Big Top Tony



“I know my rights!”

The kid was still yelling even as the cop tucked his head into the squad car. Tony took a long draw of his cigar and shook his head.

There was one of them at every stop, getting the other carnies all riled up. They’d go all union when they looked at their paycheck and saw the surcharges: meals, uniforms, lodging fees.  But they’d signed the contract

He crushed the cigar stub under a boot heel and walked away. In Barstow, he was getting illegals. Most of them couldn’t even read the checks, let alone cash them.

This has been another edition of the fabulous Friday Fictioneers, hosted by the amazing Rochelle Wisoff Fields. This week’s photo courtesy Ted Strutz. To read more or to submit your own, click the froggy button:



  1. micklively

    Reminded me of “They Shoot Horses Don’t They?”.
    Good, if sinister, piece.

  2. Nicely told. No wonder they can’t afford dental work!

  3. Sounds like ‘he da man’. It’s just that there are so many of them these days. Good take.

    1. It seems he could benefit from some empathy! Thanks for reading Sandra.

  4. A good reminder of what can be underneath fairground glitz…

    1. That is true. Thanks for reading!

  5. Love capitalism. It works!

    1. Lol, it works for him, but probably is not the best example of it working for anyone else. Maybe next town he’ll change his tune…Thanks for reading and commenting!

  6. Ah, looks like I wasn’t the only one to use the word “carnie”. Lol.

  7. Sounds like he is taking advantage of the “illegals.” Good story.

    1. He is indeed. Thanks for visiting!

  8. Alas.. I guess none would pay enough for a fair fairground ..

    1. This guy doesn’t seem to know much about fair. Thanks for visiting!

  9. Francesca Smith

    Whichever system in place, if the person at the top recognises what power they possess, things go down hill pretty quickly.

    1. Yes, or the guy needs some empathy and to think about something besides his own gains. Thanks for visiting Francesca!

  10. Melanie

    Greed so often goes unchecked. Great story!

    1. It does indeed. Thanks for reading 🙂

  11. Ooh, what a disreputable fellow! The dirt behind the glitz.

  12. Nice characterisation with that police officer.

  13. I hope there’ll be a raid and he’ll pay dearly for the illegals. Exploitation has many faces, this Tony is one. Great story.

  14. Dear Karen,

    Tony sounds like a swell guy. I hope he chokes on his cigar. Well told.



    1. Me too! Thanks Rochelle

  15. Well done. Great reminder of how badly employees get taken advantage of when employers have no accountability.

    1. Very true. Thanks for reading and commenting!

  16. What a creep. Out for the money.”Most of them couldn’t even read the checks, let alone cash them.” Makes my blood boil – in a good way.

    1. Thanks Alicia and thanks for reading!

  17. Definitely need a democrat like Bernie Sanders to deal with this.

  18. Dale

    Tony is a schmuck. One day he’ll get his (or at least I hope so!)

    1. I hope so too! Thanks for reading, Dale.

  19. We’re all replaceable, aren’t we? I know there’s a line of illegals out there just waiting to take over my blog and write some really funny stuff in a language you probably can’t read. I don’t know how they can afford to work for less than free—volume I guess.

    1. You write for free??!! I have to pay to write (grumble, grumble). Thanks for reading and commenting 🙂

  20. Good story, Karen. It seems a carnival is a whole differnt world. Well done. — Suzanne

  21. Carnies …. I guess they get their reputation from somewhere.
    Are you talking about Barstow, Florida?
    Good write …
    Isadora 😎

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