Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Flamingos? Why Does It Have to be Flamingos?

One flamingo, two flamingo, three flamingo, four...
How many flamingos does one person need, particularly if that person lives north of the Mason-Dixon line and not in a trailer park?
How many flamingos, indeed?
Please sir, I want some more.
Some more of those slim, long legged pink things, so sexy standing there, one foot twined around the calf of the other, rubbing it suggestively.
How many flamingos does it take to satisfy a craving for kitsch?

True Story:

We wandered the carnival, sun still up, ground not yet muddy, baby wide-eyed in her stroller.

"C'mon over here, win the little lady a bear! C'mon over, gentlemen, you can do it! Getcha little girl a bear! Just five dollars for three shots, getcha little girl a bear!"

C and G walked over to the barker. The counter held four sets of milk bottles, each set consisting of ten bottles stacked in a pyramid formation. The barker waved an air rifle at the guys.

"Only five dollars for three shots! Knock the bottles off the counter and win the baby a bear! Getcha little girl a bear!"

C looked at the pyramids and picked up the air rifle. "Three shots for five dollars? Gotta knock all the bottles off the counter and then we get a bear? Which bear? That itsy one?" He held it to his eye and checked the sight, aiming the front down.

"Or anything else the momma sets her heart on! I don't have no ordinary prizes here. Gimme a minute to get the rest out. This is a quality booth, great stuff for the little girl! I got here a penguin and check out this horse and I got a flamingo and a whale..."

Flamingo? Did he say flamingo?

"Lemme see the flamingo." He reached under the counter and held up a fix foot tall flamingo, bright pink, wearing a top hat, red bow tie and black high heels. He set it on the far edge of the counter and put a clip on it so he could hang it. I love it.

I took the baby out of her stroller and showed her the stuffy. "Look honey, it's a flamingo!" I turn to the guys. "I want that flamingo. Baby wants that flamingo. Get us that flamingo."

The barker smiles and lights a cigarette. "Ya gotta play to win, men. Which one of you gentlemen is going to win the little ladies that flamingo?"

C pulls out a five dollar bill and puts it on the counter. "I have to knock all the bottles off? All ten? Not just down, but off?"

"Yessir, off the counter. Win the baby a big flamingo! You're a big guy, you can do it!" I put the baby on the flamingo's back. She pats its head, grabs the bow tie and sucks on it. "Win the baby a flamingo, sir! Go on, do it!"

C settles the air rifle against his shoulder. Blam! He misses.

"Honey, I want the flamingo!" C shrugs, picks up the air rifle again. Blam! Nothing.

The barker smiles. "One more shot, guys. You gotta aim at the bottles, right at them. Don't worry, lady, they'll get you that flamingo. He just has to get comfortable with the gun, get his balance so to speak. One more shot, gentlemen."

C picks up the air rifle, sights it and sighs. He passes it to G. "Here, you take a shot. I just can't get it. Besides, it's your kid."

"Honey, baby really, really, really wants that flamingo. I want that flamingo. You have to win us that flamingo. Please, pretty please." I put my head next to baby's and flutter my eyelashes.

"It's tough. C already missed twice. These carnival games...." G shakes his head. "They're all rigged anyway, you know that. Why don't we just go down to Wally World and I'll buy you one?"

"I want that flamingo. That one, with the top hat and the red bow and the heels," using my most murderous, ‘you ain't getting anything else for the rest of your life tone'. "That one. You understand me? Capice?"

The barker smiles even more. "I have specials. Since the lady has her heart set on that flamingo and I know it's tough, not just getting the bottles down, but you gotta get them off, too,I'll do you guys a favor. I'll let you have eight shots for ten dollars, instead of six, or for fifteen dollars, I'll give you twenty chances. That's double! What do you say, gentlemen? Wanna get some insurance?"

C frowns. "We still have one shot left, right? It's okay that I give it to my buddy here? I don't seem to be having any luck, that's fer sure."

"Absolutely, sir, you let your friend go ahead and take a shot."

G lifts the air rifle and lays it across the palm of his hand. He runs his fingers along the shaft and grip. Flips it around in his had and points it down, narrowing his eyes as he checks the truing. He steps back and shakes his head. "I dunno, honey. This thing... Hell, instead of wasting money here, it's gonna cost a hunnert dollars easy, we could just go across the street. Besides, don't we need to do groceries?"

"I want that flamingo. You hear me?"

"Okay, then, here goes nothing." He raises the gun to his shoulder, closes one eye and then the other. "Here goes." He squeezes the trigger.

The bottles roll off the counter. All of them.

The barker stares. "But, but, but..."

"The flamingo, please." He pushes it towards me. G takes baby off its back and kisses her. I take the flamingo and put it in the stroller, upside down. I tie the feet up around the handle. "What my baby wants, my baby gets."

C pats him on the back. "Good job, guy. What was that championship pin you got last year? Or did you get two?"

"Last year, two. First in handguns, third in rifle. And I was top ten in black powder."

"You the man!"

"Get the fuck out of my booth," the barker says and slams the curtains down on the booth.

"Can we go home now? This thing is huge."

"You wanted it, deal. Besides, the carnival's only been open for fifteen minutes, we can't leave yet. We gotta have us some funnel cake and one of those big ole onion things. Us boys is hungry from all that shootin' and huntin' and killin' we had to do for you."

"Okay, then, we'll stay." Baby grabbed one of the flamingo's feet and chewed it.

No comments: