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Enter the Circus

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  • 1. Matthew Eric VitalChad WillenborgGE30980: Creative Writing10 May 2012 Enter the Circus “Ladies and gentlemen! Boys and girls! Step right up; step right up! Come closer, you won‟tbelieve your eyes behind this curtain you will witness something you‟ve never seen, heard, or dreamtbefore—the amazing show on earth!” the master of ceremonies announced from the spotlight of thearena. Lions and tigers roared, fire eaters spit flames from their mouths, acrobats did somersaults inthe air, and a group of clowns went about doing their crazed antics. It seemed if the whole scenariowas straight from a performance of Cirque du Soleil on acid. The lights and colors of the arena filledthe interior. The audience gazed in amazement, applauding for an encore performance. As the day eased into nightfall, the color had faded from a sunset blood orange into the deepindigos of the night sky. Although visually pleasing, there was an eeriness that seemed to pierce theserenity of the carnival setting. Pings from nearby church‟s bell tower set in the evening bells. There,an uncanny melody from across the fairgrounds; it was filled with the plays of the tambourine,accordion, and harmonica. The rhythm of the night brought about a mix of jovial moods, yet still placed with a sense ofimpending uneasiness. It was a celebration of the Carnies. Opening day was a success, the fanfare ofcarnival performers joined in song and dance. Dancing in the moonlight until the possible break ofday, the carnival folk let the tempo take control of their spirits. A feverish merriment began to soothewithin their souls. The clanks of booze bottles soon turned to a smashed explosion. The induced songs of thecarnies came to a sudden halt. Eyes pierced through the darkness of the woods, their glaring and keen
  • 2. Vital 2sneers penetrated through the woods as if directed towards her vulnerable soul. She was caught. Nolonger could she partake in viewing this bohemian festival. The sun came alive. Waking up and feeling like a hot mess, Poppy gazed out in an utter state of shock. Incoherentdreams of a carnival-induced delusion lingered in the back of her mind until the streaming rays ofsunlight scoured her eye sockets, eventually, causing the morning blinks to commence. Obviously,today‟s agenda would begin with the painful awakenings of the beaming and determined sunlightprying her out of bed. Sitting up from the side of the squeaky sprigged mattress, she grabbed anoversized hoody off the disheveled floor and put it on. Looking like the epitome of grunge at7:05AM, Poppy grabbed her purse and threw it over her makeshift ensemble. Suddenly, swept with an incredible sensation from last night‟s bar adventures, she raised herhands to her head to soothe the migraine that was forming. Once regaining her composure, shelooked down at last night‟s target of sexual desires. Poppy gazed at the sleeping naked man who hadlain next to her all night, wondering her escape route. He lay there peacefully. What had she done?Better yet, Who had she done? “I‟ll call you „Jeremy‟ for now.” Most likely not his correct name;nonetheless, Poppy‟s goals were to hope to God that she wasn‟t about to contract some genitaldisease from this stranger. At this point, Operation: Escape was in full gear. Not even feeling the urge in attempting to piece together the puzzle of the past night‟s fiasco,she began to tiptoe towards the exit. Upon shutting the door, she bid adieu to Jeremy. Somehow findher way out of this guy‟s temporary humble abode. The motel was straight out of a CSI Investigationscene. The grimy pool and caked-on filth exterior set the morning scene. Passing the cleaning ladiesmaneuvering their go-carts of cleaning supplies down the corridors, she grabbed a mint candy to easethe taste of morning after breath until she got home to her own bathing quarters.
  • 3. Vital 3 The ultimate scenario just became her nightmare. Glancing at the time, the infamous walk ofshame commenced at 7:32AM passing through the lobby. The concierge at the front desk took noticeto her and greeted her with an early morning salutation. Fiddling through her purse, which wasblatantly destroyed with the zipper completely missing and the one end of the strap just being held bya thin link chain, she pulled out her phone. Glaring into the screen she realized that Quinn had calledher along with a few text messages. Having a buddy system when going to the bar was a procedurethat hardly stuck once a few drinks hit the spot. The tolerance for drinking excessive amounts ofalcohol was evident by her current composure. Hooray to those four long years of college, way tobuild up that tolerance she thought to herself. Poppy responded to Quinn‟s text message, “Walk ofshame. Blindly strutting down the street in hopes of finding my car. Desperate need of sunglassesand a toothbrush.” Finding her way down the street from the shabby motel to her hoopty of a motor vehicle, shebegan to gain swiftness in her stumbled walking. Thinking to herself that the choice of the stiletto-esque pair of shoes that she had chose for last night definitely makes for the topper of the cake forher hungover self. And in that instant, that awkward moment when everyone is out and about doingtheir daily morning routine; here, the still-drunken and tousled clown of a misfit strolls down theblock looking like a grunged-up hoochy. Beep-beep. Text message: “You must feel like a whore. LOL” “I‟m assuming it was like a rendition of a terribly executed burlesque show mixed with someamateur Kama Sutra,” Poppy mentioned to Quinn as they began to catch-up on last night‟s events.“Poor Jeremy, I can imagine his confused expression on his face. Possibly intensely thinking that hewas so drunk last night that he imagined meeting me.” “You‟re a mess,” Quinn retorted.
  • 4. Vital 4 “It happens. I woke up with a massive migraine and walked my drunken body to the car—which was completely parked over the sidewalk. Oh, well, I‟m giving up drinking till Christmastime.I need to de-tox from the boozing. The hangovers are progressing to ticking time bombs of hell.” Thetwo continued to converse as they sat on the porch with a large glass of water. “The world needs to know that there are jumbled messes like you out there.” Quinn laughedas she took out her phone and began to read an incoming text. “My little brother is all hyped about this carnival-circus thing that‟s in town. Get ready.We‟re going to have to chaperone the little monster and his friends.” Quinn said after listening to avoicemail message from her mother.” “The carnival? Hmm… Maybe it‟s some sort of a sign. I woke up from that intense dreamthat was carnival-esque,” Poppy replied. Then a smirk came about her face as she looked at Quinn.“Maybe I‟ll find me a circus freak. I need a new target to check off the list.” Poppy jumped up fromthe porch chair and rushed inside to get ready for a night out. The carnival had been in full swing, up and running for about two weekends. This gave herthe excuse to trip on some acid while she was on her booze fast and to watch some interpretation of aCirque du Soleil-esque performance. The euphoric-induced state at this setting was sure to be thehighlight of her night. Arriving at the picturesque scene of a mid-October carnival ambiance, thegroup began to squander towards the ticket booth. The aromas of popcorn and funnel cakes filled thesite with an array of cliché festival music playing in the background from each ride. A myriad ofrides and the various booth vendors scattered the location. Taking a stroll through the eclectic crowd of adults, children, teenagers and the elderly,Poppy detoured towards the carousel. The feeling of going around in a constant steady motion puther under a sort of spell, in addition to keeping her high from a bad trip. The idea of constant moving,yet actually going nowhere was something that raided her attention span.
  • 5. Vital 5 Turning around she walked back towards Quinn and the boys. Her brother‟s eyes began tolight up—the infamous funhouse mirrors was in direct view. Poppy stood staring at the group ofchildren jumping up and down practically about to rip off Quinn‟s arm. “Before they start to whinethemselves, just go ahead in. One more muchkin who freaks out in public is in for a verbalwhooping. Like, no, you can‟t have another cotton candy. Why? Well because you‟re clearlybouncing off the walls like a raging hoard of baboons,” Poppy responded back. Quinn agreed and began to drift away toward the funhouse of mirrors with the group of boys.It‟s like these kids were completely compelled by shiny things. They ran into the illuminated hallwaylooking at non-proportional images of them giggling and laughing uncontrollably. “We‟ll meet youon the other side.” Quinn‟s voice loitered to Poppy‟s ears. Quinn knew that to Poppy the idea ofbeing stuck in a maze of bended mirrors mixed with a bunch of children gallivanting around on anacid high was not something she‟d like to experience. It gave her anxiety of an inevitable death froma classic slasher movie. She would wait for them at the exit. Ripping a piece of her cotton candy spool, she decided to kill time at one of the booths.Maybe she could win the kiddies one of those obnoxiously plushed and enormous animals. Handingthree dollars to the man dressed in red and white button-up shirt, she took her first swing at theeminent bottles stacked in a pyramid. “Go ahead, Miss, take a swing at it.” Miss. She was determinedto strike the bottles down. Taking a deep breath, she took a pitcher‟s stance and threw. Miss. Cursesshe thought, looking down at the sole ball she was struggling to pick up. Then a whistling noise flewby, followed by the sound of the empty bottles falling upon one another. Glancing behind her, she spotted a figure of a man. The sunlight peering behind him lookedquite picturesque as if he was surrounded by a glowing aura. “Way to be a douche. I could haveclearly knocked those bottles over,” she spat out at the male enigma. She was in awe; it was the guyshe claimed to name Jeremy.
  • 6. Vital 6 “That was quite an escape this morning, Ms. Houdini. Any other tricks up your sleeves?” Theolive skin-toned man with intense brown eyes seemed to view her every motion. Trying to hide herinitial shock of this morning‟s nude mystery male actually seeing her that day made her slightlyblush. “I had to leave this morning. Sorry I didn‟t tell you. I had some things to do on the agenda.”In the back of her mind, all she could think was: how could this guy seriously be standing in front ofher? Could she not have just left it as a simple one night-stand and keep it with no strings attached?She thought that she needed to construct a contract of some kind. That would be something completely out of the ordinary prior to sex. It would probably read:Before you begin, just sign at the dotted line. This just ensures that you won’t be emotionallyattached and when you see me in public places, the exchange of greetings and salutations aresufficient. She began to smirk, no wonder she had felt as if this guy had acted like a freak in bed. Hewas practically a self-made Carnie. All dressed up in a white button-down shirt covered with abuttoned vest with worn-in gray denim and suspenders. And to top off the ensemble a fedora lay onhis head. Dressed to the nines of what would seem to be carnival attire. With a confused look on Jeremy‟s face, he quickly changed his expression in midst to veerthe awkward conversation, “You should come see the fortune teller. She‟s my aunt. She‟ll probablygive you a free reading.” A free psychic reading—sure, it seemed fun. Knowing that Quinn and the children would bestuck in that monstrous trapped maze of mirrors for another fifteen minutes, Poppy began to walkwith Jeremy. Peering through crowd of the adjacent booths and rides, a lonesome vintage-coveredcaravan stood calm. “Aunt Sorina, I‟ve brought you a guest! She wants to have her reading done,”the brown-eyed man exclaimed. “Psychics and gypsies are nonsensical. It‟s a scam to take your money and for them to makeyou believe anything,” she said under her breath to Jeremy.
  • 7. Vital 7 He looked back and smiled, gesturing for her to step on up. The sign above had some sort of symbol language with the supposed translation underneath,Madame Sorina’s Psychic Readings. Entering the gypsy caravan, Poppy was instructed to sit andclear her mind. Madame Sorina began lighting the candles one by one, she began to chuckle and huma Romani tune. She drank from a silver chalice engraved with the same language as the front sign.“Dragon‟s blood. Synthetic, of course,” Sorina calmly spoke out, “Would you like to try?” “It‟s grape juice spiked with some vodka. It keeps her in-tune to the spirits.” Jeremy softlychuckled, then shut the caravan curtains and took a seat. Normally, something as peculiar as being offered some dragon‟s blood would be the firsttrigger to book it out of the stuffy caravan, but for the sake of Jeremy, Poppy just wanted to get thedeed done. Telling her some fancy mumbo-jumbo of the eminent future to foreshadow her lifeseemed to cliché. “No thanks, we‟re just here for a psychic reading.” Madame Sorina was a middle-aged woman, with fair skin and extremely frizzed out softbleach blonde hair. Her table where she did her readings was covered with the essentials: a crystalball, a set of Tarot cards, incense, candles, and some good luck charms. Madame Sorina extended herhand for Poppy‟s palm. Setting her hands on the table, Poppy asked, “Well, what do you see?” “Ah! Gunner, you bring me a pushy one. Why so eager to know your future, my dear?” Itwas not the matter of eagerness for the future, but the fact that Quinn was probably out of thefunhouse mirrors wandering the whole carnival for her with a group of rambunctious sugared-upchildren. Staring intensely at her opened palms, Madame Sorina began to gaze and outline themarkings of her hands. Some lines on her palms were pronounced, others not so much. However, adistinct marking began to trouble Sorina. It was evident in her stare; her eyes were caught in aclouded state of shock. Pursing her lips, she began to murmur some Romani gibberish. Furtheringthis insane and possibly drunken woman‟s outburst of foreign language, she mentioned, “You shall
  • 8. Vital 8seek the path to the man with no voice. Beneath the crystal stars, a lonely face will come upon amoonlit smile. Far away, the heart of this man beats alone.” Poppy, placed in a state of stupidity attempted to translate the confusing fortune. Havingenough of the mystical innuendos spitting out of this woman‟s mouth, Poppy eagerly rose andheaded towards the door thanking her drunken psychic. Sorina began her climactic spiel of hocuspocus. “Wait my dear, I haven‟t dealt your cards,” she shouted out to Poppy after mumbling aRomani chant of some sort—her eyes then lit up with a sense of urgency. She dealt two cards, a Queen and a three. “There is something amidst—a new character hascome into play,” Sorina said, “Heed my warning: the costume makes the clown.” Wow. A riddled fortune cookie analysis of her life that she would have to piece together inorder to seek her inner self, how this mocked her persona. Thanks, Madame Sorina, you justconfirmed that I believe you‟re a nutcase, Poppy thought to herself. “You don‟t believe me?” she asked Poppy. Then shifting her attention to her nephew, shesaid, “Gunner, why don‟t you show her around the grounds. She looks like she‟s in need of someair.” “I really should find my friend, she‟s probably looking for me,” Poppy said looking out toMadame Sorina, then shooting a stare back at the man, now, known as Gunner. Trying not to be rude,Poppy again thanked the gypsy woman for her time and eccentric talents and walked out of thecaravan. As the night drew in, she sat on the carousel with Quinn. Gunner had returned to the mainoffice of the carnival, apparently he worked alongside of his aunt bringing in the business. “A psychic lady, huh? Oh, whatever. It was a free reading. At least this Miss Cleo wannabedidn‟t mention that you‟d become an unmarried cat lady harboring families of felines,” Quinn repliedafter she caught up with Poppy‟s carnival adventures. “I‟m going to head home. These kids are in for
  • 9. Vital 9a rude awakening once their parents see them. Thanks for tagging along with the boys and me; Iappreciate you helping out. Hopefully their sugar high will crash the moment they get to theirhouses.” “I‟m going to take another spin around the carousel,” Poppy answered hugging her friendgoodbye. She sat in solitude. Is it true what they say, „Is it all just fun and games? Or is there morebehind the make up and the faces full of paint?‟ “Psst!” A noise came from behind her. It was Gunner. “You‟re really taking part of being one of them mysterious Carnies,” Poppy mentioned. Thecarousel ride began to slowly shut down and the lights dimmed. Gunner instructed her to follow. Thisis exactly what Poppy didn‟t want to happen. Was her horrible slasher movie theory was about tocome true before her eyes? Running over towards the main tent, Gunner sat on a side bench taking hits of a joint hepulled from his pocket. “Come join me. The stars are out and the moon is glowing,” he said. Taking a seat next to him, Poppy asks, “Do you really believe in that psychic stuff? Like, doyou actually think your aunt has these psychic abilities?” “She‟s a woman of intuition. She speaks for the cards; you‟re the one who picks your fate.It‟s not like she can read your mind or something.” Looking up at the sky, he exhaled smoke. “Bloodon the moon; quick, come with me.” The moon was full and bright; however, it had a red ring aroundit. It felt almost creepy to be hanging around a carnival site late at night, but that panic made herheart rush. The high was setting in; it was like a rush of adrenaline relaxing her body. But now shewas off running after Gunner into the woods. Trying to keep up with the carnival-dressed man withthe lantern as their only light source. The light began to flicker and Gunner was out of sign. In hermind, Poppy could see it now on tomorrow‟s headlines „Girl Found Dead at Local Carnival‟.Looking deeper into the woods, she then began to smell an aroma of fire burning. She walked
  • 10. Vital 10towards the wood-burning smell that led to an opening in the middle of the woods. Madame Sorina‟scaravan stood in plain sight along with a clan of gypsies around a bonfire. They sat there laughing,cracking jokes, and cheering. The whirlwind of smoke and alcohol engulfed the senses. Poppy‟sintense dream was about to come to life; she awaited the eminent death stares from the Carnie folk. Taking a breath, realizing that her dream of intense stares peering into her soul was not aboutto take place, she stood outside the caravan for Gunner. Running in and out of the caravan, Gunnercame out holding a leather stringed necklace with stone as a pendant. “It‟s a tiger‟s eye stone. Callme superstitious, but whenever I see blood on the moon, I like to have tiger‟s eye on me. It‟ll bringyou insight and help your mind focus. Also, it‟s a good luck charm.” The stone had different hues ofbrown swirled and stacked in a marbled finish. He put it on her and smiled. Joining the group of Bohemian laughter and celebration, Poppy was introduced to thecarnival‟s main attractions. Poppy gazed from across the fire and took note of Gunner laughing withhis fellow Carnies. There was something about his smile. Something inside Poppy made her thinkthat she was really beginning to develop a deeper connection with this boy. Looking down at thestone around her neck, she took this as fate brought Gunner back to her for a second chance. Later, after the party had subsided Gunner escorted Poppy home. The walk was serene withchirps of crickets playing a midnight song. Arriving at her apartment, Poppy gently kissed Gunner onthe cheek and thanked him for making the end of her night enjoyable. Gunner slightly blushed. “I‟ll see you around, maybe one day you‟ll join me as a Carny,”Gunner replied playfully. He gave her a smile and began to walk back to the carnival site. Walkinginto the house and shutting the door, she could see Gunner in the distance as the moon lit up asilhouette profile. Couple weeks had gone by and the carnival had packed up their buoyant set up and begantheir travelling routine. She wanted to see Gunner again. No other guy has ever made her feel like
  • 11. Vital 11she was that special. Or maybe because this was the first guy that she had ever really talked to. Sheheld tight onto the necklace, hoping that she would one day run into Gunner in town. The days progressed and Poppy started to feel ill. She wondered that maybe Autumn‟sallergies we getting the best of her. Although, her sudden cravings for foods satisfied her every nowand again mood swings, she always found herself at the head of a toilet bowl. Flush. It was awful,she was beginning to think that these allergies were way too intense for her to handle. All was calm and still. The breeze of the new November air swayed through her room fromher open window. Beep, beep, beep. Poppy‟s phone went psychotic with a seizing alarm. She had seta reminder to meet up with Quinn for a mini brunch date. Standing up, she looked at her calendar.She realized that she was late. Suddenly, her unexpected infirmity made some sort of sense—was shepregnant? Rushing to the toilet, she prepared for the impending morning sickness. Quickly rushing toget ready and meet with Quinn she realized that to drop this Steinway of a surprise began to filterthrough her mind. On her way to the bistro, she contemplated her next move. The baby daddy was atravelling Carny with no means of communication. Then it hit her, Madame Sorina‟s fortune,rambled through her subconscious. She tried to remember her reading; it involved: a man with novoice, the stars and the moon and a lonely man‟s heart from far away. Along with the impendingwarning that „a costume makes the clown‟ also rocked in her mind into a state of bewilderment. Shewas about to breakdown and cry. Did she all of a sudden believe in fortune telling? She felt like shewas a clown; a clown, now, that was apparently harboring some cirque man‟s baby. The following day, she researched the carnival. Hoping to find some dates and locations ofthe next carnival, she found that there was an upcoming carnival event a couple towns south thisweekend. She was now determined to find Gunner. Now, not only to share the news that he is all shereally thought about since she went to the carnival, but that inside her a child was to be born.
  • 12. Vital 12Gathering some travel essentials, she was on her way to venture to the adjacent town. Embracing hercall to become a Carnie, she drove off humming the jingles of the circus tunes. What would she say when she was to actually be face to face with him? She contemplatedand worked out almost every possible scenario. The „Oh, hey… By the way, I‟m carrying your babyand I think I‟m in love with you‟ card read a little too much into the desperate baby mama. Poppywas on a mission. She just figured that once she saw Gunner, she would know what to say.Hopefully. A couple days went by and still no sight of the carnival. Her roadtrip to find this travellingcircus was getting inevitable. Not even hints of its temporary residency—usually the scattered flyersand remnants of popcorn kernels would fill the grounds of the town. Beginning to think she was outof luck she noticed that there was a run-down magic shop down the road. She pulled up off the roadand took a step out of the car. The area was like a deserted town. She paused waiting for theinfamous tumbleweed to stroll along in front of her. Walking into kitschy magic shop, she asked thehalf-deaf man in suspenders if he‟s seen a carnival in town or knew of Madame Sorina. Looking inconfusion the man opened his mouth, but silent words came from his mouth. He then gestured toaround the shop and smiled a happy smile. Poppy, confused as ever decided it wouldn‟t hurt to checkthe back parking lot. In utter amazement she laughed inside for the silent man had actually directedher to Madame Sorina‟s caravan itself. Headed towards the caravan, her hands were clammy and a rush of adrenaline seemed to gether heart racing. This was it. Out from the caravan curtains Gunner appeared; he then paused lookingat her. Poppy let out a sigh of relief that her search had ended and let out a smile back to Gunther.The silence that erupted was a bit awkward for Poppy to handle; then she began to break the ice. About to speak out, Poppy felt such a severe rushed feeling that seemed to have droppedright through her. Gunner was now headed towards her with a panicked look. His panicked lookedturned to a worrisome display of emotions that read clearly on his face. Why was he acting so weird?
  • 13. Vital 13Then as she clutched the tiger‟s eye around her neck, she looked down to see vivid drips of bloodseeping through her white-laced dress. The mood grew gloomy and the all she could do was stare athim running towards her. Poppy went into a state of shock. Almost about to loose her breath she knelt down on theground clutching the dirt in her hands as tears rolled down her face. All this way and she did notthink of this scenario. She was looking forward to actually getting to know Gunner and actuallysettling down in her carousel life. Gunner had rushed over and began to soothe her patting her back.He yelled out for Madame Sorina to appear. Poppy‟s vision now began to cloud and she feverishly started to fade off into faint. Last shesaw were the caravan curtains being drawn back by Madame Sorina. Stepping down from thecaravan steps, she held her deck of cards. All Poppy could think was that her efforts to actuallyfinding love was wasted and spoiled by this shocking event. She was but a clown in this twisted lovestory.