Precipitous

Precipitous: dangerously high or steep; sudden and dramatic change that worsens a situation

The ring master was pleased to hear of my discovery of Apara’s hidden talent. He invited me to go on the road with the show. They were leaving the next day. I, of course, said I would have to ask my parents. I, of course, knew they would say no. There was no way I was going to run away with the circus. That would be cliché and I’m full of surprises. Cliché isn’t my style.

I promised Apara I would follow the show’s travels online, and we agreed to send emails. I can’t tell you her email address. You can’t be too careful with privacy concerns these days. I talked to my parents that night, however, and they agreed I could ride with Apara to the next town. My grandma lived there, and I could spend the night, and they would come and get me the next day.

Just for fun I packed a bandana with some snacks and some clean clothes and tied it to a stick like I was someone who ran away with the circus. The ringmaster was thrilled to see me and agreed to let me ride in Apara’s car in the caravan. I don’t mean that Apara was driving a car. Our bumper car driving days were over. I mean she was being pulled in this boxcar type thing, like a horse trailer.

At first it was great fun being in there with Apara. Then I realized just how much she smelled like an animal. Skunks weren’t the only stinky animals. If skunks were bad because the odor stuck with you, Apara might as well have been a skunk because I was stuck with her and her smell.

I knew it was only about an hour’s drive, but I couldn’t take it any longer, and I hung my head out the top of the half door. (She wasn’t closed in all the way. Animals have to breathe just like people do.) I know that sticking your head out of the window of a moving vehicle is not a smart thing to do. I learned that from the car makers who keep the backseat windows from rolling all the way down. I knew it was a bad idea, but I was desperate. I was even more desperate when precipitously my shirt got caught on a passing sign and I got pulled from the car. Oops.

The circus caravan kept on going without me. With each passing moment it was becoming more and more salient that no one noticed me, hanging out to dry on a speed limit sign. Too many other things to notice I guess. I was still hanging there when the last of the caravan drove out of sight. I realized too late that a bit of obstreperousness maybe could have helped my situation.

So there I was. Alone. Dangling from my precipitous location, I scanned the perimeter. It was barren. Empty. I repeat. I was alone. It was just me and the grasshoppers. I didn’t even have my bandana knapsack. I was penniless. I didn’t have any food. I didn’t have anyone to help me. This precipitous turn of events had me all tied up in knots, figuratively speaking. I wasn’t tied to the sign; I was hanging from it by my shirt.

I learned from the lady on the exercise videos to take deep breaths, so that’s what I did. I breathed deeply. I guess the extra strain as my lungs expanded was more than my shirt could bare and it ripped. Now I looked as penniless as I was. Unfortunately, it didn’t rip enough to release me.

I couldn’t think of what to do, so I started thinking of new ways to create lift and thrust. I still had yet to create a real, flying machine. It seems I must have gotten lost in thought because cars started coming down the previously empty road. I started flailing my arms and yelling that I needed to get to the circus. I was being as not inconspicuous as I possibly could. I guess that means I was being conspicuous.

It turns out, though, that my conspicuous, obstreperous act had people thinking I was a living sign for the circus. They thought I was an advertisement, pointing the way to the rings of excitement, laughter, peanuts, and cotton candy. People honked and waved, but they didn’t stop.

I gave up shouting about the circus. Someone stopped. I guess I finally looked like someone who needed help. When the person got out of the car, I realized it was Mrs. Carp. I was jumping for joy to see her. I wasn’t really. Not that I could have jumped even if I weren’t being sarcastic.

Mrs. Carp stood below me shaking her head. She didn’t look surprised. She took me to the circus. She mentioned I smelled like I belonged there. I think the circus is full of wonderful smells, like the aforementioned peanuts and cotton candy, so I took it as a compliment.

I had trouble finding my grandma since I was so late. I decided to throw caution to the wind and climbed up onto the fence to see better. I didn’t throw anything from there; I actually stepped out onto the top of a blue baseball cap. It was a little wobbly, so I stepped onto a brown cowboy hat. I stepped from hat to hat to hair to hat to hair to hair, you get the idea. I actually didn’t see my grandma until after I heard her. In fact I happened to step on her head. Somehow she knew it was me. She called my name and I jumped down. She was surprised to see me. Well, she was surprised by how I looked. She bought me a circus t-shirt, so it turned out to be a pretty great day, and I have a memento to remember it by.

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