Saturday Night, 6:00pm 9/17/83 Carnival Ticket Booth

Steven moves through the carnival with practiced dexterity. In full obstacle course intensity, the screaming toddler with a sticky face-full of cotton candy, the hand-linked pair of loved-up high school heartthrobs, the clique-packed cluster of classmate ride monger nerds...

“Hey, Steve-O.”

“Brooks. S’up?”

...all fail to impede the Steven Blender carnival jam. Except...the ticket booth volunteers. Well, one volunteer in particular. Last year, fundraiser chair and resident Social Studies Nazi Janet Knowles had him thrown out on day one! Day one! Everybody loves this lady. This lady loves everyone. This lady hates Steven Blender. And there she is! Smaug!

“Why, hello there, Mister Blender.”

“Hello, Mrs. Knowles. Fine night for a carnival, don’t you think?”

Mrs. Knowles graduated college with a 4.0 in simulated sweet. Her smile hurts Steve by just looking at it.

"It's carnival time!"

Her enthusiasm is on full blast. Steve gives her a luke warm answer.

“Sure is. Um...I’d like $25 worth of tickets, please.”

Mrs. Knowles lays it on thick.

“Ooooo, somebody is planning a night of fun!”

Oh, she is in rare form.

“Sure am, Mrs. Knowles. And supporting our school at the same time!”

She smiles. Of course.

“That’ll be $25 young man.”

The transaction goes down, with Steve slipping a twenty and a ten through the slot in the Plexiglass. Mrs. Knowles places the bills in her cigar box, then passes a five back to Steve.

“Enjoy the carnival, Mr. Blender.

Show time.

“HEY! You shorted me ten bucks! I gave you two twenties!”

The Knowles smile does not falter.

“I’m sorry, Mr. Blender. You must be mistaken. You gave me a ten dollar bill and a twenty dollar bill. I gave you a five dollar bill in change. Now, please move aside for the next customer.”

Steve channels his inner world-class actor Sylvester Stallone.

“Now, Wait a minute, you fat cow!! You’ve been gunning for me every year from behind that glass, and this is the last straw! You’ve been skimming off the top for years. Socking it away, one innocent student’s allowance dollar after another, layer it all out in an old cigar box under your bed! THIEF!! Fat, nasty, rotten, ugly, stinking thief!!

Steve starts pulling at the booth door lightly enough to avoid actually opening it, yet forcefully and loudly enough to draw lots of attention.

“Lemme in there, you kid-gypping pig woman!! You owe me ten dollars!! Open this goddamned door!

Mrs. Knowles drops her smile, picks up her walkie talkie and screams with the intensity of a washer woman who’s just lost her baby to a wicked witch.


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