Carney the Dinosaur (part 1)

from FAL Brand Funny Pages (1995)

(The gusty wind awakens Carney. He comes to in the back of an old pickup truck, surrounded by small boxes.)

Carney: I feel like death... and vomit. Mouth tastes like the bottom of a medicine cabinet. (Sits up, knocks on back of sliding window) Hey, what's the story?

Willie: Hey. The Phoenix rises.

Carney: You wanna tell me why I'm here? And where "here" is?
Willie: I was pickin' up some supplies down where I work, and I found you face down in the trainyard next to a dead bottle of Jim Beam. Figured I'd give you a ride out of there.
Carney: I feel like a cholera patient, back from the dead.
Willie: Huh. Pop open one of those boxes, for a hot spit of a hangover cure.
(Carney opens up one of the boxes and sees... pig parts. Feet, snouts, eyes, etc. He leans over the side of the truck and pukes.)
Willie: There now, ain't that better?
Carney (Wiping the side of his mouth): What are you, some kinda sicko?
Willie: I work at the slaughterhouse down the road. Just makin' a delivery.
Carney: You goin' to some kind of... pork party?
Willie: There's a travelling carnival just outside of town. They always stock up when they pass through.
Carney (after a pause): I'm on my way to Offal Parkway.
(Carney's stomach settles as the pork-bearing truck motors across the flatlands. Miles down the road, McFun the carnival boss discusses business with his partner.)
McFun (frowning at a page in a ledger): That scrambler accident is gonna send us to the dumphouse.
Partner: We need to post more warning signs.
McFun: What good are they if people are too stupid to read 'em?
Partner: Then someone needs to tell Morris not to let women that are eight months' pregnant on the rides.
McFun: Who could tell? She weighed about five hundred pounds.
A couple of drinks later...
McFun: When's our pig parts gettin' here? Clint's had the sausage press shined up all morning.
Partner: Hope he gets here before the sun at the full. Them boxes stink bad enough in the morning.
(Carney and Willie pull up.)

McFun (eyeing Carney): Say, that's a smart getup. Y'know, something like that could be the gimmick we've been looking for. Wonder if he needs work...
Carney (looking around): Real class. Where's the Small World ride?
Willie: I gotta get this stuff over to the grinder before somebody bitches. (He starts unloading boxes, and the Boss walks up.)
McFun: Whole lot cheaper to make our own hot dogs. Gotta watch those expenses. So, uh, what do you think of our little roadside retreat?
Carney: Reminds me of the courtyard. At San Quentin. Hey, you gotta smoke? I'm way overdue.
McFun: Sure. (Digging for a pack)
Carney (taking the cigarette offered and breaking off the filter) Thanks. I like 'em... pure. (He lights up) Whoo.
McFun: Say dat. Hey, T.Z. McFun's the name... of McFun's Traveling Carnival and, hopefully, soon-to-be Freakshow.
Carney: Freakshow? I thought them things was outlawed.
McFun: Naw, it's all volunteer work. People got hospital payments... people need money...
Carney: "Volunteer," huh?
McFun: Straight up. You and me, let's take a little walk.
Carney: Uh... sure.
(Setting swiftly on the golden brown horizon, the sun yields to the cool breezes of the early evening. The sights and sounds of the empty carnival abound. Carney and McFun stroll leisurely over the loose dirt.)
McFun: We used to have freaks here. Quite a while ago. Back when a freak knew how to take orders... Mine would wake up and drag themelves right on out of their trailer, hop up on their stools and look pathetic. Folks would throw money at 'em. Now those were the days.
Carney: What happened? They up and die on ya?
McFun: Some. Mostly, they organized. Some kind of freak union. Whining about retirement plans, medical insurance... (becoming more animated) don't know what kind of fool they took me for. Like I'm gonna throw money away on a buncha rejects who look like they crawled out from a train wreck!
Carney: No need to yell about it.
McFun: Sorry, sorry. Gets me torqued just thinkin' about it. What's a guy who's got an extra foot growing outa his neck gonna do to me, anyway? Bust my balls, that's wha--
Carney: So is there, like, a new crop of mutants comin' in, or what?
McFun: Not yet. The market's kinda slim, what with that damn laser surgery, and novacaine and all. What I wanted to talk to you about was, uh, maybe your interest in the entertainment industry. You got any experience working with crowds?
Carney (after a pause): Worked a couple of baptisms. Boss: Uh-huh. What do you call yourself, anyway?
Carney: Used to go by Dingo the Wonder Dragon... but the whole dragon thing died out with disco.
McFun: Dragon, huh? I dunno... There's something about your overall, uh, shape. I can almost hear the wallets opening -- that outfit's got power, boy. With the right PR, what we got here is the power to control the minds of the spending public. (Walking around Carney) Yessiree. For starters, it ain't exactly a dragon. Hey -- dinosaur! Dinos are red-hot these days, and--
Carney: Dingo the Dinosaur?
McFun: Nnnnaaah. Something... more festive.
Carney: How about... Fred?
McFun: "Fred the Di- -" Naw.
Carney: Waldo?
McFun: No way. (Holds his hands up, thinking furiously) That gives me an idea, though... It was right on the tip of my t- - Funny, Freaky -- Carnosaur...
Carney: I sorta like Waldo.
McFun: (snapping his fingers): Carney! That's it!
Carney: Carney?... the Dinosaur?
McFun: I'll make a wagon load! We. We'll make a wagon load. Trust me on this.
Carney (after a weary sigh): What do I have to do? I ain't gettin' up before noon.
McFun: No problem, no problem. Nobody comes around much before two. You just work the rides and the crowds.
Carney: What's in it for me?
McFun: Well... Seeing as you're new... A trailer, beer, and whatever you can swindle out of the kids.
Carney: Done.
(Carney's confidence soars as he ponders the creative possibilities of his new employment. His expectations are equalled only by his enthusiasm at the sight of his new home.)

Carney: What, no swimming pool?
McFun: What a kidder. With such charm and wit you're gonna be a smash with the kiddies, I can tell. Have 'em in the palm of your hand in no time. You gotta see the inside to appreciate it. There used to be a step here, but we had to replace a seat on the Spinning Thimble. (The inside of the trailer is... experienced.) No running water, and the gas valve on the stove's a bit tricky.
Carney: Don't got much use for a stove.
McFun: This here's the bedroom... (Righting the askew cooler, and plugging it in) Fridge works...
(Carney looks at a pile of dishes and old newspapers, picks up a high pile and reveals a cracked TV housing. He hefts the TV and sets it in the sink.)
Carney: How do I get the Playboy Channel on this?
McFun: No cable, out here.
Carney: You better have some great beer if you want me to stick around.
McFun: Plenty of it. (He looks in the cupboards, then in the light fixture) The last guy who lived in here was a real alkie. Clever hiding places -- ah yes. Here ya go. Not very cold.
Carney: No prob. (Untaping the bloody bandage on his side) Got too many ulcers in my belly to drink it. Just pour it in this old knife wound (as he does this), skip the whole "digestion" thing.
McFun: Huh. Well, you get settled in. Welcome aboard.
(McFun leaves. As the minutes go by and the brew passes into Carney's nearly exposed liver, the summer moon casts hard shadows around the streaks on the crusty windows.)
Carney: Now that I'm good and 'faced, let's see what this dump has to offer. (He hunts for an ashtray, picks out old butts and rolls the tobacco into a newspaper scrap. Then he shoulders the trailer door open and ambles away clumsily, as night creatures click and chirp around the camp.)
Damn. Where's the nearest Jacque in the Jock? I need rings...
(Rounding the corner of a tent, Carney sees the glow from behind a Long-Dog-On-A-Stick booth. The sign that rattles in the wind is faded and battered -- except for a newly painted name.)
(As he watches, a woman comes out of the booth and dumps a bucket into the steel trashcan. Shuffling over, Carney spies a beat-up pack of Camels on the ground with two or three cigs still in it.)
Hey hey. (He stares into the trash can.) Now there's a waste... (Picking out a couple of half-eaten corn dogs, Carney starts munching.)
(The door bursts open - the same worker, Eddy, flies out, brandishing a "live" weed-eater!)

Eddy: @*%#=& possums! I'm a-gonna suck yer vermin skulls dry!
Carney: Easy, sister. Watch what you're whackin'!
Eddy: Just what do you think you're doin', pickin' through my garbage?
Carney:: Guess you could say I got a hankerin' for sumpin' greasy.
Eddy (turning off the weed-eater): Well, you're digging in the right place. Careful... there might be some broken glass in there.
Carney: This your place?
Eddy: You kidding? McFun owns everything you see, pal. I just run the stinkin' booth.
Carney: Free food- -
Eddy: That ain't food. You should see what buzzes and crawls around on the sausage press. And I ain't talkin' about the joker who runs it.
Carney: It all looks the same when it hits my stomach.
Eddy: I'm Eddy... What parade did you wander away from, anyway?
Carney: Hitched a ride here to see about a job. Meet Carney the Dinosaur, your new carnival mascot.

If you liked this comic, we think you'll enjoy Zomby and Harley...
Or the diverse styles of Giant Angry Robot and File Under Fire.

01 March MMII