Saturday, April 2, 2011

"Big Top"

They call me Blaze, a name I picked up is Desert Storm working demolitions. I was special Ops, so any mission I may or may not have been a part of never happened. At least that would be the official story. Now I'm a pyrotechnics expert for the circus, still earning my keeping blowing things up. So, I guess the shoe fits.

The outfit I work for is one of those year round operations that just seems to appear in the middle of the night. You know the kind I mean. One day you're driving past an empty field and the next there's a big tent and the overpowering smell of large animals. We come in the little fanfare, hoping to draw the curious, and once the fat lady has sung, we vanish. The people get a show and we get to eat.

Lately things haven't gone so smoothly. It is that damn carnival. We all know it. They seem to be in every town we lay stakes, stealing our business. When you have the only show in town, everybody shows up, but when you give the folks a choice...Well, they don't always choose you. It was easier before we had to compete with the Professor and his band of freaks.

The other clowns ehre at the circus want to go "Godfather" on the carnies, but the Ringmaster has issued strict orders not to cross the midway. He doesn't want to make our feud a public affair. It's not my job to ask questions. The Boss has been running this show for nearly 40 years, so he must know what he's doing.

"You pickin' up Deadeye today?" Whiskey asks, as I pass his cage.

The lion is our star, trained by the famous Salazar. He's also a raging alcoholc, hence the moniker and the flammable breath wafting in my direction. He's lucky my cigar's not lit.

"Yeah" I answer, barely slowing.

"Make a stop for me," He yells, gesturing with the half empty bottle of Jack Daniels he's drinking. It's the universal sign for "I need a refill".

I just grunt my assent and keep walking. I ahve an hour till the asylum officially releases Deadeye into my custody, but its a 45 minute drive and there's always paperwork to sign. This is Deadeye's eighth trip to Branherst, so release is old hat.

It wouldn't be a big deal if I were a little late, but the Boss has a job for us to do and the sooner I get Deadeye, the sooner we can get the job done. It's one like my Iraq days. Something that won't officially happen. We get in, we get out, and we get back. If it all goes right, we'll be back in time for the show. If not, Caliberini will fill Deadeye's slot. That's not an option any star wants to take, so I'll do all I can to get him back in time.


  1. you are truly a very talented writer.

  2. Hmmmm -- Looks like some no good is coming our way. Hope no one gets hurt!

    Tossing It Out
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