Sunday, June 12, 2016

Sunday Morning, Waiting for Agent X with the Inside on Cole. Bros, Pugh and Garden ...

Chilly down here by the old ice house, a shell without ice, a haven for  homeless weeds and people like me who like to wander around in the shadows of ancient boyhood memories.

Agent X, always in a hurry — staged, I suppose —  promised to drive by around now. Early as the first section in   Train tracks still.  I’m thinking days of Foley & Burk rattling onto a spur with old carny wagons ready to be tugged and coddled down the runs for a haul to the fairgrounds.

Got a question about Johnny Pugh and the man he sold Cole to.  Improbable.  Impossible!  Agent X can explain if anybody.

Is that him?  Beat up old Cadillac out there breaking through dirty mist. 

Slowing down.  Could be.  I’m waving my hand.

Cad screeches, bounces like a stubborn horse across the rails, snorts to a stop.  Spots me.  Down comes the window. That’s him in there, I think ...

Okay, kid, what was it?  Hurry up!

I have to shout: Hey, Pugh and the man he sold Cole to?  Doesn’t make sense!

You mean Johnny Pugh’s new Garden?   He grinned like a barker.

That Garden?  Dick Garden?

That’s the one!   Dickie!

I take my stand:  I don’t believe it!

Oh, hell, kid!  Where were you born?   How about Pugh and Frisco?  Pugh and Davenport?   

I make a face, wanting to irk more out of Agent X. You gotta make faces and act gosh-oh stupid. So I blurted out,  But doesn't Garden  burn up towns?

He fell for the irking, and laughed:  You mean those toothpick bleachers?  Long as Johnny keeps his own seats.  What do you know about circus biz, kid?”

I know Pugh puts out a better show than Garden, I positioned.

Agent X pushed back:  But Garden puts up a better crowd.  Storms of free tickets. 

Know anything about the acts? I asked

Agent X grinned.  Mexicana-o-rama!   The Family plan, ours to yours.  He was warming up.

I warned back:  You don’t think Pugh is stooping low?

He thought a bit, barked:  The show you mean?   No, should be better.  He’s getting better rides —  kiddie merry go round, fresh ponies, bigger bungee bounce. Maybe a small coaster.  Intermission’s now the big show.

Playing dumb, I said, what did you mean about Pugh keeping his seats?

He looked at me skeptically.  Are you kidding?  Ever heard Toby Tyler?  In a Garden layout. the seating capacity is unlimited.

Unlimited? How can that be?

Agent X grinned:  Garden knows he can always make more room in the blues, if necessary.

And with that, he lighted up, laughing at his own joke, waved me off.  Up went the glass, and the Cadillac made an abrupt U-turn and then suddenly stopped short.   Down came the glass again.  Agent X shouted:

Take a lawn chair and stay safe in the Johnny’s new garden!

The Cadillac bolted off in a blaze, vanishing into the dirty mist from whence it came.

Okay, just you and me now. And, yeah, I know, you’re gonna leave.  So am I – after lingering around the ice house, a boyhood favorite.

They don’t sell ice here anymore.

And the circus no longer rails into town.

That would be Clyde Beatty.  Oh, what a show that was!

And they didn’t even have an intermissions back then.


Anonymous said...

Your "Agent X" isn't KING ;) He has some out date information. Things change quick at Cole Bros (If we can call them that anymore...) you never know whats gonna change next. Whats next for COLE CIRCUS? I will give you a hint, Jacksonville, FL. Sorry I like to tease...

Showbiz David said...

With Cole Bros, about the best anybody can do these days is tease. Agent X, a hard pin down, hints around the edges.

Jacksonville sounds like the end of the end of the line.