The Circus Tent, by Kerry E. B. Black

Brad and Lynn set up the miniature circus tent in the center of the living room. A blue flag topped the red and yellow striped canvas cylinder.  Scallops and dags dripped in cheer, adding to the festive feel.

Adam clapped his chubby hands as he jumped and laughed. “I wuv it, Momma! Fank you, Daddy!”

Proud parents grabbed hands in a silent congratulations. The gift pleased their three-year-old son. Adam climbed through the door, blue to distinguish it from the rest of the tent, and vanished from site.

The interior was large enough for Adam to stand. If he reached up, he could not touch the spire. The light filtered through the material cast zebra stripes of gold and gray. His parents knelt at the entrance, enjoying Adam’s delight. He took his peanut butter and marshmallow whip sandwich inside, chatting to imagined companions.

“I swear, I smell roasted peanuts,” Brad said.

His wife pointed out the sandwich, raising her eyebrows at him. As she walked to the kitchen to tidy up the lunch dishes, he patted her rump. She giggled. However, he distinctly caught a whiff of fresh-spun cotton candy.

“Yippee!” Adam’s voice accompanied a thudding sound from inside. “I wuv horsies!”

Dad turned on the local afternoon news on the television, ignoring his son’s boisterous exclamations. An herbal scent, almost like alfalfa hay, drifted through. His wife must have lit a candle.

A phrase uttered by his son registered on his distracted parental consciousness. “Uh oh, she is naked.”

His boy was backing out of the tent, eyes covered with sticky hands, his tongue sticking out in a “yuck.”

“Son, what are you doing?”

“I don’t want to see the naked lady, dad. I am going to go to the baff room.”

The boy rushed down the hall to relieve himself. Under his arm was tucked a small clown stuffed doll that Brad didn’t remember.

Naked lady? His son possessed an active imagination, certainly. Still, Brad bent and pushed aside the blue door to looked inside of the tent.

On the canvas floor rested the plastic super hero plate, mostly-eaten sandwich and corn chip crumbs atop. He collected the lunch left overs and straightened, feeling the gentle caress of the canvas against his cheek as he stood. A whiff of jasmine and sandlewood made him think of belly dancers. He closed his eyes, picturing a bonfire around which swayed tanned hips barely clothed in silks and tinkling bells.

“Daddy, you are in my way!” He snapped out of his reverie, stepping aside to allow his son access to the tent’s interior.

“Did you light a fire, darling?” His wife inquired, taking the plate and kissing his flushed cheek.

“No, I thought you did.” She looked over her shoulder, head cocked to one side, but said nothing.

“I want an elephant ride!” His son voiced with enthusiasm from within his new play area.

Dad shook his head and reclaimed the comfortable position in his brown leather recliner, taking in the news. It was not long, though, before he dozed and dreamed of feather and sequence-clad beauties whipping lions until they obeyed each command. He woke aroused, hearing his wife and son playing a game. He looked at the tent and saw his wife’s pale legs sticking out of the entrance.

With a mischievous smile, Brad stepped over and ran his foot up the fleshy curves to the base of her pink shorts.

“Ahem, I will be right back, Adam.”

Her face appeared between the tent flaps. “May I help you?”

Smile crooked across his face, he leered, wagging his finger to entice her to follow.

She sighed, disappeared once more to kiss her son loudly (“ah, mom!”), then emerged to grab her husband’s hand. He guided her to their bedroom, then lavished kisses on her eager mouth and delicate neck. She gasped and responded, met kiss with passion, until they collapsed, spent and tangled in sheets no longer neatly upon their queen-sized bed.

She deposited little kisses like pops on her husband’s cheeks and forehead while he admired the pert bosom jiggling beneath her white cotton t-shirt.

“Lynn, we haven’t taken Adam to a circus. How do you suppose he knows so much about them?”

She stopped to consider. “I don’t know. What do you mean?”

“Well, he was talking about tigers and trained puppies and tightrope walkers. How does he even know the word trapeze?”

She laughed, shaking her head. “Adam is such a clever child!” However, her brow knitted.

A voice interrupted the short silence that followed. “Momma, Daddy? Watch what I can do!”

Dad wondered how long Adam stood in the bedroom doorway, but more startling were the three kitchen knives in his hands.

“I can juggle. The cwown told me I can.”

Mom reacted first, her voice quaking with concern. “Honey, you know that you are not allowed to touch knives.”

“I know, but watch. I am a circus p-former!”

The child threw the utensils into the air. Garnet splattered the white sheets and tan carpet as he attempted to catch the blades. Mom sat up and screamed. Dad lay frozen, propped on his elbows.


BIO: Kerry E.B. Black enjoys spinning story webs like a spider, waiting for prey. Other published works can be found in “Shades of Fear” and “Postcard Poems and Prose.” Follow at twitter BlackKerryBlick and

Posted on May 3, 2014, in Issue 13: Southern Fried Freak Show and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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