Don't get your hopes up. This is the continuing saga of the carnival I'm a part of.
Currently I'm faced with being portrayed as getting too big for my britches. I open my mouth, I point out where Management is screwing up, and I also stick to my guns defending the new act. The mentalist, Lodz, pulled me aside the other day when we were breaking things down to get back on the road and took me behind one of the trucks to have a talk. He's not Management, but he has Management's ear. I needed to watch myself, he said, not threatening me, since he doesn't really have any power over me, but just as a tip that maybe I was getting too big for my roustabout britches after all. He told me what Management was thinking, about this new act for next season, about my involvement.
The fear is that the audience not only won't like the new act, but will be so deeply offended by it that they won't spend their money, or worse, we'll be chased out of town. In addition, many of the other roustabouts and workers didn't like the
fact that I thought I could fight for something like this. This was so bewildering to me, but things often are bewildering to true believers of any sort. I took his advice to heart and really thought about the new act and my place in this carnival.
And then I decided he was wrong--that Management, through him, was wrong. I told Samson about it and he just nodded at me, tight lipped, and pointed over to the cages where we keep the chickens. "That about sums them up, don't you think?"
So I left for a few days and went to town. Rested up and thought about what Lodz had told me. And then I realized I needed to fight.
The audience is going to love this new act, I told Lodz. Come with me--and I took him to another carnival with a similar act. He was impressed. He admitted to me that the new entertainer had gone straight to Management and presented her case. And Management thought maybe it might work. Seeing a similar successful act on stage made Lodz relax, and he realized I wasn't making all this up. Why would I? What would I gain from lying?
I talked with Samson again the other night. I told him I'd decided long ago this act was worth fighting for, even if it cost me my job or my life with the carnival. I know I may find myself tarred and feathered, left to die in an empty field. But somehow if that's my fate, I feel like there's no way I can stop those wheels once they're in motion. I'm just a roustabout. I'm a minor background character here. I may wind up being one of the casualties on the way to the next season. I told him, too, that I had his back--and if I found him dead behind a truck, I would know how it happened and I'd be sure everybody else knew too.
"In the end, it won't do anything to change it, but at least you'll know that," I promised him, even though I kind of knew in my heart that if they got rid of Samson, it would right about the same time be the end of me.
This carnival has the potential to be the best in the region, on our circuit. This act will help that happen, even if it upsets these imaginary audiences in Management's mind. And I'm going to keep fighting.
There is nothing hidden behind my face. I say what I think and I do not calculate, plot, or scheme. I don't play games. I can't be something I am not. This, I think, will be the end of me when it all comes down. My loyalties, my opinions, my passions, my truth, my words.
I got work to do.