Come one, come all! Come see the freaks of nature survive in a world they didn’t create! See the man who can communicate only through his taste buds attempt to navigate a world of sound! Laugh as the human camel frolics among the clover! Shock as a child no older than the sun burns you with ice the color of joy!
Thank you, ma’am, thank you! Two bits, sir, and yes, thank you! Step this way, and step lively! Into the tent!
I hope you all have iron-clad stomachs, for tonight, I shall show you wonders!
…I said, wonders!
Mel. Psst, Mel! You’re supposed to let the freaks out!
What do you mean, I never wrote them in?
Ladies and gentlemen, my apologies, it seems the freaks are bashful tonight! Give me just a moment!
Mel, you better have a good reason for me to step out of the ring and backstage here! What do you mean? Of course I wrote them in. Created them out of syllables strung together with magic! Just like always! Look in the back, behind the stack of half-written novels. Or dig them out of Barrelbottom. You remember that old thing, right? Yeah!
You already tried?
Give me a moment. I need to think.
OK, Mel, go out there and pretend to be a freak. I don’t know. Anything. Try talking about your baseball card collection from the 80’s. When I come back out, I’ll tell them you’re the Amazing Narcalepto, the man who can put anyone to sleep.
Don’t give me that look. Just get out there or we won’t get paid tonight!
OK, think, man, think! This should be easy, right? To come up with a cast of characters to entertain. You’ve done this how many times? Just dream up something the masses of the Midway have never spied, have never dreamed, have never imagined before. All I have to do is conjure them out of my head and onto this blog and all the people reading will oo and ah. Smash them together and see what rainbows and sparks ooze out. Simple as can be.
It’s supposed to be simple to do the magic. It used to be.
Have you noticed? My tall, tall hat droops.
You see, when I trudge home from the festivities of the Midway, I return to the home of the worldseed. I’ve told you about her before. Brave little soul. I’ve renamed her the Wrath, though. She screams like nothing else, my daughter, day and night and sometimes through breakfast, too. Do you know what that kind of screaming does to a showman? It drives him mad. And not the good kind of mad, either.
His wife, too, but don’t mention that to Helen. She knows it, of course, but she might pluck out the irises from your eyes to place on her pet ladybugs.
Yes, yes, this showman is tired. And the creation of worlds has suffered as a result. I finish my dayjob (which I do write about here if you’re curious) and come home and instead of heading out to the Midway for the creation of worlds, I hold a screaming terror whose clean diaper and full belly is not enough.
And today the dog shat all over the carpet.
(Yes, I realize the Midway is meant to be a family place, but when a dog goes all over, there is no more appropriate word. And I am always appropriate.)
This showman is dried up. The words are dust and charcoal. The worlds are faded. The tall, tall hat droops.
The crowd is getting anxious in the tent. I had better create something. Mel seems to have decided to pretend to be a lion tamer, but there is little as pathetic as a lion tamer without lions, unless it is a writer without words. I cannot tame what I cannot create, and I cannot fashion worlds without neurons to direct their creation.
Sleep is necessary for a writer.
My friends, I am afraid I must throw Mel to the lions, which in this case is the crowd, because he has no real lions to tame.
I am sure I am making sense to someone.
Meanwhile, I shall sneak out under the tent and out into the night air. I must be away to get home. The Wrath needs holding lest my Bride throw her to snarling wolves.
And I’m not sure how much of that is story and how much of that is truth.