The Still of the Circus Morning

The next morning I was up and free of the house before anyone else had stirred.  I drove down to the Hamilton Place, where Fuco and Meg had set up camp.   I needed to kill some time before confronting Peter Bingham; Fuco was a pleasant diversion.

As I pulled up I saw Fuco out walking Tristan.  The lion frolicked on the unkempt field under a backdrop of Mississippi green.

‘Hello, my friend,’ Fuco said as I climbed from the battered truck.

‘How’s it going?  Where’s Meg?’

‘Asleep, my friend.  The absinthe has gone to her head and she has not yet woken.’

‘Well how do you like the spot?’  I nodded toward the open field.  There had once been crops in this field—mostly cotton—but now it was overrun with kudzu and scrub brush.

‘It is ideal.  See how Tristan plays?  He communes with the spirit of this place.’

‘So you gonna give me a preview of the show?’

‘You will see soon, my friend.  Very soon.  My children will reveal it to you in all their majesty.  Soon, we will unveil this new show to the world, to the amazement of all.’

‘You said you had a new format.’  With his thumb and his pointer finger the lion tamer twisted his moustache in glee.

‘Yes.  Very new.  I am borrowing from William Shakespeare.’  I nodded, unsure if this was a good thing.

‘There’s a lot of excitement,’ I said.  ‘They’ve never had a circus in Poscataw before.  Aunt Faye even bought a ticket.’

‘The show will justify her love and trust.’

‘You know,’ I said, changing the subject, ‘I’m sorry about the other day.  The fight and all.’  Fuco waved his hand dismissively.

‘She is blessed with a spirit, that Helen.  That is why I believe, under the bigtop, she would be a star.’

‘Either that or she’d ruin your circus.’  I wondered if Helen had woken yet and discovered I was gone.

‘It would be a show, that is not in doubt.  My friend, I believe I saw your friends in the city.’

‘Marty and Monty?’  Fuco nodded.  ‘Yeah they’re laying low for a while.  Staying down at a hotel.  They wanted to see your show.’

‘When I saw them…’  Fuco wrinkled his forehead and his beard bunched up.  ‘One pushed a wheelbarrow, while the other rode.’

‘Sounds like them.  Where was this?’

‘They ran down the freeway.  I believe they were laughing.  Or perhaps those were tears.’


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