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The Cloverleaf Mall Carnival Out Of Nowhere!
by: Protoclown

Last weekend I was driving to my friend Rachael's house when I noticed a carnival had suddenly sprung up in the parking lot of Cloverleaf Mall, a once upscale shopping center that has in recent years been encroached upon by a Zerg creep my friends and I call "The Dead Zone", which is slowly oozing westward from the city and taking every once-decent business along the way with it. Seeing more activity than I had seen in that parking lot in years, combined with the extreme tackiness of rickety carnival rides that can only promise the slow, painful death that comes from being mangled and crushed, I knew I would have to go check it out.

So this weekend, I grabbed some friends, and they grabbed some cameras, and off to the carnival we went. I should note that this weekend was uncharacteristically ass fucking cold for spring, so the carnival was the kind of depressing ghost town in which you might expect the Joker, or perhaps a Scooby-Doo villain to set up his base of operations.

This was the ominous site that awaited us upon getting out of the car:

If those clouds don't spell "someone will die on the rides this night", I don't know what does. Immediately after taking all that in, we were greeted by the nearly-as-ominous site of Porta Potties.

You know, just so you can breathe in that heady, fecalrific aroma before you even walk inside the gate. Also, just to make us feel extra safe, seeing as how the carnival was in what's become a pretty sketchy area of town, there were plenty of cops stationed at the carnival.

Unfortunately, this didn't make me feel safe so much as it reminded me of the grisly murders that occurred inside the mall only a few years ago. The cops in the background were watching me like a hawk while I posed for this picture, apparently convinced I was going to do something inappropriate to their vehicles (like fuck the gas tank).

When we first walked up to the ticket booth, we were pleased to see that it was only $2 admission into the carnival! Unfortunately, about two seconds later, we noticed that each of the rides cost about an arm, a leg, and one immortal soul.

What I find odd about this is that they list special "deals" where you don't get raw fucked in the rectum quite as badly, but then they list 11 tickets for $11, which is the exact same price as buying tickets individually. Why do they even bother to list that? The world may never know. But some poor schmuck came up and bought the 65 ticket package for his kids while we were deciding if it was worth buying any in the first place. We opted to forego the tickets until we had a better look around.

Immediately upon entering the gate, our senses were assaulted by a junk dealer straight out of some apocalyptic Road Warrior kind of movie. "In the future, currency will be Dora the Explorer balloons and My Little Pony mallets." Frankly, I was shocked to see any "My Little Pony" merchandise at all. My guess is that they've actually been on the cart since the 1980s.

I was delighted to see the crowds of happy children gathered around the cotton candy vendor! Oh, wait...nothing but tumbleweeds there, it would seem. Perhaps that's because all of the children are far too busy... ENJOYING THE CAROUSEL!!!

...or not. At this point, I concluded that the children must have been eaten by zombies or carnies and decided to continue on my way.

There was yet another nearby food vendor with not a soul giving them business of any kind. Perhaps this is because it was $5 for a large drink, and for $7 you could get a "Philly cheese steak" which looked almost as appetizing as if someone "smashed one out" while squatting over a soggy bun.

Then we came across what I suppose can only be called a "bling vendor" who was selling all kinds of shiny, absurdly unnecessary belt buckles and other trinkets to denote status for far too much money. Oh, I'm sorry, did I say "selling"? I meant "displaying" while the few people who bothered to notice them came up and laughed and how ridiculous they were. He did have a Batman belt buckle (that looked like someone glued a cheap iron-on patch onto it), but the other competing bling vendor had a pink metallic Batman belt buckle, so he wins, hands down.

You can't read it in the picture, but the stop sign buckle in the middle says "Stop Snitching", which really summed up the character of the area we were in rather perfectly.

Thundercats bling for my ho's. "Sword of Omens, give me sight beyond sight! Sheeeit, that bitch be cheatin' on me!"

Then we came upon the centerpiece of the carnival, the ferris wheel, a proud sentinel standing high, watching the carnival with impassioned approval. Okay, so it was actually more like a rickety wagon wheel getting ready to pop off its hub and go rolling down the street, but the point is it was there and we noticed it. I also couldn't help but notice that there was NO ONE else on it. This was either because of the ass biting cold, or they knew something we didn't—that it was in fact the horrible death trap I suspected it might be.

Rachael and I decided to shell out the $5 for tickets to ride it, so we could get some good bird's eye shots of the carnival. Scott and Nikki (perhaps wisely) decided to stay below, which worked out well because they could take pictures from down there. As Rachael and I prepared to climb aboard, we wondered if this would be the last thing we'd ever do.

Shortly after the ride was under way and it was far too late to do anything about it, we both noticed that the only thing that seemed to be holding our little gondola in place was a very rusty pole that appeared to be secured by nothing more than a flimsy little pin.

At this point, I very much wanted off the ride, because I knew if I so much as sneezed, the pin would snap and we would plummet to our deaths.

But before our impending death, I asked Rachael if she would take some pics of the carnival below.

Just look at those crowds!

Wall to wall excitement as far as the eye can see!

On the giant board behind the ferris wheel was this painting of a very unappealingly dressed Dutch woman sitting on a fence and gesturing proudly to a carnival in the distance. Oh, how that whimsical carnival differed from our own (though they did get the right number of people in the crowd)!

When we got off the ferris wheel, I noticed a child in the ticket booth pressing his face up against the glass and pounding on the window as if he desperately wanted to escape. Unfortunately, this picture captures him immediately after his pounding "dear god please get me out of here" moment. You'll just have to take my word for it.

Then we saw a funnel cake booth that informed us that, yes, they were "the only funnel cake service here (only)", but we balked upon noticing that they were $5 and were the most pathetic, sad looking excuses for funnel cakes we ever did see.

It's hard to tell without a sense of scale in this picture, but know ye that I only exaggerate slightly when I say that each of these plates was no larger than a penny! Walking around the side of the funnel cake vendor, we noticed this mysterious mystery on the side:

Did there used to be a web address painted on the side that someone scraped away, afraid that people would stumble onto their forbidden knowledge? Or can you actually access a previously unknown web address simply by putting "www." in your browser window? Is this the hidden secret of the internet?

We then took a few more shots, and if I ever have my own website and become famous simply based on facial recognition alone (which I figure is bound to happen by oh, say, the end of the year), I already have my banner ad ready to go:

And if a fist can represent a dot and somehow my friend Rachael's face can represent "com" (hey, how the hell should I know how that's supposed to work, and it's not like I get paid enough to care), well:

Then there was this guy, who asked Rachael where her crazy space boots came from, and she told him they were made in Iceland.

He then started telling us about how he was stationed in Iceland during his time in the service, and there were only two things there to do: drink and fuck (while rocking his hips back and forth). In fact, he seemed quite intent on telling us about his fucking experiences in greater detail until we slowly backed away, leaving the other poor booth attendant trapped in there to hear his stories.

Will Proto be chased down and humped to
death by the crazy booth attendant or will
he be killed on one of the rickety rides?
Click here to find out on page 2 of
the Cloverleaf Carnival story!


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