We found it in the Poconos just off the 611. 15 squared feet, waist-high tarp sides and rough rope fencing. You could see it pulling into the lot. Hard to miss, really – two men beating each other, zebra in the middle watching, not doing very much. A crowd had gathered: some had lawn chairs; others stood; children pressed close.
“I have to take a picture.” I announced.
“When will we ever see something like this again?” I exhorted.
Will they follow me? I have to start walking.
It’s only a few steps to the grass. Standard roadside stuff: threadbare, indifferently maintained – more serviceable than ornamental. The men in the ring are wearing singlets and I watch as one gets flung into – no, through! – the ropes, whitehead breaking the ring, body sliming out after. The children are shrieking. I pull out my phone and start framing. Bad light. Too far. Can’t focus. M rushes in front. “Take a picture. Take a picture.” and poses. First, straight-faced, then hams it up for the camera. There are phones all over now: it’s a spectacle and everyone wants a piece.
The action moves and I follow, thumb working the phone. They’re on the grass, each stalking in turn. One gains an advantage. He’s quick. A turn. Lifts his reeling rival – slams him onto the mats abut the lot. Then there’s something in his hand and it’s down again on a supplicant head.
“Hit him with the Frisbee!”
“Hit him with the bigger stuff!”
Shouts from the crowd. Laughter. They want their Saturday show.