|What are you looking at?|
When you were young, the circus brought joy and wonder and amazement. You marveled at animals right out of storybooks. You gasped when beautiful women defied death through the air. You cried with laughter at colorful clowns. Invincible strongmen gave you hope. Magicians made you believe.
Then you aged. Every night, from the same uncomfortable seat, through the same tired acts, you see a different show.
You don't laugh at the clown after you learned he's suicidal.
The trapeze artist slept with you, and everyone else.
One drunken night, the magician betrayed his tricks.
The elephants don't remember the veldt.
The fire breather spits mineral oil.
The strong man cries at night.
The tigers have no claws.
The ringleader is a brutal jerk.
Worst of all, they've learned your faults as well. Even in the dark, you feel them watching you.
You pity the people around you, so easily amused. You recall older acts, better acts, but no one listens.
You want to leave, find a new circus, start over, but you know, you know, every circus, in every town, will, over time, mirror this one.
Every night you buy a paper ticket and take your seat.
Every morning you worry they won't give you one this time.
You go. You go.
It's the only show on earth.