Come One, Come All
COME ONE, COME ALL
To Señor Örümcek’s Human Circus
Greatest Show On Earth!
Wholesome Fun for the Whole Family!
Sunday, September 5
“It’s silly to be afraid of an insect,” said a deep man-voice from behind the door.
“Ooh, a newbie!” said Hava Fare to his brother, craning his neck to see over the rows in front. “I love it when they have a newbie.”
“You don’t understand!” said Hava and Atesh together, at the same time as a woman-voice behind the door.
“She always says that,” scowled Toprak Fare, sticking her ear-buds back in.
“I’m going in now,” said the man-voice.
“Well, I think it’s cruel to torment the poor creatures,” said Su Fare.
“Don’t cry, Su. They’d kill us in a cat’s pounce if they could,” said Hava. “Here, have some water.” He put his arm around her but kept his eyes on the door.
“I’d like to kill you myself,” said Toprak with a lugubrious sigh. “Why do you guys always drag me here?”
“Shush! They’re getting to the good part!” said Atesh.
The door opened. A man-foot the size of three mice appeared, followed by a man-hand at handle-height holding a man-skull-bottle. The gigantic, six-jointed leg of Señor Örümcek shot out from behind the curtain, and the man-hand and man-foot jerked back with an anguished scream. The man-skull-bottle rolled harmlessly to the floor.
“Ah, the bolting act,” said Hava, “Classic. You think he’ll be back soon?”
“Great balls of fire!” howled the man-voice outside. “What IS that thing?”
“It’s a spider,” said the woman-voice. “A rather big spider.”
“She said that last week too,” said Toprak.
“No, last week she said it was quite a large spider,” said Su. “They’re terrified, poor creatures.”
“You know, my friend Gök says the woman’s in league with Örümcek,” said Toprak. “That’s why he never eats her, and why the men always come here on Sunday evenings.”
“That’s just roach propaganda,” said Atesh. “They’ve hated Señor Örümcek ever since he banished them to the kitchens. What’s taking so long? They’re usually back by now.”
“Looks like Señor Örümcek really took the wind out of his sails,” chuckled Hava.
“But he has to come back! It’s no fun otherwise.”
“He’ll live, though,” said Su. “I do hope he doesn’t come back.”
“Listen!” said Toprak sharply. “What’s that?”
“Hammers!” cried Hava. “He’s nailing us in!”
“He won’t be eaten,” said Su. “That’s nice.”
“No, it is NOT nice! What do you think Örümcek is going to eat now?”
“Oh, no, Señor Örümcek would never –”
The fang hit Atesh first, cutting him off mid-sentence, then Su, then Hava. Toprak Fare could never afterwards explain how she had been flung aside, stunned, and rolled under the circus poster that had fallen off the door, how she had survived and dug her way out of the attic. The new mice who moved into the house simply did not believe her incoherent gibbering, and Örümcek reopened his circus the following Sunday to a full house.
Author Bio: Hibah Shabkhez is a writer of the half-yo literary tradition, an erratic language-learning enthusiast, and a happily eccentric blogger from Lahore, Pakistan. Her work has previously appeared in Fevers of the Mind, Black Bough, Zin Daily, London Grip, The Madrigal, Acropolis Journal, Lucent Dreaming, and a number of other literary magazines. Studying life, languages, and literature from a comparative perspective across linguistic and cultural boundaries holds a particular fascination for her.