One paragraph story... August 26 edition

We were taken around back. We knew it was called the Blowoff, but you gotta do it. The part of the Freak Show that they tell you is all the scarier bits that they only show to those customers who are strong in fortitude. The dissected aliens that were just Cow Fetuses. The Chicken Skull on a dog skeleton. The paper maché Mermaid tail. The two headed snake. Sissy and I had to see it. It’s not a Carnival unless you pay that extra two-bits to be led behind the tent to where only the privileged few are allowed. But the show starts when you take the Barker aside and he makes you convince him you know about the ‘Hidden’ area. That you and your lady have the stomachs for the sheer intensity. Then comes the haggling over the cost. He’ll start at a dollar. Tell you the cost is that high because they need the money for the lawsuits from the families who sue the carnival for giving their loved ones Heart Attacks. And when you get the price to fifty-cents he leans in close and whispers, ‘They’ll have my job for this, but you seems like a good guy.’ Even though we knew the whole thing was a put-on, the walk to the the tent was intense; the anticipation that maybe this one might be different. Maybe this one will have the real Sasquatch in a cage. Maybe this time the Boneless Boy will actually not have any bones. This time might be different. You know it won’t, but I squeeze my girl’s hand to say ‘It’s alright.’ Then I eased the flap to the side and let us in. My hand on the small of her back- then she’s not there. In the dark I inched forward, reaching my hand out, splaying my fingers, as if the extra millimetres would help. But she disappeared. Gone. I had my Dad’s old pocket knife on me, and I cut that tent to shreds. Cut my hand. Pretty bad- see. The tent had nothing in it. Nothing around it. Looked for the man we paid; with the hat. Nowhere. So, I’m here. Telling you what happened. Sissy’s lost there. Or worse. And now you tell me there was no carnival in town this weekend. Jack Holston’s field is empty, and there isn’t any rides, and hot dog stands, and all that. I don’t know about all that- I know what I did, and I know what I saw. Well, maybe they put her in that hole you said was dug. You need to be looking for that carnival. Before they get too far. I just need to wash this blood off me, have a sleep. A cell will be fine- as long as it has a bed. Thank you for understanding. Oh gee, I hope Sissy is okay.

James C.