In no particular direction. I just walk.
Maybe I’ll walk into Ema.
Stranger things have happened.
Before I know it I’m back at the main tent. At the back. At the entrance. That’s good enough.
I go in.
The Speaker is speaking. I take a step and sit down in the middle of the walkway to enjoy the show.
-Abortions, the Speaker is saying, -who would? To abort is to kill a human child. Are we killers? Are we? If we trot ourselves off to war, if we raise our guns, if we fire into the body of another and take away their life, are we killers? We are. If your wife or girlfriend, or you, feel something inside, something that’s growing… what would we do with it? If we decide to keep it, we are being true. If we decide to abolish it, what are we then? Saving ourselves a bit of money? Yes, indeed, but we are killers. We want to sever the life this growing embryo could have, we want to–
-You should have been aborted!
-My dearest mother, God rest her, was no killer, my sir. She allowed my life to flourish. She allowed me to speak to you.
-We shouldn’t have to hear this!
-Right, it’s your opinion, not fact!
The Speaker is unfazed by the Heckler, or the other person who spouted words. He’s well-trained.
-Our own Screamer introduced this concept to you, the Speaker continues, -when he came out. He told you we were opinionated. We knew you would not all agree. But, nevertheless, I will continue. A human life can be destroyed by you, if you see fit to do it. You can pick up a wooden pole and beat a man to death. Surely, that’s all you’re doing when you abort your child? You destroy it. You obliterate it. You beat it to death with a wooden pole. Of course, that is merely metaphorical, but it is what happens. You may disagree, but the opinion expressed here on stage tonight, however much you want to deny it, is true. Don’t you agree?
This comes from the Doubler. I recognise the accent.
-Abortion is not about obliterating a baby!
-Sir, tell me, what else is it?
-It’s a choice! It’s the mother’s choice!
-Is it? Then, is Fritzel’s choice to rape his own daughter sufficient to get him off the road to imprisonment?
-No, but he didn’t kill!
-Then you agree, abortion is killing?
-No! How do you arrive to that?!
The Doubler, seated in the second row from the stage, is standing up. Some cries of –yeah surround me. I giggle again, and rock side to side.
Will he begin the Circus?
-Abortion is the mother’s choice!
-A mother can abort her baby?
-A mother can abort her three-year old toddler?
-No! That is killing.
-Okay, my sir, answer me this; when does a child become ‘alive’? Is it alive in the womb?
-Is it alive outside the womb?
-You get rid of its life outside the womb, when it is alive, that is killing. When you get rid of its life inside the womb, when you agree it is equally alive, is that also killing?
The Speaker smiles patronisingly down. And laughs. Loud.
This is the Doubler’s cue. With a string of amusing curse words aimed at the Speaker, he quits his row. Storms towards the stage. Climbs on the stage. From near the back, on my left, the Heckler jeers him on, starts to get in on the action, climbing out of his seat.
Now, we come to the psychological minority conformity part of the circus. These people, this audience, will follow these two, the Doubler and Heckler. It only takes one more. Soon, people around me are standing up.
I stand up too, and turn in circles, anxious, not knowing where to be.
The sounds are
I don’t know what to listen to.
I cannot see.
I cannot see the Speaker,
or anyone I know.
I put my hands to my head.
Someone touches me on the shoulder.
I scream in my throat. I turn.
I don’t know who they are.
I take a breath, but I am pushed.
Outside I fall as the inside erupts. It is so loud. I lie on the ground, trampled earth beneath my shoulder, my eyes unfocused. I am shaking, jittering, my teeth clattering. I claw at the earth. I can see the person who hit me. I shy away from them, pulling myself along the ground. I feel numb on one side of my body from where I fell. I feel them kneel beside me. I hear them speak.
Instantly, I calm. I stop struggling away.
-Screamer, look at me.
I cannot. My head is stuck. My neck is paralyzed.
So they take my head, and turn it for me, turn it to them.
-Screamer, we told you not to come in like that. You know you can’t deal with that kind of thing. Look, can you move?
Ira Ira Ira!
-Oh my God, alright. Don’t panic. I’m going to pull you into one of the tents, okay? Don’t fight me.
I cannot move my body anyway. It’s locked. My muscles are taught.
Ira takes my shoulders. I wish I could make it easier. I cannot move though.
He gets me into one of the tents. By the smell of it, it’s the A’Lonzs’ tent.
Ira, huffing, crouches near me again. –If you can get up eventually, don’t. Just stay lying here. I’ll get Ema as soon as I can. I can’t stay with you, though. Jesus Christ, why did you do that you… you idiot. Just… stay right here okay? Blink once for yes. Twice for no.
-I’m trusting you to stay right here. I’ll peg the tent closed so no one can get in. I’ll be right back.
I need a voice!
Any voice of any person I know!
My breathing is speeding up again. I tremble. Ira!
The sounds are too loud!
Footsteps are Thor’s hammer!
Yelling is 100 cats’ yowls!
Everything echoes! In my head! Ira! Get out!
GET! OUT! OUT! OUT!