Saturday, October 19, 2019

Overread at Booth 2: from #MadCarnival "Saturday Afternoon"


Tree house, back yard, Billy Wilson’s

Tommy is reading the new Shadow magazine.
Billy, sorting marbles, says, “Sucks they wouldn’t let us in the Freak Show.”
Tommy says, “I got an idea.  Tonight we’re getting in.  We go around back
and crawl under the tent.”

Billy, “You think that’ll work?  What if they see us?”

Tommy, “We just move fast.  So much stuff is going on, nobody’ll notice us.”

Billy, “Do you think they really have a three-legged man?”

Tommy, “No … beCAUSE…”

Both, “HE RAN AWAY!!”

Tommy and Billy laugh together at their new shared joke, and then Billy admits, “Whenever I see Betty Carson, I feel like a three-legged man.”

Tommy looks up from the Shadow and says, “That’s gross, Billy.  But … yeah, I can kinda understand.”

Billy says, “So I guess that means summer’s really over then?”

Tommy, “Yes.  Summer’s over and done.  But we got the Mad Carnival for one more night tonight!”


Judge Halbert’s House, Back Yard

The Judge and his wife bringing their garden for the winter.
He, with spade at one end of the flower bed
She, on knees at the other, packing manure around the perennials.

She: You should come with me to the Mad Carnival tonight.

He: Aww, Florence, you know I don’t really go for all those lights and noise.

She: You could just come with me to talk to the Fortune Teller.

He: Tell me you didn’t.

She wipes her gloved hands on her pants.  She looks up at him:  Yes, why yes I did.

He smiles wanly: and what did she fill your head with?

Florence Halbert pushes herself up from the ground and walks the few steps to her husband kisses him on the cheek: She said I have an honorable man for a husband who will love me until the end of my days on this earth.  THAT’s what she filled my head with!  Now, do you want some tea?

The Judge leans on his shovel as he watches his wife walk up the wooden steps and through the screen door of the porch.

He: Well, I would say that Fortune Teller really CAN predict the future.


At the Church of Saint Philip the Evangelist

The Pastor sits in his office at the church.
Writing his sermon for tomorrow.
Or, trying to …

images of dancing flames, the
liquid frame, her shoulders,
her lips,
her hips,
her thighs,
lit by orange and yellow

the fire in her eyes …

The Pastor feels a burning
in his lungs, he wonders if
this is how

down deep
in the deepest depths
where there is
the end of breath.


At the police station

Frankie is talking to his mother who has moved down to New Orleans, where she lives with her new husband.   He says, “… the Mad Carnival is in town.  Two nights.  It’s really wild.  They got a merry-go-round, and a lady who eats flaming swords, a juggler who juggles knives.  Tonight they are going to have a big show in the tent … elephants, trapeze artists, it’s going to be a great show … what?  … uh, no, they hardly ever come to town … no, they pretty much keep to themselves … well, for Catholics, they’re not all that bad, I mean, they’re GERMAN Catholics.  It’s not like they’re Irish, or worse: MEXICANS!”


At the Mad Carnival

Simone brushes one of the elephants, humming

But if this ditty is not so pretty
At least it'll tell you
How great you are.
You're the top!
You're the Coliseum.
You're the top!

“You’re the louver museum,” says Ekataryna, who had walked up behind without Simone noticing.

“Grab that other brush and help me get them ready for the show,” Simone says.

Ekataryna looks at the brush on the ground beside the bucket of water and picks it up, walking over to the front of the elephant.  She says, “Is this one Jules or Wells?”

Simone smiles, “You don’t know?  I thought you KNEW all and SEE all.”

The woman replies, “I do.  But I am just not good with names.”

“This one is Jules,” she says as she moves around toward the back, testing the leather strap of the blanket and saddle that is strapped to the grey torso of the creature.

Ekataryna looks into the elephant’s eyes and says, “You will do a very wonderful thing tonight.”

Simone, coming around the other side, hearing this, says, “Well, of course.  They are both going to be the stars of the show.”

“I mean after that.”

Simone puts the brush to her side and blows a waft of hair from her eye.  “You know I hate when you do that.  Just speak plain, woman.”

“I have said what I have said.  I will say no more.” 

“Well,” Simone says, “then brush more and say less.  Wells over there is lost for attention.”

Wells, upon hearing her name, tilts her head and lifts her trunk to let out one trumpet.   Then, she stomps her left foot on the ground, one time.

“Still thirsty, Wells?” Simone asks.  “OK, then, let’s go back to the stream.”

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