Jason & his partner Enos were on their way to their next survey job when they came across the P. T. Barnum Circus. What a grand circus it was and so much going on. They had everything imaginable, from exotic animals, clowns, tiny men, a fat lady and all kinds of games and prizes. They even had a strong man buy the name of Young Samson. The barker for the circus was offering fifty dollars to any man who can stay three minutes in the ring with the current champion. "Any of you fellows gonna stand up for the west?"
"Right here!" Shouted Enos. "Ah.....you're offering to fight Young Samson Grandpa?" Asked the barker. Everybody started to laugh. "Not me! My partner back there," as Enos pointed to Jason and motioned for him to come there.
Jason went to see what was going on. "Well now, how about it big brother?" "You're big enough to eat hay!" Laughed the barker and the crowd joined in. "Fight him.....he's fifty bucks" "You know you said that we need the scratch to get to our next job," said Enos. "Now I better warn you mister.....we don't pay funeral expenses, but.....we do send flowers! Everybody thought this was funny except for Enos and Jason. Jason looked around at the crowd laughing and then he took a good look at Young Samson, sizing him up. He then decided to take the challenge. He then stepped in the ring taking off his jacket & holster. Jason turned to the barker and said....."Just have the fifty ready." "And now in mortal combat, P. T. Barnum presents the mightiest man on the earth verses the flower of the west.....the Hay burner!" Young Samson took a swing at Jason and missed. Jason took the next swing and hit Samson into the ropes. Again Samson took a swing at Jason missing him. Jason then hit him, one.....two.....three times again knocking him into the ropes. Samson then charges at Jason, again missing him. Jas took advantage of this and then hit Samson in the stomach and then the jaw knocking him out of the ring. Quickly the barker stepped into the ring and asked everyone to move on down the midway to the wild animal cages. He didn't want everyone to hear what was said when Jason came to collect his money. Right now Jason was pre-occupied with one of the carnival girls giving him a winner's kiss. Jason overheard the barker and pulled him aside. "I'd like my money," said Jason. "Money? What money?" Asked the barker. "Money.....astonishing.....incredible.....unbelievable money you owe me," said Jason. "Ummmmm.....I don't keep
that kind of money on me," said the barker as he rolled his eyes. Jason grabbed his arm and said....."Then let's go where you do."
Charlie (barker) took Jason to see P.T. Barnum. When they arrived to his tent P. T. was discussing business being bad with an associate of his by the name of Coutts. P. T. felt it was more the competition then anything. He had made an offer of $10,000 to A. J. Bailey for
Princess Salome. What his circus needed was the princess or a bigger attraction. Coutts couldn't think of any bigger attraction than Princess Salome. But P. T. already had something in mind. It was a
Charlie barged into the tent. P. T. told him to get back to his tent, that the show ran another hour. Jason gave Charlie a shove knocking him to the ground. P. T. was surprised and didn't know what was going on. "You handle the money for this carnival?" Asked Jason. P. T. stood there with his mouth hanging open. "Carnival!" "Mister you are talking to Phineas T. Barnum!" "This is the biggest show on earth." "Fine! Then you ought to be good for fifty dollars," said Jason. "He just knocked out Samson," said Charlie. P. T. was shocked. He told Charlie to get back to Samson before someone else knocked him out. P. T. just stood there looking at Jason. "So you knocked out Samson.....hmmm." "Mister, you got yourself a job. I'll pay you fifty dollars week in & week out to replace him." Jason wasn't interested. "You are the new Samson!" "I'll bill you as the pride of the plains. The prairie cyclone, the towering terror, anything you like." "I'll have your picture on the billboards ten feet high." "Mister you have just punched your way into the circus business. P.T. then grabbed Jason's hand to seal their agreement. "Fifty dollars Mr. Barnum.....right now!" "Alright.....but as I always say.....'There's a sucker born every minute!" "And you are a sucker to pass up a gold mine!" He then handed Jason his fifty dollars. As Jason was leaving he yelled to him....."Suckers always come back," then he laughed. "He'll be back." P. T. was sure of that.
One day while Enos and Jason were finishing surveying some land Jason happened upon a handbill nailed to a tree. He didn't like what he read and he headed straight for P. T. Barnum's tent or so he thought. He came across a tent which had a sign on it which read 'Allied Circus Presents Princess Salome in the dance of the Seven Veils.' Princess Salome and A. J.
Bailey were going over her dance routine when Jason barged in. The princess was upset that he walked in on her performance. She didn't want him to have a peek. When she found out he wasn't interested in her performance and got a good look at Jason she wanted Bailey to give him free tickets. "Look.....were working here.....what's on your mind," said Bailey. "P. T. Barnum," said Jason. Bailey told the princess to go somewhere else and wiggle a while so he and Jason could talk. "You're from Barnum?" Asked Bailey. Jason told him he was looking for him. He then pulled out the handbill from his jacket and handed it to Bailey. The whole time the princess is slowly dancing trying to get Jason's attention. "Handbill.....I've seen a thousand handbills, what's this?" Asked Bailey.
The Handbill read.....
P. T. Barnum
The Greatest Coward on Earth
See Jason McCord turn
Tail and Run!
The Bloodcurdling Massacre
At Bitter Creek
"I'm the one he's advertising.....'Jason McCord'." Bailey asked Jason if he quit Barnum. Jas told him he never worked for him and that he was looking for him to put a stop to the handbills. Bailey told him he was sorry he couldn't help him. He told Jason that they have been trying to get together for months with no luck. "Your in the same business, do you know where I can find him," asked Jason. "I do, our paths cross every now and again." "You know that stubborn old fraud won't sit down and talk a deal with me." "He keeps sending me telegrams.....his terms." "He wants to buy Princess Salome," said Bailey. This angered the princess. She said there wasn't gold on the moon to buy her. Again Bailey told her to go wiggle elsewhere. Bailey told Jason he couldn't give out information on circus member. Jason couldn't understand, he had just called P. T. a fraud. "Are all of you fraud's, that's why you cover up for each other?" Asked Jason. "I have one main attraction and I guarantee you she is no fraud," said Bailey. "The why protect a man like Barnum?" Asked Jason. "I admire him.....He's my idol," said Bailey. "He's the greatest showman on earth! Someday I maybe in his shoes." "So why should I help make trouble for him?" "Because he'd make trouble for you if he could. He steps on people mister, anybody to make a dollar."
"Now sooner or later he'll step on you!" "Well Mr. McCord.....that's show business." Jason look at the princess and then again at Bailey and said....."Show business" and walked out of the tent.
Jason got to his horse when he heard a loud whistle and someone calling to him....."Hey high-pockets!" It was the princess. The only thing that was not a fraud. Suddenly the princess lost her accent.
"Hold on there!" She yelled to Jason. "Hey.....them sure was some cold, hard facts you were given J. A. in there." "Because he knows them ain't true," said the princess. "You left something behind," said Jason to the princess. "Yeah," as she turned around to see what it was. "You're accent!" They both laughed. "You were right; we're all frauds more or less." "The nearest I come to a Ottoman Court was a Turkish bath in Hoboken.
"Well at least you deliver what your poster's promise." He looked her over and said....."You can't fake that can ya'?" She asked him to stay around to see her show. He said he couldn't. He had to keep moving until he could find Barnum. She told Jas that she knew where he could find him. "Tell me," said Jason. Flirtingly she said....."After the show." They both headed into the tent.
As promised the princess took Jason to see Barnum. When Jas walked in they were rehearsing the battle of Bitter Creek. The show was terrible. "How do you like my Apaches?" Asked Barnum. "If they had been at Bitter Creek they would have killed each other off." "You've got a Sioux.....a Cheyenne.....and
Algonquin and an Eastern Mohawk and a few that no Indian tribe would claim." "An Indians an Indian." Said Barnum. He then told the men to go and practice being an Indian. "Like I always said big fella, a smart man always comes back." "No you said suckers always come back, and I don't like being called a sucker and I don't like being made a sucker." "Now I'm here to tell you to drop the Bitter Creek performance today," said Jason. "You know the fellow playing you.....he's getting rich." "Not as big as you are, but better looking and he's reasonable." "I mean business Barnum." "Ah business," said Barnum. "McCord now you're talking." "Why let everybody else get rich on your name?" "All you have to do is sign a simple contract with me." "We'll go east and we'll do a land office business." "New York, Philadelphia, Boston! They'd be standing on top of each
other just to see the great McCord!" Jason told him he didn't want to be in his show and he didn't want anybody impersonating him either. Barnum told Jason that he was public property and that anybody can talk about history, read about it or re-enact it. "Now you can do one of two things.....join me and capitalize on it or pay the money to go and set with the customers and boo yourself." "There is one other thing I can do....." Barnum didn't think Jason would strike a man twice his age. Jason assured him he would. "Oh but I would.....right where it hurts.....right in your pocketbook Mr. Barnum.....I'll sue you!" "Big fella.....do you think that Napoleon or Abe Lincoln would sue me?" "Not very well.....their dead." "So are you McCord now that you've made the history pages." "As far as the law is concerned you are dead, extinct as a Dodo bird." Jason didn't buy what Barnum was selling; he still said he would sue Barnum. Barnum liked that. It would be a million dollars worth of publicity for free. "Go out and tell all the newspapers and be sure and tell them to spell my name right." "Phineas T. Barnum. Phineas with a P and an H." Jason saw he wasn't going to win this battle. He asked Barnum if he could find him a better replacement would he drop the battle of Bitter Creek. Jason told him he could get him Princess Salome, but he thought Jason was dreaming. He had tried to buy her several times before and his last offer of ten thousand dollars didn't work. Barnum was sure if he couldn't get the princess no one else could. When Jason tried to reason with him a few of his men thought he was making trouble for Barnum and they started a fight with Jason. First Charlie went for Jason. Jas knocked him out of the way. Then Coutts charged at
Jason. They just kept coming at Jason one right after another until Barnum told everyone to stop. "Big fella.....I don't believe you ran at Bitter Creek.....and if you did.....it wasn't anything human that scared you." "Why don't you tell us what really happened and we'll stage the real story." "As I told you Mr. Barnum.....you'll get more action out of Princess Salome." "If you get her.....it's a deal!"
Jason did convince Bailey & the princess to go in with Barnum after a few negotiations. Bailey got his ten thousand dollars plus ten percent. Barnum got the princess and a partner. As Jason was leaving he could hear Barnum say....."Barnum never had a partner.....doesn't need a partner.....never gonna have a partner, is that clear?"