Aphelion Issue 277, Volume 26
October 2022
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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 way.

Sometimes you just start doing something and you see what happens.

                                                                                                          THE  END

2015 Andrew Condouris

Bio: Andrew 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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