The fair. You go there every year and it’s always basically the same, but you always look forward to it. It’s the most summer thing about summer, with the animals, root beer and rides, and that special fair smell of hay and manure and, mostly, food frying. I made a list one year and there were sixty two different fried things to eat, from deep fried cheesecake to deep fried cheeseburgers to deep fried sweet potato pie.
We always go to the fair together, the six of us. We may go at other times, with our families or other people, but that one day, when it’s just the gang, that’s the real fair.
We start out with a couple things that everybody likes. We share a bucket of onion rings from Doctor Vegetable and go visit all the animals from the barns to the petting zoo. Then we take turns doing our personal favorites.
Mr. Spit, of course, likes the rides on the midway, the faster, noisier, cruder and more dangerous the better. Nina likes the contests for pies and quilts and growing vegetables, and she’ll go with Mr. Spit on some of the rides. Pounce buys a new cheap straw hat every year and visits all the animals again while she eats a bunch of walking tacos. I like the antique cars and tractors and writing down all the cool things I see. Lee goes to the commercial buildings and gets all the free yardsticks he can find for his collection, and waits for the lights to go on as it gets dark. He likes the fireworks best of all.
And Murphy eats his weight in Blue Moon ice cream and sketches the painted banners that flap over the crummy little sideshow way off at the edge of the fairgrounds. It’s been there every year since “before the War”, whatever that exactly means. None of us have ever gone in, because we know it’s corny, exploitative and a ripoff, and maybe even a little bit evil.
But looking at the banners you can see why Murphy wants to meet the Amazon Witch Doctor, and the Snake Charmer, see the Eight Legged Horse and the Live Chupacabra, and of course, the Frozen Cave Girl in her block of ice, who has been in the sideshow since forever.