Delusions of grandeur not withstanding, the last music video is not the one I originally chose. And it bugs the hell out of me that once having found the perfect one with the entire band playing “The Ballad Of Bonnie & Clyde” — for me at least — it seems to have fallen into some mysterious bottomless pit on the internet from which I can no longer retrieve it. It’s one of those little things in life that drives you batty and tends to bend you totally out of shape. It makes you want to stick your head out the window and scream to the world en masse, “I’m MAD AS HELL and I’m not going to take it anymore.” The world of course, given that it’s going to hell in a hand basket, doesn’t really give a shit. But you at least have the supreme satisfaction of having done your very best to make a total ass out of yourself.
Given that I have always had a burr under my saddle and certain ongoing developmental issues, all of which have caused me considerable anguish and provided chaotic fall out for innocent bystanders — as opposed to taking responsibility for my ongoing psycho circus — I’d much prefer to find someone else with broad shoulders to blame for the mess. Mainly a strong man famous for his ability to hold five men on his shoulders who has considerable accomplishments in other areas of Big Top performances as well. Some good — some not so good. It’s from My Father — “ZORRO” that I inherited the not so good MEME MIND VIRUS, which has sometimes caused others to run for cover.
Along with his many accomplishments, extraordinary abilities and striking good looks, “PAPA” was also in possession of so unruly and uncontrollable a temper that whenever his brothers suspected he was about to lose it — they would in unison (it took at least a half a dozen of this band of brothers) to forcibly place him into one of the vacant wild animal cages that was specifically placed in the circus backyard for just such an auspicious occasion.
The man in the cage hardly resembled the soulful musician who would for hours at a time in heartfelt reverie zone out on his flamenco guitar bringing to mind the haunting moorish melodies so reminiscent of GYPSY MUSIC. It belies the long history of a little known exotic culture whose longing for freedom so overwhelms any other cultures attempt to confine them. One might as well have tried to confine the wild streak that existed in my Father’s otherwise peaceful nature. The side of him I most often saw within the cozy confines of our caravan when self absorbed within the sounds of his own music — he was the Father anyone would want to call their own. But PAPA was a multi faceted individual subject to mercurial changes and alternate dispositions. Ones that could take you off guard in a nano second. Then you better be ready for anything — or better yet, make yourself scarce.
Among my Fathers numerous abilities and impressive talents — the one for which he was best known besides going off the deep end like “Sonny in the Godfather” (remember The Bad Don?) was his uncanny portrayal of “ZORRO”. Many times removed. To PAPA’s credit, if one can gain credit for near manslaughter, my Fathers bad behavior was directly related to his perfectionism and rare equestrian ability to perform a “Dressage Act” that was the high light of every BIG Top performance. A tour de force that requires years of specialized training on the part of both horse and rider and demands the same degree of perfectionism as is demanded of anyone seeking to master “The Stradivarius”. In the classical sense — that kind of an act is more often referred to as “Haute Ecole” which translated means “High School.” A term most people are familiar with through the horses General George Patten saved in the Second World War. THE SPANISH RIDING SCHOOL OF VIENNA and their famed AIRS ABOVE THE GROUND. My Fathers interpretation of that particular brand of equestrian artistry took on a more flamboyant approach and differed in his choice of a Black Andalusian Stallion as the “Piece De Resistance” with whom he chose to leave audiences breathless at their combined appearance. My fathers enormous ego however, and narcissistic tendencies created an added extension to his “Airs Above The Ground”. Believing himself to be a body double for that long ago screen idol “VALENTINO” in both looks and his ability to mesmerize females, PAPA did his best to play on that supposed similarity. He originally dressed as “The Sheik” but found that wardrobe a bit too cumbersome for the intricacies of the equestrian act involved. However, once having set eyes on the famed Spanish Dancer Jose Greco and his magnificent classic couture, my Father went to great lengths and considerable expense to having the famed Mr. Greco’s tailor fashion for him an exact duplicate. In point of actual fact — a number of duplicates — as inevitably my Father was to use those magnificent outfits — not only to perform his “Dressage Act” — but also to engage in a violent mutation of Sonny Corleone, Rambo, & Rocky in a mangled display of fantastic fisticuffs minus the Marquis De Queensberry rules.
The Great Corliani’s by that time owned their own Circus and being the owners they also reaped the profits of whatever concessions they had on the MIDWAY and under THE BIG TOP. At least they did until my Father put at risk the entire smorgasbord of the usual circus fare of Cotton Candy, Candy Apples, Peanuts, Cracker Jacks, Hot Dogs, Soda, Snow Cones, Pop Corn, and whatever else was necessary to enhance the income of any traveling circus. It’s sad but true that some Circus Entrepreneurs readily admit that their main purpose in presenting a circus to the public is for the privilege of reaping the profits of the concessions accompanying their traveling enterprise. Tch Tch Tch, it’s also sad but true that there were those occasions when the possibility of putting my Father in his Special Wild Animal Cage proved to be an insurmountable inconvenience. Specifically in the center ring when he was performing his famous Dressage Act and all eyes were focused on him and his Dancing Prancing Black Andalusion “Othello”. The Children Of All Ages under The Big Top didn’t actually relate to PAPA as a body double for Valentino — but rather saw him as a reincarnated Zorro, and so began chanting “ZORRO” “ZORRO” “ZORRO”. He managed to accept with good grace that he a had been demoted to Zorro as opposed to his alter ego Valentino. Mistakes happen. But what pushed his super sensitive Sonny button to Red Alert was something right out of “The X Files”. The abrupt invasion under The Big Top of a contingent of new concessionaires (to replace the old ones that quit) let loose on an unsuspecting public all of whom were intent on doing their job and making the proverbial buck. Some of which could have ended up in my Father’s pocket had he not chosen that particular moment to go on the attack. Perfectionism has certain deleterious side effects which no amount of anger management can surmount. My Father’s zeal in presenting his Airs Above The Ground to the utmost advantage of both his horse and himself took on Herculean proportions. The fact that a bunch of rowdy concessionaires would dare to break the combined concentration of both him and his mount while in the process of performing their most difficult and demanding exercises such as, “The Capriole”, “The Levade”, and others equally difficult totally unhinged him. It signaled a dramatic departure from his usual routine whereby he abruptly abandoned Othello who was forlornly left in the center ring to his own devices. Mean while my Father, the misunderstood Valentino who looked like Zorro and acted like Sonny Corleone did one of those “Incredible Hulk” transformations, and went in search of as many rude and rowdy concessionaires as he could get his murderous hands on. “The Goddamn Bastardo’s” who deliberately tried to ruin his act with their cries of “Peanuts”, “Popcorn”, “Cracker Jacks” & their insistent and ceaseless pitch for “Cotton Candy” “Candy Apples”, “Snow Cones” et all. Words that rang in his ears like a red cape flying in the face of a bull. Like a headless horseman on the rampage, he tracked them down one by one until they all got their just desserts. And until he had exhausted his own thirst for vengeance. That was only after most of what they had to sell was firmly stuck to his lapel and various other parts of his Jose Greco outfit, which I assure you was never meant for a performance such as this. With as much dignity as a man with “Cotton Candy” stuck to his posterior could possess, not to mention A Jackson Pollack Type Masterpiece of mustard, ketchup, & relish of a number of flying hot dogs left behind decorating his upper body as though he was the star of a Mummers Parade. His tight designer outfit split from crotch to knee (flagrant delicto) to an audience of breathless women who now had visible proof that he did indeed possess “The Whole Enchilada”. My Father once again apologized to Othello and resumed the Equestrian Act that had been so rudely interrupted. This to the thunderous applause of a appreciative onlookers that hadn’t seen such a knock down, drag out testosterone display of such absurd and wacky proportions as performed by so outrageous and colorful a cast of mixed cockamamie characters since the last down and dirty John Wayne shit kicker they attended!
The Legend Of My Father — THE BIG TOP ZORRO and his MAFIOSI version of the HEADLESS HORSEMAN is so engraved in the hearts and minds of concessionaires in THE ALFRESCO WORLD OF ENTERTAINMENT that tradition and paranoid superstition require that they cross themselves and first look for any signs of THE MAN IN BLACK before daring to enter the sacrosanct domain of THE BIG TOPS NOTORIOUS BAD DON. Unlike me, they hardly remember him for playing his guitar. Each year on my dear PAPA’s birthday, in solemn remembrance of his dedicated perfectionism, concessionaires cease all attempts at selling their wares and observe a moment of silence. It’s a costly tribute, but one that helps these hard working junk food pitchmen sleep less fitfully throughout the length of the Circus season.
As for myself — although I never ascended to that much coveted throne of Queen Of The Circus which my delusions of grandeur pointed to as my proper place in life — I did in time thanks to the Meme Mind Virus I inherited from my Father the Headless Horseman — finally achieved the dubious distinction of being elevated to the status of “La Principessa De La Nervosa”. A title bestowed on me for my unparallel ability to go off the deep end at the slightest provocation — which is why to this very day yours truly “The Asymmetric Big Top Revolutionary” is far more adept at trying to fix what’s wrong with everybody else than trying to fix what’s wrong with MOI.
I would have hoped — that as A Wise Latina Woman like myself, with the richness of my experience, I would have made better choices than that which was presented to me by STUPID WHITE MEN and OFF THE WALL GODFATHER TYPES who play the GUITAR. Alas, that was not to be the case.
Sorry Dr. Dyer, The “No Excuses” Paradigm Of Reality simply does not exist in my Universe.
The Part Of PAPA to be played by: A YOUNG AL PACINO
I learned some very important things from my Father apart from the fact that, “Airs Above the Ground” ranks higher than “Junk Food” in the overall consideration of life’s priorities. An “Aha Moment” for every ambitious concessionaire seeking solvency under The Big Top. That is “The Big Top” as it pertained to “Mama Corliani’s 3 Ring Circus & Wild West Show” where Law and Order was a mere afterthought as opposed to a way of life. In the rough and tumble no holds barred zone of “The Alfresco World Of Entertainment” in which I was raised, Music & Muscular Diplomacy went hand in hand. Each and every member of our extended clan of “Center Ring Performers & Wild West Show Entertainers” were not only handy with their fist — each had individually achieved a measure of excellence at the instrument of their choice. I played the piano and by extension “The Calliope.” Together, when we weren’t otherwise occupied with fighting amongst ourselves we could, when the occasion called for it — make beautiful music together. However, fighting per se was not so much a carry over from frontier days as it was a necessary ingredient in keeping a level playing field on our “Mafioso Midway.” We all looked so much alike, acted so much alike, and were so equally imbued by similar tastes and talents that the only means left to us by which to differentiate was to “Punch Each Others Lights Out.”
“Music” which is said to sooth the savage beast goes a long way towards convincing you of the authenticity of your genteel nature — especially if accompanied by the religious convictions of a lapsed Catholic. For us there was always the loophole of that weekly confessional. It’s comforting to know that no matter how much blood you have on your hands, either figuratively or literally, you still have the option of unloading the weight of your sins on some Priestly being whose hands are probably as dirty as yours are. In which case, passing the buck will only cost you a number of “Hail Mary’s,” several “Acts Of Contrition,” and/or X amount of repetitions of “The Lords Prayer.” If you’re especially bad — you can clean up your entire act and wipe the slate clean by saying “The Holy Rosary” in its entirety. Obviously, The World Of The Supernatural has its ongoing benefits. Which is why to this very day no amount of pragmatism foisted on me by the anal retentive practitioners of Anglo Saxon unity has ever been able to separate me from the more mystical aspects of life. My Gypsy Grandmother saw to that!
No matter how far we traveled, where or why, she never forgot to bring along her treasure trunk of “Psychic Paraphernalia” which included a fractured Crystal Ball bequeathed to her by her own legendary shape shifting Grandmother, Mama Mezeppa. A Gypsy gormandizer who, by her own admission, made a better pumpkin soup than any of her cookhouse or chuck wagon rivals. That trunk included some of Mama Mezeppa’s favorite secret recipes salvaged from the 19th Century when Mama Mezeppa was better known for her dare devil trick riding and daring daylight stage coach robberies than she was for her cooking.
As the original “Octo Mom” when the circus failed to provide sufficient food and supplies for her unruly brood of Big Top Bambinos, as a single working mother she had no qualms about using her extraordinary equestrian abilities, shooting skills and sex appeal, which were the mainstay of her Circus & Wild West Show performances, by moonlighting as what was The Old West’s most colorful and fetching Lady Outlaw. Survival has always been the name of the game for any circus past or present. When it’s chicken one day and feathers the next — you do what you have to, even if what you “have to” falls on the wrong side of the law.
Besides those treasured old time recipes, that trunk was home to dozens of handicapped miniature statues and road weary saints who, over the years of traveling bumpy back roads and being shoved on and off loading ramps had lost a hand, an arm, a piece of leg, and in some cases an entire head. Amputations and decapitations which apparently had little effect on their power to summon the attentions of the saints they represented, who presumably remained totally intact in their heavenly home. Included in the “trunk of many wonders” was an arsenal of silver and gold metals representative of those very same saints, which when worn apparently added to the power of life and death of the people who wore them. My mother — a daring aerialist and fervent none believer who wasn’t even a lapsed Catholic, wore a dozen of them strung together on a large safety pin attached to the inside of her costume — as though they represented some invisible net that would miraculously sustain her if by some horrendous accident of fate she should in performing the impossible, lose her grip and go plummeting to her death. After which according to my Grandmother, she would go straight to hell where she belonged. (Emma never forgot my Mother’s Aryan Ancestry or the fact that Gypsies, next to Jews were the largest ethnic minority to succumb to the Nazi ovens.)
Given the animus that existed between my German Mother and my Gypsy Grandmother, I was always amazed that Queen Emma had parted with those medals on my Mothers behalf. Maybe it was because due to my Mothers atheistic proclivities, my Grandmother simply assumed they wouldn’t work for her. I often wondered if my Mother wore those medals as less of a protection against the sudden death syndrome and more as a protection against the wicked wiles of my cunning and conspiratorial Gypsy Grandmother. She was known to have certain Machiavellian traits, murderous inclinations and long standing jealousies. Emmalina Corliani’s trunk also included a favorite costume from her own glory days as the elite aerialist who grabbed the spotlight and enthralled the public with her beauty and her daring. A costume she could easily slide into before 16 children had robbed her of the former slender and svelte physique which sadly had long since been replaced by a massive and corpulent, singularly stupefying, she-devil stand in that required this dangerous and dynamic circus queen to rule her hybrid canvas domain from the back of a humongous black Friesian Stallion. His tremendous tasseled hooves made the ground quake when he walked and made you tremble at his presence even if you had spent your entire life around horses. But this horse was different. His mission in life was to act as “The Enforcer” dedicated not only to transporting my Grandmother massive frame to every corner of the circus lot that required her attention but to scare the hell out of you in the process. Even the elephants cast a wary eye at the prospect of “El Diablo” & “La Gitana Corliani” headed in their direction. As if my Grandmother even needed this monstrous equus presence to accompany her in her daily rounds given the sheer strength of “The Spaghetti Umbilical” by which she maintained a “Psychic” strangle hold around each and every member of our extended clan of in-laws and outlaws. Nevertheless as oppressed as we all were as America most celebrated equestrian marvels (with the exception of our very famous distant cousins “The Cristiani’s”) who were not Gypsies nor known for their Wild West traditions or Spaghetti Western Origins whose name I sometimes use when engaged in nefarious activities I know my Gypsy Grandmother wouldn’t approve of. None of us knew how to break the ties that bind.
Despite our rage at being managed and manipulated we all knew on which side our bread was buttered and were entirely cognizant of the need our “Big Top Biosphere” had of the one person that could make it all work… that “Wise Latina Woman With The Richness Of Her Experience” could do what others could not. She was the center of gravity around which our mobile family grocery store revolved. And of course we were equally aware of the remaining contents of that “terrible trunk” in which Emmalina Corliana kept dozens of carefully wrapped vials of potions that could contribute to your undoing should anyone even contemplate the possibility of some kind of “Circus Coup” where by she would be replaced as its sole totalitarian dictator.
Like the Moral Majority — my Grandmother managed to mix religion, politics, and various venal objectives into a faith based compost heap of potent possibilities, non sequitur factoids, mangled mythologies, medieval religious ritual, and mind boggling mystical crapola, with which we were all brainwashed into a cockamamie belief system into which she incorporated Jesus, the infallibility of the Pope, eating fish on Fridays, praying for the lost soul of Buffalo Bill and some tall tale about a Gypsy ancestor being present at the crucifixion where by he stealthily deprived the Roman executioners of the last six nails needed to complete their torturous deed — by stealing them. According to her, Jesus wouldn’t allow such a political travesty as her removal from the throne of power.
Personally I had my doubts, because apparently JESUS, as backed by the Religious Right allowed George Dubya to become President where by the “Doctrine Of Pre-Emption” was birthed and “Mission Accomplished” has since been delayed so long — nobody even remembers what the original “Mission Impossible” was all about. A scenario which along with my Gypsy Grandmothers “Identity Politics” and self serving agenda added fuel to the fire of my relentless contrarian disposition. As an avowed oppositional systems buster with a messianic drive to “save the world”, when in fact it was I that was most in need of salvation — all that ever impeded my head long dive into the world of Show Business For Ugly People IE: “Politics” was my ongoing confusion as to which world I owed my allegiance.
Was it the insulated Gemeinschaft World of our Mafiosi Midway that left no carbon footprint within which our “Cowboy Cosa Nostra” was still practicing the unimpeded freedoms of the “Western Frontier” which, after all, is the foundation upon which America was built. That is, until corporate America took over. (Read: Life Inc.)
Was it “The Grinch Gringo Land Of Bureaucrats And Subdivision Sickos” infected by the Affluenza Virus whose carbon footprint has created Global Warming and for whom The Code Of The West no longer has any meaning, in that the only frontier to which Americans currently relate is “The Expanding Universe Of The Astronomers” — that civilized society that traded in Mano A Mano Shootouts for Thermo Nuclear Warfare.
Obviously for me it was the 64,000 Dollar question that was to determine my future!
Since I couldn’t make a choice — I simply decided to overthrow the government & the tyranny of the two party system, which after all, was only The Government Of The Few, By The Few, And For The Few — and simultaneously — to devote equal energies to a diabolical scheme to initiate “Regime Change” on Mama Corliani’s 3 Ring Circus & Wild West Show by stealing her “Trunk” and installing myself as Queen Of The Circus & Star Of The Wild West Show.
And They Think Obama Bit Off More Than He Can Chew!!!
Thus it was, that long before I became an identifiable canker on The Body Social, The Fly In The Ointment Of The New World Order and The Square Peg in everybody’s round hole — before my bruised and battered consciousness was raised to the possibilities of THE PLANET BIZZARRO as being an attractive alternative to life’s unfair and stressful demands — in that previous incarnation of manifest idiocy — what others refer to as my Che Guevara period of Revolutionary Fervor And Political Crackpotism — during a time of radical reflection and soulful meditation — the cultural phenomenon known as CITIZEN SCREWED came into being. Bridget Jones Diaries not withstanding — THE MAD MOTORCYCLE DIARIES OF A BIG TOP REVOLUTIONARY jump started the movement where by this neurotic misunderstood misfit from the wrong side of the Digital Divide became Homeland Securities most sought after terrorist. Next to Bin Laden of course. Him they couldn’t keep track of even with his dialysis machine. Me they kept their eye on. A key indication of Big Brothers Priorities during The Bush Administration. Go Figure?
Like a shocked and amazed Nate Salisbury said to Buffalo Bill when he heard that Sitting Bull, the Hunkpapa Sioux who murdered Custer in cold blood was joining the Wild West Show —
“This Show Business Is Really Something — There’s No Business Like IT”
BETTY HUTTON Staring in “Annie Get Your Gun”
song & video
“There’s No Business Like Show Business”
Important Information Every Circus Cognoscenti Should Know
1. When & where the 1st legally sanctioned same sex marriage took place.
2. The shocking details of “Tyrone The Terrible’s” own personal Space Odyssey
3. Insider Trading Tips from a Born Again Sicilian on how to build your own Donkey Empire.
4. How to go AWOL & Rob A Bank without getting caught.
Other Unexplained Phenomenon
Festus was aptly named. Or at least confused circus people who watched Gunsmoke thought he was. He walked with an incurable limp — a hip that just wouldn’t stay put. A handicap that came and went but ultimately didn’t prevent him from getting his own star on The Hollywood Walk Of Fame. In the meantime however, his destiny was to limp with periodic spasms of pain. Unfortunately he, like millions of other Americans, didn’t have health care insurance — so hip replacement surgery was out of the question. Despite the moral imperative involved it seems that only by winning the lottery or achieving the kind of Circus Stardom Brittany Spears has attained under her Booty Big Top for shaking her musical twat & singing sexually provocative lyrics, would he be able to afford the state of the art surgery necessary to put him back together again to the perfect little ass he once was.
Like Humpty Dumpty Who Had A Great Fall, All The Kings Men and All The Kings Horses Couldn’t Put Festus Back Together Again. In his case however, it wasn’t a wall he fell off. It was a mine explosion that blew him to hell & back. As one of the last of the coal hauling donkeys ever recorded in the annals of Appalachian history, how he got from a 36 inch high mine shaft in West Virginia to Mama Corliani’s Frontier Circus, Wild West Show & Mystic Midway was one of those accidents of fate that could only be described as sheer serendipity. Of course Festus, being a Born Again Christian attributed his good fortune to the fringe benefits of being “SAVED”. It was not generally known that he was a direct descendant of the little Sicilian Donkey that carried Christ on his back on that 1st Palm Sunday when the crowds wanted Jesus to become King. A few days later they wanted him dead, so Festus wisely kept his religious convictions to himself, despite the emblazoned cross on his back which of course was a dead give away. Keeping mum about his beliefs soon became nearly impossible.
In the meantime he did his best to keep the faith despite any evidences of a spontaneous miraculous healing. He also continued to hope that like The Keyboard Cat & Christian The Lion he might become a U-Tube Sensation & Major Internet Cewebrity & subsequently launch his own “Eat Pray Love” Story on Book TV, Amazon.com or Oprah’s Book Club. From there the skies the limit. What with endorsements, talk show appearances, speaking tours et al. he would soon be a household name known for championing the cause of The Oppressed Appalachians victimized by the plundering Massey Energy Corporation responsible for blowing off the tops of mountains & leaving toxic sludge & a polluted aquifer in their wake. He might even be invited to Preach on Spirituality on Oprah’s Soul Series Radio Network along with Marianne Williamson. But, best of all, once having achieved celebrity status & removed from the D list of Democracy’s Nobody’s — he would finally meet with Oprah’s Best friend Gail on whom he’s had a crush forever. Her ongoing fruitless quest for “The Right Man’ being well publicized — he might stand a chance. As a diminutive little miniature donkey he was well aware he fell somewhat short of being a man — but he was certainly enough of a horses ass to come close.
Obviously Festus had given a great deal of thought to what it takes to climb the ladder of success, achieve The American Dream & create your own Dumbed Down Democratic Donkey Empire. But until he fulfilled his future destiny — lacking any relevance & solvency in the here & now, he would just have to await a miracle from God or the equally miraculous possibility that our own mustachioed 21st century Adolph might convince the sign carrying lunatic fringe, Republican Party of No & Red, White, & Blue Christian Taliban that Health Care Reform does not equate with an Obama death panel. Until then — like the wolves Sarah Palin once shot from her helicopter — he was just going to have to grin & bear it — and like the rest of the Jack Asses, try to make an indelible impression at Town Hall Meetings. Hopefully without the necessity of biting off anymore fingers.
His best friend in the strange Al Fresco World Of Entertainment that had adopted him was a pure white miniature stallion who not only hated show business but generally despised the 3 Black Percherons with whom he shared the spotlight. Together they performed a center Ring Drama called “The Big & Little Act.”
Festus the miniature Sicilian Donkey, unlike his equally diminutive albeit disgruntled best buddy, was obsessed with Show Business & like Lucy Ricardo, he was always trying to get into the act. It didn’t matter which act or whether or not it was under The Big Top or on The Midway. Wherever other people or other animals congregated was where he wanted to be. His former life as a mine donkey included so much isolation — he was determined never to be alone again. An expansive & unlimited social life was a priority for Festus. His best friends Sonny however, was of a different philosophical persuasion. He was an avowed misanthrope. He absolutely abhorred people and had an ongoing animus for the 3 black Percherons with whom he performed. As for his despised co-stars Diamond, Big Star, & Barney — being totally without ego — they weren’t so much concerned with their stellar careers as distinguished Circus Horses as they were with maintaining Equus Family Values. Horses are extremely family oriented & totally dedicated to maintaining togetherness unlike some human families inclined to disrupt their happy home lives for the most superficial of reasons. Like for instance the temptations of some horny broad who comes along and tells them how “HOT” they are or the unexpected possibility of finding a voracious Argentinean Soul Mate instead of a hungry bear on The Appalachian Trail.
The Equus Caballos community has the kind of familial sticktoativeness that keeps them faithful to whatever horse family they are a part of — traditional or otherwise. Nevertheless a blight had come into their lives which threatened to disrupt their idyllic home life. A blight that came in the shape of a little smidgen of an S.O.B called Sonny.
Despite the fact that as Percherons — one of the largest of all horse breeds — they individually outweighed the perverse little punk by thousands of pounds each — they had a deep & abiding fear of the spoiled & sadistic little brat who with malice of forethought came into the center ring bucking & kicking when it was his time to share the spotlight with the huge Black Percherons. It was all they could do to keep from breaking ranks when the miniature marauder ran under their bellies with murder on his mind, ears laid flat, tiny nostrils flared, tail twitching a mile a minute & lips peeled back with such demonic intent you could see his perfectly formed pearly whites poised to take a chunk out of whatever was left of The Family Jewels. Needless to say, Sonny played dirty. As “geldings” (horse speak for eunuchs) they had already endured the unkindest cut of all. They certainly didn’t need a daily reminder of how much more they stood to lose. No matter how hard the audience laughed at their predicament — there’s nothing funny about having a bad tempered little critter with a Napoleonic Complex run under your belly while you’re desperately trying to maintain your equilibrium. With two massive front hooves each precariously balanced on a relatively small ring curb by comparison with untold tons of horse flesh straining to keep from tipping the boat so to speak while trying to project a professional demeanor as befits their status as seasoned Show Biz Pro’s — it takes a really sick sense of humor to laugh at something that’s supposed to be “a trick” — but which, thanks to a horny little hell boy has turned into a sadistic terrorist plot. With the eminent threat to whatever’s left of their manhood — there’s no accounting for the lack of consciousness of exploitive hominids and the loss of proper brain function of little Albino Dickheads possessed of too much testosterone. Both are badly in need of extensive Monty Roberts’s sensitivity training & horse whispering techniques.
Festus — a veritable saint — (because it took a saint to befriend the likes of Sonny) was ever the peace maker and did his best to intervene — telling Sonny that he would trade places with him in a New York minute if only he could be part of a center ring act. Festus was always encouraging bi-partisanship and trying to get everyone to sing Kumbaya. Sonny who didn’t know when he had it good, like a lot of other small minded headliners who are totally wrapped up in themselves, unappreciative of their good fortune and proceed on a senseless path of self destruction only to create misery and misfortune for others. Unlike the socially aware Madonna who was booed in Bucharest for taking a stand against the ongoing discrimination against Gypsies. Sonny however was as obtuse as he was self absorbed — social awareness being the last on his list of concerns. Like Brittany, his head was forever planted where the sun don’t shine.
Anyway, what could Festus possibly know? He had no Blue Blooded Show Business Heritage or Star Studded Lineage like Sonny. All Festus could ever do was dream about getting discovered and hope that The Oprah Effect would somehow affect him.
Like Oprah herself, Festus was without any spectacular abilities to sing or dance and beyond some emoting talents that fell for short of the demands of The Actors Studio; he lacked any certifiable skills beyond a goody two shoes mentality and unique ability to stuff his face. An ability which earned him the distinction of being the only animal on the circus required to wear a caution sign that read “fifty dollar fine for feeding me.” A precautionary measure intended to prevent him from getting the colic or being foundered. Serious horse related illnesses homo erectus is not prone to. They just become lard asses. Too bad Oprah’s distinguished panel of Doctors & exercise gurus never offered Oprah a similarly effective means of cutting back on calories.
Such was Sonny’s highly inflated sense of entitlement that he thought that he could not only demean Festus and the most powerful woman in the world, but bite the hand that fed him as well — doing his very best to ruin the highly valued and time honored traditional “Big & Little Act”.
So it was that Sonny, whose social awareness was zilch, remained totally unappreciative of his “Star Turn” under the Big Top and the deference with which he was treated because of his auspicious Sawdust & Spangled Blood Lines. It just made him all the more arrogant and indifferent to the misery he created for others. Especially The Big Blacks whose only desire was for a happy and undisturbed home life free of the angst and stress brought about by the threat of sabotage to whatever was left of their privates. An Al Qaeda like move one would expect from a diminutive demon possessed circus terrorist. It so messed with their minds and up ended their world that Diamond, Big Star, and Barney determined to run away from the circus and join up with the Amish.
At least they did until they saw a television documentary about Amish Life that indicated that after a lifetime of service it was not uncommon for the Amish to sell their horses to slaughter houses. Boy — that’s appreciation for you. Talk about moral schizophrenia. After a lifetime of hard work — that’s your send off. No wonder Johnny Cash wore black. Diamond, Star and Barney were shocked to discover that right here in America there were fundamentalist religious groups as dangerous as Islamic Extremists. At least to horses they are. There’s something to be said for Buddhism and their beliefs in the value of all life. NAM NEOHO MOO GOO GI PAN.
After that, they determined to stay put no matter how badly Circuses were demonized by the establishment. Better the Devil you know than the one you don’t. Nobody ever said Circus Life was a walk in the park but Circus Folks Ain’t So Evil.
Whenever the Circus water wagon arrived on the lot with a fresh load of H20 — The animals always got to drink first and as much as they wanted before anyone else on the lot got any. And even then the Circus Performers were only allotted 2 buckets each daily. One with which to bathe after the matinee and the other for bathing after the night show. Unlike the 140 gallons of aqua pura establishment Gajo’s guzzle daily what with wasteful extraneous activities such as watering the lawn, washing the car & water boarding — Circus people have a more Spartan approach to conserving the planets resources. With all life being dependant on fresh water & only 3% of the world’s water being fresh, how can one waste such a precious natural resource? More valuable than oil or gold!
As for the Godly Amish pecuniary plan for end of life stimulus packages provided by their soon to be dead faithful plow horses and carriage equines — this accepted cultural practice was corroborated by Jake and Jabo — two under cover pigs & whistle blowers in the witness protection program. Having escaped a Schmuckfield Ham Corporate Production Unit (animal factory farm) they found safe haven under assumed names with their friend Buddy “The Plummer”, whose favorite thing to do besides hunting barefoot in the alligator and snake infested Myakka State Park (where Sasquatch Skunk Apes abound and an invisible empire of Cracker Cow Catchers hide out) — was to get roaring drunk and pick bar fights with the Amish. An animus as mysterious as Sonny’s animus for his co-stars.
In the meantime, the terrorized triage of Black Percherons were grateful that they at least were spared the end of life Obama death panel. Until they came to some successful conflict resolution with Sonny ( perhaps with the help of Dr. Phil) — they would just have to “cowboy up” and suck in their privates or what was left of them and continue to believe “The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow.” While Festus prayed for them — they continue to chant…Nam Meyoho Moo Goo Gi Pan.
With the passage of time, everyone on the Circus lot became enamored with “Festus The Peacemaker” who made lots of converts with his sincere practice of doing unto others as you would have them do unto you.
However Festus’ apparent Sainthood had its limits. A Dr. Jeckle & Mr. Hyde transition that took place whenever the farrier showed up for the periodic hoof trimming required of all equus related animals. At this point Festus, who regarded any farrier as public enemy #1 forgot all 10 commandments and more often than not gifted the poor guy with “the mark of the beast” delivered by a swift kick to his most vulnerable part. The Lil Saint must have learned a thing or two from Sonny. Which is what happens when you hang around with the wrong element. Even Festus was not immune to bad influences. Oh well — nobody’s perfect. Even on the Circus. A fact well understood by most of us who are “with it” and are possessed of similar Dr. Jeckle and Mr. Hyde proclivities. Proclivities that most often surfaced during Mama Corliani’s midnight poker games where violent shootouts were likely to occur whenever some cheating Goomba tried to claim a Big Pot.
Unlike “Tyrone The Terrible” Festus didn’t smoke, drink, or gamble (however, our Lil Silician Applause Junkie wasn’t above starring with the Clydesdales in a Budweiser Beer commercial, just to get his face on television). But apart from his farrier phobia and showbiz obsession, he was the model of deportment. A fact not lost on the Circus community who elected to honor him with the auspicious title of being designated mascot and good will ambassador of Mama Corliani’s Frontier Circus, Wild West Show & Mystic Midway. He even gained the confidence of “Diablo”, the frightening Black Friesian whose duty it was to transport the massive Matriarch & Queen of the Circus on her daily rounds of micromanaging every aspect of her hybrid Sergio Leone type Al Fresco Entertainment Enterprise. With her psychic powers, spaghetti umbilical and bush whacking abilities — no one was likely to get the jump on this Mafiosi granny and rough riding she-devil who threw her weight around like she was Gods personal representative on earth, sole arbiter of right and wrong and guardian of your destiny and mine. A diehard feminazi if ever there was one!
When the Republican Fringe Element talk about someone pulling the plug on Grandma — its obvious they hadn’t yet met with Mama Corliani who had a failsafe method of dealing with potential assassins. Her very own “pay it forward” vendetta style doctrine of pre-emption which was most often preceded by the delivery of a newspaper wrapped can of King Oscar Sardines, in pure extra virgin olive oil. Nothing but the best for the sworn enemies of Mama Corliani. After which with great pomp & circumstance as aided and abetted by her own Borgia Style Blackwater Bunch, she would hoist them on their own petard.
Even the worst of the worst, and midget macho marauder “Sonny the Wienie Slicer”, “Tyrone The Terrible,” and “Alice The Serial Killer,” altered their behavior for the better on those spooky moonlit nights when the mammoth magical dark shadow of “El Diablo” & “The Queen Mother of All Godfathers” came between them and their ultimate profligate destiny.
Festus and Sonny are currently retired from their Show Biz careers and live together in the safe haven of The Miracle Ranch Animal Sanctuary where they are enjoying their Golden Years — albeit Festus genuinely misses the excitement & camaraderie of being “On The Road.” He’s working on a new book about fighting the doldrums of depression once all your dreams have come true & your money runs out. It’s called “OLD AGE STINKS” and he’s hopeful it will be a best seller and he’ll get back on Oprah’s Book Club. Unfortunately when Festus made the big time, he, like a lot of other well heeled individuals invested his millions with Madoff and of course we all know what a Fraudulent Fiasco that turned out to be. He learned the hard way that getting your pockets picked is a whole lot worse than getting your hooves trimmed. Festus however–still gets the occasional opportunity to shine in the spotlight as an Obama supporter & has appeared with Ted Kennedy (The Lion Of The Senate) on a number of fund raisers. Festus once made headlines with the following controversial statements:
“The Red, White, & Blue Christian Taliban and Radical Christian Right rail & protest against Government controlled universal healthcare, meanwhile reserving the right for themselves to legislate everyone else’s morality.”
Festus also ruffled some feathers when he said:
“The current Pope could have at least responded to Ted Kennedy’s letter personally as opposed to letting an aide respond for him. But what else could you expect from a Pope who wears PRADA?”
As for Barney, Diamond, & Big Star — they had the wisdom not to mix religion & politics and pretty much kept their opinions on both to themselves. They did however continue in their Buddhist Philosophy of valuing all other life forms and never ceased their practice of chanting Nam Neoho Moo Goo Gi Pan even though in the strictest sense of the word they were never able to get their pronunciation up to par. Nor did all their efforts to make peace with Sonny ever evolve into any kind of “Live & Let Live relationship. It was China and Tibet all over again, with muscle diplomacy tipping the scales of injustice in favor of tyrants.
Star, Barney & Diamond finally had to put their own personal welfare over all other concerns & ran away to join another circus where according to dressing room gossip they get along just fine with their new partner. A Sweetie pie that looks up to these Mighty Percherons as her Big Brothers.
On behalf of all the animals at The Miracle Ranch, Festus appeals to you to contribute to the Tip Jar because “Not even a sparrow falls to the ground that Our Father in Heaven Does Not See” just as He will see & bless those who care enough to contribute to the welfare of the animals He loves. Jesus is neither a Republican or Democrat. He’s Just The Man Upstairs Who Cares.
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Coming Up Next — “Tyrone, The Terrible”
To read more about Festus’ signature social cause please click on the following link www.ilovemountains.org
The excerpt you’ve just read is the first act of The Citizen Screwed website and is centered on the continuing SCI FI adventures of the SURREAL SUPERHEROES of a LOST KALEIDOSCOPE FRONTIER.
The second act of the Citizen Screwed website is devoted to the political psycho babble, confused ramblings & revolutionary rhetoric of the disenfranchised descendant the Time Traveling Super Heroes left behind. It also includes some historical facts and some “back story” of a maverick counter culture, the Al Fresco World of Entertainment which includes the likes of P.T. Barnum, Buffalo Bill and others.
The third act of the Citizen Screwed website yet to come, will be the providential contribution of a mystery celebrity & glitter dome icon who provides Box Office potential for this stupefying 3 Ring Circus, Sideshow & Wild West after Show described by the Father of Quantum Physics as …. “The Greatest Show In CyberSpace!”
FYI: “THE PROJECT” to be completely funded by : CAPTAIN OUTRAGEOUS aka TED TURNER
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