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 Prelude to the Fair at the End of the World
I walked along the river in Windsor looking for pictures to use in a new short story: "Eric -- The Buffalo Boy," and found nice swampy pictures which would do fine. Okay then, on to breakfast. My friend Michaeleen and I ate at M&M's restaurant in Agawam, then I drove to her home where we spent an hour working on her tv antenna, trying to bring in a better picture.

Afterwards I was off to roam with camera, looking for images, wonders and thoughts. There was the Valley Hospital, mental institute. I 've been wondering for a long time about those buildings up there on the hill, overlooking the Connecticut River, across from the college.
A lost world there, sort of mysterious and forbidding. And so I drove up that hill, parked and began to wander among the old buildings, taking photographs of wonderful, billowy clouds from the hilltop. But I felt uncomfortable, at first, as if I was trespassing in a place I shouldn't be.

I  roamed the sidewalks and backyards, visiting this remnant of an earlier part of the century, thinking of the lost souls who once lived within the dark walls of buildings that were now wracked with arthritis.

Eventually I came to a cemetary, two of them actually, side by side. There were veterans in one and local citizens of Middletown in the other. I was surprised by the number of statues of saints, deities, and child angels.

Click went the shutter - click again. And what to do with the images.

Tired, after an afternoon well spent, I slid back into the car and went off for a visit with my Mom in North Haven, to share with her and any visitors, photos I'd taken of the Labor Day Road Race. I bypassed the Durham Fair, too many cars, too many people -- a line of cars stretching into infinity. Maybe later, on the way home. . .

Aunt Mary and Ruth were at Mom's  and they enjoyed the  road-race photos.

Then it was time for supper with Val and Clem at Morris Cove in New Haven. We ate and talked with Clem about her recent paintings. Then Val and I made a short trip, camera in hand, to photograph sunset at Stony Creek. After that, one drink at Sullivan's Irish Pub in Branford and I was on my way home.

I turned off the highway and thought to drive straight on, a bit tired and ready for a good night's sleep. Yet at the turn-off where I should bypass the fairgrounds, I made a decision and headed straight toward the fair. I wanted to see it; what was it like, those echos after the fair?

When the last of the patrons had gone away, when the cattle were being driven home, when the tents were empty and the ground covered with leftover litter, and the rides, standing quiet and alone. Were there ghosts there and who were those ghosts?  Quietly, the days images came together in my mind and suddenly I knew what to do.



 


The Fair at The End of the World
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"Hey! -- wake up you guys!"
"Yawn!"
"Stretch -- Yawn"
"Come on! Get up!"
"What for?"
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"Its daylight: time to play."
Yawn --  "Let's go then!"
"Where! Where to?"
"The Fair. Let's go to the Fair!"
"Yeah! The Fair -- Let's go to the fair!"
"Wait for me too!"
"Come on! We're off to the fair!"
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"Hurry up! Hurry up!"
"Awww! Let's play for a while -- the clouds are so juicy today."
"Come on -- I'll beat ya slidin down the big one."
"Who says?"
"Me says . . ."
"I'm first . . ."
ZOOM! ZOOM! . . .

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"You guys - we been here all day."
"Fair -- let's get to the fair."
"But, this is so fun -- one more time."
"Wow - lookit this!"
"Hey -- its gettin dark. Come on. Let's go."
"Sure! Those old clouds are worn down anyway -- "
"Let's go!"
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"Look! The lights!"
"A Ferris Wheel  -  that's for me."
"Me too -- I'm for that."
"Come on!"
"Me first!"
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"What's this?"
"Its over -- the fair's over!"
"That's not right!"
"We got here too late!"
"But . . . "
"Never mind . . . "
"But . . ."
"I SAID Never mind . . . "

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"Can't we ride or dance?"
"And sing?"
"And play?"
"No!"
"Why not?"
"I told you its done. The Fair is done -- its over."
"But why? Why's it over?"
"Not fair. We just got here."
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"I never got to ride . . ."
"Or to dance!"
"Never! Not at all . . . ."
"Did you sing? . . ."
"Only a few songs"
"But you played!"
"Yes, I played  . . .  in the clouds . . . "

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"Okay! There's lemonade!"
"And hot dogs . . ."
"Candy!"
"Who says?"
"There. It says . . . "
"Awww! Can't you see -- its closed up too."

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"Just one ride then..."
"On what?"
"The dragon -- I want the dragon."
"No! I want the spinning wheel!"
"Well, if you insist."
"I do."
"Then go. Do it!"
"But . . .  but, they're turning off the lights -- make them stop."
"Yeah, I wish I could buddy."

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"Animals then -- there must be horses."
"And cows."
"Bulls!"
"Sheep!"
"Rabbits and chickens!"
"Kids too -- lots of kids."
"No. They're gone."
"Oh -- all gone?"
"Yep! -- "

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"We gotta go. Now."
"Back there . . .  to the place?"
"Yeah!."
"But . . .  I don't like it there."
"Too bad. It's where we live."
"Why?"
"Because! . . . That's why -- because."
"Oh!".

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"Anyway:  It's no fun here."
"But I like the lights."
"And the rides!"
"Time to go home."
"All right!"
"Okay!."

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"Aaah! we're home guys."
"Do you think they missed us?"
"Probably not."
"Do you think He did?"
"Did what?"
"Missed us?"
"Sure. He knows; but he doesn't care."
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"What do you want to do now?"
"I don't know!"
"Let's make our own fair."
"Yeah! That's a good idea."
"Me too -- me too!"
"Okay! Everybody's in -- Let's go . . ."
"Yahoo! On with the fair . . . "

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"Goodnight everybody!"
"G'night!"
"Night!"
"Sleep good."
". . .  and don't let the bedbugs bite."
"Ha!ha!ha!ha! . . . ."

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"Hey you guys -- wake up!"
"What we doin today?"
"Get up!"

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.Go to Pauli's Wall
or
Return to A Shop For Dreamers
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