The neighboring town to my home town of Joshua Tree,CA still holds their annual carnival called Grubstakes Days and it makes me shudder to this very day. It's supposed to celebrate the early high desert settler's "rich mining heritage" but all I remember is that every year of high school I would put on the wool marching band uniform, hoist the marching bells or snare drum harness over my shoulders and march in 100 degree weather down HWY 62- praying I didn't step in horse shit. Nervous parents would jog along side us with water at the ready. Every year the "concussion section" had a bet going on which flute player would be the first to pass out from heat stroke.
The dirt lot behind some bank became a dusty carnival for the weekend. A shady crew would roll into town, hire the local weirdos to operate the rides and everyone would come out for this exciting event!
One particular year (strangely, my LAST visit to Grubby Days), I went with my friends to hang out on a Friday night. Upon seeing that one of the carnival ride operators was a known crack addict (a guy who once held a knife to my brother's throat while IN CHURCH), I decided to not ride the rides. So I left my friends standing in line to walk around by myself. A totally smart and well-thought-out idea. Some guy I recognized from school came up to me and asked if we could walk around together. And then he had to use the pay phone across the street... in the big parking lot... and before you know it, he forced me up against the side of a van, held me down and was covering my mouth with his to keep me from screaming. Out of nowhere, a member of the cult-ish church called "The Door" appeared and said, "COME TO OUR CHURCH!" The street preacher handed my "friend" a bible tract and the asshole ran off.
A few months later that same kid was expelled from school for beating someone with a baseball bat- and it turns out he was really the TWIN BROTHER of the guy we all thought he was. At some point in the school year the brothers had traded places.
Moral of the story- Don't go to carnivals. Wait, um.. don't walk around by yourself? Don't trust twins? I don't know. Pretty much just do the opposite of everything I did.
Tuesday, June 8, 2010