It was twelve noon. The carnival was open.
I felt dirty the minute I walked onto the midway. It wasn't just the heat, not just the pressure of all those booths crammed into the asphalt lot behind the Coliseum. It was the smell of greasy pots full of melted cheese to pour over nacho chips, the sticky puddles of dried coke under my feet, the recorded calliope and disco blaring out of metal horns, the lurking carnies in baseball shirts and gimme hats that sized me up as I walked by.
"Hey, gotta girlfriend? She'd love this Snoopy doll! Hey, where ya going? No girlfriend? Got a boyfriend, then?"
The big rides, the Merry-Go-Round and the Tilt-A-Whirl and the Ferris Wheel and something called a Dragon's Lair, were in the center of the lot. Around the edges were the shooting galleries and fortune wheels, concessions and fortune tellers, cooch dancers and freak shows, all th