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