Veteran carnival workers speak their own lingo

DEL MAR — At the fair when the carnival rides and game joints have been secured for the night and the midway lights are out, old-time workers, or carnies as they are commonly called, usually gather at the cook shack for their evening meal and to talk jackpots (stories).
A glossary of carnival and circus expressions covers several pages, much of which are disappearing along with the hoochie koochie and freak shows. So are the bling stands that are ballyhooed as being free but a contribution is requested at the exit. Not among those at the jackpots are the aldermen who are the stool pigeons for Joe Goss (the boss).
Paper hangers (passers of counterfeit money) may be discussed. Involved is hard cash (coins) or soft money (paper bills) according to reports from the bakery where the bread (money) is stashed. There will be griping if the hot wagon (generator or electric utility truck) was out of commission for a while.
Hanky panks are legitimate game joints and flat stores are not. An undercover security detail keeps an eye out for such operations. You are lot lice if you wander around the carnival and don’t spend any bread. Joint operators may say tips were good, which doesn’t refer to gratuities but rather crowds that gathered in front of a pitch man when he was giving his spiel. On July 5 when the fair is over carnies will slough the rides and joints and move to their next spot where the town has already been papered (posters have been put up).

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