With The Big Circus Sideshow
Hello, eveybody. Here's an account of my
day at The Big Circus Sideshow, if you're interested. Up here in
Montana opportunities to see something like this are pretty rare
and I know some of you folks reading this have probably never
made it out to see an honest to goodness sideshow.
In real life I am a nursing student and with one semester to go
until I get my RN I've been exploring options for once I get out
in the real world. (Options that do not always include
medicine.) So, I've been asking around different freak shows
about what employment is like. That's how I initially got in
touch with The Curator of the Unusual, Mr. Jim Zajicek. We
talked a bit via The Café' and I hopped at the invitation to
come check out his show while it was on its way through Montana.
I pulled into The Montana State Fair, given a warm welcome by
Mr. Zajicek, given a tour of his show and the many oddities it
contains, and introduced to the animal attractions. (If you ever
get a chance to, go see it!) Afterwards I was introduced to the
staff, all very nice people.
I admit to some trepidation; before that day I had never met
another fire-eater besides my teacher. (Kinda few and far
between up here.) I was glad to learn that I fit right in and
held my own, skill-wise. I was even given some wonderful
pointers on sword swallowing by Richard, a performer who's
routine involved swallowing a sword and juggling with it down
his throat (and a fire act, too boot.)
The stories had to have been the best part; I hung out next to
the ticket booth most of the day just talking with whichever
staff member happened to be there. One of the guys, Racetrack,
seemed like he'd been doing this literally forever. (It was
later confirmed to me that yes, he had in fact been doing this
for an eternity.) And he had the stories to prove it...
After wandering the fair for a bit and ingesting some
wonderful/horrible carnival food I came back to the sideshow and
was given a backstage tour; the trailers (beautiful), the
portable shower, the equipment (including handmade automatic
stake drivers and pullers), the staff's living quarters... Mr.
Zajicek was adamant that I see how his staff lived like normal
people and not like stereotypical drugged up carnies, crashed
under trailers and living day to day by fleecing spectators.
As evening wore on I was invited to grab my torches and play
around for a while. Jay, a “cagey” magician by nature even
offered me a chance to take the stage, do my fire routine, and
make a couple of pitches. I sold a grand total of one books,
Anyway, it was a lot of fun and I was made to feel very at home.
Heck, half of the reason why I am writing this is because I did
not know what to expect and I wager a fair share of you don't
know, either. Time and time again, people “warned” me of nasty,
sleazy, drugged up freaks living like animals...
Instead, all I met were genuinely nice, interesting, and
impressive human beings.
So thanks guys, it was an experience and a half; I hope I'm
lucky enough to end up in a troupe like yours.
Eric the Excellent
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