At Maven’s insistence, two new staff members joined the team that very evening. To smooth ruffled feathers and calm the nerves of his co-workers, Maven agreed to pay his new assistants out of his own pocket until the carnival was out of danger and restored to its previous glory. Known simply as Alec and Drake, the newcomers were surly and intimidating. Their jet black hair painted a stark contrast to their pale skin. In that respect they mimicked their master but where Maven was lithe and mysterious, his cohorts were bulky and ominous. From that evening forward, Maven was never seen without his two assistants in tow. They vigilantly guarded the entrance to Maven’s tent while the show was in progress, no peeking allowed. Sure enough, one week after that fateful meeting, attendance at Mystic Magill’s Big Top Carnival greatly increased. Even when they pulled up stakes and moved to the next town, attendance grew exponentially. Each new town brought larger crowds and, for the first time in a long time, there seemed to be a light at the end of the tunnel.
“BT! BT! BT Magill, please report to the main entrance ticket gate immediately!” Tommy barked into the walkie-talkie. His tone was urgent. The collective hearts of the entire staff seemed to sink. A call like that over the radio could only mean trouble. BT ran as fast as his plump legs could carry him. Panting and sweating, the owner reached the front gate and steeled himself for dire news. Anxious patrons stood in lines as far as the eye could see, gaping at the old man and wondering if his heart could bear that kind of exertion.
“Tommy,” BT panted. “What’s wrong?”
“We’re out of tickets!” He exclaimed gleefully. “There’s so many people here I ran out of admittance tickets!”