3x. Flea Circus, End

The End Bettina and I gazed out and up at the scene. She was bewildered but I knew what was happening. An argument ensued between the giants. The words could have taken forever, “Circus Man! Don’t run. You’re gonna pay!” like a long, low blare of horns at the end of time. I pulled Bettina close under my cloak and …

Marquis de Sade Soup & Salad Bar, part 606

Katrina parked the car and killed the ignition. She sniffed a little bump of white powder from a folded triangle of paper. She considered starting the engine again but slumped back on the seat. The glow of light from the evening’s dusk gathered all the houses together like it was illustrating a storybook. A porch light came on, just to …

49. Flea Circus, Act Five, Scene (still going)

At the top of the ladder, Warp led Pindrake through a permeable aperture into the observation pod. Minister Warp bowed and joined his four upper legs together at sharp angles. Pindrake looked expectantly at the FIG, the Flea Industry General. The General, a large, dignified-looking flea, merely stared back, until Warble poked the magician and indicated he should join him …

48. Flea Circus, Act Five, Scene Four

[There is a shift of perspective in the part. I am doing a rewrite of the story so it’s going in this direction now.] Following the freaks’ instructions, Pindrake found an access tube, a cage-like ladder with metal footholds that spiralled down. It didn’t seem like a structure that Giuseppe or the Old Man would design. It had a different …

47. Flea Circus, Act Five, Scene Three (continued)

I walked out, through a wooden double arch, connected by the silhouettes of letters: GALLERY OF FREAKS. Across the dust and clutter, the lantern glow caught an immense structure, a faceted dome atop a silver donut mounted on spidery legs. A tube extended down from this construction to a squat hut below. The hut was open to the path, so …

46. Flea Circus, Act Five, Scene Three

The phosphors of the firefly lantern threw an amber glaze into the darkness as I scaled the pipes down through a gap in the circus floor. With the gloom so thick as dog’s blood, my mood plummeted as I descended. I took out the seeing stone from my pocket and held it in my other middle leg. I held it in front …

45. Flea Circus, Act Five, Scene Two (continued)

“Name it.” “May I borrow your lantern? I will return it when I come back.” “If you come back. Look, I’ll loan it to you, but be careful around the kitchens.” “The kitchens?” “Where all the food comes from. Have you ever wondered where the food comes from?” “Not really.” “Down there. It’s a savage place. All of the fleas …

44. Flea Circus, Act Five, Scene Two

Standing over the metal grommet that guided the wires under the circus, I tucked my seeing glass into my coat and buttoned it up securely. I grasped the wire and plunged through the hole. I had been this way before. It was no secret. Being naturally athletic, many circus fleas used this method, eschewing the grand doorways used as performance …

43. Flea Circus, Act Five, Scene One

I found Pollux, the Barker, near the center ring of the circus. He was getting ready to take the stage. Giuseppe had called a performance. But by the booming sound of his voice, we knew that Giuseppe was not entirely coherent. “What time is it?” Giuseppe asked the Barker. “It’s time for the greatest show that ever arose from the …

42. Flea Circus, Act Four, Scene Three

I went to see Lorenzo at the wagon. Bettina was getting ready to practice the highwire act, a new act that Giuseppe wanted to work on. Her outfit wasn’t torn. She looked incredible. Her carapace glowed from that inner beauty and energy she held inside. “Lorenzo, may I have a word with you in private?” “Certainly, what can I do …