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Dark Carnival Session Two Part 2 - Strange Smells and Slime

Posted by Max_Writer , in Call of Cthulhu, Campaign Log 04 February 2017 · 404 views

CoC 1-6e Jazz Age

“Yes!” Yoosung said, taking hold of Sanderson’s arm.

 

Sanderson jerked his arm away and looked at the young man with a grunt.

 

“Yoosung, you can’t just touch men you don’t know,” Dr. Huxtable said. “You can’t touch men you don’t know.”

 

“I’m sorry,” Yoosung said, looking Sanderson. “That’s what we do in Korea, so …”

 

“I’m sorry for the young Korean boy,” Dr. Huxtable said. “He touches me. Apparently.”

 

Sanderson grunted with disapproval again.

 

“Well, these people can come with us if they want,” Pendergast said. “Or we can go with them.”

 

“Let’s just go to the Tunnel of Terrors and, if they come along then … eh,” Dr. Huxtable said.

 

“I, as much as I would like to tune out Sir … Doctor …” James said.

 

“Sir Doctor Carl Huxtable!”

 

“As much as I would like to disagree with Sir Doctor’s antics, I feel he is right,” James said. “We should go to the Tunnel of Terrors. Because that is where the boy was last seen.”

 

They all went over to the Tunnel of Terrors. On the way there, Miss Fairfield started pulling flashlights out of her camera bag. She gave one to James.

 

“Are you a flashlight salesman?” Dr. Huxtable asked.

 

“Would you like to buy one?” Miss Fairfield said.

 

“Yes.”

 

“How much will you give me for it?”

 

“Five tickets.”

 

“Perfect.”

 

“Yoosung, you can’t ride five rides now.”

 

“Anybody else?”

 

Johnson also took a flashlight.

 

“Doctor, I notice you’re here,” he said to James. “Did anything come up? I noticed you got an interest in this case.”

 

“Yes,” James said. “I have no word from your … brother.”

 

“You’re a doctor?” Pendergast said.

 

“Yes,” James replied.

 

“I’ve had this little ache right here,” Pendergast said, referring to his elbow. “I was wondering if you could look at it.”

 

“I’m not really in that profession,” James said.

 

“Oh! That’s why you’re dressed that way!” Pendergast said.

 

Johnson glared at Pendergast.

 

“I take that as a compliment,” James said.

 

“Oh, you should always take everything I say as a compliment!” Pendergast said. “I mean everything I say as a compliment.”

 

“Right,” James said.

 

“Little snort?” Pendergast asked him, offering his flask.

 

“What is that?”

 

“Canadian whiskey.”

 

“I’d … rather not.”

 

“Fair enough. Fair enough. Sorry. Sorry. Little snort?”

 

He offered the flask to Johnson.

 

“No, thank you,” Johnson said.

 

He looked at James.

 

“Excuse me for saying so,” he said to the man, lowering his voice. “You and me don’t dress like the typical men in a hospital. Were they calling you in for strange reasons?”

 

“I would say so,” James said. “Yes. I was called in because of … your brother.”

 

“Let me be honest with you. My name is Joell Johnson. I’ve no relation─”

 

“Joell Johnson?”

 

“I’ve no relation to Kent Howard but─”

 

“So, the truth comes out.”

 

“─we think we might have a connection to what happened. That’s why we’re interesting.”

 

“A connection?”

 

“I don’t want to get into the specifics of it, but some of the people here have had a … shared event.”

 

“You can’t just blurt out the truth and leave me hanging!”

 

“Well, it’s sort of hard to believe. We’ve seen some things─”

 

“Try me.”

 

They reached the Tunnel of Terrors.

 

Johnson told James about what had happened to them. He noted a friend at Dexter Asylum had called him in about a man writing from the perspective of someone else. He said they investigated the house where the writer said he was. They found a warm spot on the bed though the bed was empty. The warm spot stayed warm no matter how long had gone by. He said they later found someone who said he could take them into the world of dreams. James asked if it had been like lucid dreaming. Johnson told how the man had put them to sleep and they’d all had a shared experience with horrible creatures that were like people with tentacles for faces. James remembered reading a Lovecraft story in Weird Tales magazine a few months before.

 

“As in … Lovecraftian lore?” he asked.

 

Johnson didn’t know what he was talking about. He was not familiar with H.P. Lovecraft. James thought it seemed like something that would have come out of one of his stories.

 

Johnson went on, telling about the shared dream and finding the person from the house. He noted that once they got out, he was back on the bed as if he had been asleep there the entire time. He noted that then a man lost his arm in a cemetery and a woman disappeared, and then a kid vanished.

 

“It makes me think something’s connected,” he said.

 

“I don’t believe in coincidences,” James said. “That’s why I’m here as well.”

 

“Sounds like you and I think alike.”

 

“I think so.”

 

“You look like someone who wasn’t high-society so that’s why I trusted you. Don’t prove me wrong.”

 

“I don’t intend to. I don’t have many friends. It’s good to have an ally.”

 

* * *

 

While they talked, several of the others headed into the Tunnel of Terrors, giving their tickets to the tow-headed man with glasses and boarding the tiny, coffin-shaped carts. The entire ride took more than five minutes of cheap, gimmicky scares. Miss Edington, who had been there the day before, ignored the scares and instead focused on looking around at everything else about the ride. She noticed spots she had thought were solid walls but were more likely walls set up to cover each other, allowing people to move through the ride without following the tracks.

 

At one point, Bricker caught a weird whiff of a stench. It was unlike anything he’d ever smelled before and it turned his stomach. Though it didn’t smell like the House of Freaks, it kind of reminded him of that building. Though he remembered a whiff of something like it in the House of Freaks, it was overpowering in the Tunnel of Terrors.

 

* * *

 

Johnson recognized the man running the Tunnel of Terrors from the night before. He had been in the Tunnel of Terrors when the deputies were there. A pencil was behind his ear and a clipboard sat on the ticket booth behind him. It was not long before the others came out of the ride.

 

“I would like to ride again,” Dr. Huxtable said.

 

“You go right ahead,” Miss Edington said.

 

“Did you find anything?” James asked.

 

“I was … no, I didn’t find anything,” Dr. Huxtable said.

 

“There was a strange smell that reminded me of that freak show,” Bricker noted.

 

“So what was it?” James said.

 

Bricker took the man by the arm and led him to the House of Freaks, the others following.

 

“I can’t describe it,” he said. “Just … go. Just go through. You’ll understand.”

 

He handed the other man a ticket.

 

“Many thanks,” James said.

 

“Don’t thank me yet,” Bricker said.

 

“I’ve seen enough of that place,” Johnson said.

 

James, Dr. Huxtable, Sanderson, Pendergast, and Miss Edington went into the House of Freaks.

 

“Can we touch the freaks?” Dr. Huxtable asked the man taking tickets. “Can we touch the glass.”

 

“Don’t touch anything,” the man replied.

 

“Why would you ask that?” James asked.

 

It was exactly as it was the day before with the exhibits of The Most Horrible Man in America, The Amazing India Rubber Man, Fatima Flores - the Fat Lady, Co-Co the Dog Boy, The Amazing Mushroom Man, the two pinheads, the two-headed dog, the Horror from the Deep, the five-legged calf, the What is It, and the Cross between Pig and Man. The building had the same strange and persistent smell, a rank and fetid odor.

 

Miss Edington went right to the “What is It?” display - the eight foot long, foot thick tentacle in the pool of dark liquid. Nothing appeared different about it.

 

“What is that ungodly stench?” James said.

 

“We’re gonna find out,” Sanderson said.

 

“How horrible these people must feel, being here,” James said.

 

“Yoosung, would you like to psychoanalyze these people?” Dr. Huxtable asked.

 

“Only Senpai,” Yoosung said, looking at Sanderson.

 

“It seems that my Korean student has taken a liking to you,” Dr. Huxtable said to Sanderson. “Would you please help him as he is young.”

 

Yoosung took hold of Sanderson’s arm again.

 

“You wanna reign him back in?” Sanderson said. “Reel him back in!”

 

“No,” Dr. Huxtable said. “I mean, I support his decision to find out more about the human mind and he seems to want to psychoanalyze you more through touch or other means. Would you please let him touch you?”

 

Sanderson left them.

 

“I’m sorry Yoosung, I tried,” Dr. Huxtable said.

 

* * *

 

Sanderson went around the back of the House of Freaks and saw a small blue cottage nearby. Further on were booths and nearby was the carousel, restrooms, and the pony rides. He headed for the little blue house which proved to be Professor Pfeiffer’s Photography Palace. The big window in the front had cameras, pictures, and frames display. He went in.

 

“Welcome! Welcome!” said the little man with the immaculately groomed beard and mustache. “Do you have some film you’d like developed?”

 

“I was more interested in asking you a few questions, if that’s all right,” Sanderson said.

 

“Of course, of course,” Professor Pfeiffer said. “I can help you with apertures and the times you’ll need to take pictures. Sometimes when it’s dark, you have to allow the lens to be open for a variable amount of time.”

 

“Well, I was wondering if … uh … if you’d been working here ever since … the carnival’s been open,” Sanderson said. “You been here the entire time?”

 

“I work here in the summer,” he said. “I come here in the summer from my regular job. I’ve only been working here this summer. A few months.”

 

“How do you feel about the people who run this place?”

 

“Mr. Wyatt? He seems very … he’s fine. He’s an equitable man. He seems very fair.”

 

“Do you happen to know where he might be today?”

 

“Usually he’s in the manager’s office down on the fairway with all those games, like ring toss. Such a waste of time. It’s practically gambling, I would say.”

 

“And … uh … before I leave you, I’ll also ask …”

 

After a moment he turned and left the building. Then he ran back in.

 

“Okay, I meant to ask, have you taken any strange pictures while you’ve been here?” he said.

 

“Um … no …” Professor Pfeiffer said, not meeting his eyes.

 

“Okay, thank you kindly,” Sanderson said. “Good-bye.”

 

He left.

 

* * *

 

“I want to go back to the Tunnel of Terrors,” Dr. Huxtable said.

 

“It wasn’t that good,” Pendergast said.

 

“I know how it will be better.”

 

“How?”

 

“You’ll have to come and see!”

 

“Last time someone said that to me … was that party we were at!”

 

Dr. Huxtable laughed uncomfortably.

 

“That was not fun!” Pendergast went on. “You remember that, don’t you Dr. Huxtable.”

 

“Sensei, do you need me to come with you?” Yoosung asked.

 

Dr. Huxtable had begun to wail in a relatively high pitch. Pendergast nodded at the man, which seemed to make it worse. Tears swelled in Dr. Huxtable’s eyes.

 

“It’s all right,” Pendergast said. “We dealt with that little problem.”

 

“Are you all right?” James asked.

 

“Poor Manfred,” Pendergast said.

 

Dr. Huxtable wailed.

 

“Hey, Bricker,” Johnson said. “Do you remember where you smelled that horrible stench?”

 

“Do I remember?” Bricker said.

 

He was unsure but he might have been able to go back in to pinpoint it.

 

“I could … try to find it … again,” Bricker said.

 

“There is a way to walk between the ride so we could investigate more if you wanted to,” Johnson said.

 

Pendergast pulled out a different flask from his jacket pocket and took a swig. He was apparently on his second for the night.

 

They headed for the Tunnel of Terrors, Dr. Huxtable telling Yoosung to find him after he found the policeman. Miss Fairfield started to keep a close eye on the time so she could be sure to go to the 9 p.m. Star-Studded Show at the Parisian Theatre. It was presently about 7:15. The rest headed over for the Tunnel of Terrors. Johnson made sure he was riding with Bricker. Dr. Huxtable rode with Pendergast while James and Miss Edington rode together.

 

Miss Fairfield stood off from the rest and watched the man taking the tickets. She noticed his clipboard sitting behind him on the ticket counter. She crept over towards the ticket booth, trying to get a look at the clipboard. When she got close, he looked over his shoulder at her.

 

“Yes ma’am,” he said in a nasal voice. “The line is over there.”

 

“Oh, okay, thank you,” she said.

 

She walked over and got into the line some little ways behind the others. Dr. Huxtable made sure he and Pendergast were in the front cart. The others were behind them with Joel and Bricker in the next and Miss Edington and James in the car behind them.

 

It was after the first curve when Dr. Huxtable hopped out of the cart. Pendergast was just getting his flask out again and looked at Dr. Huxtable open-mouthed.

 

“What are you doing?” he asked. “You’re not allowed to get out of the ride!”

 

“C’mon Pendergast!” Dr. Huxtable said. “It’s time for some fun!”

 

“We’re not supposed to get out! We’ll get thrown out!”

 

“Get out, you old cod, get out!”

 

He easily walked along beside the cart, which moved quite slowly. A ghost popped out of the wall with a hiss and a fake scream, bumping into Dr. Huxtable and sending him face-first back in the cart. His legs flailed and he quickly climbed out again.

 

“Come on!” he said. “We’ve got to get out of here!”

 

“Why are you getting out of the cart?” Pendergast said.

 

“Why are you questioning my authority!?!”

 

By then, their companions in the other two carts had seen the commotion.

 

“Where are we going?” Pendergast said.

 

“We’re going to find the boy!” Dr. Huxtable said.

 

“They already searched this!” Pendergast said. “Watch out - that witch. Watch out. They already searched the place, didn’t they?”

 

“Huh?”

 

“That’s what the paper said. They already searched the whole park!”

 

“But we can search it better!”

 

“Uh … uh …”

 

Pendergast finally hopped out.

 

“Where are going?” he said.

 

“I don’t know yet!” Dr. Huxtable said.

 

They walked along the empty cart. Pendergast took out his flask and took another swig.

 

“Oh,” he said. “There’s a way to walk between the … look behind there. There’s a thing.”

 

“Let’s do that then!” Dr. Huxtable said.

 

They slipped between the flats and it took them out onto another area of track. A couple of children in a cart saw them and let out a shriek.

 

“Maybe let’s not do that,” Dr. Huxtable said.

 

He stuck his tongue out at the kids and the two slipped back between the walls to their own cart. They started following the tracks outside of their cart, dodging various displays and horrors and tripping over the rails and the cable that pulled all of the cars.

 

Bricker spotted the place where he thought he’d smelled the strange smell some three minutes into the ride. He quickly told Johnson it was the spot. Both of them saw what appeared to be some kind of strange slime at one of the terrifying moving exhibits. A mannequin stood there made up to look like a terrified man. As the cart would go by, a thing popped out with an axe, which swung, and the man’s head flew straight up a couple of feet with a metallic shriek. Slime was all over the mannequin and all of the floor on one side of it. Johnson climbed out of the cart.

 

Dr. Huxtable had seen it and leaned down to look at it with a flashlight. The slime looked very fresh and there was a lot of it though it appeared to be quickly evaporating. He put his hand into it and it wasn’t shellac; it was wet.

 

“Pendergast, give me your empty flask, please,” he said.

 

“It’s not quite empty,” Pendergast said.

 

“Well, drink it now! Drink it now!”

 

Pendergast hastened to comply.

 

“Shake it out,” Dr. Huxtable said. “Shake it out a little.”

 

“Is that slime supposed to be there?” James said as they passed.

 

He and Miss Edington got out of the cart as well when they saw Dr. Huxtable standing by the strange, slimy area. Pendergast shook out the flask, getting droplets on all of them. Dr. Huxtable got as much of the slime into the flask as he could. Johnson and Dr. Huxtable could not tell where the slime was coming from. Dr. Huxtable sniffed at the flask. It had a strange smell. He was unsure if he had smelled it in the House of Freaks.

 

“If we’ve got a little bit of this stuff and there’s nothing else here, let’s just examine it outside so we don’t look like idiots,” Johnson said.

 

“Bully!” Pendergast said.

 

He sprinted after his empty cart. A skeleton popped out at a certain point, almost hitting him.

 

“Oh! Jesus!” he yelled.

 

He climbed into the cart with Bricker and was startled when he saw the man.

 

“Oh, yes, that’s fine,” he said. “That’s fine.”

 

Dr. Huxtable and Johnson ran after the cart.

 

“Is there room for three?” Dr. Huxtable said when he saw Pendergast and Bricker in a cart.

 

“No, there’s our cart,” Pendergast said, pointing at the front cart. “I missed it. Switch up.”

 

“Fine!” Dr. Huxtable said.

 

James and Miss Edington ran back into their cart as well. Some kids in the cart behind them saw them.

 

“Who are you!?!” one of them called.

 

“We’re just maintenance,” James said.

 

Miss Edington made a face and yelled boo. Then the two of them clambered back into their cart.

 

“I don’t think they’re … hey!” one of the kids in the cart behind them called. “Hey!”

 

They were trying to get Miss Edington’s or James’ attention but they ignored the children. Then something hit Miss Edington in the back of the head lightly. Then another. She looked back to see one of the kids had a box of popcorn and was throwing it at the woman. It was two boys, each of them probably 12 to 13 years old.

 

“Hey!” he called again. “Hey!”

 

“Don’t make me tell your mother!”

 

“You don’t know who she is!”

 

“I will!”

 

“You don’t know nothing! You ain’t maintenance! What’re you doing? Are we allowed to get out of the carts? I wanna get out!”

 

“No!” James said. “I … no … don’t … you’re children! We are adults!”

 

“I’m not children!” the punk kid said. “I got a girlfriend. I’ve kissed her! And I’ve done some things.”

 

“Ew,” Miss Edington said.

 

“I’m not a child,” the kid went on. “If you can get out. If this girl can get out, I can get out.”

 

“I will find your mother and tell her!” Miss Edington said. “That you did all these things.”

 

“My name is Edmund Mud,” the kid said. “Good luck finding her.”

 

“Okay. I’m sure I’ll find you and then find her.”

 

“Yeah, you’ll find her. That ain’t my name. She’s so dumb.”

 

Miss Edington glared at the children and thought about pushing their cart off the tracks. The kids yelled catcalls at the woman.

 

“Hey, show us your butt!” one of the boys called.

 

They had to put up with the two little punks the rest of the ride.

 

“Hey, you wanna come see my mom?” the boy called to Miss Edington after they were off the ride. “I can show you my room.”

 

She just glared at the child. When Virgil Thomas came over to stand by her, the two little punks fled.

 

* * *

 

Yoosung looked for Agent Sanderson without luck. He passed Professor Pfeiffer’s and the restrooms, going to the pony rides near the short wall at the south side of the park.

 

“Senpai,” he said, looking around for Dr. Huxtable.

 

A ticket booth was right in front of the pony rides. He went over and bought a ticket, getting in line.

 

“Pony rides are for kids … but … I don’t care,” the young man with the cigarette in his mouth taking tickets told him.

 

Yoosung enjoyed a pony ride.

 

* * *

 

Agent Sanderson had walked across the park back towards the front on the fairway where several games, an ice house, and the Silver Spoon Diner stood. The manager’s office was a cottage-like brick building with curtained windows. A small sign said “Manager’s Office and Aid Station” on the front. Winston Craig’s East India Import Shop was next to it.

 

When he went in, Agent Sanderson found a nicely decorated interior. There were two desks, one near a small partition with a cot behind it. A woman in a nurse’s uniform with a large red cross on her hat stood up as the door opened. She quickly walked to Agent Sanderson. A man in a black suit with a mustache and goatee sat behind the other desk.

 

“Are you in need of first aid?” she asked.

 

“No ma’am,” Agent Sanderson said. “I’m not.”

 

“Oh. Can I help you?”

 

“I’m wanting to speak to the manager.”

 

The dark-haired man stood up behind the desk.

 

“That would be me,” he said. “Wilberforce Wyatt.”

 

He walked over to Agent Sanderson, holding out his hand. Sanderson noticed a white ring on his right ring finger. He held out his mangled right hand and Wyatt shook it but didn’t seem shaken by the terrible deformity.

 

“How can I help you, sir?” he asked.

 

“Welp, I … thought I’d come by and ask if … uh … if you had found anything past the search that the police had done,” Agent Sanderson said. “If there’s been any extra evidence?”

 

“The search … for the child that was missing? The runaway child?”

 

“Yes sir.”

 

“We searched the entire park and we searched the Tunnel of Terrors inside and out. We even searched the Fun House and the House of Mirrors. We made an extensive search. I put all my people on it, every single one of them. Then we did another search after the park closed last night in case the boy had found some hiding place that was … not easily accessible while people were here. No sign of him. I believe the police think he’s a runaway, according to the newspaper article. Just this afternoon.”

 

He looked back towards his desk where a newspaper lay.

 

“Is there … uh … were there reports of anything strange before the boy went missing?” Agent Sanderson said.

 

“I’m sorry, I didn’t catch your name?” Wyatt said.

 

“Agent Sanderson.”

 

“Agent … Sanderson. Agent? What kind of agent?”

 

Agent Sanderson pulled out his badge.

 

“Oh, Bureau of Investigation,” Wyatt said. “Well, we have no alcohol on the premises, I assure you. We’re very careful about that. I would fire anybody who brought such onto the grounds.”

 

“So, there hasn’t been any reports … uh … before the boy went missing of anything strange …” Agent Sanderson said.

 

“Well, there was that man who had his arm ripped off in Swan Point Cemetery. But I think it coincidence as much as anything else that he came here. Probably saw the lights of the park and was looking for help. Nurse Tate here saw to him for a short while. I immediately sent a man to call the ambulance. We don’t have any telephones here so I had to send him down to the trolley station. But they got here in time. From what I understand he’s getting better?”

 

“Uh …”

 

Sanderson looked at the Nurse.

 

“Well, thank you sir,” he said. He turned to Nurse Tate. “So, when you were tending to the man with his arm ripped off, did he happen to say anything strange? Did he happen to say anything at all?”

 

“He seemed to be quite out of his mind,” she said. “Just terrified. Just rambling about … I don’t even remember what. I was very busy. His arm had been ripped out by the roots. It was terribly hard to stop the bleeding. A couple of people who work here thought we should cauterize it but, a man in that kind of shock, it could have killed him. So, I stopped the bleeding as best I could. He had scratches all over him. It looked like he’d been attacked by an animal, actually. But he didn’t say anything that made any sense at all.”

 

“You didn’t happen to catch anything he said at all?”

 

“No. I honestly was not paying attention. I was trying to save his life.”

 

“Would there be anybody else around who was helping? You have other nurses?”

 

“I’m the only nurse here. But there were plenty of people around. People at the carnival were there. I think … um … wasn’t Fred Smith? Wasn’t he there?”

 

“Fred Smith runs the carousel,” Wyatt said. “He saw the situation and came over to try to help as well.”

 

He shrugged and looked at the nurse.

 

“A couple of other people who work here?” she said, unsure. “I’m not sure who?”

 

She looked at Wyatt. He shrugged again.

 

“It was … it was … it was a crazy situation,” he said. “Never seen anything like it. Horrible, horrible thing. I mean, obviously you’ve seen your share of terrors yourself, sir, but … I mean the man’s arm was ripped completely off his body.”

 

“That’s a sight to see,” Agent Sanderson said. “All right. Well. Thank you for your time.”

 

“Any time,” Wyatt said.

 

Agent Sanderson left the manager’s office.

 

* * *

 

“Doctor … professor … whatever it is,” Johnson said to Dr. Huxtable.

 

“Sir Doctor Carl Huxtable,” the man replied slowly.

 

“Give Bricker a whiff of that … ooze you got. See if you can identify that smell.”

 

“Why me?” Bricker said.

 

“Because you’re the one who smelt it,” Johnson said. “Is it the same smell?”

 

Dr. Huxtable took out the flask and his flashlight, shining the lamp into the flask. There wasn’t much of the slime and it seemed to be evaporating. He held it out for Bricker to smell and the man frowned when he recognized it.

 

“Yep,” he said, pulling his head back.

 

“I’ll give you a buck if you drink it,” Dr. Huxtable said, closing up the flask.

 

Pendergast frowned and looked a little sick.

 

“I’ll give you two if you drink it,” Dr. Huxtable said to Pendergast with a smile.

 

“No,” Pendergast replied. “Maybe they have slugs here.”

 

“Slugs.”

 

“Big slugs?” Miss Edington said.

 

“Don’t consume it!” James said. “God, what are you doing?”

 

Miss Fairfield pointed out the clipboard to Johnson and asked if he could get a look at it. Johnson headed for the Tunnel of Terrors entrance. As he approached, Miss Fairfield set up her camera equipment in the hopes of creating a distraction. The man taking tickets noticed but didn’t pay her much mind. At that point, Johnson went back and suggested she ask the man some questions for the paper, allowing him the time to get a good look at the clipboard.

 

Dr. Huxtable strode over to the man taking tickets.

 

“I want mine an my accomplices tickets back because we were disturbed by a smell,” he said to the man.

 

“A smell?” the man taking tickets said.

 

“I paid for terror and I got stink.”

 

“Was it a scary smell?”

 

“No. It was …”

 

“What did it smell like?”

 

“It was a ‘kill me, I want to die’ smell.”

 

“That’s terrifying. Yes, that’s probably part of the ride.”

 

“I can show you where it is if you want to smell it for yourself.”

 

“Here. Here.”

 

The man handed him two tickets.

 

“Maybe you should take a look?” Dr. Huxtable said. “Maybe you should take a look?”

 

“I got no time, buddy,” the man said. “Here’s your tickets back. I’m sorry that you did not enjoy the ride.”

 

Dr. Huxtable sputtered as Johnson crept up. The man noticed him.

 

“The line’s back there, buddy,” he said to him.

 

“Okay,” Johnson said.

 

Dr. Huxtable went to Pendergast.

 

“We got a free ride!” he said. “We got a free ride!”

 

“Well, what shall we spend it on?” Pendergast said.

 

“What was our purpose for being here again?”

 

“You want to find the Pendergast boy.”

 

“Your boy, yes!”

 

“Not my boy.”

 

“Pendergast, what time was that show?”

 

“Uh … Iunno. What show?”

 

He shrugged. Miss Fairfield looked at her watch. It was about 8 p.m.

 

“Let’s go get front-row seats,” Dr. Huxtable said.

 

“Right now?” Miss Edington said.

 

“And cotton candy,” Dr. Huxtable said.

 

“When is it?” Pendergast said.

 

“Does anyone else want anything to eat?” James said.

 

Miss Fairfield asked for a caramel apple.

 

James found a small stand selling cotton candy and purchased some. He also purchased a couple of caramel apples. He turned to see Dr. Huxtable walking towards him.

 

“Is that for us?” Dr. Huxtable asked.

 

“Yes, I actually got this for you,” James said.

 

“Oh. Pendergast!”

 

“Cotton candy,” Pendergast said, reaching for it. “Cotton candy.”

 

“Don’t take it out of my hand!”

 

“I’m not! This is … oh.”

 

He had a flask in his hand so took a swig.

 

“You can have a bite!” Dr. Huxtable said.

 

“Ah,” Pendergast said.

 

He pulled off a little of the cotton candy and put it in his mouth.

 

“I said a bite!” Dr. Huxtable said. “You took it with your hand. Take it with your mouth!”

 

“That’s not how rich people do things,” Pendergast said.

 

“You’re not rich here!” Dr. Huxtable said.

 

James munched on the caramel apple and looked around for Miss Fairfield. Johnson said he was going to go back to the crime scene. James went with him.

 

* * *

 

Miss Fairfield, Miss Edington, and Bricker went to the shooting gallery. It was a concrete building with a heavily-baffled ceiling and very thick walls. The counter on the front had many people shooting at the targets with .22 rifles. Across the rear of the structure was a water-filled “duck pond” where both stationary and endless-belt moving metal targets were located.

 

The man behind the counter was a 50-ish Latino dressed like a cowboy, complete with cowboy hat and dungarees. He told them a loaded rifle with six shots was a ticket. The three enjoyed themselves shooting the targets for a little while.

 

Bricker went to the Ferris wheel after that to look around. He didn’t see anything of interest that time, however. Miss Edington headed off to play some of the games on the fairway. Bricker joined her there.

 

* * *







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