Flea Circuses

     by Judy Tomaini Rock

 


All the Circus was, in our sideshow, was a card table, set up in the show tent, with a bright light so the people could see the Chariot races, and the fleas making the little rides move.

As far as I know, we never had a name for it, just referred to it as the flea circus.

 

At the time we had the biggest sideshow in the business, and the more my Dad could offer the people the better. Instead of one person doing all the acts, there was a different performer for each act. The best in the business worked for us. My Dad paid well, and was very good to the help.

 

Some of the more generic acts, like the flea circus, had several different people that could fill in at any given time, so if one didn't show up at the last minute, someone else could take over.

 

My Dad learned early on, not to have a alcoholic work the fleas. When you are working them they are set up on your arm, to be better seen, while there, they tend to take little snacks from time to time. If the Ringmaster has been drinking a lot, the fleas would pick up the fruit of the vine, along with the snack. The poor little fleas would get drunk and either die on the spot, or just walk around real slow till they died.

 

That was a sure way of telling if the help was drinking on the job. That was the reason it was non drinkers that got the Ringmaster job.

 

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