📚 › San Demangelo Far-West Saga

Twilight and her brothers, in the Far West story

feat. in Twilight’s Freakus In The Air (in: Circle of Eights)

The arrival of a prized blue bull brings a cascade of unexpected changes to the small lives of the El Disperso siblings in small Far West town of San Demangelo. Twilight, the youngest, dreaming of fame on the West Coast and escape from the boredom of existence sees a shining opportunity when the Great Freakus arrives in town.

So the Story goes...

Viewing 25 replies - 1 through 25 (of 26 total)
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  • in Reply To: Tales of Tw’Elves #130

    “ ‘Allo, ‘allo, what’s going on here then?” said Seargent Ted Marshall, “Those look like the crown jewels stolen from King Apil-Sin of Babylon, around about the same time his purple flowers went missing!”

    “Curses!” muttered Fray, “It’s the steely-eyed and ever-vigilent Seargent Ted Marshall! What’s he doing here?” Instantly he regretted his spur-of-the-moment decision to gird his loins and enter the bun fray wearing only a frayed white loin cloth.

    in Reply To: Circle of Eights, Stories #474

    Aldous Mc Gaughran (nicknamed Ogrean by his employees), was taking deep puffs on his voluminous cigar.
    A bit podgy in his white tight suit, the face dripping in sweat, he was eying with barely dissimulated lust the young dancer on the scene of the saloon while sipping his cognac and playing poker with his oily fingers.

    The blond bewitching dancer was drawing attention from miles around, and was known by her stage name: Twilight. :yahoo_billy:
    She wasn’t really a blonde, but she had been convinced by her two brothers :yahoo_hiro: :yahoo_april: to use a wig not so much to make her more desirable as she was already, but more to be able to keep a certain amount of anonymity.
    Seeing Ogrean’s glances, she was more than glad to have listened to her brothers.

    :yahoo_flag: Ogrean was calling the shots here in that small town, and somehow it would be difficult to refuse anything he would ask… He was supervising, as far as she knew, many traffics. Officially, he was a cattle breeder, but there was obviously more.
    On his last business trip on the coast of British Honduras, officially for dealings of mahogany imports, he’d come back with a self-satisfied look that meant that he had got more than a pile of precious wood… :yahoo_skull:

    The saloon door opened in a creaking sound. A tall lean figure came barging in. :yahoo_star:
    Answering the barmaid’s question, he got himself a glass of the local alcohol. A bitter cactus beer that no one living here would have thought of ordering. Obviously a wandering stranger.
    His scrawny horse seemed to have run tiring long miles.

    in Reply To: Circle of Eights, Stories #475

    It had been real hard since Momma and Poppa weren’t around no more. Twilight was four when they got shot dead, and she could hardly remember their faces now. Sometimes she had memories come to mind, this real pretty woman, brushing her hair at night. One hundred strokes, she would say, make your hair real pretty. It made her feel sad because she wished it were true.

    Her brother Jo, he was only ten when they got killed. He was the one found them. They’d been shot. Jo, he took it real hard. Sometimes he’d get this far away and sad look and Twilight knew he was remembering. She wanted to hug him, but he’d be all shut off.

    Anyways it was real hard to keep the ranch going after that. Her brother Elroy, he was the oldest. He was fifteen when Momma and Poppa died. So he took on being the man of the house. Sometimes he would try and boss Jo and her round, and Twilight would give him a real hard time. She was just jesting though, she knew he was just doing his best to keep the El Disperso Ranch running and she was real proud of him.

    It was real hard though. Winter had been hard. They all were fearing they might have to sell the blue bull just to keep the wolves from the door next winter. Elroy, he was right pig headed though about that bull. Jo would say to Elroy “we have to sell that bull, Elroy and Elroy would get mad and say “no ways we selling that bull Jo”. One day they nearly came to blows over that bull.

    It was the only time Twilight seen Elroy get real mad with Jo. They were real close those two. They were all close really. They had to keep together when Momma and Poppa died. Uncle Bart turned up at the news of their folks dying, wanted to take the ranch, but Elroy , well he got Poppa’s rifle and chased Uncle Bart away. Elroy said he would have shot Uncle Bart had he tried any harder to take the ranch. Twilight would look in his eyes when he told the story and she knew he weren’t jesting. A few others tried to interfere also. Somehow they all stayed together and kept the ranch.

    Elroy won that blue bull. It was real rare and very fine and people would pay plenty for a bull like that bull. Elroy said he won it anyhow. He turned up with it one day, and he was real quiet. Twilight saw him whispering to Jo, and Jo looked real concerned. She thought it best not to ask too many questions and so she kept what she seen to herself. But she couldn’t help but be wondering.

    Twilight wanted to help take the load off her brothers so she got herself a job dancing in the saloon in town. She liked to call it performing though. Sounded more high class. She watched the other dancers till she taught herself to do it. She would hide in the saloon and watch them. That was one good thing about not having a Momma and a Poppa. She could pretty well do what she wanted. She liked dancing and she knew she were real good at it and pretty soon she was the dancer everyone wanted to see. She’d rather have a Momma and Poppa though, truth be told.

    One of the other girls, Anna, she was real pretty too, got jealous and tried to get Twilight kicked out, said she was too young to be dancing . Anyhow Anna had a soft spot for Jo and so he soon sweet talked her round. Jo and Elroy were real good looking boys, and plenty of girls liked them so Twilight was pretty lucky to have them look out for her. ( Elroy said she should wear a blond wig for her dancing, like a disguise, and Twilight thought this was real funny. But she wore it anyway.) Anna got pregnant, and she said Jo was the daddy, but everyone in town knew she slept with plenty of fellows, and Jo weren’t having a bar of it. Anna got real fat with the baby and had to stop dancing and now she lived with some old fellow who was always drunk and would eye up Twilight when she was dancing. Sometimes Twilight would tease Jo about the baby and call him “daddio” and he would get real mad with her. But could be his, that’s the truth. Poor little baby but she were glad Jo weren’t stuck with that Anna.

    Twilight knew the men looked at her. She knew what they were thinking and she didn’t mind. She weren’t no fool though. She had plans. She was going to be somebody, not laid up with some damn sprog like that Anna. Some of the money she earned she’d give to Elroy, some of it she put in a tin can she kept hidden.

    Last night some fellow from out of town came in. A sheriff. She heard the girls whispering and giggling about him. Sheriff Ted Marshall was his name. He was real fine looking and all the girls were in a flutter hoping he would look at them. Twilight wondered what he was doing in town. She hoped it were nothing to do with that bull of Elroys.

    in Reply To: Circle of Eights, Stories #476

    Ted Marshall swaggered into the saloon and ordered a tequila. He adopted a casual pose against the bar, tipped his pith helmet back with one casual finger, and surveyed the scene. He cast a disninterested glance over the dancers, and tut tutted under his breath when he recognized Twilight. That girl was too big for her scuffed boots!

    A charismatic character caught Ted’s eye, a handsome man in a stylishly crumpled white linen suit, stretched taut against his bulging biceps. Success, drive and determination seemed to exude from his very pores, the slick sheen of raw power.

    Ted edged himself closer to the larger than life character, and glared at the tall lean man who had just walked in.

    in Reply To: Circle of Eights, Stories #478

    Ted did a double take at the sight of the tall lean man. Fuck me! he cried in astonishment, It’s a doppelganger! Ted’s hand shook as he swigged down the dregs of his tequila; he slammed it down on the bar and called for a refill.

    in Reply To: Circle of Eights, Stories #487

    Jo was looking at Mc Gaughran. He didn’t like him. Especially since he was so insistant at buying their ranch. It was not the price that was important. Mc Gaughran had offered them much already and Jo was a bit shamefull that he even once considered the offer. They had a little argument about that with Elroy, and he had felt very tore appart opposing his brother. He was very close to him and was admiring him so much.

    And he was feeling very protective toward his sister. She could do whatever she wanted, that was not the point. The point was he didn’t want other to bother her. And that Mc Gaughran was looking at her a bit too insistantly to his taste.

    He finished his whiskey an looked at the barman, Thomas. He was a very good friend of Elroy and him and was like a giant dwarf, stout and big red beard. He knew he could count on him to have a look at the man.

    — Have to go, Tommee, he mumbled. Be back later.

    Despite his disgust of Mc Gaughran, he also had some stuffs to check about the new man in town. He was feeling a bit unseasy as if some things would be unfolded, things that should better stay burried. He left the saloon like a shadow.

    in Reply To: Circle of Eights, Stories #495

    Narani was waiting patiently for her sisters to unfold their own desire. She had multiplexed their personal threads of desire for a new game to generate the magnetic field that was attracting the machinery of the 2 lEGGed creatures. She knew them well, as the oldest sister of her tribe, she was linked to all her “sisters”. And actually there were none of them that wouldn’t be a relative of sort. She had managed to maintain her own children on the island.

    Her cousin Ararog had also managed her own nest in England. She was connected to her through a strange egg, white with threads of pistachio in it. She could speak from very long distance with that object, that was merely helping her to focus her energy in the most probable direction. She was doing well and there had been lots of movements for her too.


    :mummy: smelled some chocolate cake in the distance… it seemed delicious and she was so hungry… :mummy: needed chocolate


    Aldous Mc Gaughran farted contentedly, causing some disgusted glances from the other customers, he smurggled puffing on his cigar. He was feeling aroused by that beautiful blond chick dancing on the stage of the saloon and was making his decision about their family.

    He :yahoo_pig: would have her.

    in Reply To: Circle of Eights, Stories #497

    Hank, the saloon pianist, was hopelessly in love with Anna.

    But she had so many wooers, I hadn’t dared say how much he loved the blond dancer. For fear of public ridicule mostly, as he didn’t think he was very good-looking, with his horse-face… Not that she really cared with all these men having gone into her bed. But he couldn’t take the risk. Better a life in her shadow than taking a chance and spoil everything.

    He had always been here to care for her.
    When that young one had came to dance too, he’d been the one to make it easy for them. Or he thought he did…
    What was annoying Anna the most was that the newcomer would be using a blond wig and that might eclipse her. Of course, that wasn’t what Anna had said, but Hank knew her well enough to understand.
    He was the one coming up with that idea of Twilight as a stage name for the other one, keeping the shining Dawn for Anna. Like sisters, yet worlds apart. Apparently they both had found the idea great, and even if for Hank, Dawn and Twilight were different movements of the same seesaw, for Anna, it was pretty obvious that Dawn came before Twilight.

    When Anna had been fat with her blue-eyed baby boy, he had been providing her some shelter for some time. It was so obvious for everybody that nothing could happen between them… Anna was oblivious, trying to get herself a proper husband. She had almost convinced that Jo that he was the father. Hopefully Hank had thwarted the attempt. He had his own idea of who was the father, and that wasn’t something to be proud of.
    And Hank had better keep his mouth shut, as the guy in question wasn’t one to allow being tickled on such sensitive subjects.
    In the end, Anna got fed up with all his attentions, called him a sticky leech. How ungrateful…

    Now she was with that old bloke… A fat half-bald guy with long unkempt greyish greasy hair who had lost his wife, eloped with their former neighbour. The story had provided a good laugh to everyone who was well aware of it. But somehow Anna took compassion for that Manuel — who was nicknamed the Bar Rook due to his pressing penchant for alcoholic beverages.

    Hank was finding Twilight more interesting… Free of romantic bonds and dazzlingly beautiful as she was growing.
    Once in the beginning of her representation he had found her crying behind the bar, after having been hauled around by Anna once again.

    She had told him an interesting story about her wig. It was a gift from her mother’s foster sister. The two women had suckled the same Ol’ Granny Lucy and had kept very close over the years. But her mother’s foster sister had a tough life, and she made a business of selling her golden hair to make wigs. Twilight’s was one of those. A gift from this aunt, which was all the more dear and precious to her. She had said to Twilight that it would draw to her good fortune, and fame too…
    It was easy for Hank to imagine that to become true.

    in Reply To: Circle of Eights, Stories #498

    some writing by Twilight

    Jo fixed me up a swing. It hung from the old elm tree out the front. That’s my favourite place. I just sit there rocking and thinking, and thinking and rocking. Sometimes I would weave stories or sometimes I would dream about when I am real famous. I know I will miss Jo and Elroy, but then I cheer myself up thinking how, when I am rich, I will visit them and give them money and presents and how fine that will be.

    Elroy and Jo don’t know about my stories or how I love to write. I ain’t much good. I didn’t get much schooling but Elroy helped me some and then I would try and teach myself the rest. The only book we have is a big old bible. That is written in real fine words. The part I like the best is a song that Solomon wrote. I don’t know how the tune went but the words are real nice. It is real romantic too. I dream one day some man will use words like that to me. Not like those drunken slobs round these parts. Anyway, that’s how I know I am not much good, because I can’t write nothing like Solomon. But I try anyway.

    Yesterday I was sitting out on the swing rocking and thinking and young Dan from the ranch over the way turned up on his horse. He looked real hot and red and sweaty. Mostly though, he is real fine looking, and I confess I have a soft spot for him. So I leapt off the swing real quick and straightened myself up and bit my lips to make them all big and red. I wanted him to see I had developed some in the last little while.

    Where’s your brothers, Twi? he said to me.

    I felt he didn’t seem to be giving me the appreciation I hoped for, so I did a little flick of my head and gave him the look I had been practising. I had seen the other girls do this look to the men at the saloon, and it seemed to work a treat. I gestured at the same time, real slow and casual, and I said “Out the back, Dan.” in a honey voice.

    He started to ride off, like he was in a hurry. But then he stopped. My heart did a little flutter. He said to me, “You know Twi, the boys at the ranch were talking about you. And it wasn’t the sort of talk should be said about a lady”.

    When Dan said that, I felt he had kicked me in the guts. I wanted to gasp. But I am plenty used to putting up with things and not showing my true feelings, so I just looked at him real cold. Then I spat. I have been practising my spitting and I can do it real good now. Nearly as good as Jo.

    “I am just telling you Twi he said. I thought he would say more, but he seemed to reflect for a moment, then shook his head and off he went in a hurry to find the boys.

    Elroy and Jo looked real bothered when I saw them later. I knew when to hold my tongue so I did not give them no smart talk, and I cooked up a real fine bean dish for their supper. It was real quiet over the table that night. Truth was, I still felt mighty bad over what Dan had said.

    I confess I felt some cares and sadness on me that evening when I went to bed, and found I could not sleep. I got out my diary and thought I would do some writing.
    I tried to write what my name, Twilight, means to me. My real name is Tina Willemine Ivy El Disperso. I always been called Twi. Then Hank at the saloon, he says one night, “I am calling you Twilight and that sort of caught on. It made me feel special, having my own stage name.

    I started writing. Lavender blue sky bleeding into the dark. I thought that sounded quite a good start to my writing, so feeling a bit encouraged I went on some more: Twilight is a magic time. It is the time I see things that aint there, but maybe they could be. My eyes play tricks on me in the half light and I feel like I could be anyone. I feel like I could be someone who I isn’t. Twilight is the time of promises. The promise and mystery of the night to come. It is inbetween time when you know the ordinary stuff could be magic.

    I stopped. I weren’t never going to be able to write like Solomon. I knew that and I felt real bad. At least I could dance though, and that was going to make me famous. But that thought could not cheer me up this night and I confess I cried myself to sleep like a baby.

    in Reply To: Circle of Eights, Stories #499

    Thanksgiving, 1847

    That last business trip in British Honduras had proven fruitful to Aldous. It had almost made him forget about the blue bull of the Disperso family.
    Because Aldous was a collector. No one truly understood what were his motivations, but he was driven by the highest ideals. Some treasures weren’t deserved by the profane, he was thinking as he was munching on a tender juicy turkey leg.
    He belched with profound depth.
    Yes, he was doing everything with utmost depth and dedication.

    Take that blue bull for instance… A gift from Indian officials he had managed to have them bring here. Its real place was in a zoo, with a small fee at the entrance of course, but most importantly some information on how it was acquired and by whom. Definitely not in the farm of some hillbillies just because they have happened to win that stupid rodeo contest.
    In any case, he would put that right again in due time.

    Let’s think of more pleasant things. Like these mahogany traders who had came into contact with remote Mayan tribes. Mahogany was nice, but Mayan treasure were even more interesting.

    in Reply To: Circle of Eights, Stories #502

    Madame Butterbutt, the saloon landlady and iconic colourful figure, came back to her room in a fury.
    She was living above the saloon, in a large room tastefully furnished, with some exuberant objects that she had gathered from her many commercial acquaintances.

    She took one of her favourite cigarillos to calm her down.
    That Mc Gaughran was such a… she wasn’t at loss for words. But none of them would have been strong or decent enough for the dork that he was. Ooops she smiled, this last one had almost slipped out unnoticed.

    Unlike many people in that small town of San Demangelo, she wasn’t fearful of the man. Not of the man himself (she was almost a giantess compared to many women), and certainly not of his threats either, even though she knew what the man was capable of.
    She knew well many of his shady tricks, but she also knew things about him that most of the time sufficed to keep him quiet and docile.

    Today, she would have almost laughed at him when he had tried to pressure her by threatening to reveal to sheriff Ted Marshall her little trafficking of hallucinogenic toads. Pathetic of him.
    That was really nothing, a little commerce she had with some remote part of her family in Guatemala, especially the voodoo witch Nana Del Conda. These were regularly brought to her by the old ambulant quack Myrlin who was selling all sorts of hocus pocus remedies, keeping the potent ones for Madame Butterbutt.

    So nothing extraordinary about that… No,… what had brought her in that terrible mood was when the hoity-toity, pompous, arrogant, full of himself f*ckhead, oops she bit her lip again… When that jelly belly mugger had tried to coerce her into pushing the little Twi into his bed.

    When that foolhardy brother El Disperso is storming again into the bar to try to find quarrel and provoke the jelly pig into a brawl, she would perhaps let him have it his own way after all.
    Last time her loath of firearms had been directed strongly against the young boy, perhaps also to protect him too… Anyway, he was perhaps right, allowing himself to “float downstream”, from the hate to the anger… and perhaps to hope and joy again.
    She started to sound like dear ol’ Abe…

    in Reply To: Circle of Eights, Stories #507

    Ted was quite fond of Ogrean.
    Twilight was a bit sorry for the sheriff, for she had thought him a good guy at first,… whatever that means… but obviously he was a bit blinded by the slickness of the slimy condescending Pompousaur.

    But something interesting had happened this day, and she wondered how it would change things again.
    Apparently, from what she had caught from the scene, Ted had left the saloon in a cold rage, and it was quite obvious that the Pudgeon was a bit distraught… What could have moved the jovial sheriff like that?

    When she and Anna were changing clothes behind the scene after the representation, Anna started to talk quite freely and unexpectedly about the accident.

    — That Marshall guy is not as silly as he seems…

    As she was more talking to herself, Twilight didn’t answer.

    — What d’ya reckon? Anna asked more directly
    — Oh me? I don’t really know what happened…
    — Don’t play dumb with me, girl. You’re smarter than you wanna show.

    Twilight took some time to ponder…
    — I don’t think that Ogrean tried to bribe the sheriff, not as obviously…
    — Yeah…
    — Apparently, he started to explain the sheriff who he was supposed to arrest, and that didn’t please him the least.
    — More likely, yes. Definitely sounds like him…
    — Yes?

    Twilight almost wanted to tell her how she did understand Anna and how it must have been difficult for her with that child from Mc Gaughran, but she couldn’t express all of that.

    Terry is sweet.
    — Yes he is, he’s a lovely boy. I love him so much despite…
    — I know.

    When she came back to their ranch, Twilight felt relieved somewhat about what had occurred. Perhaps that this era of heavy cloaked ruthless order incarnated by Ogrean was coming to an end.
    She was a hopeless dreamer.

    in Reply To: Circle of Eights, Stories #508

    Ted always felt the cold, and the saloon was freezing. He clenched his chattering teeth for as long as he could, and then could stand it no longer. He dashed outside to grab a sweater out of his saddlebag, grimacing with cold.

    The Sheriff, trembling with cold, tugged at the sleeve of his sweater, and inadvertently pulled a small canvas bag out, spilling the contents all over the side of Dervish, his horse.

    Hallucinogenic green frogs boinged and scattered all over the place.

    Yikes! shouted Ted. This is gonna be one helluva f’kin trip now!

    in Reply To: Circle of Eights, Stories #509

    Jo was coming back to the saloon… he saw the new guy rushing out, very pale and sweaty face… his skin around his eyes were of a bad red. He seemed feverish and freezing. He saw him open his saddlebag and take an old dirty sweater, quite yellowish and quite fitting with his face color.

    He thought for a moment of the itchy fever, no, he dismissed the thought quickly, this fever was… no that simply wasn’t possible. This deadly fever hadn’t been heard of for years now.

    in Reply To: Circle of Eights, Stories #512


    In the saloon everybody became silent.

    That noise was so awful.

    What could it possibly be?

    As Jo entered the saloon, he was startled by the unusual quietness of it. And he was even more startled to see Mc Gaughran covered with bandages, filthy and juicy bandages. He seemed quite paralyzed with terror. Did he see something horrid? He was coughing harshly.

    Jo couldn’t help but laugh. And every one in the saloon began shyly to laugh also.

    in Reply To: Circle of Eights, Stories #513

    Little Jo El Disperso was so damn irresistable, when that boy laughed, everyone couldn’t help but join in.

    in Reply To: Circle of Eights, Stories #515

    That Abe sure is ugly as a burnt boot and crazier than a run over coon, aint he, said Isadora, one of the saloon girls who Twilight didn’t cotton on to much. The other girls laughed.

    Twilight was real fond of old Abe, and truth was she was feeling right tetchy and pernikity and itching for a fight, and she weren’t much in the mood for dancing that night.

    And your brain cavity wouldn’t make a drinkin cup for a canary Isadora. So why don’t you just shut that big old stupid mouth of yours before everyone cottons on to the fact that you are studying to be a half-wit.

    Why you are nothing but a no-good little strumpet, screeched Isadora, lunging at Twilight and trying to grab her blond wig. Twilight stepped nimbly out of the way.

    And you aint nothing but a stupid little buckle bunny, taunted Twilight. You got nothing better to do then follow those rodeo fellows around?

    Snakes Alive! exclaimed Madame Butterbutt. Will you both hold yer tongues and stop yer bitching. And will you get a hurry on Twilight. Yer ain’t even dressed yet.

    Isadora started crying. That Twilight started it, she snivelled.

    Sooner i get rid of this damn one horse town the better, muttered Twilight under her breath. She touched the jewelled dagger lodged between her breasts. Those damn liquor breath cowboys better not mess with me tonight.

    Old Abe, propping up the bar, chuckled

    in Reply To: Circle of Eights, Stories #550

    Alarmed by the sound of the explosion, Mrs Butterbutt rushed out of her office.

    What the hell are they doing again? If it’s these dirty sons of …

    She censored her thought as she was about to burst out in anger, she was so focused on that prout farting Mc Gaughran that as she opened the door of the main room, her face was that of a fury…. but as soon as she saw what had happened, she heard the laugh of Little Joe followed by all the drunkards and the sissy cow boys of that town. Her loud laugh soon joined with the others… she managed to calm down and talked to the juicy Aldous.

    — Oh you’re going to pay for all that mess, behave Mc Gaugran, you could have refrained from shitting on you!

    She couldn’t help but burst into laughter again.

    in Reply To: Circle of Eights, Stories #554

    Ted knew all hell would break loose when those dern frogs got loose.

    in Reply To: Circle of Eights, Stories #622

    Somewhere during the 23 rd century

    “aaa AAAA AAAAA Tcheeeew !”

    “Hiiiiii?! Oh Fracking NOOOoooo!”

    The shriek had been heard in the whole facility.

    Phefia Beryl was the first on the spot where Vinya Grey had been playing so exuberantly with her vocal chords.

    — Vinnie? Are you alright?… What just happened?
    — Oh, Pheffy… I think I made an awful blunder…
    — What do you mean?
    — You know, my last experiment?
    — The g…
    — Yes!
    — What?!
    — They poofed away…
    — Away?… You mean, all of them? Oh bugger…


    A few minutes later, Vinya and Phefia were around a white table sucking on straws picked into white and red polystyrenoid balls.

    — Vinnie, you look terrible… That last geomagnetic storm had not done very good on your DNA I’m afraid.
    — And the worse is that each time I sneeze, I blow up wormholes… I thought it would go better very quickly, but last one was big and lasted long enough to let the whole experimental herd wander off in another time/space and/or dimension…
    — Yeah, that’s pretty bad… But wherever they went, they probably will die very soon… Imagine… With their stiff legs anytime they see something frightening, I guess a mere mapgie could easily have them for dinner…
    — Such a pity… I was close to doing something great with them… When we discovered these fossilized blue spiders, I knew it was the first step.
    — Bwah, this rehydrated frogrog is the grossest thing I’ve ever drunk… But yeah you’re right, the first results were very promising. The spiders venom could provoke very random and deep mutations.
    — And all we needed was a little more control on the direction of the mutations.
    — Anyway they’re just goats… You possibly can’t have breached a cosmic law with a handful of GOATS
    — Hope so Pheffy, hope so…


    San Demangelo, 1848

    Elroy was laughing… Hey Joe, Twi! he shouted A letter from Uncle Ernie!

    — Uncle Ernie? How’s the old bat doin’? asked Twilight
    — He’s sending his greetings for the new year, and babbling about last dead people in the neighborhood. But there’s something funny. He’s saying that he’d just acquired some funny goats. Like popped in, out of nowhere. At first he’d thought of a joke, but apparently no one’s been claiming them. He’d thought them dead, they were a dozen laying stiff on the ground, but when they started to wake up, they went down again like broken dolls. Apparently the magpies on top of the tree had been scaring them. Ahaha… Where does he get such strange stories…
    — Well, magpies are scarey, Twilight said meaningfully, with a side glance at Joe
    — Whatever… At least he’d been giving us a good laugh. He’s saying he’s gonna breed the horny beasts, and start a Fainting Goat Fair (or FGF) in Marshall County. Perhaps we could get there next Thanksgiving…
    — Depends when the Freak Show’s coming to town, mused Twilight, I hope to see them soon…

    in Reply To: Circle of Eights, Stories #664

    In the creaking wooden caravan slowly moving its way on the dusty roads, Twilight was lost in deep thoughts, caressing mechanically the beautiful blond wig.
    She had done it almost on an impulse, but like all impulses she’d ever had, it had always felt deeply true to her core and she had gone. Now, it felt a bit strange, and too rational doubts were creeping along like viscous bugs, and she felt like judging her behaviour over and over.
    Of course, her brothers, Jo the first, and then Elroy, had been supportive, but they had always been that way. Even when their first reactions were to object to what she was doing, like dancing in the saloon, her determination was always winning them easily. She had promised to write often, and she would probably be back in a year.

    When the Freak Show had settled in town for a week, she had been at first almost grossed out by what was announced, and had not been her brothers to egg on her, she probably wouldn’t have been going to see them.
    Pat Elson, the director of the Fabulously Great Freakus (or FGF), was a little dark-skinned man in an orange suit and top-hat, with a communicable enthusiasm and a sincere consideration for the people he called “his performers”. Very soon, rather than being repulsed by the differences, Twilight had been attracted by the way of life of these people, and was considering traveling with them as an opportunity to discover more about the world and about herself. Her inspiration to write was even tickling her fingers like an army of ants she had never felt before.
    When she had said to Pat Elson that she was willing to travel and work with them, rather than laughing like he used to do, he’d taken a silent pondering moment to consider the options. Obviously Twilight wasn’t a freak herself, at least not physically freaky. But he couldn’t refuse help, as his business was growing every day. Venus, the armless woman, his best asset on the show, had been recently pregnant, giving birth to conjoined twins, and would surely appreciate two arms to give her a hand… so to speak.
    So he had agreed.

    The babies started crying in the caravan drawing Twilight out of her reveries. Venus was sleeping nearby, still exhausted, and Zarafina, the giraffe-woman, started to groan annoyed by the noise.
    Twilight hurried to cuddle the babies, checking that they were alright. All was right, they were probably only bugged by the bumps in the road. No wonder… she sighed.

    in Reply To: Circle of Eights, Stories #672

    Twilight was in a reflective frame of mind. She had felt real sad saying goodbye to her brothers, and that Blue Bull Elroy had won was worrying away at her. She’d had a dream about it the other night, the bull had got loose and it was all her doing. Well she didn’t remember much more than that about the dream, but it left her with a worried feeling.

    What is is honey? asked Mama Belle , who had been watching the quiet girl and had seen the shadow pass over her face.

    Oh it aint nothing much, I am just being addled brained. I were thinking about my brothers.

    Well honey, you just say your prayers for them at night, and leave them to the Good Lord to mind out for. One thing don’t do nobody no good ever is worrying.

    Do you believe in God, Mama Belle?

    Mama Belle chuckled. Sure I believe in God, even though all my life people said I must be born of the devil to get this way. Her eyes took on a faraway look. When I was little my mother said to me, “God must sure love you Belle. He knows you one of his special children to give you such a hard testing in life. He knows you can take it.” Well I took that to heart, and fact is, far as I know, we only got one shot at this life. So I might as well make the best of things I reckon. The sun still shines on Belle honey, don’t you worry.

    Must be hard for the sun to get through all that hair though, thought Twilight, feeling a bit sad for what her friend had been through.

    Them’s the freaks I reckon, those ones that pay just to come and have a look see.


    Dear Elroy and Jo

    I am having a fine time here, meeting some real nice folks. Mr Elson has got a plan to put some of my dancing in the show, in an act along with Bleep and Flop, that’s two of the little folks, Bleep is only 3 foot high, and Flop is not much more than a few inches taller. Well it will be fun and it means I will get paid more than just minding them babies.

    Felix Otterworthy, or they call him “the Otter Man” on account of the fact he ain’t go no legs, is a very learned gentleman. He has said he will help me some with my writing if I would like. Well, that is probably the thing I feel most excited about. He read one of my stories, and said it showed “some potential”.

    So it is all going fine. I can hear them now doing the first call of the day, so this is a short letter for now.

    My friend Mama Belle says I should pray for you boys. I said, “I reckon them two are beyond help”.

    Well I am only making fun, got to go now, Be sure and write me something back.

    lots of love Twi


    ROLL UP! ROLL UP! WELCOME TO FABULOUSLY GREAT FREAKUS CIRCUS! THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH! See extraordinary acts and amazing feats! COME AND MEET THE FREAKS! See the Man with Two Heads, yes that’s what I said, TWO HEADS. Meet the ugliest woman that ever walked the face of the earth, that’s if you can stand to look at her! ROLL UP! ROLL UP!

    Another day at the circus was starting.

    in Reply To: Circle of Eights, Stories #936

    California, 1849

    Almost five months… Five whole months they’d been traveling all around the place at a very slow pace.
    Twilight was enjoying every instant of being in the middle of that strange moving cohort.

    She had been inspired to write daily. Not much at the beginning, but it was all “in the dedication and intent that marvel would shine through”, as Felix, the Otter man had been saying to her.

    In truth, she wasn’t really expecting marvels, but marvels had come to her more than once.
    At times, she even felt compelled to write about it to Jo and Elroy, her dear brothers. Of course, she’d been writing with a clockwork regularity, posting sometimes more than a few letters at each of their settling near a new town, all the way from Texas, to Colorado, Utah, Nevada and finally California. She wasn’t even sure the actual letters were reaching them, but she more than once felt like her thoughts had reached them throughout the distance, and her dreams would confirm her into these intuitions.
    That trip was hard, harder than she would have guessed, with all the heat, dust and chaotic dirt trails, but the company and fellowship was always uplifting, and a joy of each instant.
    Even the war between America and Mexico that made travel even more perilous was over after two years, and things all around seemed to settle down more peacefully as if to reflect that truce.

    And now, looking at all of what she had gathered, she was amazed at these marvels she had collected, those nuggets of their lives, each moment seemingly so fleeting and trite, and yet, as they were put together, all marvelously interwoven.
    Though she mostly loved passionate real-life stories, she had to admit she had a soft spot (or let it be said, an un-common spot) for one of her most delirious story.
    She had been inspired to write something about giant ants after she’d been amazed at seeing huge ant hills during their trip in the deserts. There was this mad quack who was trying to extract some sort of honey from giant ants to make a powerful drug, and and she had added lots of her friends from the show inside this story. Herself was a delightful jet-black haired beauty with an impossible name and diverse and frustrated love interests, spying on the mad quack… She even started to dream about that story at times…

    She loved that gentle slipping into abundant nutness…

    Now that they were arrived in San Francisco, she was considering settling there for a while, sharing her time between writing and dancing. Time would tell.

    in Reply To: Circle of Eights, Stories #1248

    That was it. She had enough for the time being. Ever since the management had agreed to hire him for the new show, the Freakus was not as Fabulously Great as it once was.

    Not that he was a bad guy, but he was all so closeted, he was imprinting it to the circus, and she wanted to breathe some different kind of air. Of course, never been a freak himself, Morgan the Mentalist wouldn’t ever come close as to understand what having been closeted your all life would mean. Being the Lobster girl of the show, she knew quite a bit about that.
    It had took her awhile to know that there wasn’t anything wrong with her expression, so no one would told her how to express. Not the Mentalist of all others.

    Damo, the guy who was setting up the tents had seen her leave the Freakus without a word, her little piece of luggage on her “normal” hand, while her claw-like one was tucked in a glove under her bosom. Sweet-hearted as he was, he had tried to convince her to stay, that surely there was some misunderstanding.
    “Lyla, don’t be stoopid, ain’t got nothin’ fur you out there” he’d said to her.

    She didn’t know how to tell him that all was good. She didn’t want to tell too much either, for Fama, his teen daughter wasn’t really loving the life at the circus either, and would easily have taken the bait to get out of there too. So she had moved saying that she would come back, “when it’s safe for kids” she’d added mysteriously.

    Strange at it seemed, it was like taking a breathe of air, and yet, she couldn’t help but think over and over at how she could have changed anything in what had happened. Perhaps it was just a pretext for her to do her next step.
    When Morgan first came to the show, he wasn’t in a good shape, and had begged Pat Elson to hire him. As he was kind of smart guy, he didn’t stay long in Damo’s team of workers. Pat saw his potential as a sort of empathic guy, and devised the Mentalist act with him.

    He was good at cold-reading, mostly guessing at people problems; in the beginning, some of the freakus’ people would play a part with him, to amaze the audience, but it became less and less necessary, and he would do a nice job buy himself, with lots of “it wouldn’t happen to be that your mother gave the watch to you? No… not your mother… but someone close… I can feel blah blah” and then picking on the subtle hints the guy was giving off unwittingly.

    Lately, he had started to kind of feel stuff for real. And he started to freak out. After all this time, not many people remembered Morgan as he first came to the circus, and for most he was the Outstandingly Great Mentalist. Yeah, he had been pimping up a bit his name too… Those things happen in the milieu.
    But Lyla remembered. She was a girl at this time, but your work at the circus starts very early when you’re a freak.
    She had seen how he gained a little confidence in himself, as long as it stayed within closed tents and half-lit veils. He was truly a master of illusion games, and he didn’t want people to see him differently than the way he was presenting himself. He’d first tried his little games of séances with some close trusty friends, and Lyla had been quite encouraging; he deserved to blossom his potential; no one deserved to be maintained at a place where you can’t reach your highest.

    A few days before, Lyla had had the pleasure of seeing Jenny, who’d been snake charmer many years ago, and had quit to become a singer in a bar: “tired me to travel so much, ya see” she’d said to Lyla “Now my life ain’t so complicated”.
    Then Jenny had then asked about the guys she’d known in the freakus, first of all was Morgan the Mentalist. “How’s that old fart of Morgy?” she’d asked with a giggle “still scamming around?”

    Lyla had said innocently that he’d been practicing doing it more genuinely, even to some success with local peasants in a few séances. Jenny had greeted the news with a cheer. “Wonderful, hey!”

    The next day, Lyla had had the Mentalist erupt in the caravan she shared with Zarafina and Venus, since Twi had gone to sing too. He was looking furious and once they were out of earshot (how could there be any need of making secrets with the others, Lyla had wondered, they shared everything, even the tiny bar of soap) told her with his sweetest voice how he appreciated Jenny. Of course she wasn’t a Mentalist, but she knew when someone was beating around the bush; and she needn’t be Moses to know the bush was smelling of burning.

    “I greatly appreciate Jenny, but I’d love to choose when I disclose my information to her” that’s what he said. At first, she’d thought, well, why the theatrics? Cool for you guy, peace off now. Then she slowly understood that he wanted to tell her to shut her mouth. How could she know what part to shut and which to tell? She hadn’t done anything wrong did she? Why was he having the same tone than the frigging priests with their sermons telling that you’re sinful, and when you’ve got a crooked arm, it’s because you’re born evil and such guilt shit.”

    Well, she didn’t want to stay in a position where she had to figure out which of his sharing was a real sharing or was not. So she better bugger off, take some fresh air.

    She thought how she loved to hear the radio, and her lifelong dream was to work there, in a place where people would hear her before judging from her appearance… Maybe she would thank Morgy in the future for giving her the last excuse to do what she wanted.

    in Reply To: Circle of Eights, Stories #1249

    Siobhan was settling into her new job at the Freakus, fitting like a duck to water into her position as Head Cage Rattler. It wasn’t an easy job to do which was why the rewards were so high; it certainly wasn’t everyones cup of tea, and good Cage Rattlers were hard to find. Oh, there were plenty of Cage Rattlers, true, but not good ones. A good Cage Rattler had to have a certain “je ne say kwah”, an impermeability, much like the oily feathers of a duck, enabling the Cage Rattler to glide easily through troubled waters without sinking ~ without even getting wet, if they were very skilled.

    The success of the Freakus show depended on new ideas and inspirations. The audience, as well as the participants of course, wanted something new, something challenging, something inspiring, something ‘out of the box’ for each show, not the same old boring routines. There was nothing entertaining about the same old tricks rehashed over and over again, even if they were well known and easy to perform. True, there were many of the general public who preferred the familiar acts, but they generally weren’t fans of the innovative and forward thinking Freakus show. Freakus was new, exciting, thought provoking and entrancingly different, hence the importance of the Cage Rattlers.

    When the performers and cast members of Freakus got too complacent or too boring, it was Siobhan’s job to disturb them, to rattle their cages, yes, to upset them. Clearly it was undeniably important that Siobhan not take their retaliations personally; after all, she was just doing her job. She was shaking things up purposefully for the overall benefit of the show, it was a simple as that. It wasn’t her job to direct or lead those in the rattled cages, simply to disturb them from their boring old routines. Freakus, after all, wasn’t about the old and boring, it was about the new and exciting, and it was up to the individual performers to come up with a new act.

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