Big Saturday

 

BIG SATURDAY
by
Edwin Corley (as David Harper)

Dodd, Mead, & Company – New York – 1971 Hardcover
 
The carnival rolled into Edwardstown with all the precision of a military campaign. The enemy was any of the inhabitants of the Army base at Fort Knox and the surrounding countryside dumb enough to walk with eyes open and wallets full into the midway of Mighty Hobbs’ Colossal Carnival.
 
The operators who awaited them were schooled in every trick. From the fixed “games of chance” to the gypsy girls who reached beyond the future and into the rear pockets of their marks, the carnival was as calculated a fraud as the imaginations of its operators could devise. The odds were kept at 99 to 1 in favor and they were shaving that last percent.
 
Whitey and Laurie were different. A kid in his early twenties, Whitey was the geek, “Dora the Sadist,” who was paid to lie in a stinking pit full of live snakes dodging the missiles of the spectators. Laurie worked the “Sex Secrets” act as a stripper and there was nothing she didn’t do. And yet they lived apart from the carnival, almost untouched by it. As long as they kept their agreement not to watch each other’s performance, they were in love and almost happy.
 
But as carnival week moves toward “Big Saturday,” their idyll comes to an end with a wrenching shock, and the carnival becomes a nightmare from which no one can awake.