The Outside Man

Well, obviously I failed miserably at the A to Z Challenge, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to give up on the flash fiction stories I was writing. Here is the O story:

The Outside Man:

If there was one man who was proud of his job, it was Tibbet. Of course, he never used that name when he was doing his job. Tibbet would be too obvious. Betting on the outcome of carnival games was an undercover job and Tibbet just wouldn’t do. No. He went by the name of Bud. It seemed much more friendly, anyway.

He job was simple. He was to find the marks roaming the carnival and win bets placed against them. He particularly like to target the obnoxious, overconfident men who thought they could beat any game.

The unique thing about Tibbet, or Bud as he was known to his marks, was that he could actually tell if a person had the skills necessary to win a game just by looking at them. It was his carny talent. Others before him had used the talent, but Tibbet was quite possibly the best and he’d never lost a bet before.

That is, until the day he met Rorek. Tibbet had been walking around trying to find a mark for the better part of the day. No one quite fit his usual target requirements. A ruckus started at a game and Tibbet came running. A man was drunk and causing problems with one of Tibbets’ co-workers, so naturally, Tibbet stepped in.

“What’s your name, good friend?” Tibbet asked.

“Rorek,” the man said with a slur.

“I’m Bud. How are you doing at this game? Any luck?” Tibbet asked.

“Plenty, but the man doesn’t seem to see that I’m winning,” Rorek responded.

Tibbet didn’t have to scan him to know that he wasn’t going to win this game, so he bet without checking his skills, “Rorek, I’ll bet twenty dollars you can’t throw this ping pong ball into that blue cup.”

“You’re on!” Rorek replied.

He took the ball and tossed it right into the blue cup.

Tibbet was astounded.

“How did you do that?” he asked.

“I’ve been throwing them into the cups all night long,” Rorek said. “I’ve played a lot of beer pong in my life and I was throwing the balls into the cups that match the prizes on that wall. I wanted the watch right there. It’s two spaces over and three spaces down. So, I threw it into the cup that was two spaces over and three spaces down.”

“My friend, I think you should have that watch. How much for the watch, Maurice?”

“Eh, twenty dollars and we’ll call it even.”

Tibbet handed twenty to Maurice and another twenty to Rorek. He decided to scan him before he let him walk off.

“You. You’re part carny,” Tibbet said.

“Nah, those are just stories my mother used to tell me about my father. I don’t think he was actually a carny,” Rorek said as he sauntered off with his new watch and twenty dollars. TIbbet shook his head. Another carny lives on the outside not even knowing what he truly is.


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