Sunday, October 20, 2019

Overread at Booth 1: from #MadCarnival "The Search"

Sebastien tells the triplets to climb to the highest points: the top of the big tent, the apex of the carousel.  Look around, call out, see what you can see.


Ox wanders the perimeter, Shorty on his shoulders, lamp held high, calling out the little girl's name.


Ekataryna and Bull and Billy and Billy's dad scour the steps of the fun house mirrors, because Billy last saw Betsy there. 

"Why didn't you watch your sister?!" says the dad.

"I thought you and mom were with her," Billy says.

"Does it LOOK LIKE we were with her, Billy?!"

Ekataryna touches his sleeve softly.  Her voice quivers as she says, "Mr Wilson, Betsy will be found.  Before the night is though ... she will no longer be lost."

"She'd better be, you old witch."  Then, he turns, slaps the mirrored wall and continues through the maze, calling out his little girl's name.


Farmer Talbot pounds on the door to the Sheriff's house. 

"Betsy is missing from the Mad Carnival!"

"Shit Hellfire Damnation!" says the Sheriff.  He reaches for this belt and holster, hanging on a coat rack just beside the door.


The Mayor and his wife link arms with Mad Mabel and the March Hare, and with Lucy Saunders and Margaret Philpot, who link arms with the Pretzel Man and Pretzel Woman, who link arms with Eliza Gray and Hanz the Jester, and others too, and other too, as they walk the grounds of the Mad Carnival, from the entrance gate, step by step, looking under the folds of every tent, scanning the shadows for any place the child might be hiding. 

Tommy, from the entrance of the Freak Show tent, with Wulfina and The Patchwork Girl standing behind him, watches the human chain walk slowly through the ripples of midnight, calling out.  He will recall, in years to come, when recounting this story to his wife, that this moment was the one moment in which he knew that the names "normal" and "freak" and "regular" and "different" were nothing but words formed with hollow, empty, wasted breath.


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