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.
© 2006 Judy Tomaini Rock, All Rights
Published with the permission of Judy
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