By Andrew Condouris
It was Freddie told me about the
Globe of Death.
We snuck into the big tent and saw
it standing there with nothing doing. He explained how it worked. Then
he opened it and we stood inside in the middle of the Globe wondering
how the hell you got three cycles in there running round but they did
it somehow. And it was a week later they advertised a spot. One of
their riders went and died of an aneurysm. Freddie said that it was a
way out of here if I showed them what I could do. When it came down to
it, I was the best there was around and they were down a rider. So, I
went and got the job after showing them what I could do.
So, I get myself up in there in
that Globe of Death and Ivette stands there in the middle. That’s how I
come to know her. From the act. Yeah, me and Trigger and Gary Fowler
would do circles around her and she would just stand there with her
hands on her hips looking like she belonged in some lucky guy’s kitchen
cooking him a chicken dinner. Or maybe she belonged on a stage singing
a song. I don’t know. She belonged everywhere is what I’m getting at.
Anyhow, she just stood there in the middle of the madness and it wasn’t
bravery that had her there. It was the safety she felt with us doing
loops all around her. “Like a blanket around my shoulders” she called
it. Something wild made her calm, I guess.
Over a drink one night she told me
her fear. “Sometimes I see these flashes of light coming out of
people’s eyes and ears and noses and mouths like flashbulbs. It gets so
I can’t take it. But I don’t see it coming out of you, Billy.” Yeah, I
knew I had some kind of light inside but I’d hid it on account of all
those beatings my father gave me. He never went after me and beat me
when I hid my light away. Yeah, I guess I figured there was a better
life for me if I hid that light away and never shared it with anyone. I
could do things without it. I could steal from a store and I could
steal from those nice houses out on the borderline. With no light to
show, God couldn’t rightly spot me. But Ivette could see me like no one
else could and I could see her just fine.
Ivette got close to me. Yeah, I
was her confidante. We weren’t lovers, though, and this burned me up
inside. Made it to ache at night when I slept all alone with my love
for her. And it seemed that the more I hid my love, the more she
confided in me. She told me about Trigger, about how his soul shone
like a bonfire in the dead of night and she couldn’t stand the sight of
him and he was always yapping about his feelings for her and whatnot.
And she couldn’t stand this burning light he had for her.
But the farther away from my home
the circus got, the more my light started to sing. I just couldn’t help
it. And it got so I couldn’t hide it from her. So, when we made it back
around to home the following year, I went and saw the Cat Lady and she
helped me to get rid of the light. She took me for a walk and led me
down to this storm tunnel leading under the highway. I thought she made
to hex me or something, but all she did was look into my eyes with her
cat eyes and she kissed me, sealed me up with some kind of magic.
I woke up in the morning like I’d
dreamt the whole thing up. I got out of bed and put on some Dolly
Parton records, but it was like someone took the salt off a pretzel.
Now there was no salt, no taste, no nothing. When I closed my eyes, I
just saw the darkness and nothing much else. All the sounds of the
world went flat and empty.
So, I went and saw Ivette to show
her what I was all about now. But something had changed in her and I
tried to get at it but it was no use. She was different altogether.
Some new thingness in her. I asked her What’s Up? And she said Trigger
had done something to her, made her to see the light of the Lord, made
her to see the beauty inside of him. Or some such line like that. I
laughed and I cried. I didn’t know a man could do them both together
and come to the same thing. I was all busted up like I fell from way up
high, hit the ground and cracked wide open, and now I’m something else.
Something you move about in the darkness while you sleep.
So, I left the show and came back
home with my tail between my legs. I got this crazy idea in my head
that I wanted to grow a garden, but Mom told me I'd never be able to
keep it. She said the trailers were gardens, but instead of plants we
were growing families; I should marry a lucky girl and grow a family. I
thought that was bullshit. I hate families. In fact, I hate people in
general now. I just love plants because they know how to be what they
are. So, Ma died and I was left this trailer and all I wanna do now is
grow the garden but I don’t know where the hell to start. So, I thought
about it and thought about it and I realized there was no one right
Sometimes you just start doing
something and you see what happens.
© 2015 Andrew Condouris
Condouris lives in Lawrenceville, New Jersey with his wife, a
mischievous cat named Lester and a histrionic dog named Pilot.
E-mail: Andrew Condouris
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