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A painful discovery

Pure torture at King Richard's Faire.

By Charles P. Pierce
September 25, 2011

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DEAR SES CARNY: I learn many things by reading this newspaper. For example, this month I learned that you’re the lead attraction in what is called the Torture Show at King Richard’s Faire, an annual outdoor dress-up ball held in that part of Massachusetts we usually refer to as “down by the Cape somewhere,” and you’ve been doing this sort of thing for more than a decade. Now, my original understanding was that KRF was an exercise organized and maintained by people who either (a) failed to book a room at ComicCon until it was too late or (b) didn’t play the lute well enough to make the cut at a high-end Renaissance festival. Or both. Mainly, it looked like it was attended by a whole bunch of folks who tunneled out of a Chuck E. Cheese’s and came up in the woods, chomping on a barbecued turkey leg and being accosted by bumpkins in jerkins  –  or perhaps the other way around. However, I was not aware that anyone, anywhere was putting on a “Torture Show” for the entertainment of the people. At least not since 24 went off the air, at any rate. It turns out that I hadn’t been paying attention. You, I read, have been known to hammer a nail into your face, or drill yourself in the cheek with an antique hand drill. Apparently, you can make a good living at this. In fact, if you don’t already have an endorsement deal with Home Depot, I will despair of our modern capitalist system.

Charles P. Pierce can be reached at