Original article posted by ravenpaine:

The Manorah of Crime: Shamash

“If I ever hear the word ‘spin-art’ again I think I’ll just die,” said Tony.

“You should be so lucky,” said Ellen. “Last I heard there were only three legal activities to do at the fun fair and you’re forbidden word was two of them.”

Tony grimaced. “Then shoot me now. I have no intention of being miserable at a fun fair. The irony alone is reason enough to stop existing. I also have a standard to maintain. An image. People recognize me.”

Ellen gave a wry grin, “I told you not to put your face on those milk cartons at work.”

Tony thrust his hands to the heavens. “It was only the once! And besides the dairy never paid me for that job, so I’m justified. I call it restitution for damages lost and emotional otherwise.”

“When you’re sober do you ever realise that you’re drunk?” Ellen dodged a group of manic five-year-olds that had leapt at her from a water gun booth and dissapeared in a cotton candy haze down the alley.

Tony struck a deft pose, “I realise only three things per day. I would hate to waste one of my charges on something that obscure.”

They stopped at the caramel apple truck and Tony got three: one with nuts, two without.

“You hate nuts,” Ellen said.

“Yes but I do love random and cruel acts of seeming kindness, observe.” Tony paused a moment as they passed a small girl. He nodded to the mother and handed the treat to the girl. The mother said thank-you and they moved on.

Ellen hugged his arm and took a bite out of her apple, “That was sweet, you made that girl really happy. Where was the cruelty of that act, other than frightening the mother that something might be in that apple?”

“The genius of my plan is that the mother will not let her keep the apple. Within moments of turning our back she tried to dislodge it from her daughter and throw it away.”

“So you’re being cruel to the kid? That’s it. Trish was right I’m leaving you here.” Ellen removed her arm and turned away.

Tony grabbed her shoulders and faced her front as they continued down the alley. “No, I’m being cruel to the mother. The kid will invariably have already started sucking on the thing. When the mother attempts to take it away she’ll only end up with a kid covered in caramel and nuts and a slighly moist apple rotting into the floorboard of her car. That’s what you get for distrusting strange people and taking things from kids.”

“You’re so demented I think I’m getting fertile just thinking about it.”

“None of that now, you promised that all conversations about our baby problem would wait until we were on the twirly rides.”

Ellen gripped his arm again, narrowed her lips and pursed her eyes, “Oh pooh!”

“Now before we hit the ill fated twirly ride of our destiny we must first do a little recon.” Tony scanned the fair with his keen blue eyes. The fair was littered with children manically clutching at one thing and pointing at a second. Parents either trod forward painfully or sat dejectedly, moments of searing bright hope spreading across their faces as a child would approach only to fall into dark embers of brooding when the child asked for mom or dad’s cash not for his or her company. The ferris wheel teetered on lumbering machinery desinged in the late Twenties and serviced maybe once since then. The smaller childrens rides twisted and flailed in a mixture of color that seeped from the ground up. The sky was beginning to gray at the horizon and Tony couldn’t dislodge the term ‘Flemish Painting’ from his head.

Ellen was gone by the end of his survey and he still hadn’t found what he was looking for. “Ellen?” he shot quizickly into the artificial world around him.

“Over here dear!” She said from the back of an obscene plastic Quazimodo. She went round the bend and said again, “Over here!”

Tony scowled, but in a non threatening way. Ellen was only 5’1″ and weighed less than 100 pounds. She was always cheating her age by not only having the heart of a child but the frame of one too.

The ride ground to a halt and Ellen skipped up to him causing her light blue frond-patterend dress to billow. She did a little half bow courtesy and spun on her heel. He dark hair fell into her face and completely ruined the effect.

“Are you quite finished?”

She pushed the hair back behind her head and gave a pout. “Maybe.”

“If you will behave yourself for a just a minute I’ll win you a fine stuffed pony at a booth.”

“Really?”

“Certainly, that’s why I brought all four hundred dollars from that job last week.”

“I don’t think you’ll lose that often.” She bent down and adjusted her Mary-Janes they had daises hand painted on them.

Tony took advantage of her sudden smaller size and patted her on the head knowingly. “Sweet child I have no intention of losing even once, down that road leads madness. Remind me to tell you about Descision Bear sometime. No, the money is to bribe the booth owner to hand over a fine stuffed creature outright. All under the table and illicit. There is a fine black market in stuffed creatues to be found between these tents.”

Ellen gave him an exagerated hug. “Your slant morals and inability to play fair knows no bounds.”

Tony nodded solemnly, “And why should it. Ah!” He spotted the booth he had been looking for, strategically placed next to the ride he wanted to get on. “Come dear, the time of destiny is upon us.”

The booth was most definitely a hot dog stand of the worst variety. It resembled a stained tin coffin with sickly red and white accouterments wrapped around it. The condiment bins looked as if they had been washed… well, actually no, they really didn’t look that way at all. To top it off the man, if a humanoid grease monster of foul smelling origin could be called such a thing, who operated the booth resembled a medeival meat pie dealer, the type that would barter the price down to the lint in your pockets to get you take a pie; which invariably tasted not only of dung but poison and sweat all at the same time.

Tony greeted the man, “Huzzah, good sir. How is business today?”

It took the “man” a moment to react, internal fly wheels ramped up to spead and a greasy hand with puckered black fingers stretched into an over-wide nostril in a salute long lost to polite society. ‘Uhm, you talking to me?”

Ellen giggled from past Tony’s left shoulder where she was cowering in a mixture of fear and barely contained glee. “Why yes, I am adressing you. I was wondering how business was today. Sold a good many pieces of meat-like-by-product in buns today?”

The man soluted with the other hand and rubbed his chin and crotch simeultaneously in thought. “Well, yeah. Aint been too bad. I’ve got a good location here. Smack in the middle of the fair. Best place to be.”

Tony nodded emphaitcally. “Excellent, excellent. So, how’s the saurkraut supply holding out? Hmmm?” Ellen giggled again.

The man took a moment to “think” hard about this complicated question and glanced slowly at the condiment bin. “Looks like I’m low again. You people want a ‘dog or don’t ya?”

Tony’s grin became a thing of arcane evil. “Not just yet. We have to get in a ride first. Come dear, the time has come.”

They paid the bleary red eyed man operating the twirly ride and secured themselves in a car.

The ride sputter-leapt into motion and carnival muzak swirled about their heads. “Now my dear what was this ovulating thing you were mentioning?”

“Well, you know how hot I get thinking about all of the terrible little things you do.” Ellen winked.

“I am quite skilled.” Tone winked back.

“Oh! Yes! You are! So very, very skilled.! I want you to take me now! Now! Yes! Yes!” She exagerated in breathy tones.

“I’m not sure I should do that now. What with my irritable bowel and all. A little excitement and it could be all over the place.”

“Oh! That’s right, last time you got excited we had to buy a new car. Vagrants wouldn’t sleep in there after that smell. And then I got ill on the carpet in the house and the dog ate it and we had to move to a new neighborhood.”

“We don’t want to repeat an incident like that again do we? I’d hate to get DESPERTALEY ILL here. All those pieces of candied apple and cotton candy swirling in a pit of soda and bad saurkraut. The heat of the day the mind numbing sensations of the muzak and the twirling of the ride.”

Ellen was trying hard not to giggle, “Yes, that would be a horrible combination it would make me ill just thinking about it. And the more I thought about it the more ill I would become. The churning and twirling and food all mingling. Urp, urp.”

The ride stopped and they stood up. The unfortunate peole who had been listening to their conversation lurched out of the exit gate in a mad scramble. One man collapsed, breathing heavilty, his skin was pale and wet. Two women tried to accommodate each other near a garbage can. Three teenagers lost on the dirt directly behind the hot dog booth. Four small children were being escorted from the cars in the ride proper by parents who tried desperately not to get anythign on them as it was all over the children.

The man running the twirly ride used his radio, “We’re gonna need a hose on ride seven. I repeat a hose on ride seven.”

Ellen grabbed Tony’s arm as they departed the ride, lightly stepping past a few unsightly piles and a number of wretched and retching people. As they strode towards the sunset Ellen turned dramatically and looked into Tony’s face. “Can we come again next year?”

And, replied Tony,” Quite frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.

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