“The circus is coming to town!” the kids shouted.
It was nice to hear that sort of thing these days. With videogames and the Internet, wholesomeness like kids getting excited by the circus coming to town was refreshing.
Of course, nobody was looking forward to the circus itself, but what happened while the circus was in town.
Stampeding elephants down Main Street.
Murder-suicides among the sideshow freaks.
Food poisoning scares on the Midway.
And just because you can stuff twenty drunk clowns into a sedan, it doesn’t mean everybody gets a seatbelt.
You can’t fault the EMTs for laughing, though.
Russia denies it was a stunt for desperately-needed cash. “How do spacewalk weddings work?” is legitimate research in their opinion.
“Bullshit!” NASA seethed, but it’s all fair game in the partnership contract.
The Sultan wore a specially-made Tuxedo-suit. In reality, it was just standard cosmonaut’s gear painted black with tails and a bowtie.
The bride’s gown was an elaborate sculpture of gossamer and a mile-long glittering silk train.
Dazzling, it was.
When the preacher said “You may now kiss the bride,” The Sultan lifted his visor and unlocked his helmet seal.
The Russians shrugged. The fool had paid in advance.
Every day at noon, I head down to Harry’s Hotdog Cart for a footlong with mustard, sauerkraut, and relish.
“The usual, Sam?” asked Harry.
“Work your magic, Harry,” I said.
Harry smiled and waved his tongs.
The man’s a hotdog wizard, I tell you.
Just as Harry handed me his latest masterpiece, a scream came from above. And then WHAM!!!! a red blur smashed into the cart, scattering bottles and buns everywhere.
I picked myself up and looked at a woman sprawled across the cart.
Red dress. Dark hair.
“No cutting in line, bitch!” I yelled.
Up in the North, no faerie can resist the call. The blazing sun sings to them, leaving other merriment to the all-too-brief night.
But down in Tierra del Fuego, unlucky faeries toss newspaper scraps in their tiny fire pit and huddle around the flames.
“This is s-s-s-s-s-stupid,” chattered Mugwort, rubbing his hands.
“Let’s dance,” said Flitwicket. “It might warm us up.”
“Eurocentric b-b-b-b-b-bastards,” grumbled Mugwort. “Why’d they change the schedule?”
“Something about a bulk discount on Pixie Dust,” said Flitwicket. “Thank bureaucracy. Someone needs to frolic his frowns away.”
Eyes narrowed. Delicate throats growled.
Flitwicket sparked nicely on the flame.
He wasn’t really her father. He was just some bum she’d picked up off the street.
She did this every year – picking up a bum, washing him up, putting him in her father’s old clothes, filling him with liquor, and then letting him sleep it off.
Hopefully, the bum would attack her. Just like all the others.
She’d scream “Happy Father’s Day!” through the pain.
Exhausted, she would try to forgive him for it all. She needed this.
At sunset, she’d cut his throat and bury him in the back yard. Just like all the others.
And her father.
The trembling from Parkinson’s dissipated, itself a victim of the destruction HIV was doing throughout his body.
The machines kept him going. Until…
They found the account numbers.
He was gone.
And then he was back.
Yasser looked around.
No Paradise. No seventy-two virgins. No throne of Allah.
“What is this madness?” he wanted to say.
It came out as: “Chitter!”
Yasser scampered out of his knot-hole, down his tree, and he looked in the pond.
He looked around, and saw a squirrel in a tiny wheelchair.
He blamed the Jews, and declared a jihad. For…
Buddy Lee grew up.
Nobody expected him to, but as with all little boys, he did.
And he grew up fast. He outgrew his dungarees quickly, and the company no longer needed him as a spokesman.
He hit the streets hard, All those years of getting knocked around made him angry.
They made him crazy.
Buddy roamed the world, looking for people wearing those dungarees.
He swore an oath that if there was anything left of his victims, they’d be buried in them.
That’s why I wear a kilt. Buddy ignores kilt-wearers.
And I’ve got the knees for it, too.
As Halloween approached, Dana made a robe, tunic, and headdress of the feathers, stapling and gluing them into place.
She tried them on and turned in front of the mirror.
“Perfect,” she said.
“What are you doing?” asked Toby, her little brother.
“I’m going to be Queztocoatl,” said Dana. “This will get me lots of candy.”
“You look like a Las Vegas hooker,” said Toby.
“How would you know?” said Dana. “You’ve been watching all the blocked channels again! MOM! MOM!”
He lit a match and tossed it at his sister.
“Now you’re the Burning Bush,” said Toby.