Sunday, October 14, 2012

Fairly Good Times

Now Playing: INSIDE THE FIRE by Disturbed

It's that time again: the height of fall. Beautiful weather, changing leaves, pumpkins and corn mazes and front porch swings occupied by zombies or mummies or giant spiders . . . oh, and the North Carolina State Fair!

I went on Friday evening with my girlfriend, and as soon as we had our ticket she made a bee-line for the fried pickles. Man, were they good! Fresh and hot, dipped in a little ranch . . . mmm! We really set the bar high right away with our fair food.

We saw 500-lb pumpkins and gallons of honey and watermelons the size of large lambs, which we also saw, in competition, being led around the ring with enough pomp and circumstance to remind you of the poshest Medieval royal court.

Every few minutes, we heard the roaring of some of loudest engines to ever be built that weren't meant for space travel--souped-up tractor drag racing! Each roar lasted, oh, ten seconds or so, but the plume of black, roiling, oily smoke that rose lingered over the vendors and carnies for several minutes. We got a good view of them from the window of the the hobbies and crafts building, and then again while sipping piping hot apple cider and looking through the glass at curing tobacco.

It was way better than "fairly" good--I just made that the title of this post because I love puns. We left with full bellies and the smell of autumn stuck in our noses and lot of affection for each other.

But you have to admit . . . there's something sinister about the fair, something slightly unsettling about how fast the rides are set up, how the carnies advertise deals and prizes and try to guess you age or weight with uncanny accuracy. There are clowns and freak animals and people made to look deformed for your enjoyment. Is there someone, or something, behind it all? Something wicked coming this way?

There's a story there.

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