Back a few years ago, I should probably say, quite a few years ago, there came a girl to our quiet little Mississippi town reputed to be a star performer in the world famous Florida-based circus side show that visited almost every little town along the mighty river’s shores at least once each and every year.
It was probably the highlight of the year for the youngsters in our rural town and I was one of the devoted aficionados of the gaudy affair as far back as I could remember.
I remember with great clarity the billboards that carried those tantalizing drawings of her enticing likeness in life-sized caricature along with the elephants and the clowns. In all honesty, I have to admit I loved the elephants, but was less than pleased with the clowns that all sent a shiver up my back just like the gators ready for viewing at feeding time in another of our local attractions.
Our teacher Mister Wilkins opined that the circus folk were nothing less than creatures of the devil incarnate.
Of course, he was one of those grown-ups that required liquid refreshments of the moonshine variety well before the five o’clock hour on almost every school day. Our community was so starved for the need of something “different” that the circus was always a big hit. There was no doubt that all residents from little tots to grannies with their canes and false teeth (when they remembered to put them in) stood in line expectantly waiting to glimpse the sights of the spectacle of strange revelations.
In those days, I was sort of a strange youngster, at least in terms of rural Mississippi lifestyles.
I was too old to play games with the little ones in the schoolyard because I was already over six foot tall and weighed enough to be considered college material by the football coach down there at Ole Miss., even though I never took too kindly to book learning, unless there were a lot of pictures involved.
On the other hand, I was only just turned nineteen and my pa was always telling me,
“Buster, you are still wet behind the ears and that’s a fact.”
I never understood exactly what he meant by that, but it seemed certain it wasn’t any compliment despite our close family relationship.
My ma told me that pa was not actually my real pa.
She told me that my real pa had been sunk out to sea by some Nazi submarine that probably never even knew anything about him at all and that it really wasn’t personal.
We didn’t even have a photo of him, because our new head of household Jethro would be a mite put out by that unlikely circumstance. It seemed like I was doomed to be surrounded by the female half of the universe because all I had was sisters. There were five of them and only the oldest one Gloria had the same pa as me and all the others could be laid at Jethro’s door, at least, according to my ma’s account.
Getting back to my story about Miss Sadie, I managed to get free tickets to the performances because I was one of the circus’s front men going all around and tacking up their billboards and putting them next to the cash registers in every shop in town, even down at the crossroads where the junk yard and the auto repair shops did business straight off the interstate with the New Orleans Mardi Gras crowd all fired up by our local white lightning and a need for speed that seemed to infect most of the rebel spawn “good ole boys”.
I got to watch Miss Sadie up close and personal, when she was putting on her face powder and other female war-paint. All I could say was that she really didn’t need any of that stuff because she was about as pretty a girl that I had ever seen this side of the state line. She stripped down to her skivvies and slippers with no attitude of coyness that most of the girls in these parts employed to give the impression they were supposed virgins. Most of that bunch used all sorts of tricks hiding inside their devious female minds about catching some slow-witted fool for life-time duty as support for their nest of little chicks and hungry mouths. My ma clued me in early on that score and told me to “keep it in your pants and you might even wind up with some money in the bank when you really need it”.
It was hard for me to pretend not to ogle Miss Sadie every breath I took right there inside the circus tent.
I suspected she was used to it because most of the other circus girls were a bit on the homely side or had muscles in places where nice, soft female flesh should be all curved and waiting for some male attention. Her manager was her pa, according to her account and I knew what sort he was from the way he kept pulling out his flask to wet his whistle.
It was obvious that he was one of those weak humans that were addicted to the strong stuff because it always brightened him up and made him more talkative than a flock of widows down at the dry-goods store gossiping about everyone’s faults but their own.
One of the carnies (guys that worked the circus or carnivals) that helped raise and lower the tents gave me the skinny on Miss Sadie being adopted as the only survivor of the Great Gambini High Flyers. I had heard of that tragic family with their tragic “no-net” act that did in almost the entire family of circus performers on a quiet Sunday afternoon.
I felt sorry for her troubles, but knew it would only cause unwelcome hurt to bring the subject up after it was buried deep in the past and kept out of discussion as much as possible.
She did a “low wire” act that accentuated her perfect figure and carried little risk to life or limb in the eventuality of a mistake. Her act was a big success because she had added some difficult twists and jumps that required the highest sense of balance and dexterity.
It was difficult to judge Miss Sadie’s age, but I figured she was older than me because she had been on the circuit the previous year when I was sick with the flu. I was only able to look at the flyers with her picture and have all sorts of fantasy thoughts about us being a couple and actually “doing it” like the grown-ups down at Jacob’s barn.
I had been looking at her picture all year long and now I could watch her practice up real close and personal.
When some of the clowns tried to make fun of her during her practice, she lambasted them with a vocabulary that would have shocked the wrestlers down at Hogan’s Gym even with their great command of insults and curses that would irritate a saint. I was shocked that Miss Sadie knew so many bad words because she impressed me as a real lady and quite possibly still a virgin like me.
I was working my ass off helping them set the stage for the acts in the main tent and constructing the platforms for the side-show acts that pulled in a lot of dough for the Circus strongbox. It was a good job because I got to see all the circus girls dressing and undressing including Miss Sadie. I didn’t think it was particularly perverted because those girls all knew which end was up and they seemed to enjoy teasing me with a look at their female parts.