It was her vibrant contralto that made her such a valuable addition to the circus. That, and her winning smile and ability to transform into any form suggested by random members of the audience. Rock, waterfall, leopard, begonia, soup spoon… All was possible. (Once, to the audience’s horror, some idiot called out “skunk.”)
The Ringmaster permitted only three transformations a night. He felt more would be detrimental to her health. Transformation was an exhausting process, even for her, to whom it came so naturally. In any case, three, the Ringmaster maintained, had scientifically been proven to be a lucky number.
Not so lucky if you were Snow White, argued one of the tightrope walkers, but he was well known as a troublemaker, and we all knew that story turned out fine in the end.
The little boy should never have been admitted. Everyone is now agreed on that, even if at first some said it was all her own fault. She’d always been able to transform back to herself before, they said, how was the kid to know it would be any different that night? Others blamed the Ringmaster. Why had he not told the little boy that ‘evaporating water’ could not be considered a form?
Although her delightful smile is lost to us now, her vibrant contralto can still occasionally be heard, especially on sparkling winter days and certain spring and fall nights.
Some people – the cynics and government officials – refuse to believe the song is hers. They demand firm, hard evidence. Where’s the photo? The recording? Where’s the proof?
But whenever there’s a reported hearing, it’s impossible for us to restrain ourselves.
We all – cynics and government officials included – pull on our boots and coats and ear muffs and swarm out into the streets, almost skipping with excitement.
We hardly dare breathe. We speak in whispers. The air shimmers.
Yes! Listen! Do you hear?
Big Top – Cirque du Soleil, Montréal Vieux Port; Ringmaster – The Invisible Circus, Bristol.
2016 is my Year of the Blurt: quick-writes starting with something tangible, something I can see, smell, taste or hear or touch in that moment. I’ve challenged myself to post one every Thursday through the year!
Please note: all material on this website, except for comments by others, are © Susi Lovell.