White Trash Blues - St. Orpine Arrives
The whole town looks forward to the annual Festival of St, Orpine, Our Lady of Perpetual Longing. Celebrated every Spring with a days-long street carnival, each of the local businesses invests many hours preparing and then operating one of the colorful booths that are spread out along both blocks of Main Street. The thoroughfare is festively decorated and blocked off for an entire week of weight guessing, ring-toss and milk bottle games, pizza munching and beer drinking. There is always a lively competition for the Grand Prize for Best Booth.
The boys are back from their road trip and have exhausted nearly everyone they know with innumerable lies and stories about the adventure, some of which almost actually happened. DP and Mona have now had time to absorb the startling news from Mona’s mother about her youthful indiscretion with Sonny that led to the secret birth of fraternal twin boys and their subsequent clandestine adoptions.
On this beautiful summer’s eve the two couples are strolling the carnival midway enjoying a fistful of hamdogs, Radish’s all-time favorite culinary concoction consisting of a hot dog wrapped in a high-fat meat patty which has been deep fried and slathered with chili, bacon and fried egg. Jolene has inexplicably left a large portion of hers uneaten.
It being a small and close-knit community, each of the four is acquainted with someone at nearly every one of the brightly decorated stands and ingrained etiquette demands many courtesy calls as they agreeably amble along the avenue.
The trendy beer stand representing Maf’s Happy Hour Club, one of their regular in-town entertainment venues, is traditionally their first stop as they traverse the midway. Many of the featured items from her restaurant menu are also available here at the festival but a carry-along boilermaker for everyone is the primary attraction today. The girls opt for flex-straws in their 16-ounce styro cups.
The popular Dream Weaver booth is run by Shvoo who writes the prescient Tradin’ Times column of the same name. Mona and DP find that they both are freshly interested in her explanation of an anonymous dream she has recently published, apparently involving someone’s long lost brother. They each want to ask for more detail. Shvoo, citing dreamer-interpreter confidentiality, politely declines to discuss the reverie.
Mamie Rey’s TipTop is always an early choice during their grand promenade. The girls look forward to snacking on Harleycakes, her traditional specialty that may be named for Shvoo’s late husband, and Radish likes to browse the educational publications and the rubber novelties bin just as he often does at her downtown Poly Palace and Adult Books outlet and seconds store. While DP waits for his companions he finds that he is already feeling parched after walking the nearly twenty yards since their stop at Maf’s and Mamie is affably able to slake his thirst.
Happily they have no need for Nerdy’s services so they skip her lovely inflatable enclosure, a welcome evasion for DP who still does not know what her daughter Little Boo may or may not have revealed about their recent escapade – and his narrow escape from public humiliation. In addition, Jolene is still wondering what became of her missing thong and DP does not want that to come up in any conversation with Nerdy.
Mac’s Snacks, Travel and Linguistics always has a fashionable and eclectic tent and the boys want to say hello and give her a promised update on some of the many roadside attractions they visited a short while ago on their return from Chicago. Mona always looks forward to Mac’s language tip of the day. Radish is ready for another snack and Mac’s is known for its hot beef sandwich and the special flavor that comes from being dipped in an au jus trough last cleaned by her father in 1957.
At Goomar’s Herbs and Potions counter they stop to pick up a fresh bag of what Jolene calls “That stuff that works so well for DP.” DP is heard to mutter that with Jolene feeling ill nearly every day, he hardly needs a fresh batch.
C. Heavy runs a popular business that specializes in fetching and often acrobatic photographic poses featuring faddish sports entertainment figures that are well known to most of the men in town. Radish, citing the need to update the décor in his living room, lingers just a bit longer at the display rack than Mona would prefer.
DP mentions that he would like to pick up a new pair of his preferred 1972 aviator-style sunglasses that he knows are available at NY Guy’s Bowlamat booth.
They begin walking in that direction, when, on a whim they stop at Swami Pauls’s Fortune Telling tent. They do not know Swami Paul well but everyone is aware that before he retired from the boat yard he was a drinking buddy of Red and Sonny. That relationship changed, of course, after the incident involving Mona’s mother’s Airstream.
The swami invites them in and instantly fixes on Jolene. “I foresee a momentous occasion in your future. The ball is still cloudy but the picture that begins to emerge is of a diminutive mullet half hidden beneath a tiny cap bearing the logo of a popular heavy equipment company.”
He then turns his attention to DP. “What you now have in part shall be made whole before the sun next sets upon this very festival.”
With no further explanation he abruptly folds his flaps for the day, leaving our four friends scratching their heads over the cryptic twin pronouncements. Puzzled, they slowly turn back onto the midway and head toward the Bowlamat booth - and destiny.
CARNIVAL MUSIC UP