They always ate Italian railway stations.

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Copyright © 2007, Michael M Wayman

Jeff came that evening, unexpectedly as usual. Jeff was Jim's best friend, the two of them were always together before I married Jim four years ago. “Oh, why don't you go out and get some pizzas?” No need to ask, they always ate Italian railway stations.

After driving south for three hours I pulled into the side of the road, locked the doors and fell asleep. The next day I drove south until I reached the coast. I got a job working in a small restaurant serving the holidaymakers, I worked with other young people, I shared an apartment with them, it was a lot of fun. I needed time to get my head screwed back into the right place on my shoulders and pointing in the right direction.

The car was stolen, I never saw it again. I took the ferry and crossed the sea. It was warmer there. I walked along the beach and saw a big crowd of children gathered round a clown. I watched too, he was very funny. Afterwards I walked up to the clown and talked to him. “You must come from a circus.” “Oh, yes, that is true. Would you like to see the circus?”

There was no big top, but “you do want to see the animals, don't you? The big top is all packed up. We wanted to perform here for a week, but somehow our permit has been cancelled, so we are just waiting. Perhaps we will get that piece of paper tomorrow.” The animals looked unhappy too.

He showed me his trailer, the circus folk call it a caravan. “I bought it off that old lady over there. Her husband, a lion tamer I think, died two years back and she had to give up her caravan and live with her daughter and son-in-law, the circus people are very close, they don't really accept me.”

The news came, there was a permit, but in a different town, we had to drive there that night, the first performance was on the next day. We drove through the night with the trailer, it took hours, we had something to eat, I put my arms round him and fell asleep.

I made myself useful, I mucked out the animals, though not the lions. I found a heavy duty sewing machine in the trailer. “Do you know how to use it?” I started to mend costumes for all the performers, there was a lot to do. I designed and made new uniforms for the members of the band, the circus folk accepted me now, though a pair of parents and another pair of grandparents in the circus would have helped.

I never thought that I would one day run off with the circus, but it was true. It was hard work and it made me happy. After two years I found a cupboard in the trailer which I had never seen before, inside was a pale blue dinner jacket, matching trousers and top hat, and a gold lamé leotard and top hat.

I had seen someone in a white DJ on the TV once, but pale blue? “Yes, I've got a pink one too. I think that the leotard will fit you.” I tried it on, I felt very silly, he looked at me. “Yes, very good, you look very sexy in it.”

We left the circus and drove to another country, his country where he was very well known. “The first rehearsals are tomorrow.” Did I look different in gold, heavy make-up and a huge hairdo. It was not easy learning to be a big sexy girl with no brain.

My job was to take the candidates to the quiz master, he of the pink DJ, who asked them stupid questions, and to give the prizes to the candidates and to help them off the stage. All this without speaking, just smiling. The TV programme “Have you got a brain!” ran very successfully for two seasons before my brain started to work again.

I decided that it was time for me to make decisions for myself. I asked him “why don't we have children?” The famous quiz master looked at me and said “OK!”

Have you read Swin and Swout and Mrs Happy?