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Thursday, 01 March 2018

The Show Must Go On: Working on the Australian Circus Circuit - Page 4

Written by Sal Bolton
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I suddenly remembered Marcus might still be sleeping too and that I could be disturbing him as well. Clutching my rolled up swag, I ducked away from the stage and approached the side curtain, tentatively pulling it back with my fingertips to reveal what was behind it.

 

No swag. No Marcus. Just a panel of plywood on the ground where he'd set him self up for the night. Of course being owner of Rawlings Circus, I didn't think that even though he'd had his sleep disturbed in the night, he would have failed to get up early, alive and kicking for a brand new day.

 

Draped over a solitary chair, was my showman uniform. Exactly the same as John's, the McCaffey Animal Farm blue shirt and a black baseball cap. After wiping the wet grass stems off my feet with my socks. I slipped on my favorite and most vital part of my showman uniform....my Wellington Boots or by Aussie correctness my 'Gum Boots' - the best shoes for all occasions.

 

I wore my waterproof long footed companions constantly throughout my travels in Australia and had endured the sniggers, strange looks and mocking comments from gawping eyes who failed to see my choice of foot wear's practicality and style. Now I had a justifiable reason to wear them for the perfect use, going into the animal shed - I didn't want to be wearing anything else.

 

I had let the calls of the animals go too far now as I could hear the whinnying of the pony and the donkey probably saying untoward things in their impatience if they could speak words. But animals are like us, they get hungry, they'll complain.

 

'Alright, alright, I'm coming!' I mumbled, the repetitive animal sounds continuing as I stormed out of the big top, strutting over the grass trudging my gum boots towards the core hub of noise amplifying out of the animal shed some fifty meters away.

 

As I neared, Mabel, the white pony splotched with brown markings, paced up and down in her outdoor pen, whinnying even louder at the sight of me. She craned her neck to nuzzle my outstretched hand over the steel railing as I patted her soft nose reassuringly. Her donkey friend, more subdued, cast its droopy eyes up at me in acknowledgment or maybe it was an 'about bloody time' look intended to make me feel guilty.

 

I marched into the animal shed, flicking back the entrance flaps of the hanging canvas and was hit by the overwhelming high pitched orchestra of animal noises, the distinguishing fusty smell of soiled straw and sawdust which was laden all over ground. Everywhere I looked, animals, animals, animals, crying out at me - the three piglets ramming their noises up against their pen squealing fanatically, the guinea pigs squeaking, the llama and cow mooing simultaneously, the puppies yapping, eagerly springing up bounding with energy as they playfully chased each other around tripping in the straw.

 

My heart skipped a beat suddenly when I was startled by the baby goat's insistent bleating, prancing around the main pen at me. The birds were abundant in our attraction; amongst our feathered characters we boasted a goose, turkey, ducks, an intriguing variety of chicken breeds and our plump mother hen 'Henny Penny' who liked to nurture the baby chicks, making our aviary quite an impressive display.

 

Snapping into pro activeness, I hastily started to rummage behind the drape in the corner which separated the food storage area of food bowls and water bottles to the impatient animal vocals drumming in my head. Every morning the same, every morning was the same frenetic routine.

 

But this morning, I felt something was different.

 

I stood still for a second and looked out onto the yard, listening hard, trying to match the animal noises to an animals face, as if I was doing a pre-school exercise.

 

Something was missing.

 

(Page 4 of 5)
Last modified on Thursday, 01 March 2018

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