A Walk Down the Fairway - Adventure Under the Big Top Part II

Click here for part I

"I'm sure the carnival rides will be open after the circus and that way we can ride them in the dark," you say to Peter. "Let's go check out the sideshows. Do you think they've really got a girl who can throw lightning bolts?"

"And look," added Andrea, "there's funnel cake down there by the ring toss."

The three of you make your way down the fairway stopping now and then to see some one knock over a pyramid of tin cans with a baseball to win a big teddy bear. You pass your dad throwing darts at balloons while your mother watches and cheers him on.

"Come on. Let's get some food," says Peter and he leads you toward the funnel cake stand. He buys one and gets powdered sugar all over his face and shirt. Andrea gets a caramel apple, and after some deliberation, you buy a bag of assorted saltwater taffy and immediately select a rootbeer-flavored one and start chewing.

"Cool!" Peter yells. "Over here guys -- a shooting game. Look! You get a beebee gun and you try to shoot as many moving targets as you can. The winner gets to choose any of these prizes. Look at that water pistol. It looks real."

Peter has found a game called "Shootout At The OK Corral," where wooden cutouts of villians, indians, and animals roll out on a track or pop up from behind rocks and shrubs. It looks really fun and the prizes all look great. But the water gun is by far the coolest item. It does look like a real gun but it has a big reserve so you wouldn't run out of water very fast. You would love to have it. You would love to scare your sister with it and then get her soaking wet. You also have a fleeting idea that you might be able to shoot some of the animals with it through the bars of their cages without anyone noticing.

"Let's do it," Peter continues. "We can all play and it only costs $1."

You put your hand in your pocket to get your money and are about to agree to play when a strange voice whispers in your ear, "You don't want to play that game."

You whirl around to see who's standing so close to you, but nobody's there. As you look around you notice a man standing about fifteen feet away from you. He is standing in a space between two game booths and he's staring at you. It's the only space like that that you've seen. It's almost as if a booth had been removed to make this alley where the man is standing.

He motions for you to come closer. He's a strange-looking man, short and sort of round and hunched over. His hair is thin and feathery. There seem to be clumps missing. His right eye is noticably bigger than his left which is small and squinted. He is wearing a long black trench coat, or it could be a robe, open in the front, revealing a wooden peg leg and shabby clothes.

You are a little scared and don't know what to do when he motions to you again. You take a few steps closer to him but still keep your distance.

"I have a better game," the man says. Although he's standing right in front of you, his voice still sounds like he is whispering over your shoulder into your ear. "The prize is far more valuable and the game is much more challenging. I think you will like it. It's right this way." He turns sideways and with a gesture invites you down the small alley leading out of the fairway.

This man makes you scared and uncomfortable, but you are very curious about his game and the valuable prize. You look over your shoulder to see the puzzled faces of Andrea and Peter, who are standing in front of the OK Corral game. They have already given the barker their dollars and want to play the game.


Do you want to find out who this man is and what kind of game he is talking about? Or would you rather stick with the plan, and try to win the water pistol and then head on to the sideshows?

Vote in the comment section. (And if you voted for carnival rides, animals, and funnel cakes at the end of Part I, that string of the story will be available soon!)

Click here to read the next section.


Adventure Under the Big Top - A Choose Your Own Adventure-Like Story

If you didn’t read Choose Your Own Adventure books when you were younger or have forgotten how they work, they are second person stories where you are the main character. Throughout the story, you are asked to make decisions that shape your adventure. I am attempting to write a story kind of like that.

Below is the beginning of an adventure starring you. At the end of this segment of the story, there is a decision to make. I would like all of you, gracious readers, to vote on the choice and help shape the story. Cast your vote in the comment section and look for the next episode of the story in about a week.

Thank you for reading and enjoy your...

Adventure Under the Big Top

It’s finally Saturday! You’ve been waiting all week. Ever since the circus caravan marched through town on Monday afternoon, you’ve been dying to come to the Big Top.

Everyone in town came out to see the parade as the circus traveled from the train yard to the fairgrounds on the other side of town. It was difficult to miss a fleet of elephants marching down Main Street followed by fire spitters and tumbling acrobats. There were horses prancing along on their back two legs and clowns by the dozens. It was the best parade you have ever seen. The Ring Master, who led the parade, said that the parade was just a taste of what you would see at the fairgrounds, so you knew that tonight would be something special.

Your parents said that you and your older sister Julie could each bring a friend with you, but you have talked them into letting you bring your two best friends Peter and Andrea. The three of you are inseparable and always have a good time together.

As you pull up to the parking lot on the outskirts of town the air in the car is charged with excitement. As you walk to the gate, you can feel the anticipation of everyone in your group. Even your sister, who is trying to act cool in front of Claudia – her new best friend, is giggling and jittery as you stand waiting for your dad to buy your tickets.

All of you make your way through the gate and your eyes are met with a festival of color, activity, and sound. The red and white stripes of the big top tent tower above everything and the entrance to this enormous tent is directly in front of you about twenty yards back from the gate. Off to the right you see a bustling of movement as hundreds of animals move about their cages and are readied for performance in corrals. You hear a lion roar and the crack of a whip.

“The Lion Tamer must be warming up,” says Peter beside you.

Beyond the animal staging area you can see colorful lights whirling and spinning. It’s the carnival rides. You can see a Tilt-A-Whirl, a Ferris Wheel, and a Merry-Go-Round all filled with laughing children and there are more rides around the side of the big top out of your line of sight. From where you’re standing, the lines don’t look that long.

Andrea tugs on your sleeve and points over to the left of the main tent where a man on stilts wearing polka dotted pants is juggling flaming torches. Behind him is the fairway with games to play and prizes to win. You can hear the barkers calling for contestants to “Step right up” and test their strength or try to toss a ring around a bottle neck. On the far side of the fairway you see the sideshow tents. They are covered with posters announcing their performers. You can make out the posters of Go-Go the Electric Girl, Aquanina the Hawaiian Mermaid, and Marco the Magnificent World Famous Magician.

“Okay kids,” your Mom says, “We have an hour and a half before the main show starts to look around. Everyone has their tickets, right? We’re sitting in the second bleacher section. We’ll meet you there. Stick together you three and have a good time. We’ll see you inside. Your Mom and Dad walk off down the fairway. Your Dad has been talking all week about winning a big prize for your Mom. Your sister and Claudia are on their way to the cotton candy seller.

“What do you guys want to see first?” you ask Peter and Andrea.

“Let’s go ride the Tilt-A-Whirl and get some funnel cake. That guy over there is selling them.” Peter points to the right of the cotton candy seller across from the zebra pen. “Plus I want to check out the animals, especially that Lion Tamer. I heard he puts his head in the lion’s mouth. What a nut!”

“No,” says Andrea. “Let’s go see the side shows. The posters out front say there is a woman completely covered with tattoos and an elastic man who can sit on his head. Plus I think that guy’s going to jump from that platform into that little bitty bucket of water.”

Do you want go see the lion tamer and ride the carnival rides?
Do you want to go see the sideshows?

Cast your vote in the comment section.

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