Sweat dribbled down his
greasy wrinkled brow.
The droplets glistened in the midday sun
as they slid down his nose,
landing like a liquid moustache
above his single-toothed,
“They’re shippin me to Missurah next week” he says.
“Gotta set up fer a country band” he says.
He picks up my four year old
and ever so gently,
places her in the kiddie airplane ride.
His hands look like piglets
nursing on their momma sow.
The age in his face is sorrowful,
but I can’t quite tell how old that is.
I’d guess his life had been hard,
but it didn’t affect the kindness in his heart.
He never took our tickets.
I don’t think he cared about tickets much.
He tells me where he’s been this past year
as we watch the ride go round and round.
“I do Country and Rock n Roll” he says.
He looks tired.
The heat and the miles taking their toll.
His piglets reach for his ice water.
Gulping it down,
he lets the airplanes keep going,
maybe longer than he should.
The other Carnies are watching
with heavy stares.
I wonder if all of this one’s lights are on,
or if he was supplied with less.
This guy is sweaty, and greasy, and
might seem scary to some.
But he is Teddy Bear gentle as the ride
comes to a stop.
His piglet hands carefully
lift my daughter
and she smiles bright at him.
He smiles back,
as bright as a
single twisted toothed smile can.
My heart sinks a bit,
I can tell he is a kind, but lonely man.
And we move on to the next ride.
Molly Roland is a writer by nature, and she enjoys stepping over the invisible lines society loves to draw.