Thursday, May 28, 2015
Ballyhoo Flash Fiction for the Chuck Wendig Challenge.
Short Story: by Lissa Word (c)2015
Oh that picture? Let me tell you the story.
All we were trying to do was get to New Orleans. So why were we standing in front of the Biloxi Police Station?
To start off with, Rocinante the Wonder Horse had just shit himself.
The year 1930 was pretty volatile for the seven of us. We were ingenious Wall Street tycoons. We were innovative and we persevered. Instead of leaving work that fateful day and throwing-in the proverbial towel, we threw our last few dollars into a magic hat and presto! “The Greenshoe Circus” was born.
Much like the stock market the year before, Richard had just shit himself. It wasn’t the first time he shat while in the horse costume. It just happened to be the first time he did it on a sidewalk, on a hot Sunday afternoon, in Biloxi Mississippi, while telling the Preacher Man’s wife she was “Hot to Trot, if you get [his] drift.” Oh, she got the drift alright, as Jack, the man who performed as the back end of the horse, could tell you.
Richard, like the rest of us, was “in the red”. As the Manager and Ringmaster of The Greenshoe Circus, it was my job to keep the money rolling in. Easy job until a few weeks before that picture was taken. We had people lined up as far as the eye could see. They couldn’t wait to See Harley Quinn the Clown, Spendgali the Great Magician, Ponzi Villa the Blind Lion Tamer, Nifty-Fifty The Man Half Woman, No-Brainer the Dancing Horse, Richard and Jack, formerly known as “The Flying Chzechbookys”, and about one-hundred other performers, Roustabouts, and Carnies. I took care of them like they were my own family, no matter what they needed.
We had jumped from Birmingham Alabama to a small town called Seman on our way to Montgomery for a super-gigantic show. We had set up the big top, all three rings, and the midway. It was about five o’clock in the morning when the elephants piped up. A sound so unearthly you would have thought Hell itself had opened its gates. We heard that mighty freight train coming. Only it wasn’t a freight train at all. It was that night that that we met the wrath of mother nature and she was pissed. We couldn’t see it coming. Hell, most of us hadn’t seen a tornado before. Tents came down, Elephants broke loose, well let’s just say that Ponzi Villa never saw “Thunder Beast” the lion again. But Serpentia, oh god that was terrible. That poor woman was eaten by her own anaconda. Probably just got scared but who knows, that woman had a way of driving snakes crazy. Serpentia wasn’t the only victim. Richard himself had also been afflicted.
The gods of thunder and lightning shot off their fiery cannons of boom and destruction. That terror unleashed from the sky caused Richard to lose control of his bowels. Now that wouldn’t be such a big deal if it were just once. Hell most of us lost our shit, so to speak, that day. Except as it turns out, it became problematic for Richard.
In a last ditch effort to make the circus work, we had to eat the dancing horse, No-Brainer. She cost us a lot in feed and we were hungry. We took the little bit of money we had left and hired a local seamstress to transform the tent bag, which hadn’t blown away, into a horse costume for Richard and Jack. We had officially become a fleabag outfit! We wandered town to town putting on small human circus shows. You know… sword swallowing, the clowns, lighting shit on fire and the like. Things were looking up until Richard’s shock wore off. His maladies, caused by the trauma, hadn’t improved. In fact, they were getting worse. That goddamn twister had spun our circus and our dreams around like one of those machines that spin cotton candy. Then the hungry sky opened up and swallowed the whole thing just like that.
Now you might have thought that Richard merely had an accident at the time, we did. You may have assumed that he was the kind of guy who would just go around shitting on anyone, even a preacher’s wife, and you’d be right! But this time it was different. This was the day Richard learned that his time in the circus might well be over. Unless of course we could find a cure for his twister-nervous asshole. The severity of the experience had some mysterious effects on him. After thinking on it a long-while I decided that maybe the Preacher-man might be able to cure him. We were all praying for him, so to speak. What a horrible fate for a clown. Laughter, causing him to lose control of his bowels. All it took was a little giggle on his part or someone else’s. The shit would hit the fan, the floor, or anyone unfortunate enough to be standing behind him.
We had walked into Biloxi to put on a few shows. It was on the way to New Orleans and we were pretty hungry. After finding some shrimp and rice, we all took Richard out to find the Preacher-man.
After professing his love to the Preacher’s Wife, and shitting on her feet, she had enough. After asking us if this was some kind of joke, the local authorities, escorted us to the inside of the police station.
The Police were quick to let us go. They laughed and laughed. Then they made Richard clean up his mess he made on the floor of the Chief’s office. They also requested a command performance outside for the local newspaper before asking us to leave town, “while we still could”.
Despite it all, the preacher-man did help Richard. Laying of hands didn’t do it, invoking the almighty didn’t seem to help. But his last bit of advice was the best he could do.
“Do yourself a favor. Wear two feed bags, one in the front and one in the rear. At least until the good lord sees it fittin’ to have mercy upon your sorely afflicted asshole!”
We made it to New Orleans the next week. What happened in New Orleans is a whole other story!