“Do what you have to do.“ He says voice breaking the damp night air. I push the body into the large golden suitcase. We hear the music pick up. Even though no one else was aware of what was happening the dark carnival music suits the situation.

“Bring out the magic suitcase”; rings over the speakers. We looked at each other, and both knew we had to get out of here NOW. The dust from inside the tent was getting in my eyes, and we still hadn’t even closed the case, but I still couldn’t see. My brother closes the case, and leads me behind a pile of boxes.

“That was close, and what do we do after they find out what’s in that case?”

“They might not even open it. I mean like maybe part of the act is to switch cases or something.”

“I’m not leaving that to chance! I say we take what money we have and ditch this place.”

“Sure let’s leave now so no one sees us.” We slip out from under the canvas of the tent wall, and both stand in the dark night. I looked around to the large tent where the act was happening, and was waiting for the scream of people to be in our queue to leave. The smell of popcorn and animals was the trademark scent of the circus, and to be honest I might miss it, but it would be impossible to come back, and Joey couldn’t mentally take this place any longer.

“What are you boys doing out here? Aren’t you supposed to be stoveling in the elephant cages right now?” We stared at Jimbo a moment before I spoke only because we both thought he knew what we did, and if he had we wouldn’t still be standing. He was carrying his shotgun.

“Yeah sorry.”

“Have you seen my mom anywhere? I haven’t seen her sense she moved the elephants to their new cages.”

“Nope when we got there she must have already been there since the elephants were moved” He walked off not even acknowledging my response for me to no surprise. This is why we need to leave, because no one cares about the people who work here. Like last year our “Elastic Man” was stomped on by an elephant, and he never got a proper burial, or even a headstone! Carnie lives are seen as lesser to “normal” people. Joey and I keep walking to our tent. The dust of the dead earth softens our steps, and we work through the corn maze of tents till we find ours. “Joey where did you put the bandages?” I’m not sure. I can not remember.” Oh by the way Joey is learning impared. He was the first of the two of us to be in the circus. He was sold by our father. The “Ringleader” of the circus Madame Lucy ran the show, and paid my father for him. I never did forgive my father for that. I’ll never forget the look of her standing in the door with her cigarette creating a fog hiding her face. I find the bandages in a bucket under my bed behind the little medicine kit we had. “Now don’t move. I want to make sure I put this right on the burn on your hand.”

“Ok” Is all I get for a reply. Jimbo walks by our tent probably looking for his mom still. He won’t find her though. He shoots his shotgun in the air, and I feel the pit of my stomach drop. Joey hugs me, and whispers, “What can we do now?”

“Run away from here before anyone finds out what happened.”
“Why can’t we stay? Maybe no one knows we did it.” I looked at him, and he looked down at his feet. You can see that he understands why we can’t stay.

“Oww”, says Joey.

“What is it Joey?”

“You touched the cigarette burn on my hand.”

“Sorry” I start walking out of the tent.

“What if someone finds the shovel that we hit her in the head with?” I felt my stomach drop, because I heard Jimbo walking by the tent, and when Joey had finished talking Jimbo just stopped walking. I can’t move paralized with fear. My heart is pounding, and I can’t stop staring at Joey. We hear Jimbo walking toward the door every step has the crunch of popcorn and gravel. Crunch. Crush. Crunch. I’m facing Joey with my back to the tent entrance. I hear the canvas door opened, but I can’t turn around. I hear the clip of Jimbo cocking the gun.