Toronto Mike

Black Monday Swarm - Tales From The Ex

Tales From The Ex

Throughout the 125th Canadian National Exhibition I've shared stories from my three years working there as a game booth attendant.  Below is my final tale for 2004.  I have many others, so we'll pick this up again next August.

Today is Labour Day and the final day of the twenty day CNE.  I don't know how things are today, but in the late 80s we called this day Black Monday.  I wrote a little about Black Monday last week.

There's one Black Monday I'll never forget.  Rumours were circulating throughout the afternoon that a large collection of wannabee-thug teens were planning to swarm the midway on a looting spree.  We were on high-alert for such activity and when night fell and sunlight dissapated we got word that this swarming had begun.  Apparently it had started around the Dufferin Gates and was working it's way towards the Princes Gates.  We didn't have more than a minute or two before they'd be at our booth.

The game booth I was working was a trailer that opened and closed on each side.  We jumped in and I hit the button for the hydraulics to close the doors.  In complete darkness we held the doors closed and in seconds all we heard was a continuous thunderous pounding.  This swarm of people was banging on the walls as they advanced.  It lasted less than a minute but it was surreal.  When we opened the doors to take a peak outside there was no sign of trouble.  The swarm had advanced and we were no worse for wear.

The worst part of Black Monday was the fact I'd be back at Michael Power High School the next day for another semester of boredom.  One day I'm taking out petty thugs and locking myself in a trailer to avoid an angry mob and the next day I'm in home room.  It was never an easy transition.

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