Score Another for Barnum can be found in






Score Another for Barnum

By Thomas Thursday

PERHAPS you've heard of Mr. Barnum, the bird who slanted the clock, then figured out the sucker census by the minute-hand. Maybe you wasn't born on time. I'll say I was. Anyway, there's just as many suckers trouping under canvas as there are guys buying stock in African radiator companies. And the biggest boobist of all is the gent who says he ain't, never was, and never will be, whirled without end— Amen! You know it.

Maybe you've heard of nerve. Sir Dante Grimm and the same are twins. If that beezark didn't have more nerve than a mouthful of toothaches, then you can peddle me the North Pole for firewood. And if I ever rest my paw on that flipper's knob, or head, it ain't gonna stop till it hits the basement. Maybe you think I'm sore. If you don't, you can't think at all. Ever feel like you've been bareback riding on a porcupine and flopped off into a tack-factory? That's me clean through.

Managing the sideshow with the World of Joy Carnival was just as easy as dressing an eel in a soap-lined overcoat. If we didn't crash into a cyclone of assorted wind we made arrangements to ram a blizzard of beevo luck.

We were showing Tapps, Wisconsin, when Major Flooker, the Smileless Man, slanted his stocks and bonds, then quit as flat as a mile of pancakes. His chief duty was to sit on the platform, listen to the lecturer offer five hundred silent- talkers for any yokelist who could make 'im laugh, then look natural, or stupid, while the rubes tried to collect with whisker-comedy. And I'll buzz now that we never had to pay the forfeit during the ten weeks that the major was with us. The reason being that the beezark was as deaf as a regiment of janitors when you slam the pipes for heat. Give 'im credit—he invented the cotton-in-the ears system.

Saturday morning, which is slough day in the carnival world, the major ambled up to me with a grade-A surprise.

"Mornin', doc," he cheeped. "I just gotta letter from a friend back home in Twig Corners, saying as how he's getting rich."

"How nice," I says. "Is there room for any more plumbers out there?"

"He ain't a plumber—he's gotta shoe store. Anyways, that ain't the point. I herewith give notice that I'm through trouping this approaching night. I'm getting tired of working hard for only a weekly salary. See?"

"What do you want—a weekly bank or just the gold supply?" I says, with a brick in every word.

"Well, I'm gonna quit, anyways."

"You don't mean to tell me that you're gonna lay off a job that's as soothing as eating ice- frappers in Africa, do you?"

"Yep; I'm going back home and get rich."

"Thanks for the long notice," I says. "Take it from me, you got all the makings of a landlord. Why didn't you wait till you get home, then wire me that you're through, hey?"

"Didn't think about it," he says. "Well, so long, Mr. Twizzle. Hope you get a good man in my place." After which he flat-footed it down the lot.

I rolled over on the bally-stand and thought it over, under and in the middle. A moment later, Tennyson Bullam, our hundred-and-two-percent press agent, sidled up with his hat over his left ear and a suit that was loud enough to make an echo.

"'Lo, doc!" he cheeped. "S'matter? You look as happy as a hooked pickerel."

"I'll swap with the fish," I says. "I got a double- barreled beanache, I have."

"Ha! You've been trying to think," he grinned.

"Scissor the kidding," I growled. "I needa Smileless Man so quick that he's gotta come via wireless, or something."

"What happened to the major?"

"He's through tonight—that's all I know."

"Then it's up to lil Tennyson to get busy!" he says, taking out a notebook ...

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