A flash fiction challenge posed by http://terribleminds.com
#7 10 Circuses
The sign read: You know the 7 wonders of the world! Behold and set your eyes to gaze upon the 10 wonders of the circus! 10 circuses – 10 circus wonders all packed into one event.
“I don’t want to go to the circus,” Jack stomped his little foot and his lip started to quiver. He waddled over to the couch, lay down and twirled his bright blonde hair with one hand and sucked his thumb on the other.
“It is 10 circuses at once! It will be fun! Something for everyone!” Mama said.
“There are games and events and rides and animals. They have baby elephants.”
It was in the sing songy voice and drawn out verbage of baby elephants that struck Jack’s attention.
“There is even a section where you can do EVERYTHING!”
“But I am so tiny. Even my tongue is tiny.” He smiled through his tears and thumb.
Jack didn’t like the prospect of all the people but the baby elephants intrigued him.
Mama and Jack arrived at the long stretch of tables of the kiddie area first. The tickets were red and everything else was white. Everyone associated with the circus had bright blonde tresses like Jack.
Jack had a knack for all the games. The lollipop tree game had all flavors of blow pops and tootsie roll pops stuck in a fake tree. When you pulled out the stick that was colored at the end you won. Jack had now won 10 times in a row. Mama thought it was such good luck!
Jack toddled over to the Guess Your Weight and Age booth.
“You are 4 and weigh exactly 46 pounds,” smiled the blonde red and white dressed carnie.
Mama smiled, the man was correct. Jack had been to the doctor just yesterday.
As they walked past the Freak show all the signs were old fashioned. As soon as Jack saw them he made a wide turn away from the tent. Mama didn’t force it even though that was what she wanted to see. Maybe later. She always felt a peculiar draw to the freaks.
Mama stopped Jack after winning three goldfish from tossing ping pong balls into the bowls. She predicted the fish would be dead by the weekend. Three deaths would be more than enough to explain in three days time.
Everywhere he went the carnies noticed the little 4 year old and exclaimed he was a lucky boy. It was always the exact same wording whether the workers were in earshot of one another or not.
The last event of the day was the magician. Patrons filed into the tent with hushed tones from the thick canvas. People found seats along the wooden planks. Jack perked up and ran to the front row and sat ignoring the couple sitting next to him.
The show began and the tricks were traditional and making Mama tired. It had been too long of a day for mundane. The rings seemed to melt into each other and back again at the magician’s insistence. Card shuffling next. Squishy balls morphing into flowers and disappearing from one hand to another. Mama almost got up to leave and reached for Jack’s shirt.
“For my next trick, I need a volunteer from the audience!” the great Merlin proclaimed in his performance voice.
Jack raised his hand proudly with a beaming smile unusual for the shy boy. Mama thought him too young to be picked but sat down again. His arm extended and his little bum wiggling on the hard wooden bench as old as the first circus commanded attention.
“You, young man in the red shirt! You match our colors. You are a lucky boy! Come on up.”
Mama was too stunned to stop his movement and was swept up in the illusion. Jack waddled up.
“Can you step in this cabinet for me?”
“Am I ‘peer?”
“Yes, Jack. We are going to make you disappear!”
“Wooooooooooo!” he squealed and clapped his hands.
He turned and waved to the audience vigorously with both hands his smile white and beaming in contrast to his red shirt.
“Are you ready?”
A nod from the little boy.
“Wave to the people Jack.”
Merlin opened the cabinet and Jack stepped in.
“One more wave Jack!
“Bye bye!” He was waving both hands now.
Merlin carefully closed the doors of the suspended cabinet, spun it three times and waved his wand.
How trite Mama thought. Really?
With a flourish of a red cape, Merlin opened the door and Jack had indeed disappeared.
“What a lucky boy Jack is!” Merlin yelled.
Darkness filled the tent.
After 10 seconds the space was illuminated and Merlin was gone. The people started to file slowly out of the tent speaking of caramel corn, the baseball milk jug throw, elephant ears, and buttered corn.
Wait… Mama thought.
Lucky boy, red shirt….
She never had said his name…
A circus to the tenth power needs to be replenished with wonders…that’s not magic but something else.