The day broke like any other Louisiana spring morning; hot and muggy. The sun would be out in full force in just a couple of hours, burning off any leftover morning fog and making the day extremely hot. It was into this that Lonnie awakened, slowly, and stretching, knowing that a long and extremely busy day lay ahead.
Stumbling into the bathroom, Lonnie washed the last of the sleep away. He studied himself in the mirror. How the mighty have fallen, he thought to himself, thinking of the words that his now ex-wife scoffed at him two years ago.. Lonnie loved his wife, and didn't see it coming; unlike his so-called friends and co-workers. Sarah was a schemer, and manipulative, never satisfied. After draining his bank account, and trying her darnedest to suck out his soul, she gave him little choice but to get out. It was basically self preservation that caused Lonnie to leave. Well, she was welcome to her world. Lonnie was tired of the rat race, and trying to be the number one rat. So two years ago, he walked away from it all. From upper-class suburbia with a Beemer to a travel trailer and old beater pickup. He never looked back, but damn it all, it sometimes hurt when he wasn't careful to tuck that lifetime behind locked doors.
After a quick shower and shave, Lonnie, dressed in faded denim jeans, scuffed work boots and a white T-shirt, stepped out of the trailer where he made his home, and headed across the yard toward the company truck. The behemoth, which was, in another lifetime, an old moving van, had nearly three hundred thousand miles underneath its hood. It took a lot of TLC and a bit of luck and cussing to keep it running smoothly; but its age was beginning to show. Lonnie knew, that if not this season, then the next season for sure, the aging vehicle would have to be replaced.
As Lonnie approached the vehicle, he saw Old Max already underneath the hood, tinkering, and checking the fluids, the belts, and the hoses. Now Old Max wasn't really all that old; he had had a hard life, and it showed in the unkempt, graying hair and deeply etched lines on his darkly tanned face. Wearing his familiar overalls, filled with tools, he had been around longer than the vehicle he was now working on.
"How goes it, Max?" Lonnie called out in greeting. Old Max grunted in response, "Can't get drunk, can't get high, can't get laid. Just another day in paradise." Lonnie grinned at Max's outburst. Old Max was like that. Short and wiry, and always had something to complain about, although in a good-natured way. With a wave, Lonnie strode past the truck over toward the main house. He had to meet with Mrs. Talbot about the work that needed to be finished up before the group headed out to the next location.
While on the road, Lonnie was attached to his cell phone, but when at the main quarters for the carnival group, he preferred face to face talks and discussion with Mrs. Talbot. She grew up on the "midway", and never worked another job in her life. Married two men over her sixty years, and divorced them both. Lonnie never brought them up in conversation, but Mrs. Talbot quite frequently compared them to some of her workers, especially when she was not happy about something. Hopefully, this would be a good day, and he wouldn't get tied down for a couple of hours reminiscing with "Mrs. T".
Lonnie knocked loudly on the door and proceeded to go in. "It's just me, Mrs. Talbot", he called out in greeting.
"Come on in, Lonnie. Need some coffee?" Mrs. Talbot replied, bringing two cups of hot black coffee to the kitchen table, where their meetings usually took place.