Matt Johnson just sent me this note from foundmagazine.com which reminded me of my days in Fairbanks:
Anyway, I drove to Fairbanks in the summer of 1995. It took four extended-daylight days from Blaine, Washington in my 1986 red Jeep Cherokee. I was with an Australian girl named Trudi who I had just met. I arrived in Alaska with $40.00.
So, Trudi and I got jobs for Ruppy the Clown at the Tanana Valley State Fair. We sold carnival type toys (potato guns, Hello Kitty balloons, sneezing powder, whips, handcuffs). The tent I worked was beside the Dungeon of Doom (you try listening to some jackass calling your name all day in that spooky haunted house voice: "Blaine, come into the Dungeon of Doom"), adjacent to the All-Alaskan Pig Races, and across from the Ecuadorean or Peruvian band that was really good until you realized they only played 10 songs. All day. For seven days.
The best part was my tent partner: Joey Cramer. He had been a child movie star. He starred in Flight of the Navigator (an early 80s Disney sci-fi film for kids). You can look him up in allmovies.com. Joey had grown out of stardom to become a carny. He smoked a lot of pot and he hit on a lot of really young girls. The state fair is a good place for this. Hell, I almost got action and I didn't even want any (though I did have a 15 yo girl hold my hand in the Dungeon of Doom).
Joey Cramer. He would look at the poor giggling thing and just ask: "you gotta boyfriend?" Peals of giggling, then a "no." "How old are you?" would be the next question; every time. I don't know what his cut-off age was; as far as I could tell it might have been 11. I guess that old movie star charisma never really wears off.
Lord. Anyway, he gave me pot one time without me asking and I still hated his guts. Our boss was worse. Ruppy didn't dress as a clown anymore. He hadn't since some little tyke handed him the bag of cocaine that had fallen out of his baggy pants onto the ground. Why that episode would make you quit the greasepaint but not the coke is beyond me. Ruppy was a greedy, drug-addled sonuvabitch. I hated working for him and when the carnival ended, I had another job at Denali National Park and Trudi (the Australian girl who rode with me from Blaine) stayed with the carny folk.