There's no way around it. This season, most recently this Pennsic War event was pretty brutal. I feel like I have been stumbling around, unable to get a solid footing. And when I thought I was on solid ground, something would rush up and smack me. Car problems, friends and acquaintances telling me of rough times, health problems, divorce, job loss.
And business? It was down almost 45 percent. That's a huge fucking drop. Then there were the rains and the inevitable mud. What else, oh yeah; my goddamned nemesis Beverle parked her ass right across the street from us. The single worst vendor I have ever known. A liar and a cheat. Kicked out of six different Ren-Faire's. Yet she somehow suckered some poor merchant to give her some space to set up her crap. Swell.
My chief minion Lindsey, who I love like my own kid has been a bit of a fuck up recently. I won't go into details. She's hit a hard patch like the rest of us.
We left Pennsic after the usual dark-thirty loadout. Rossana in a grim mood because Pennsic doesn't feel like Pennsic to her anymore (and that hurts to hear) only to have a full day of rain the next day at Great Lakes with accompanying shitty sales. The vendors at the show are now being cited by the local town for not having a 'local transient vendors license', something we don't fucking need under Ohio law but still threatens the livelihood of everyone working the show. Everyone is on pins and needles. Rumors run rampant.
Then we got the cherry. Russ shows up. He's an on site EMT. He tells us that his brother Hoss died at Pennsic that morning.
I've known Hoss for something like 7 years now. He was overweight, crude, politically incorrect, a know-it-all and an overall great guy. He took shitty care of himself but once threatened to kill a guy who accidentally cut the power to his camper where he kept his dogs diabetes medicine in the fridge. I talked with him Friday morning as we rushed around getting ready to pack up. Russ claimed he wasn't broken up about it, that he and his brother were just on polite terms. But he was seething. Hoss was told by EMT's on site at Pennsic three times that he was having a heart attack and he refused to go to the hospital. You just couldn't tell Hoss what to do.
At this point I just wanted to go home. But we couldn't. Sunday was the hottest day of the summer so far as I could tell. And the longest. We rolled in at about 11pm last night but we head out Wednesday morning for GenCon, which I pray isn't bad.
At Pennsic our camp it at the bottom of a hill. And every day you have to climb that hill. I've been doing it at Pennsic for something like 24 years. This year it took more, much more to get up that hill. It's not that I'm in bad shape. It was just the weight of all the things around me, pressing down. It would be easy just to stay in camp. A lot of my friends do. They seem content with that. But I can't. And this year once again showed me that stopping is not an option. Gotta keep moving. I've gotta get up that hill.
I never thought I'd be happy to see Winter and the end of a season.