by Russ Perry
The park is deserted. Hours ago the gates closed behind the last few people, shutting them out into the real world.
The old watchman wends down the silent midway, the tick of his aged time clock faithfully dividing the hours of the night. His flashlight sweeps across the darkened fun house, pausing for a moment on the laughing lady, her mechanical face frozen amidst a silent guffaw. His tired eyes smile as he bids her goodnight.
The old man turns and continues his solitary journey. He passes in front of a refreshment stand, where a shabby gray cat feasts on a half-eaten hamburger. Inside, the rats scurry from counter to counter, tidying up for tomorrow's customers.
Across the midway, battered white ducks sit solemnly in the quiet shooting gallery, pondering the cruel fate that binds them to their treadmill of violent death and futile resurrection. Next door in the penny arcade, rows of weary machines stand shoulder-to-shoulder in the darkness: penniless beggars looted of their hard-earned coins by a greedy master.
The watchman reaches the end of the midway. Overhead, the roller-coaster stands like a giant white skeleton against the black sky. He stops for a moment to light his pipe, then turns down the aisle past the carousel, its motionless menagerie patiently awaiting the life-giving clang of its brass bell.
Nearby, the empty sideshow tent flaps idly in the breeze, its grotesque supporting cast withdrawn for the night to the sanctuary of their trailers.
The old caretaker's feet shuffle on toward the main gate, where turnstiles stand with outstretched arms anxiously awaiting the start of a new day.
story was written by Park employee, Russ Perry back in 1964. This is a
very well-crafted tale and I thank Russ for allowing us to share it with
you. If you would like to see his narration of this piece, you can
view it HERE on