A is for
Ben Hawkins and Justin Crowe discover
they are Avatars--"gods made flesh"--with
the abilities to manipulate life forces,
prophecy the future, bend the wills of
others, and astral project, among other
talents. They are descendents from dynasties
of like-gifted individuals that may have
included other notable Avatars: Jesus,
Buddha, Alexander the Great, Caligula,
and Vlad the Imapler. As first born males,
Ben and Justin are not just Avatars but
also Prophets possessing Vitae Divina--blue
"And to each generation was
born a Creature of Light and a Creature
of Darkness. And great armies fought by
night in the old war between Good and
Evil." - Gospel of Matthias (101)
B is for Baggage Trailer:
The carnival's mysterious baggage trailer
seems to exist out of time and space,
materializing only through the will of
Management. It contains artifacts connected
to Ben's past, such as a picture of his
mother Flora at "Big Sky Farms"
and a top hat belonging to father Henry
Scudder when he worked the Geek Show.
"We don't got no baggage trailer.
Nobody's got a baggage trailer. It's an
old carnie gag, like hunting for snipe.
Send some poor chowder head out searching
for something that don't exist."
- Samson (102)
is for Colossus:
biggest and best traveling Ferris wheel
on any circuit west of the Pecos, it surprises
no one that the mighty Colossus eventually
collapses outside Damascus, Nebraska,
killing at least one person. The carnies
immediately take a powder across state
lines, but the Damascus locals catch up
with Jonesy and hold him responsible.
Later, Colossus is rebuilt for the carnival's
engagement in New Canaan.
"Hell's bells. He's run that
old wheel a thousand times, drunk and
sober. The old contraption is only held
together with spit and bailing wire anyway."
- Stumpy (209)
D is for Dignity Ministry:
A vision from "God" instructs
Justin to transform Chin's, a brothel
and gambling hall in downtown Mintern,
into a place for migrants to worship.
Chin's owner, Carroll Templeton, is forced
to face his sins by sharing one of Justin's
visions. This results in Templeton putting
a bullet in his brain and Justin assuming
possession of Chin's, which he renames
Dignity Ministry. Shortly thereafter,
the building burns to the ground with
six children and their caretaker trapped
inside. Arson is suspected.
"Go for a walk, you see them.
Boys and girls, selling themselves to
men and women. A nickel buys a virgin.
Some are kept in cages. Babies bought
by men who raise them as livestock. Animals
to abuse. Soft flesh to violate. To tear
and bite." - Justin (104)
E is for El Dia de Los Muertos
When the carnival arrives at Los Moscos
on the Mexico border, the citizens are
observing The Day of the Dead, a celebration
of departed souls returning to dwell amongst
the living. The event holds literal significance
for Ben who is tempted by Management to
resurrect a fallen friend... at the cost
of another person's life. For the rules
say, you give life, you gotta take it
from somethin else.
"To La Muerte. We raise our
glass to her." - Bartender (111)
F is for Fireball Show:
Samson puts on a Fireball Show, which
includes fake attractions like Turtle
Boy and The Man-Eating Chicken. The latter
being, quite literally, a man... eating
chicken. The carnies are tasked with pick
pocketing and other nefarious schemes
to put coins in the kitty. After one night
of con art, the carnival is quick to move
on, as Fireball Shows leave them no choice.
"Get the word out. We're going
wide open tonight. Wide as we can go.
Trim the chumps for all they're worth."
- Samson (109)