Sunday, August 17, 2008


When they've got no place else to go, they take a trip to the circus. It never leaves their town, and it's the one place their parents allow them to roam without supervision. Because they are twin brothers that can still count their age on two hands, the carnies, now considered residents of the small town, allow them to enter for the special fee of twenty-five cents. It reads "Sullivan-Drew Circus" on their small tickets, and if they were to count up their previous tickets, still sitting on their chest at home, they'd realize this to be their sixteenth visit without ever meeting Sullivan or Drew. 
"Maybe today", one boy says to the other.
It's never been as empty as it is today. With word of a new hot dog stand moving into town, residents have been saving their coins for chili dogs and pop. 
"We've got chili dogs here too my friends. Don't you worry. Come back when your tummies start calling!", one of the carnies says as the boys pass the concessions. 
Their small shoes collect small pebbles as they stroll, hands in their side pockets, making their way towards the haunting sound of the main attraction, Leo the Largest Lion. Hoping to catch a glimpse of the lion feeding, the boys turn a corner to look into its cage. 
"Boy's want to feed em?", a deep voice calls from behind them. "He just looks mean that's all. Go on."
"Ya heard the man? Go on. He won't bite if he knows you'll feed em", a woman adds as she stumbles by, holding the longest locks of hair. 
The boys pull aside the the cloth and make their way in. 
"Come on up boys! We're preparing him for the show. Don't want em to be hungry now do we?"
They get close enough to smell the warm breath on the lion, and are instantly pulled back by the straps on their overalls. 
"Thomas, don't you even think about what you were thinking about doing with these boys!", a feminine voice yells from behind them, their straps still firmly grappled in her fists. "Where is your Ma? She would nearly die of a heart attack if she sawl how close y'all were. And Thomas, you stay away from these boys."
The boys had not been tall enough to see past her waist, and were instantly amused when they could see through to her undergarments. 
"I'll tell Mama if you look", the boy said to the other.
Once outside, the boys looked up towards the voice that had nearly ripped their clothing off. They'd recognized her as the bearded lady who'd come out to dance for the audience in between attractions. 
"I've seen you boys come round here many times", she said."You like the show?"
The boys nodded, making sure to keep their line of sight as close to her eyes as possible. 
"You boys aren't scared of a little hair, are you? It's quite soft, unlike a man's, but you're free to touch it."
"No thanks Ma'am. We should be going", the boy said nudging his brother. 
"Don't be silly! I sawl you two just walk in. Come, I'll introduce you to the family".

(I keep a large National Geographic photography book on my desk to turn to for inspiration, for when reading doesn't do the trick.  I went to it today as a warm up, skimming through the first couple of pages to find something that jumped out to me. This photograph taken in 1929, stopped me, feeling there was a story there, as there always is behind every picture. That's pretty much it! I had the book open to this picture, and this is the writing that came from it.)

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