“Welcome, welcome, Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls. Be dazzled! Be astounded! Slipperfield’s Circus of International Repute presents for your delight and delectation… The Incredible Corrugator!”
Whispers flutter around the vast canvas tent and fall into my hearing. The ring plunges into blackness; the moustachioed strongman pulls my trailer in and lowers the ramp. I concertina my way down smoothly, silently wending my way as the trailer rattles off. A muffled boom as power surges through the spotlight and brightness attacks me.
Stiffly starched men in seats tug at their buttoned-fast collars and look away in disgust, but quickly turn back. Women standing squashed together are open-mouthed, tongues lolling in shock, just above the penny licks they’d been greedily consuming.
I fold tightly in on myself, mere inches wide. Anxiety ebbs, thinking stops and I begin to move. My puckered head unfurls, arms fan out from floor to ten feet tall. Legs ripple wide as I expand silently over the sand, catching my body up with itself, and contract into myself.
“Daddy, daddy, what’s that man wearing?”
“Where are the eyeholes? Can he see me?”
“Is he coming to get me?”
Girls and boys all so inquisitive and excited, you want an explanation don’t you? There can be none.
Freak. Mutant. Act of devilment. Godless creature. I’m none of these. I’m not a monster, I long to scream at them. Be the first to see me. Who hears the heart that beats so hard and heavy? Who feels the soft downy folds of my belly? Who tickles my thickly crimped feet? Who? Who would curl themselves around this dull, grey mass?
I see the pity in her face, as she sits apart; her fair face framed by black curls loosely tied. Does she smile at me? My arms crinkle outwards and her warm brown eyes meet the exact spot where mine used to be.