fix it.

“You’re a smooth talker, Patch.” Twitch chimed in. “I’m sure you can handle it.” Amusement on his face as he was aware that such a task would pull Patch from his lot duties, duties which provided an opportunity for kickbacks and extra cash.

Patch glanced Twitch’s way, the man’s left eye bouncing and moving all over the place and making it impossible to know how to look him in the face. “You keep that bad eye on concessions and I might have to take that over too.” Patch answered with a slow drawl of amusement, aware that Twitch was self-conscious and the threat would play into the man’s paranoia and drive him crazy.

“Knock it off.” Benny grumbled and pulled his cigar from one side of his mouth to the other. He hadn’t even bothered to light it, his frustration high enough that he just wanted to chew the hell out of it. “We all got problems, Patch. Ever since Fia just up and disappeared I got no one who can run the carousel. What kind of carnival don’t have a carousel eh? I’ve had guys from all over come in and take a look at it…not one of em can even get the thing started.” Benny munched down hard on his cigar before pulling it out and using it to stab at Patch across the desk. “You’re my guy out on the lot…get it done. And I don’t want no 40 milers, wobblies or comic book idiots. I want guys who can GTFM.”

Patch knew the sound of finality when he heard it. “I’ll get it done, Boss.” Pushing up from his chair and pulling at the rim of his trilby in salute. “Get The *** Money...no worries.” Giving a look to Lark. “You not too busy keeping these guys outta court…should come down from on high, rub elbows with the boys. All this air conditioning makin ya soft.” Patch giving a grin as he turned to exit the trailer, Benny already beginning to shout at another problem before Patch could even get outside.

Patch sparked a hand rolled cigarette as he came down the steps of Benny’s trailer and pulled in a good inhale of blended smoke before flagging down one of the more experienced Roughies running around the back lot, a young kid with a lot of potential named Rooster.

“Whatcha need, Patch?” Rooster asked after jogging over towards the fixer, wiping his hand with a rag to get the oil and grease off it before reaching out to shake Patch’s in greeting.

“Nothin too complex…need one of the trailers moved round to the Arch…maybe a sign out front directing people lookin for work my way.” Patch answered as he blew his exhale up and away from the kid’s face.

“No problem, Patch…have it all done within the hour.” Rooster answering with a nod and started jogging off towards a group of yardies, yelling up a storm for them to get moving and find a trailer.
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Roach Lee
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 17, 2016 10:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Roach Lee stood outside in the carnival air.

It whispered around her with the things the grounds of a circus always seemed to; nostalgia and a biting wistfulness for something that she couldn't place, but in deeper, rarer, introspective moments brought her to the idea of a lost childhood where that air, all crude with candy-floss, grease-paint and horse-breath evaded her, as her mother dragged her roughly behind through lonely, isolating years, where the twinkling lights and screams from the crowd sat just off to the side of her life.. until many, many moons later when she had pulled back the tarp in backroads Florida with a rural vaudeville group and gotten a taste of that sweet and feral air from the stage itself..


Dropped off further down the road by West End Cabs, she had approached on foot some of the distance, sizing the unit and the pattern of the tents and then made her way towards the trailer; in one hand a flier and in the other a black duffle bag. A pinstriped fedora sat back on her bleached, dreadlocked head and a halter-neck cheesecake dress (white, black polka dots) and black combat boots over seamed stockings (severely ripped...) for the occasion. Roach looked like a motley assortment of themes and ideas, but ultimately came off as a hybrid; punk-burlesque hell kitty. Roach had come to sing her blues with sensual pathos, a lissome and agitated physicality, that could be oddly beguiling for the audience and, most importantly given the context, with her fire; ever burning. Perhaps it could be said that she was her most alive and most incandescent when performing.

With a breath of confidence, she narrowed her hazel eyes, pressed a tight, night-shade painted smile and set foot within, taking in the posters with an almost rabid interest before assuming that impassive stare. Calling out "hello?!" Hands before her gripping the bag and show bill tight, eyes made up like a 30's vamp and staring straight ahead, her small figure silhouetted in an almost sepia sunlight. The air, it still whispered around her of haunted things and lost dreams.
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-Patch-
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Joined: 21 Oct 2013
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Jobs: Inventor
Can Be Found: Strolling along the Midway
826.72 Silver Crowns

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 21, 2016 12:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Patch reclined back in a creaking wooden chair whose polish had long been rubbed away and replaced with a myriad of dents and nicks, scratches and blemishes that seemed to match the well-worn desk which currently served as a foot rest for the relaxing fixer. The heat was rising as the afternoon wore on, pushing the mercury above 90 and outpacing the small AC unit wedged haphazardly into a window above Patch’s head. His trilby had been pulled low to shade his eyes and the fixer hung in that snoozing twilight between wide awake and dead asleep. But make no mistake, nothing on the Midway escaped his shrewd and watchful scrutiny.

He’d set up shop to the side of the arch in a spare trailer with a sign posted for those looking for work to inquire within. Patch’d pulled this kind of duty often enough to know what to expect yet every time the Carnival threw up the proverbial help wanted sign in the window he’d come away with some mixture of surprise, shock and disbelief at the souls who strolled through the door. Today hadn’t disappointed and had he not already been double dipping as both fixer and the lot man he might have had time to be amused at some of the pitches he’d gotten thus far.

In the lead for the most outlandish had been a man touting himself as a human fountain and claiming he could swallow and regurgitate liquids on command. Patch had shut him down as soon as he’d heard the explanation, the man pressing by offering to give a demonstration involving kerosene and water where he’d swallow both, and through his own talent spit up the kerosene first onto a display, set it afire and then douse the flames with the previously swallowed water. Patch had thrown him out of the trailer and then ensured a couple of the roughies running around escorted him far away. Just what the carnival needed…a crazy vomit show to ensure no one who watched bought an ounce of food for the rest of the night. Twitch would have a fit, such an idea had initially enticed the fixer, though better judgment reigned and Patch had settled back down with a hope that the rest of the day would go better.

He’d hired on some green help without too much excitement, the carnival had plenty of jobs where a warm body was just about all that was needed…problem was that type rarely came with brains and their mistakes often carried a hefty price tag. He’d pawn them off on Twitch in concessions for no other reason than it’d annoy the man and make up for passing on the human fountain. Couple new jointees had also come on board, their crack impressive enough that Patch was willing to give them a try at some vacancies in the games. Wasn’t too hard to spot those with some kind of skill; Patch playing the role of a townie while they tried to convince him to stay at the game and keep paying, Patch peppering them with every excuse in the book to test their responses, that easy going croon becoming irate out of nowhere to test their cool. Most didn’t meet his rather high standard but few would, carnival life not being for everyone and Patch had little time for those that weren’t gonna grind out the long hours and hard living while always chasing that next dollar.

Filling holes was easy…there were always folks looking to punch ticket out of town, peddling a con or two along the way in order to grease the wheels and make the jump. Patch knew it was a numbers game in the end but what he really wanted was some talent that could turn a tip and pack the tents along the lines of Isaac’s act. Patch was aware of certain egos involved, showmen never wanting to share the stage and he knew that Isaac wouldn’t easily stand aside and leave money on the table. He’d been skeptical at first but the addition of Josette to the knife thrower’s act had humanized Wheeler a bit and added an element of humor and heightened drama which kept the audience at the edge of their seats as they willed each and every throw to miss the angelic assistant as she brought her unique ballerina flair to the knife’s edge. And if that unlikely pairing could happen…who knew what might stroll through the door today.

The knock to the door caused him to stir, the antique gaze of bronze colored eyes opening within the shade cast by the lowered trilby. Watchful eyes took note of the flier first clenched in hand and then the duffle before taking in the rest of her appearance. “Back here.” The lazy croon of his voice matching the easy going and curious peer of drowsy bedroom eyes.

He maintained that lethargic posture for a moment or two longer before coming forward with all the energy of a stretched out spring. The fixer hardly ever moved in a hurry even when he moved with a sense of purpose. Elbows came to rest on the desk as he thumbed the trilby back up his brow, fingers occupied with rolling a fresh cigarette while the bleached dreads and the colorful tattoos were appraised along with the eclectic attire which both obscured and revealed their own stories.

“You lookin for work or jus here for the show?” The question asked through an inscrutable and practiced poker face meant to test prospective hires.

There was a pause after the question, an opportunity to respond so he could continue that appraisal. He gave a slow lick to the rolling paper and sealed it closed before placing the cigarette between his lips and lighting it quickly with a match. She had the look for the show…sharp edged and tough as coffin nails, a vagabond contradiction of frayed edges and sought after independence.

He waived the woman over to an equally beat up chair which matched the one he occupied and exhaled up into the air above him, the wispy smoke lingering until caught by the current of the air conditioner.

“You got a name?”
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Roach Lee
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 04, 2016 11:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There's a hat at a table and its talking to her. It's a voice that, at first, strikes her as sounding like it's running late, as if catching up to the words as they pull that soporific tone along. But the more he speaks, the more it implies song. And it's the very same in the way he moves, too; unhurried but alert, like he hears a music and only he. Her eyes peer all over the room as she walks within and stops in the middle of it, and then there's eyes like antique gold and she's being waved over to a chair that looks like she's been feeling lately.

"Roach" she offers over, dumping the duffle on the floor, dropping down into the seat, which for the sudden weight gives a loud grunt, as she crosses her stockinged legs. Her name, it's a name that is a prism around who she is; an absentee from the stones set for her, a truant pupil in the school of life, a girl who had made a living getting by on the scraps that others left behind. Composed she was thus, of loose ends and stray threads.

"Roach Lee." A salute; index and middle touching to her brow as she gives the man her very direct, very intent stare and a close-lipped smile that dozes at the corner of her mouth below a dimple.

"Here for work, I uh, saw one of these flyers", holding the one she'd wandered in with in the air, she places it down on the table and guides it closer to him in her reach with the very tip of a chipped, black nail.

"I worked with a set back in Florida, off-world. Was for a spell, but I kinda miss it. Saw you needed someone so thought I'd see if you was interested." Her voice is crinkled as that paper. It's Queens via the South; hard and quick but with a latent melody to some words that draws them out and emphasizes the soda-pop squeak of her voice, especially when she's provoked; whether with anger or pleasure.

"I eat, breathe, dance with fire. I worked some clubs seven years ago too, and so, I ended up developing a routine that's flavored with some cheek... "burlesque" as they calls it, but it's all about the flames, yo. I... I don't want to waste your time, neither. I actually really love doing this, but it's been a while. I need a job, even sommin' semi-regular.. Would you be willing to see what I got?" An inked shoulder rises as she looks away to her bag at her feet because she's expecting a no from the fixer before she is anticipating a yes.

Another look over the room and a glance back to the door, where that dusty, almost dreamy light whispers against all the surfaces and like the man's gaze, loaned a tarnished gold impression to the very air, like a faded postcard. The canvas outside makes a rippling sound; a great ocean-gust of fabric. Was that the sound of change?

She brings her eyes back to Patch, that small smile waking a little further and damn if there isn't hope in that face. Distant but far from dead. "I'd be happy to show you right away, if you gots the time."
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 06, 2016 9:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

“Roach eh?” A crinkle of amusement mixed with a hint of curiosity over how she got such a moniker showing in the fans formed around his eyes in response to that two fingered salute; the lines etched from too much time in the sun, too many miles on the road. “Name’s Patch.” No last name was traded for her own. You earned your own moniker on the Midway and surnames, like old identities, were left behind on the road like so much dust. Fingers folding together as elbows maintained their rest upon the desk, the cigarette pinched between them continuing its sluggish curl of smoke through the warm air.

“Nice spot, Florida…lots of our people head down to Gibtown in the off season. Good people round that part.” Patch making a passing reference to an old carnival retreat in Gibsonton near Tampa. The fixer listened, eyes cast down as she slid the flyer his way. The cigarette remained between his fingers almost as if it’d been forgotten until he came forward, proved that dilatory posture a façade, and placed it between his lips for a quick drag. He spent a moment trying to place the accent, Patch having made the jump to small town and city alike across the land more times than he could remember. “Come to the right place then.” A hand lifting the crinkled flyer, a glance of pitted and antique bronze thrown its way before he set it aside. “Turnover’s always high at the beginning of a run.” The confirmation of a potential opening joining an affable smile which lifted to meet the fixer’s hooded, bedroom eyes as he took another drag from his cigarette and set it down in a cheap tin ashtray atop the desk.

“Been awhile since we’ve played host to a fire show. Rubes always seem to flutter like moths towards one though.” Patch continued, his words as open a door to change and possibility as the one in the back of the trailer. Thoughts drifted to Fia for a moment and that accident following one of her acts a few years back. A man was badly burned and he ate up a lot of favors that night and a healthy chunk of his bankroll but that, a few smooth words coupled with a promise to pull stakes early had kept Fia out of cuffs. But that was how things worked at the carnival, they took care of their own no matter the situation or circumstances.

Drowsy eyes idled on Roach as she described her act, Patch taking note of the passion for what she did layered between the words. “Not a bad pitch.” She’d managed to catch his attention, make her opening and freeze the tip as the carnies say; next he‘d expect her to try and turn it. “Fire and Burlesque with a touch of cheek.” Patch’s head canted to and fro as if he were making a judgment call on the spot. “Sounds good…one thing first though…” Patch’s words taking on a sobering, pensive quality as he gestured with his cigarette towards her duffle bag.

By nature carnies kept a certain distance from those they didn’t know…didn’t work worth. The old rule of being a stranger in every town and its associated consequences was as true today as it was when traveling carnivals first popped up during the medieval era with time and experience reinforcing that mutual suspicion along the way. Course there those out there that might say them days were over with…that carnivals had gone legit and didn’t employ unabashed cheaters and crooks anymore…that they didn’t need to and that those days were forever gone. Except where they weren’t and, for some, old habits had a hard way of dying.

“We’re a tight knit group here...gotta be. We also take care of our own, so I need ta know if you’re runnin' from something.” Patch paused to blow a steady exhale of smoke up and away from his face before returning that deceptively drowsy eyed stare to watch her face intently. Patch saw all kinds look to the carnival as a way out of trouble, a place when moorings were lost and the prospect of the road simply looked better than what was being left behind. “I ain‘t tryin to get deep into your business. But I gotta know up front if you’re draggin' heat behind ya and I ain't talkin' about your act.” He didn’t say he wouldn’t hire her if that was the case, but Patch loathed surprises when they came from the townie side of the fence and wanted to know up front if she might have someone come looking for her…always easier to circle the wagons round one of your own if you knew what was coming down the road. “You answer that an I’ll watch your demonstration…see what ya got.” As fair of terms as she was likely to find on the grounds of the Midway.
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