“Painted Love” by Rob Thurman
Painted Love is published in the anthology “Carniepunk”. The name gives it away, but the anthology is a collection of stories about, you guessed it, carnivals.
Love is a bitch. That is a good way to summarize the theme of this story in one sentence.
This story follows the narrator during his days following a carnie named Bart around. The narrator wants to see the world and decides to see what carnival life is all about. He finds someone at a carnival that doesn’t ask to many questions and follows him around all day and night.
While the narrator follows Bart around the carnival he falls in love with another carnie named Becca. Soon he discovers that Bart isn’t all that he appears to be and he may have decided to follow around the wrong person. That suspicion is soon confirmed when Becca becomes the target victim of Bart.