Picture Perfect 73

Picture Perfect 73

A car pulled into the park lot. On the roof was an illuminated taxi sign that had been repainted with a crude rending of a donairs on one side and Dumphy’s on the other.

He paid for it, tipped generously, as it was Quintex money anyway. He sat at one of the picnic tables outside the breakfast diner and ate the meal. It tasted better when he didn’t have to see it. 

Cameron came out of the dark. “I’ll have to speak to Baxter about this place. Those cabins are rough. I don’t what it is about them but I can’t stand being in one for more than an hour before I’m ready to climb the walls.”

“Ditto.”

“Funny what people will do to get in the credits for a TV show.”

“How so?”

“Locations swung a deal with places. In return for discount, or in this case free, they get mentioned in the credits for the show.’

“Like catering by so and so.”

“Exactly but no catering service is stupid enough to give food away for credits that they know full well no one reads. Owners here didn’t know that. Baxter convinced them it would be good for the tourist trade. We have to shoot an interview here in return.

Dan laughed. “You should be filming me now eating out here. I can move so the sign is over my shoulder.”

“Don’t have a night vision camera.”

“One think to be thankful for or we’d be skulking around at night with Jennifer Devereaux looking for the emanations of the departed.”

“Keep that one to yourself or we’ll end up doing just that.” Cameron gave a little laugh. “Seriously, can I ask you something?”

“Uncut. Versatile?” Dan said.

“What!” Cameron laughed. “No. Never mix work with play. What do you think happened to those children? You always ask that question so I was wondering what you think?”

“I think they are dead.”

“Yes but I mean what happened to their bodies? One never being found I can understand but not this many.”

“Bones have been found in the strangest of places decades centuries after the fact.”

“So you think they are in some cave somewhere? Or in a freezer in someone’s basement?”

“That’s a question you should ask Jennifer. When I was in the Force I never dealt with a cold case of this type. Here we’re trying to make connections as we sift though data, not bones.”

“Baxter would crap his pants if we found remains somewhere though wouldn’t he? In some farmer’s field.”

“There are no unplowed fields in this area, trust me.”

‘Yeah, but you know what I mean.”

“Yes I know. Don’t give him any ideas though or some unidentified remains are likely to show up. There enough drama going on now.”

“Unidentified Remains – sound like a great show title.” Cameron got up from the table. “See you in the morning.”

<>

Winston Chamberlain was waiting for them in the Circus Museum parking lot.

“We’re closed on Monday’s” he said. “But Baxter was so insistent I said I’d talk with you today just to shut him up. We’ll go in the side way. Fewer locks to deal with.”

Inside he gave Cameron a quick tour of the various exit halls and the rides.

“Choice stuff. Let’s sit you two here.” Cameron said. “I can get that merry-go-round frmm one side of you, the Hippo Dog stand from the other.”

“This is to be an interview?” Winston asked. “I thought you just want to check this out for locations.”

“It shouldn’t take too long.” Cameron said.”We never know when we’ll get something we can use.”

“Don’t I have to sign some sort of release.” Winston brushed his hair flat. “How do I look.”

“I have release forms here in my equipment bag.” Cameron rummaged in it and pulled out some forms.

Winston read them over.

“Its really standard stuff.” Cameron explained. “We can’t use this in any other context except the show. If you divulge anything relating to illegal activities we have to inform the authorities.”

“Okay.” He signed where Cameron indicated. 

“Your family owned the Happy Hippo Carnivals?” Dan began.

“Yes.” Winston’s expression changed as the camera started. His irritated smile quickly became garrulous & inviting.

“This museum is a way of preserving them.”

“That’s right Dan. All of the exhibits come from my Father’s need to accumulate. He was a sort of circus hoarder. He couldn’t throw anything away.”

“You worked in the carnival as a boy?”

“Yes. I spent a few summers with the tours. I learned all about the Hippo from the ground up because my dad wanted me to take it over eventually. But, well, it went bankrupt before that could happen.”

“Did you enjoying working the midway?”

“Oh, yeah. I loved the games, the rides. The way the rides worked fascinated me. The gears and mechanics.”

“I’m surprised you didn’t become a mechanical engineer.”

“I did consider it but once the circus folded I didn’t see myself wanting to join any of the other carnivals. You know, move to Toronto to work at the CNE.”

“Does this bring back any memories for you?” Dan handed him a copy of the photo of him and Theresa.

“That’s me! Where did you get this! Man I look so young there.”

“You were young. Around fourteen.”

“I must have really dug that girl.”

“You don’t remember her? Stoney.”

He looked up from the picture. “Jesus. That’s right I used to call myself Stoney so no one would know I was the owner’s son.”

“Used to tell them you were nineteen as well.”

“I might have. Easier to get laid when you tell them you are nineteen.”

“There were rumours about you.”

“Such as?”

“You had a … hankering for younger girls. I mean younger than the one in this picture.”

“Fuck where did you dig that up.” 

“I didn’t dig it up. I wasn’t even looking for it when, there it was.”

“What was I thirteen or fourteen year old kid. I might have looked up the skirts of girls my age on the ferris wheel when I was checking their straps. Who didn’t do that. They weren’t that much younger than me.”

“Right.” 

Dan was amused to see how completely Winston’s camera personality disappeared as he become defensive.

“Are you trying to implicate me in this case?” Winston snapped.

“Not at all. Did you hear anything about them at the time?”

“Only that they had happened.” He took a deep breath. “That was after the fact too I might add. Didn’t know there that many either.”

“Apparently only one person did.”

“Who?” Winston asked.

“The abductor.” He looked to Cameron. “I think we’ve got enough here.” He glanced at his cell. “We have to get to the Moncton Municipal Hospital for the O’Connor interview.”

Cameron slung his shoulder mounted camera off and stored it in the equipment bag.

“Sorry I put you on the spot there Winston.”

“Sorry! You fucking accused me of being a child molester. If anyone ever sees that I’ll fucking sue you and Qunitex for everything you’ve got. Now march you asses out of here.” His shouts echoed in the hall. “In fact, if anything about the Hippos is mentioned in your fucking TV show I’ll shut you down so hard you’ll wish you’d never met me.”

<>

In the car Cameron shook his hand. “That was one of the best reveals I have ever witnessed.”

“Reveals?”

“He was so cooperative while the camera was on but the minute he thought it was off he went off.”

“Thought? You mean you got all that?”

“Oh yeah.” He took off his baseball hat. There was a wire from the front and circling the inner brim. “That Qunitex logo isn’t just for looks. The lens remote feeds directly into this baby.” He indicated his equipment bag.

“You’re as bad as me.” Dan turned up the collar of his interview sports coat to show the remote for his camera. 

“That’s not Q issue is it? Where’s the lens.” 

“No, it’s not and the lens is a trade secret. There’s something going on there though. And someone tinkered with my rental car the last time I was here. He wasn’t with me every minute I was here that time.”

“He certainly has something to hide.” Cameron said. “You might want to talk with that Theresa again. She had more to say. I could tell that when we left her at the park.”

“Yeah I’d like to talk with her again too. Now, back to Waterside then on to hospital.”

“Cut or uncut?” Cameron asked. “Winston I mean.”

“Winston? I’d say uncut. Why? Are you interested.” 

“I didn’t get such a good look at that picture of him before. You sure he didn’t have a career in porn.”

“That’s something I never thought to check.”

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License

Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees  sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet 

Picture Perfect 52

Picture Perfect 52

“Fascinating, isn’t it.” 

Dan was startled to find Winston beside him

“Yes. I didn’t realize there were three Hippos.” Dan said. 

“Yes, most children didn’t think that largely. Your interest seems to be more than casual.”

“I hope you don’t mind me taking pictures?”

“Please, that’s what we’re here for. To bring back memories while preserving them as best we can. Do you want to take one of me shoving a pie at you.” He mimed pushing a pie into Dan’s face.

“Really?”

“Oh yes. Not that’d I’d say no to doing it but pie in the face is a professional service not a freebie.” Winston laughed.

“This museum an amazing concept.”

“Convincing the government was more amazing. My folks had all this stuff in storage all over the place. The storage fees were eating up any money they made and were truly eating up my inheritance when they passed away. I had a useless MA in fine arts and the debt to go with it. One bleak morning I got a bill from a storage depot. My synapses pop and eureka out popped Museum.

“To be honest I had spent some time at the Ringling Brothers Museum in Sarasota. I thought I was going to do a book on circus art but there was enough them already. One of curators there said I should think regional. When she heard about my background she sent me packing back here.” He held hands up in a ta-da motion. “So what about you? What family links bring you here?”

“Family links?” Dan asked.

“Off-season visitors don’t just wander in.”

“I’m here as part of the Quintex team.”
“The missing children? I thought you looked a bit familiar. Dan James? Right.”
“Yes.”

They shook hands.

“I was wondering if you would drop by. Not that we know anything about those disappearances but your dad is Richard James?”
“No denying that. He took a picture of your high-school graduating class?”

“No but … What you see here represents only a tenth of the materials I’ve unearthed so far.” Winston explained. “Let’s go my office. I’ll just let my assistant know where I am.” He sent a text.

Dan followed him through the Carnie Food Land.

“Hold on.” Dan said. “I really have get one of those Hippo Dogs.” 

“Original recipe.” Winston laughed. “this is a training test batch. Not to difficult?” Winston asked a young woman who carefully took one of the Hippo Dogs out the deep frier.

“And still cholesterol free too I bet.” Dan said biting into the deep fried shell of the battered hot dog. “Mmmm better than I remembered.” He then dipped the Dog into a little plastic cup of catsup and ate another piece of it. “Mmmm.” He went to wipe his mouth on his jacket sleeve when Winston handed him a paper napkin.

“Thanks.”

“Still our biggest seller. They are better now you know. Original batter recipe but the quality of meat has improved. Trust me though, they are still no better for you. But …” he stopped.

“But what … the contain traces of cocaine to addict people?”

“No. One of the files I found contained endless complains about the old Hippo Dogs. I was shocked at the numbers off people who got sick from eating them. I don’t mean over-eating. There was some toxin in them one year that literally made some people very very sick. Law suits were settled out of court. Seems my Mom put a lot of energy into dodging local public health officials.”

“Oh! oh!” Dan groaned, rolled his eyes and rubbed his stomach.

“Not any more. These are beyond public health standards. I’ve found some the butcher store bills for the old dogs and to be honest, I wouldn’t be surprised if some of them were made of old dogs.”

“Considering what hot dogs are supposedly made of that wouldn’t surprise me.”

“If it wasn’t the dogs it was the oil. Seems that was changed every other location stop.”

Winston’s office walls were covered with more flyers and photographs of various barkers, rides and performers.  Hen took a folder out of the filing cabinet in the corner. Dan recognized the James Photography logo on the envelope. “I found these not too long ago. Both my parents were pack rats you know but with no sense of organization. They needed a curator then. I’ve found items from the 1950’s mixed in with stuff from the ’20’s. Nothing annotated with anything helpful like dates or locations.”

“My Dad was the opposite. You should see his travel records. Dates, distances, money in, money out. How many cups of coffee ha’d had. But sometimes I still don’t know what he’s recording.”

“The parental secret code. These at least have dates on them.” Put linen gloves on and slid the photos onto the desk. “These seem to be the only record of the number two show in the summer of 1983.”

He handed Dan a pair of the gloves.

“Thanks.” Dan forced himself to look carefully at each picture. He fully expected to see the woman in the s and m pictures he had discovered.

“Do you recognize anyone in these?” Winston asked.

“I was only a kid at the time.” Dan said. “He didn’t take us kids on this shoot either. He sometimes did take us, if he thought we’d behave and have fun too.” He checked the date stamp on the outside of the envelope. “I was still in school. These were taken in April.”

“Just before our season really started.” Winston said. 

Dan took his loupe from his shoulder bag to examine the pictures more carefully. Some were of men and women sitting around a table, others were of the same men tossing balls or aiming rifles at various games of chance. Others were of the the women being balanced overhead either horizontally or vertically.

“I figure these were the special for the number three. That year the Flying Romonovs were touring with show three. It was the biggest of the shows.”

Dan was making double sure that none of these were the people in the smut shots. He was pretty sure they weren’t.

“We could do facial recognition if you want?” he said.

“Facial recognition?”

“Yeah, my sort of magic. I can scan these and then run them through a program that’ll match them to any other faces in the known world. It’ll take a few hours.”

“Your sort of magic?”

“I work in photo restoration and forensic examination, which means I find information in photos beyond what you see.”

“What do these tell you?”

“This was informal. No one is wearing white shirts, ties or even dress shoes. The location isn’t a house but could be like a hotel ball room. Something like that. The carpeting just isn’t house style. Nor are those tables in the back ground.”

“Cool.”

“You have more like these?”

“Not that I’ve found yet. But there are another two storage lockers yet to be dealt with. They’ve been opened and emptied into a container that is here in the basement waiting to be really cracked open.”

Dam checked his cell for the time. “Crap I have to get out of here. I was slipping away for the morning, not the whole day.”

“Here’s my card.” Winston gave him his business card. “Call me. I’d be happy to show you more of the hidden collection.”

“I’d like that. I’d also like to see more of what you already have in the exhibits too. But I can’t say when. Maybe I can talk the producers into doing something here?”

“Sounds good. But be warned Cross-Canada Cooks is doing an episode here this summer. Though camera crews fighting for shots would make great three-ring clown act.”

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License

Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees  sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet 

Picture Perfect 51

Picture Perfect 51

Dan could smell popcorn even before he had opened the front door of the Maritime Circus Museum. As he opened the door, calliope music announced his entry. Man, that must get irritating for the people who work here, he thought.

The inside lobby was a ceiling to floor front of a circus tent – a ticket booth in the middle, a partially opened tent flap, & two large canvas posters on either side of the ticket booth. They had to be at least twelve foot high. The ones on the left were for ‘Cora! Queen of the King Cobras’ – it showed a wide-eyed, smiling woman clad like a bellydancer, charming a king cobra by staring into its eyes. ‘Cora can charm the most dangerous of poisonous snakes. Think of what she can do with mortal man.’

Beside it was one for ‘Sharko – The Fish Man’  A thin man in bathing trunks was half twisting to show the fin on his back, his legs were covered with scales and there appeared to be gills under his jaw. ‘See his scales, his fin. Watch as he dives deep and stays underwater longer than humanly possible.’

On the other side were posters touting first, ‘Fireball.’ It showed a man putting a flaming touch into his mouth. He was wearing a flame painted costume with a what appeared to a lighting bolt of flame flashing from his crotch. Beside the ‘Fireball’ was one for ‘Madama Cabanalla’: a Gypsy woman staring out at him with a crystal ball floating over her palms. ‘Madama Cabanalla sees all! Tells all!’

A sign on the ticket booth invited him to ring for service. An arrow pointed to a rope that he followed with his eyes as it went through a series of pulleys to a fire-station type bell on the wall behind him. A group came in the door as he was about to pull the rope. Two adults and six children.

Dan pulled the bell rope. The alarm rang loudly for a minute and then res & yellow balloons shot up from the roof of the ticket booth with a loud bang. The children screamed and laughed. Dan shook his head in amazement.

A man dressed in a red blazer, with a striped yellow vest and black check pants stepped out from the tent entrance.

“Welcome! Welcome.” He reached his hand out to one of the adults. The adult was leery and squinted as if expecting a hand buzzer as they shook hands. Nothing happened.

“Welcome one and all to Chamberlain’s Maritime Circus Museum. I am Winston Chamberlain. The Happy Hippo Travelling Circus has been in my family for several generations since 1899 when Grant and Isabelle Hill started it. It toured the Eastern Provinces changing with the times over the years until it could no long keep up with the times.”

“You are free to explore the exhibits and the grounds as you want to for free, or you can take a guided tour with ME.” He pulled a bouquet of flowers out of his coat sleeve and presented it to one of the young girls in the family group. “The cost of the tour is your soul … just kidding. It’s a mere $10.00 each.”

“How long will that take?” One of the adult asked. “An hour.” Winston answered. “An hour you will never forget.”

“Can we Daddy?” one of the children asked. “Can we?”

“Is there a children’s rate?” The man asked.

“Only if their feet never touch the ground.” Winston answered. “And their hands don’t touch an exhibit, unless instructed to.”

Dan laughed at Winston’s spiel. He saw that it disarmed the parents of the children, who reluctantly paid the admission fee. 

“And you kind sire?” Winston asked Dan.

“I think I’ll explore a bit first. It might be quieter.”

“I hear you.” Winston nodded. “If you want the printed guide to the exhibits that’ll be $5. Which you can pay to my lovely assistant right though here.”

He lifted the tent flap wider and tied it back so they all could enter.

“That included with the tour Mac?” The dad asked.

“Nope.” Winston said. “But you each do get a free bag of popcorn.”

Dan went into the tent and bought the guide. The assistant was an automation pirate that dropped the booklet down a slot & out into his waiting hand. The museum was divided into several areas. One that dealt with the history of it, one that had a display of the various flyers, posters, costumes; another that devoted the various carnival games and food; in an out door area were rides dating back to the first years of the circus. Not all of them were functional and the ones that were would cost $10.00 each to ride or any three for $20.00.

“We’ll start with the Carnival Food Fair,” Winston said to the family, who were joined by several other people. 

Dan went in the opposite direction to the first of the exhibit rooms. The guide book gave a concise time line of the carnival, explained the difference between a carnival and a circus. A circus always had animals, lions, tigers; always had performs like clowns, trapeze or tumblers; rarely had rides. Whereas a carnival had more games of chance; rides; some would have freak sideshows such as The Fish Man; large ones might have simple animal acts like dogs or the occasional snake charmer like Cora. Animals always slowed down travel time and over the years were phased out as the rides became a bigger draw.

The exhibit hall Dan went into had a map of the Maritime provinces filling one wall. There were different coloured and sized circus flags representing the decades and places various carnivals had traveled to when they were on tour. The Happy Hippo was the only one based the wartime’s but a couple of the bigger ones, like the Conklin, sent touring midways to Halifax every summer. The larger the flag the more frequently it visited a particular town or city. 

Some would get an annual visit, others every two or three years. It would rarely stay longer than a week at any one place unless there some other festival or event going on at the same time. 

There where three Happy Hippo touring shows. Dan hadn’t realized this before. He’d always assumed that there was just the one he recalled from his childhood. Each of them had different rides, games of chance. The larger the town or city the larger the carnival would be, hence the three different shows. It also meant three of them could be on the road at the same time and participate in more than one local festival at a time.

There was a computer interface with the map where one could input year, month and see what locations which show was performing. It would also tell you what rides, sideshows and specials where appearing with it, how long it stayed. But not how much money it made.

Dan typed in the month they had left for Toronto. All three shows were on the road. The one nearest Stellerton was the smaller number 3. It played in Truro the week before and had moved on the day after his family left. He saw that a Madam Cabanalla was featured in all three shows. So there must have been more than one of her. Though perhaps her psychic power allowed her to appear in three places at the same time. He’d have to ask Glaucia if the was possible. The Truro special was Cora Queen of the King Cobras in the Court of King Tut. He took pictures of the various pages before they disappeared.

Was Cora why he was so disappointed in not getting to the circus that last weekend? He had been so into Tut that summer for some reason. Following links on the computer screen he found a flyer for that area’s carnival. It also said that the actual flyers could be found in Exhibit Hall two. He consulted he guide to see where that hall was.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License

Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees  sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet 

Cora! Queen of the King Cobras

On the day 6 of the NaNoWriMo marathon. I hit the road running this year. I didn’t do as much prep as I have in the past and I guess that paid off 🙂 But I’m sure that blogging as regularly as I do had increased my writing focus a lot too. Not mention the intense Ellen Bass Poetry Worksop the pervious weekend that shook up some cobwebs that I didn’t know where there.redcoat01

I aim to hit 2500 per day by the 2nd week – this year I hit that on Day 2 & have kept that pace up – in fact two 3000 word days already. I’m amazed. When I started I knew where this story had to go but I didn’t know the road it was going to take. The where – without this being a spoiler – is who abducted these children and what became of them. redcoat02

Setting that abduction way back in the 80’s allowed me to postulate a lack of communication between investigative bodies – but as I was writing I began to wonder why this might be case: turf wars? class distain? So I’m getting to explore some of that territory.

World building how a reality crime show gets filmed has been great fun as well. I say world building because I’m not attempting to create a story that reflects the actual way that gets done. As long as the way I describe it sound plausible I’ll be happy. The novel isn’t meant to replace a Ryerson Course on Making Reality TV. For the show people have to be filmed, interviewed and thus fresh characters get created – I have to keep in mind that each scene adds some dimension to the story though.redcoat03

Currently I’m having a great time with a Circus Museum – devoted to an east coast travelling carnival. As I started in on that a slew of new characters presented themselves. One of whom is Cora! Queen of the King Cobras – how can I resist that title and where she’ll take me.

falltrees

As I walked & thought about Cora – now this is how my synapses fire – I came to me that there could be a present day snake handlers church on the east coast – how cool it’ll be to send my hero into that nest of possible vipers? I couldn’t wait to get home to finish the Museum scene so I can get onto the snake handlers.perfect nano sample

Here’s a portion of the Circus Museum scene – keep in mind this raw raw raw & freshly written Thursday afternoon:

Dan could smell popcorn even before he had opened the front door of the Circus Museum. As he opened the door, calliope music announced his entry. Man, that must get irritating for the people who work here.

In the lobby he was greeted by the front of a circus tent – a pay booth in the middle its partially opened flap, and two large canvas posters on either side of it. They had to be at least twelve foot high. The ones on the left were for ‘Cora! Queen of the King Cobras’ – it showed a wide-eyed smiling woman clad like a belly dancer charming a king cobra. ‘Cora can charm the most dangerous of poisonous snakes. Think of what she can do with moral man.’

Beside it was one for ‘Sharko – The Fish Man’  A thin man in bathing trunks was half twisting to show the fin on his back, his legs were covered with scales and there appeared to be gills under his jaw. ‘See his scales, his fin. Watch as he dives deep and stays underwater longer than humanly possible.’

On the other side were posters touting first ‘Fireball’ that showed a man putting a flaming touch into his mouth. He was wearing a flame painted costume with a what appeared to a lighting bolt of flame flashing from his crotch. Beside the ‘Fireball’ was one for ‘Madama Cabanalla’: a Gypsy woman staring out at him with a crystal ball floating over her palms. ‘Madama Cabanalla sees all! Tells all!’

(Add description of painting style)

A sign on the ticket booth invited him to ring for service. An arrow pointed to a rope that he flooded with his eyes as it went through a series of pulleys to a fire-station type bell on the wall behind him.

A group came in the door as he was about to pull the rope. Two adults and six children.

Dan pulled the bell rope. The alarm rang loudly for a minute and then balloons shot out of the roof of the ticket booth with a loud bang. The children screamed and laughed. Dan shook his head in amazement.

A man dressed in a red blazer, with a striped yellow vest and black check pants stepped out from the tent entrance.

“Welcome! Welcome.” He reached his hand out to one of the adults. The adult was leery and squinted as if expecting a hand buzzer as they shook hands. Nothing happened.

“Welcome one and all to Chamberlain’s Circus Museum. I am David Chamberlain. The Happy Hippo Travelling Circus has been in my family for several generations since 1899 when Grant and Isabelle H started it. It toured the Eastern Provinces changing with the times over the years until it could no long keep up with the times.”

“You are free to explore the exhibits and the grounds as you want to for free or you can take a guided tour with ME.” He pulled a bouquet of flowers out of his coat sleeve and presented it to one of the young girls in the family group. “The cost of the tour is your soul … just kidding. That’s $10.00 each.”

“How long will that take?” One of the adults asked. “An hour.” David answered.

“Can we Daddy?” one of the children asked. “Can we?”

“Is there a children’s rate?” The man asked.

“Only if their feet never touch the ground.” David answered. “And their hands don’t touch an exhibit.”

Dan laughed at David’s spiel. He saw that it disarmed the parents of the children who reluctantly paid the admission fee.

“And you kind sire?” David asked Dan.

“I think I’ll explore a bit first. It might be quieter.”

“I hear you.” David nodded. “If you want the printed guide to the exhibits that’ll be $5. Which you can pay to my lovely assistant right though here.”

He lifted the tent flap wider and tied it back so they all could enter.

“That included with the tour, Mac?” The dad asked.

“Nope.” David said. “But you each do get a free bag of popcorn.”

Dan went into the tent and bought the guide. The museum was divided into several areas. One that dealt with the history of it, one that had a display of the various flyers, posters, costumes; another that was devoted the various carnival games and food; in an outside area where rides dating back to the first years of the circus. Not all of them were functional and the ones that were would cost $10.00 each to ride or any three for $20.00.

“We’ll start with the Carnival Food Fair,” David said to the family, who were joined by several other people.

Dan went in the opposite direction to the first of the exhibit rooms. The guide book gave a concise time line of the carnival, explained the difference between a carnival and a circus. A circus always had animals, lions, tigers; always had performs like clowns, trapeze or tumblers; rarely had rides. Whereas a carnival was more games of chance; rides; some would have freak sideshows such as Fish Man; large ones might have simple animal acts like dogs or the occasional snake charmer like Cora. Animals always slowed down travel time and over the years were phased out as the rides became a bigger draw.

The exhibit hall Dan went into had a map of the Maritime provinces filling one wall. There were different coloured and sized circus flags representing the decades and places carnival had traveled to when it was on tour. The larger the flag the more frequently it visited a particular town or city.

Some would get an annual visit, others every two or three years. It would rarely stay longer than a week at any one place unless there some other festival or event going on at the same time.

There where three Happy Hippo touring shows. Dan hadn’t realized this before. He’d always assumed that was just the one he recalled from his childhood. Each of them had different rides, games of chance. The larger the town or city the larger the carnival would be, hence the three different shows. It also meant the three of them could be on the road at the same time and participate in more than one local festival at a time.

There was a computer interface with the map where one could input year, month and see what locations which show was performing. It would also tell you what rides, sideshows and specials where appearing with it, how long it stayed. But not how much money it made.

Dan typed in the month they had left for Toronto. All three shows were on the road. The one nearest Stellerton was the smaller number 3. It played in Truro the week before and had moved on the day his family left. He saw that Madam Cabanalla was featured in all three shows. So there must have been more than one of her. The Truro special was Cora! Queen of the King Cobras in the Court of King Tut. He took pictures of the various pages before they disappeared.

November 1 – 30 Participating NaNoWriMo
nano15

http://nanowrimo.org/

money

Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy more music – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

circusboy

https://www.tumblr.com/blog/topoet