I am in love with carnivals.
There is some undefinable surrealism that dwells among the tents. During daylight hours, the thing sleeps, waiting. Then, just as the sun dips below the horizon, a surge of electric blood trickles through the veins of the great steel frames, and the carnival really comes alive.
I went out to the Strawberry Days carnival last night, and once the sky had gone dark and the firefly lights had begun dancing, everything changed. No longer did I belong to a world of sunlit frivolity. Here, indeed, was that infamous Pandemonium Shadow Show. G.M. Dark himself slunk elusively through the crowd - those roaches of society that seep up from dark basements for no other purpose than to add their own confusion to the mass of twitching chaos. Faint snatches of a buzz buzzz buzz could be heard throughout the night; perhaps from a generator . . . Or a stinging tattoo needle?
The carousel was beautiful. Angry, paint-chipped stallions screamed on their posts. I was Jim Nightshade, riding forward, counting the passes around. Once, twice, thrice - I was 21. Again and again, the years went flying past, my mind pressing against the hard walls of reality in the hope of seeing a physical change - to no avail. The broken tinkling of music that shrieked over the crowd was not the Funeral March, backward or forward, and I was still the same.
Finally, I rode the Ferris Wheel. The bench stopped at the very top, and I wiggled forward to look down at the world below. Hundreds of bodies squirmed past one another, inwardly laughing with joy at the power of even the slightest human contact. A few pinpricks of light were the insect eyes that watched the riders. They stared so intently and twinkled so brilliantly that I could not believe them to be anything but sparkling intelligences, asking and answering the very question of life with a single glance.
Hah! Everyone in this world deserves a night that neither offers nor needs an excuse to eat funnel cake and strawberries and cream for dinner.