Travis and Freddie were on their way to the local carnival. Each boy had brought his savings for the month. Looking forward to the fair, it was a highlight of the year. The boys checked how much money they had and were sure they could do about five rides each. Their parents had warned them only to purchase ride tickets, no going into tented attractions.
Freddie was the bolder of the two and planned on checking out all the activities available, regardless of his mother’s advice. Travis was usually just an observer of Freddie’s wandering into trouble, therefore saving himself from the “switch”. Freddie didn’t think of the repercussions and often acted on a whim. This made a great friendship between the two and Travis loved the stories told by his adventurous friend.
Walking into the midway, barkers of all shapes and sizes beckoned the boys to their tents. The lines were fairly long for the rides and the boys purchased tickets for them at the main booth. Travis ran up to the ferris wheel ride first and held the position for Freddie. After Freddie bought his tickets and seeing Travis holding his place in line, he decided to browse the tents.
An old withered clown with a long red and white striped costume piqued Freddie’s interest. There was something compelling about this clown. Freddie walked straight up to him and demanded, “What are you sellin’, mister?”
“Your future, my boy” the old clown croaked. “It’s all here in the cards. Would you like to know your future, boy? It will only cost you five dollars.” Freddie couldn’t help but be drawn in at the thought. His mother’s warning popped in and out of his brain like a game of hopscotch. Should he pay the clown to know his future? Freddie slapped the money he’d kept hidden in his back pocket into the clown’s hand.
Travis was nearing the line’s beginning. Where could Freddie be? Looking around at the ticket booth crowd, he saw no sign of him. Freddie was hidden from view inside the clown’s tent. Freddie started to regret his former boldness but sat at the old table waiting for his fortune to be told. The clown laid out the tarot cards. While he slowly explained the cards and their meaning, his voice went into a singsong mode. Freddie felt himself getting sleepy. The clown’s face turned dark and a wicked smile appeared.
Travis was not about to go on that high ferris wheel by himself. He moved out of line and started looking for Freddie. He noticed a clown in front of a tented booth. He was tall and thin, young, but with an onimous grin, giving Travis a shiver. The clown hopped a bicycle near and rode out of the midway. Travis thought he heard Freddie’s voice. “Freddie? Freddie, is that you?” Travis decided to follow the small voice and discovered Freddie inside the tent. The light was very dim. He helped Freddie out of the tent into the lighted area. As Freddie righted himself, Travis screamed. Freddie’s face was wrinkled and old.