Tonight the flaming hoops story is new. The tigers have rewritten the script.
The vampires can feel something is up. They swarm to the ticket office.
The tent has a maximum capacity.
This is one show no one is keen to miss.
No one will miss it. It will be pirated and sold on.
That is always the way. They will make the copy worthwhile.
This night, yesss, this one, there will be blood.
A great deal of blood.
The ringmaster just doesn’t know it yet.
The lions have yet to weigh in.
They have thus far remained silent, detached.
That is the luxury of a lion’s say-so in today’s world.
Watch out for what the lions discuss when no one is watching.
They have evolved from circus freaks into machines bred for the bullet.
How advanced is Natural technology? They are under no illusions.
They will always be King of the Jungle.
Go and ask Mowgli. He will tell you what is what.
The vampires bring their progeny to a show such as this.
It is worth the corruption of their young souls.
To see the wild win for a change will lift morale.
The children will bay like wolves. It is their instinct.
The dogs will not perform well if their slot is after that of the cats.
The baying of wolves will unsettle their senses.
For the first time, they will feel divided. It makes sense to divide a pack.
It confuses the master.
The Master. The vampires snigger into their sleeves.
Now that was funny.
What would excite the patrons was the blood-trade spectacle.
It would bring the animals’ eyes alive. It would be best if the hoops were afire.
That would add atmosphere.
If the ringmaster left the gate ajar, that would add atmosphere.
Once he was dead, beheaded, what stood between the angry cats and man?
Vampires in human form die human deaths. That was the dare.
It was their choice to visit the circus on a wild Friday night.
At moonrise it will become clear who sleeps, who wakes.
The tigers have made sure of that.
The fact that the ringmaster came back disappoints many of the circus performers.
Their sentence seemed shorter the other way, when the circus ran itself.
Not to worry. After the cats come the clowns.
They would make everyone smile. It was their job.
They were paid to clown around, so they must clown.
They had better bring the house down.
If they failed, they would be fired. A simple understanding between puppets and master.
Master. The clowns grumble his status into cupped palms that they fling wide, sideways.
They throw out the name with determination. A curse to be rid of.
Send it out. Out. OUT. There is no space in the tent for curses.
The animals can hear their dense man-whispers. The hiss of spit hitting dry hands.
Circus people were superstitious with good reason. Be careful what you summon.
The curses must stay outside.
They are on the naughty step until they learn the first aspect of values.
The gypsy sits outside in her painted caravan. It rests on the backs of two pitch horses.
The red looks good against their black.
She reads for people. Whoever, whatever. She follows the circus and she speaks out.
‘Cross my palm with gold,’ is what she wants to say, with a wink.
She says deadpan, ‘Five bucks, fifty.’
It is not just the wild animals whose eyes have died.